Tuesday, April 28, 2015

JMS Parents attend iPad Training and Internet Safety Night

Parents of students at Jemtegaard Middle School attended an evening of learning about the iPads and ways to help students be safe online on April 23.  JMS teachers Kelli Dizmang, Cherise Marshall, and Rebecca Bohlin worked with students who served as "experts" to develop the lessons taught to their peers' parents.  Approximately 40 to 50 parents attended with at least that many students.

“Parents went with their students to a series of stations where they learned about the apps that students use in class, projects that are done on the iPads, how to access WESPaC from a mobile device, and more,” said Les Brown, WSD Director of Technology.  “Each station was run by a JMS student, who created their mini-lesson on an iPad to share with parents and other students.  The parents who attended shared that they were amazed at how much the students have learned, and the variety of skills they have with the iPads.”

Parents also attended a session on Internet Safety and building student's skills to make wise choices and be safe online.  The session focused on practical steps parents can take to help keep kids safe while online.  “We discussed parents’ concerns about online safety, helping make sure they have an awareness of monitoring student activities online, as well as tools and strategies to help them make sure their kids are learning to be good digital citizens while staying safe online,” Brown said.

“Many of the parents who attended the Internet safety presentation were taking notes, sharing their own safety tips, and asking more questions about how we can work together to keep kids safe online,” said Dizmang.  “The response was very positive.  Many parents were also surprised to discover how much their middle schoolers know about using technology for learning, and were amazed at what the kids do and create every day.  Our students did an excellent job sharing their skills with parents!”

The act of students presenting the lessons was a sign of the success for the tech parent night in the eyes of Bohlin.  “It demonstrated to parents how students are benefiting and learning from the technology they have the chance to use in school,” she said.

According to Bohlin, student are already asking about having the event next year.  “The way that students stepped up to create quality presentations was outstanding! I was so impressed with what students put together to show parents, including QR code activities, wi-fi troubleshooting situations, thoughtful questions, and hands-on demonstrations.”

Hathaway science fair inspires young scientists

Hathaway fifth graders from Mr. Schlauch’s and Ms. Kurtz's classes participated in a Science Fair April 22. Students were required to choose a project, follow the scientific process, make a slide presentation on their iPad, and create a display board. The 49 young scientists shared their hard work and creativity with parents and other Hathaway students who attended the fair.

Students tested freezing temperatures, tested sounds with homemade “telephones”, created slime, and generated reactions with baking soda, vinegar, Mentos and soda pop.

Lauren Widmer: Flowers of the Rainbow. Lauren added food coloring to the water of white daisies over a six-day period to see how the daisies absorbed the color and how the various colors behaved differently.
Retired WHS science teacher Bruce Stanton was on hand to see what students had created and offer his scientific observations as well.

Marinah Vargo: The Soap Experiment. Marinah tested Charles’ Law, “As the temperature of a gas increases, so does its volume.”  Marinah microwaved Dial and Ivory soaps and found that their volume expanded greatly as they were heated.
“I was very impressed with the overall professionalism that these Hathaway fifth graders were able to maintain throughout the entire fair,” said teacher Andrew Schlauch. “I especially enjoyed watching them take on the role of the expert and teach their newly mastered concept to their peers, family members, teachers, and community members. I had multiple parents express their excitement and appreciation about the enthusiasm towards science they saw in their students for the first time. One parent told me that this fair has sparked a life long interest in science that may have never been. I am definitely looking forward to doing this again next year.”

Gabriel Hoffman: The Lucky Number 6. Gabriel invited fair participants to attempt to draw a number 6 while rotating their leg clockwise. His research supported the conclusion that as humans have evolved, we have not developed same side anti-coordination.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Jemtegaard Middle School​ students compete in Japanese Speech Contest

Three Jemtegaard Middle School​ students were winners in the 27th Annual Japanese Speech Contest held April 18 in Portland.  Winners of Middle School Division 1 were first place, Imagen Huey; second place, Brandon MacArthur; and third place, Monty Scott.

The competition is organized by the Consular Office of Japan for students studying Japanese language in high school, middle school and immersion programs in Oregon and SW Washington.  There were 22 students participating from 10 schools.

Awards were presented by Consul General Hiroshi Furusawa.

Washougal Elementary Students Participate in Battle of the Books

Elementary students in Washougal School District battled it out in a most unlikely location, their libraries, as a part of the district-wide Battle of the Books competition.

"The Battle of the Books competition is sleuthing out the intricate comprehension details of each novel,” said WHS Library Media Specialist, Hillary Marshall.  Students read at least six books from a pre-determined list of 15.  During the competition students are given questions about content and answer by identifying the book title for five points and the author for an additional two points. Teams have 30 seconds after the reading of the question to give its response through the team captain. If the team gives an incorrect title or author, the opposing team may then pick up points for that question with the correct answer.

