Saturday, October 25, 2014

This Blog is Taking a Break

Mr. Pahl has taken a job with Bellingham Public Schools where he gets to help teachers integrate technology in their classrooms. Thanks for visiting.

Be good humans.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

During our field trip last week to Larrabee State Park, we observed a pretty disturbing sight. Many ochre sea stars appeared dead. They were white, falling apart, and many seemed to be liquifying right in front of us. 

Then on the news this morning, there was a story about Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. It's something many scientists are studying, including local scientist Ben Minor at Western Washington University

This video explains some of the local efforts to understand the phenomenon

and this is the news story we listened to on the radio: 

Salmon Survival

Here is a video news story on King 5 about current research on marine survival of salmon in the Salish Sea. Local partners are participating in this study by sampling juvenile fish in Bellingham Bay as part of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. 

Seattle Aquarium Google Hangout

This morning, the 4th graders participated in a Google Hangout with Darcie from the Seattle Aquarium. 

She talked with us while standing in front of the Window on Washington Waters Exhibit!

As always, the students asked VERY thoughtful questions which Darcie answered well. There is particular interest among our students in Sea Star Wasting Syndrome which we observed taking a toll on Ochre Stars at Larrabee State Park last week. Jaymeson had a question about that.

Thank you so much for your time, Darcie!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Whale Museum Skype

Jenny Atkinson, Executive Director of The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Skyped with our 4th graders TWO TIMES! 

She gave us a great presentation about what they do at the museum, which includes "promoting stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education and research." 

She also helped us learn an awful lot about the Southern Resident Community of Orcas.

On our second Skype, she actually gave us a tour of the Museum! 

Look at those teeth! Orcas need teeth like this because they tear off pieces of meat and swallow it. We have molars because we need to chew our food before swallowing. 

This is their identification chart for the Southern Residents. It shows how all the whales in J, K, and L pods are in different family groups. 

One of the programs at the Museum is the Orca Adoption Program. Our classes are adopting 2 whales! 

We are adopting Granny, who is believed to be 103 years old! 

Leigh Calvez accessed from here 

Monica Wieland accessed from here

And we are adopting Yoda! More information and pictures coming soon. 

Thank you so much, Jenny. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with you and learned SO MUCH!

Girls On the Run!

Several 4th grade girls participated in the Girls on the Run program through the YMCA.

Here is a great slideshow made by Sarah's mom, Lauren, of pictures from the 5K they ran last weekend.

Way to go, girls! I'm really proud of you!

Mr. Pahl

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Skype With A Scientist!

Today, we were lucky enough to Skype with Carla, a research scientist with the Vancouver Aquarium

She works with the Cetacean Research Program.

We used our time with her to continue our learning about orcas in our area and beyond. This has been an extension of all the things we learned about salmon through the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association as well as our studies in science about the ocean. 

Did you know that there are killer whales they found who eat sharks almost exclusively? 

Did you know that Southern Residents (the orcas who spend most of their time near the San Juan Islands) eat almost exclusively salmon? This is one of the many reasons why it's so important for us to protect salmon and try to increase their numbers. 

One of the many questions our students had was "are there orcas all over the world?" This poster shows all the different species of killer whales around the world. Isn't it fantastic? 

Here is a map from the American Cetacean Society showing the worldwide range of orcas.  

Carla, thank you for spending so much time with us, sharing your knowledge, and answering our questions! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mystery Skype!

This week, both 4th grade classes had the opportunity to Skype with other classes in the United States. It was so much fun!

They didn't know it ahead of time, but they were both Skyping with 4th grade students from JFK Elementary School in Franklin, Massachusetts!  

They have a blog, too. You can find them at

During our Skype, we found out that they have a Bellingham in Massachusetts, too! It is just outside of Franklin, where our Skype friends live. 

Please Comment!

What did you like about our Skype?

What did you learn? 

What are other questions you have for your new friends that you didn't get to ask during our Skype?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Skype in the Classroom

This week, Sunnyland 4th graders will be participating in a Mystery Skype with another class in the United States!

Here is how two classes, one in California and one in New Zealand, connected via Skype! 

We can also use Skype to connect with scientists, engineers, computer programmers, authors, artists...just about anyone! 

