Fieldwork Coordinator Update, February 2018

February is the second month of the winter trimester and classrooms are deep into their place-based units. Next month, I will share a couple of the overall units but in the meantime, here are a few notes related to our place-based programming at Cottonwood.

Our first and second grade students are currently the “Artists in Residence” at the Mirabella retirement community down the street. Nate Orton, one of our art teachers this past fall, led the students in creating two large, collaborative pieces based on the changing seasons at Cottonwood Bay. Mirabella hosted an art opening earlier this month for residents, students, first and second grade teachers and parents. Angie read an “artist’s statement” written by Nate (who couldn’t attend due to his student teaching responsibilities at Wilson High School) and a Mirabella resident who has jewelry on display next to the student art also spoke. Refreshments were served for all. This is just another wonderful way we partner with our Mirabella Neighbors and we hope to showcase student work again next year!

In January, Cottonwood teachers and staff did some professional development fieldwork not far from school. Judith Margles, director of the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education led a walking tour of the historic South Portland neighborhood to teach us about the immigrant history of the area. The tour started at Lair Hill Park and moved towards Keller Auditorium before doubling back. We learned about how ethnically and culturally diverse the area was before urban development in the 1960s and ‘70s displaced most of the residents. We also had many opportunities to reflect upon the topic of immigration, then and now.

Emily Conner and the seventh and eighth grade classrooms have just received a $4,000 grant from Teaching Tolerance, a national anti-bias education organization, to fund their current place-based project. The classes are partnering with the Portland Mercado to create a “pop-up” museum exhibit for the Mercado’s three-year anniversary in April. Exhibit topics will include local Latino history and current immigration policy. To learn more about the Teaching Tolerance grant program, follow this link:

The fourth and fifth grades have again received funding from OSU Extension 4-H and the U.S. Forest Service to charter four buses to Tryon Creek State Park this winter and spring. This transportation grant helps ensure that our students will be able to keep their adopt-a-place commitments without relying solely on parent volunteers. Good news!

Lastly, the third graders hosted PSU archaeology graduate student Amy Clearman in their classroom. Amy is active in the field of “community archaeology” and is passionate about involving the public in archaeological projects. She is currently working with local residents in Vancouver, Washington to uncover artifacts associated with the original fort site, which is now situated in a neighborhood. Amy posted on her website about the visit to Susan’s class. Check out the post and learn more about Amy’s project here:



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