The competition is for 4th and 5th graders at all Washougal elementary schools.  Teams consist of four to six players.  The preliminary rounds were held Friday, April 17th, with the top two teams from each school battling it out at the Grand Battle on Friday, April 24 at WHS.  The winning team, from Cape Horn-Skye, was Ryan Langston, Immy Hinchliff, Rose Hinchliff, Sophia Krasnogorov, Gavin Keyser and Trey Keyser.  

Participation in this second annual event was high.  Gause Elementary had 30 students qualify for their school's battle and Hathaway Elementary had 35 students.  Cape Horn-Skye Elementary had a whopping 80 student compete at their school level.  “All together almost 30% of the district's grade 4 and grade 5 students read enough books to qualify for a school battle and a trip to Washougal High School to support their classmates competing for the title,” said David Tudor, WSD Curriculum Director. “The students and library staff have worked very hard to make this a fun and exciting event.”

Planning for the event began in Fall with Marshall and the elementary library assistants, Kathy Stanton, Hathaway; Marlene Leifsen, Gause; and Tammy Asbjornsen, CH-S.
“The students who participate love the competition,” said Leifsen. “As a librarian, I see students check out a book every week, do their 20 minutes of reading and return the book, unfinished.  I love seeing the kids enjoying and finishing books.  It's also really fun for me to get to know students better personally.”

“The students get a lot out of this competition by learning what team work is all about,” said Asbjornsen.  “Our students build valuable speaking skills while giving verbal summaries of the books they have read. Students are also exposed to different types of genres that they have never read before. They gain self-confidence and pride within themselves but most of all a love for reading.”

This year’s theme, “Race into Reading.” Guest speaker, Sam Reigel, talked to students participating in the Grand Battle about biodiesel technology and how he converted his automobile to run on refined vegetable oil.  The theme also inspired some extra fun during the preliminary battle days.  At Gause, students were treated to a “gas station lunch” featuring corn dogs, and at CH-S, motocross and race car driver, Kelly Harness of Camas, brought his racing bike and talked to students after their outside picnic lunch.  Harness stressed the importance of reading in his line of work.  “When I have to get into an engine and do repair work, I have to be able to read the instruction manual to know what I need to do,” he explained.  

High school students also participate by volunteering to read the battle books to help create questions for the competition.  They also served as team leaders, escorting the elementary student to each battle venue, and time and score keepers during the battles.  They also planned and ran indoor recess activities for entertainment during the luncheon.  "Our high schoolers love this leadership opportunity to inspire younger readers and they are always amazed how well the elementary students know the intricate details of each novel," said Marshall.

The final grand battle and award ceremony took place in the WHS auditorium.  Jamie Dotson from iQ Credit Union was on hand to present books purchased through their Read With Me literacy program that gives a $75 grant to literacy programs that inspire lifelong reading.  “This money was used to purchase books from the Scholastic Warehouse to reward our high school students for all of their help with the event,” Marshall said.  “Each high school student who participated received a book they selected to call their very own.”

“I think for young children to pick up a book with more than 30 pages is very daunting to them,” Asbjornsen said. “When they first look at the battle books, any books for that matter, they think that the book is too big and that they can't finish it. But once they do, it is very gratifying for them. I love it when students come up to me and tell me that they really like a certain book.”

“For me it is all about the love of reading,” said Stanton.  “I enjoy reading as entertainment and through this experience these students are getting the chance to develop that love and become lifelong readers.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Gause Elementary School Science Night Encourages Exploration

Gause Elementary School cafeteria and gym were transformed into science labs for experiments and discovery for their Family Fun Science Night on April 22.  

According to the event organizer, Learning Assistant Program teacher, Wendy Morrill, it has been several years since Gause had hosted a science night.  “We wanted to give kids at Gause a very hands on way to celebrate Earth Day,” she said.  “We have provided a whole variety of interesting science activities for them to experience and enjoy with their family.”   The event was attended by more than 120 people and was funded by the Gause Boosters.

Teachers and parents volunteered to staff learning stations where families could take part in activities such as experiment with the forces of gravity, build and toss paper airplanes, construct a paper skeleton, examine plastic human organs, learn about to the eco system at Steigerwald Natural Wildlife Refuge and make Oobleck.

“Making this stuff is awesome and cool,” said Gause second grader, Brayden Strong, who experienced making Oobleck with his mom, Jasmine.  “And it is messy!”  Oobleck is a classic science experiment made with water and corn starch and a favorite part of the event.  It is an example of a non-Newtonian fluid that acts like a liquid when being poured, but is like a solid when a force is acting on it.  Applying pressure to the mixture increases its viscosity or thickness.  So if it is tapped quickly it will feel solid, but if a finger is pressed slowly it will sink into it.  