Please comment! Who are some people we should connect with over Skype? What are some questions you would want to ask them? 

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Real Food Show!

Thank you to our marvellous PTA who brought another engaging, informative assembly to school last week.

The Real Food Show, starring Frank and Beans, is a collaboration between the Community Food Co-Op and the Bellingham Circus Guild and taught us all about healthy eating (especially at breakfast) and the benefits of being active.

The assembly began with a game show.

We learned how eating a breakfast full of sugar can give you a sugar rush.
But that rush often leads to a crash.

 Proteins are good for our brains and our muscles. 

 Vegetables are healthiest for us and should make up the largest portion of our plates. Beans could even see the vegetable portion from space!

With a healthy nutritious breakfast and by watching the portions of of the foods we eat, we can be ready for anything! 

The Real Food Show! 

Please comment! 

What was your favorite part of the show?
What did you learn about healthy eating? 
What is your favorite brain food?  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Over 10,000 Visits!

According to our Clustr Map, the Be Good Humans Room 12 blog has had over 10,000 since November 2010.  That is so exciting.

Take a closer look at the map to see all the places in the world where people have visited us from. From which cities in the US or from which countries have we had the most visits? (Hint, the larger the red dot, the more visits from that place.)

Mrs. Stuckart is Back!

Mrs. Stuckart has been on leave taking care of her husband, Larry, while he is being treated for cancer. Our thoughts have been with the Stuckarts in this very difficult time. We have really missed Mrs. Stuckart, and I think the students were thrilled to have her back!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Spring Flowers

The fourth graders planted bulbs last fall with Ms. Avera. They have bloomed and are so pretty and colorful.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Virtual Field Trip

The internet is amazing in so many ways. One of my favorites is that it allows us to go just about anywhere in the world and virtually experience sights and sounds we may never get to witness in our lives up close and personal. 

This link contains just a few examples of places we can go and "explore" on a virtual field trip.

Take some time go visit beautiful or interesting or special places. Then copy and paste the information from this link into a Word document. Please take a few minutes to answer the questions and save the Word document in the Virtual Field Trip folder on your s:drive. 

Thanks to Martha Thornburgh for the great information and help in creating this assignment.

Enjoy everyone! 

Please comment! Tell us a little about where you went and something interesting you observed or learned. 

P.S. There are so many places in the world that now have webcams. Something else you can try is to Google the name of your favorite place and webcam. There is a good chance that place has a webcam of its own! 

Collaborative Learning

A big part of learning math and science is to discuss your ideas with other people and to ask questions, lots of questions.

I have tried to emphasize to our students that asking questions and working together is a strength. It's NOT a weakness to ask someone a question or to need help. It's great when you take control of your learning and talk with someone when you don't understand something. As a teacher, I do it with other teachers all the time.

I took this picture because I was so happy to see that someone had asked for help and to see that the two students were working together to solve a problem. Nice work!

Who is someone you have recently asked for help? In what way did they help you? 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Children's Art Walk

The Bellingham Art Walk is a monthly affair that occurs the first Friday evening of each month. Every May, the Bellingham Art Walk becomes the Children's Art Walk and art from children all over Bellingham is posted in the windows of businesses throughout downtown.

This year, local artist and author, Mat Hudson, selected to work with Sunnyland fourth graders on a project he called Monster Mash! 

Our fourth graders created monster pictures from their imagination. Mat collected them and took them to other local artists who created a piece inspired by the students' works of art. Sometimes, the monsters were similar and other times they varied. What a fun, collaborative project! The finished pieces were displayed downtown in the Make.Shift Art Space.   

Here are some images from the night of the Art Walk. Thank you, Mat and to all the artists who participated in the project!


Maximus was there at the same time I was! 

Later, I ran into Avari. Isn't her face painting lovely?

We found the third graders' and fifth graders' art later in the evening. 

This was Luna's favorite. 

Grace really liked this flower! 

 We had a great night and can't wait again until next year. Thank you Bellingham for putting on this event! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What Book Are You Excited to Read?

I just came across this post from the Bulldog Readers Blog.

It's about one of Kirby Larson's latest books:  Duke.