It's all gotta go somewhere

Loowit Life

First grade has begun.

The “Loowit” classroom (1st and 2nd graders) takes it name from the original name for Mt. St. Helens:

Native cultures in the Pacific Northwest, such as the Salish and Klickitat Indians, called Mt. St. Helens “Loo-Wit Lat-kla” (fire mountain or smoking mountain). According to Indian legend, Loowit (Mt. St. Helens) was once a beautiful maiden. When two sons of the Great Spirit fell in love with her, she could not choose between them. The two braves, “Wy’East” (Mt. Hood) and “Pahto” (Mt. Adams) fought over her, throwing fiery rocks at each other and causing earthquakes. The Great Spirit was furious: he smote all three and erected a mighty mountain peak where each fell. Because Loowit was a beautiful maiden, her mountain (Mt. St. Helens) was a beautiful, symmetrical cone of dazzling white.

This year the class is almost all 1st graders, so teacher Jackie (and assistant Michelle, formerly Kindergarten assistant) are going to need some extra patience…and sleep!

Jackie Taylor is the teacher, whom we’ve interacted with on some level since we started going to Gardner 3 years ago (and our beloved aftercare genius Willis is her husband). We’ve heard stories about what awesome teacher she is, so we have been looking forward to Loowit.

I was impressed when we received this postcard over the summer:



Besides taking a field trip to Fort Vancouver, we recently learned that later this school year, D’s class will go on an overnight field trip to the zoo—without parents! I wasn’t 100% prepared for that (Jackie assures me no parent is!) but I know it will be a great learning experience for all of us.

Here is D on his first day back on campus (yes, tired, probably from getting up early to plan his outfit). Please note his “Damien Lillard” basketball shoes, of which is is so, so proud:


And here is a nice shot of the name tags the kids made for their cubbies on the first day:


I love how you can start to really see the personalities of the kids in their name tags. They are all interesting, and surprisingly different from one another (sometimes I wish D’s name was shorter; look at Aiko’s block letter success!).

Here is D with his buddy for the year, the 6th grader Neil:



And finally here is a dispatch from Jackie, that gives you a sense of her discipline and focus:

Dear Families,

At the end of last week the Loowits asked about sharings (or show and tell).Sharings are a terrific way to build community, gain confidence with speaking in front of others and strengthen communication skills. We discussed the idea at our morning meeting and came up with the following criteria for bringing something to share at school:
  • something you made
  • something important to you
  • something you’ve earned
  • something you’ve found or that you collect
  • a story, experience or memory
Students should ask before bringing a sharing to school. Once we’ve decided it meets the criteria and chosen the best day, their name will be placed on the calendar.
On Friday the students learned (or reviewed) how to play the math game Dice Race. Many children were interested in playing the game at home so you may have seen the sheets in backpacks. To play the game, your child simply rolls two dice and adds to find the sum. The sum is written in the appropriate column and play continues until at least 3 numbers reach the top. The game is great for reinforcing number writing, addition fluency and even probability. If your Loowitter plays the game at home that’s great! S/he can bring it back to school if desired, but it can stay at home as well. I’ve attached a copy for anyone interested!
Loowits are also working on skip counting in math. Right now we are practicing 5s and 2s. Practicing this in the car or on walks can really help kids master these skills quickly.

And here is D on sweat equity day, flattening cardboard into the recycling dumpster, with Spanish teacher Maria. Maria told me she was delighted that D volunteered to get inside the dumpster.





  1. Lori

    Our beautiful boy!!❤️❤️

  2. Grandma Beverly

    Sure you don’t want to pay for Dash’s college by having him model? He is such a fashion statement. And he is so into all his outfits! He is so beautiful he would sell whatever he models.

    His school is so impressive! I love how they incorporate local history and culture. Thanks for sharing in detail his curriculum.

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