The big activity of the night was the eruption of Mt. Gause, a large model volcano.  “At one of the stations, families experimented with the chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar on a small scale,” Morrill said.  “And then they were able to witness it all on a larger scale with the volcano that we blew ceremonially at 7:00 p.m.

“I overheard many students saying to their families ‘Science isn't as boring as I thought.’  ‘This is so fun!’  Families were having great conversations about making predictions or explaining why something happened in the activity,” Morrill added.

“I got to do experiments that I have never seen before,” said fourth grader, Matt Brown.  “I like to experience new things and have fun with science.”

“I feel like after experiencing these activities in various areas of science they see learning about science as fun and approachable,” Morrill said.  “I hope they are motivated to do more exploring at home with their families.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

9th annual Japanese Festival at WHS April 25, 2015

The Japanese Program students are currently organizing the 9th annual Japanese Festival.  It will be held from 11am to 3:30pm on April 25th (Saturday).  The address of the event is 1201 39th St. Washougal, WA 98671
The theme for this year’s event is “Friends.”  One of our first year Japanese students designed a sweatshirt for our Japanese program, and she used the symbol, “Friends,” and her classmates loved the design.  In fact, we decided to use “friends” as our festival theme this year.

During the festival, the highlight event is always the cultural performance at Washburn Performance Art Center Auditorium between 1:00pm to 2:30pm.  This year, we are inviting professional performers to share Taiko drums, Okoto string instruments, and traditional dance on the stage.  The Taiko drummers are elementary school students from Portland, Oregon.  They came to perform last year, and they are coming back this year as well.  Their performance is inspiring for anyone to see because it vividly shows that they practice rigorously.

Moreover, there will be Kimono demonstrators, and they are the newcomers for the festival this year.  They are Japanese ladies from Japan and volunteer to show their Kimono dresses and explain why and how they are wearing them.  This should be very interesting because a set of Kimono dresses is very expensive and it is rare to see and hear the Japanese ladies reveal why and how on the stage.

At the commons, there will be cultural displays and demonstrations including how to experience a flower arrangement and calligraphy, how to learn Kendo swordsmanship, and how to create Origami paper crafts.  There will be Japanese food dishes; for instance, Curry & Rice, Udon noodle soup, Okonomiyaki pizza, Green tea ice cream, Ramune drinks, and snacks.  Also, we will sell raffle tickets.  The prizes will be a gift certificate from Uwajimaya (a Japanese grocery store), Japanese products, and other items donated by local Japanese companies.

Everything including the concert tickets, raffle tickets, and food items are all under $5 each.  Approximately 150 to 200 people attend the festival every year.  We are looking forward to seeing you all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rotary Scholar of the Month for April 2015: Christian Schicker

Christian Schicker was selected as the Camas Washougal Rotary Scholar of the Month for April 2015.  Christian is a sophomore at Washougal High School and has a 4.0 GPA.  Pauline Rule, Christian’s Honors Biology Teacher, says “Christian is an exceptional young man endowed with exceptional intelligence.”  She adds that “He reasons quickly and accurately, making him an outstanding problem solver,” and that he “is a team player and works well with anyone.”  She noted that Christian “is respectful, friendly, and goes with the flow, adjusting his focus as needed.”

Christian’s Spanish Teacher, Brian Eggleston, describes as “unique in his diligence, talents, and his desire to learn.”  He also added that “Raúl”, as he’s known in Spanish class, clearly enjoys acquiring new concepts and skills, and he then applies them creatively for practice and self-improvement.  In class Christian asks thoughtful questions, helps others in their learning, and sets a notable example of self-discipline and respect.”  Eggleston also notes that Christian’s “positive attitude is contagious, to the point that any student he works with I know will come to understand better the material at hand and appreciate the interaction.  His pursuit of self-improvement extends across the curriculum and to soccer, as well, where he is known as an excellent and reliable player to his coach and peers.  Christian looks to new tasks and challenges not so much as obstacles, but rather as opportunities for valuable growth.”  Eggleston also shared that “Christian is a fantastic asset to Washougal High School, and I know that here and throughout his future he will continue to serve as a uniquely positive example to those around him.”

Algebra II Teacher Rochelle Aiton shared that “Christian is a joy to have in class.  He comes in with a smile with his homework completed, and ready to take on whatever the new day brings. He is not just intelligent, but thorough and thoughtful. He asks pertinent questions and helps his peers when he can.

Christian is the son of Linda and Harvey Goodling.  Congratulations, Christian!