Dashiell, being a 2nd grader, is now “the oldest grade” in the main building at school, and he’s been trying to be a good role model for the “littles.” This 2nd year in Loowit is all about fostering independence and leadership.  I have seen this in action: after our new natural gas line got put in the street, the utility crew came back a few days later to smooth out the hole they’re made in the main road. Dashiell was home and we saw them arrive from my office window. We were curious about why the crew was back, so Dashiell went and found out–all on his own. He put on his shoes, coat, etc. From my office, I watched him navigate the street and walk carefully down the edge of the street (there is no sidewalk) to the intersection and take a look. To my delight, I saw him have a short conversation with the worker man. 

Here is a dispatch from Jackie. Reading this may help you understand why I have no time to blog these days…so much going on between school, work and the remodel…Also, did I mention this is school auction season, and so I will begin helping out in the art room again this year?

Dear Families,
It is hard to believe that we are nearly done with our first month of 2018!  The kiddos have been busily working on their studies, including all of their People of Cascadia journals. It is exciting to see the children dive into another culture and time period outside of what they are accustomed to. The children have been enjoying their classmate’s family culture sharings as well. 
Secret Valentines:
Valentine‘s Day is just around the corner and the Loowits will be celebrating with a homework project called Secret Valentines. The students will be drawing names to determine one classmate as their ‘secret valentine‘. For the four school nights leading up to the 14th, (beginning Thur. Feb. 8) each child will write one note per night to their secret valentine (we will send home paper for the daily valentines). The goal is to write one sentence that gives a hint about who the author is, but doesn’t give it away, and another sentence that includes a compliment for the recipient. Please make sure your child does not sign their valentine, but writes their name on the back instead. I will collect the letters each morning and they will be displayed on heart figures that the children make ahead of time. Each day after recess the kids will get to read their new valentine and try to figure out who is writing to them. On Wednesday, the 14th, we will have a Valentine‘s Day Party where we reveal our Secret Valentines. We will have popcorn to snack on, but if anyone would like to send in other treats (fruits and veggies), please feel free. Often children like to make valentines for their classmates (homemade ones are welcomed!) If your child chooses to bring valentines, please make sure he/she brings one for each student in their homeroom class. We will send home an email next week with explicit Secret Valentine instructions and a key so you know which classmate your child is writing to.

Upcoming Field Trips and In-Class Experiences

We have many wonderful experiential learning activities planned for the Loowits in the upcoming months. While we may add another trip or two during the spring thematic study, we wanted to update you on what is on the calendar at this time. 
  • Native American Plant Uses – during most of February, the Loowits will have a kit on loan from the Lower Columbia Estuary Project that allows us to explore native plants and how they have been used in this area for thousands of years.
  • Portland Art Museum & OR Historical Society field trips – Tuesday, February 20th. We are still waiting confirmation on these two trips, but we plant to spend the morning at the Historical Society, have a picnic lunch, and then explore the Native American art collection at PAM starting at noonWe will need drivers for this trip. Please sign up on the Loowit Field Trip Drivers spreadsheet if you are available for this trip. This trip will last most of the day.
  • Salmon Cycle and Natural Dyes Workshop – On Thursday, February 22nd a representative form the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge will be teaching the children about the importance of salmon to the People of Cascadia as well as the salmon life cycle. The workshop concludes with an art project which involve using natural dyes as pigments. 
  • Basket Weaving Class – 7th Generation basket weaver, Stepanie Craig will be spending the day with us on Monday, February, 26th. Stephanie will be bringing artifacts, traditional foods, medicines and other plants to display, as well as teaching the students how to make their own tule ducks. Thank you to Christina and Andrew Wheeler for making this wonderful experience possible!
  • At the end of February, a trunk from the Cathlapotle plankhouse at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge will be coming to the classroom. The trunk contains replica artifacts that were recreated from an archeological dig at the refuge. We will try to visit the plankhouse when they begin accepting field trip requests for May, but unfortunately, it is closed through April.
  • On April 27th we will be traveling to the Lelooska Cultural Center in Ariel, WA for an authentic Native American storytelling presentation. Following the presenation, we will tour the museum on site, then head to a nearby park for lunch. We will need drivers for this trip. Please sign up on the Loowit Field Trip Drivers spreadsheet if you are available for this trip.
Another wonderful thematic experience is happening at Heritage High School on Saturday, March 3rd. The Native American Parent Association is holding their annual Pow Wow. This would be a wonderful way for your family to experience our thematic study! For more details, visit this page.
We have loved our wonderful new birthday tradition in Loowit! The students are amazed at the beautiful candle art that you have created for them and the appreciation circle has been heart-felt to hear. Many children are choosing to celebrate their special day with both Loowit classes, which is so fun! It does, however, mean many birthday treats to share. With that in mind, it is helpful when we have treats that they are more on the heathy side.
We hope you have a terrific week!
Jackie, Missy and Michelle