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Tracks to '26 annual questions: 10-year-olds are moving to new lexiles

CASCADE LOCKS fourth and fifth-graders, and teacher Derek Gries, pose with Trinity Evans, front. Many of these students have shared a classroom as far back as pre-school days.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
CASCADE LOCKS fourth and fifth-graders, and teacher Derek Gries, pose with Trinity Evans, front. Many of these students have shared a classroom as far back as pre-school days.



We have now spoken five times.

The “Tracks to ‘26” students were introduced as kindergarteners.

Now, they are fourth graders.

Turning 10

This year, we asked the kids their birthdays, and as it happens all but one were fall babies:

Nicholas Tuttle — Sept. 19

Jack Miller — Oct. 27

Jess Aubert — Oct. 14

Diego Bustos — March 7

Trinity Evans — Dec. 12

Sofia Rodriguez — Nov. 22

“Tracks to ’26,” a yearly inquiry into what drives and inspires six young hearts and minds, returns for installment five of 13.

Here are new answers to the annual set of questions from the “Tracks,” now aged 10, who were selected in 2013 for this 13-year project. At right are summaries of what our sextet had to say in December 2016.

Each year until they graduate in 2026, we will check in every December with Jess Aubert (Parkdale), Diego Bustos (Westside), Nicholas Tuttle (May Street), Trinity Evans (Cascade Locks), Jack Miller (May Street) and Sofia Rodriquez (Mid Valley).

“Tracks to ‘26” is meant to be a living yearbook of the ideas, insights and experiences of these six young people. Each year we ask the Tracksters six recurring questions:

  1. What is a good thing that happened, or will happen, today?
  2. What are your thoughts about school these days?
  3. What are your favorite things to do?
  4. What is a challenge for you?
  5. What do you want to be when you are an adult?
  6. What are your thoughts about the future?

Photos and interviews are all from the first two weeks of December.

It may be that the learning curve has started to turn toward the youngsters with this year’s “Tracks to ‘26” interviews. When Sofia Rodriquez spoke of why she enjoys her current favorite books, the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, she said, “Also they’re around my lexile of reading.”

“Lexile?” I asked.

“Lexile.”

I said, “What was that word?”

“Lexile. It’s like level,” Sofia said. “L-E-X-I-L-E. We take SRI quizzes to find out what it is and there’s SRI for books and SRI for you just take it and it’s a long test and at the end you find out what lexile you are in reading.”

“You got me. That’s not a word I’ve ever heard.”

“Really?” Sofia deadpanned. “Wow.”

Sofia laughed at the end our talk, when I said, “There’s sure new stuff going on with you. Including teaching old guys new words.”

Certainly, the future will hold more and more examples of how smart these kids are becoming.

More than in previous years is the occasional question that they just don’t have answer for, but mainly it’s the philosophical or subjective ones. “What do you think about the future?” drew, understandably, more “I don’t knows” than ever.

They might not be able to put it into words now, but maybe next year …

— Editor Kirby Neumann-Rea

2017 Answers

photo

Nicholas Tuttle

NICHOLAS TUTTLE

  1. We get two days off from school. (He was asked on a Friday.) I’m going over to play at a friend’s house.
  2. It’s fun. I like math and science, and art. We’re learning about salmon and making them out of clay. We learn about where they live and how they get back to their house.
  3. Playing outside. Play basketball, and football, and baseball. I like them all. I play with my friends. I’m not on a basketball team.
  4. Finishing my homework on time.
  5. A football player, and I don’t know what. I’m not sure what.
  6. I don’t know. I don’t think about it right now.

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Sofia Rodriguez

SOFIA RODRIGUEZ

  1. I had a sub for my math and Extended Lit and language blocks. She’s really nice. Mrs. Merz. I remember her because she told me to remember the word “nurse” and Merz. Today I’m going to go to robotics. It’s really fun because you get to program your robots to do missions. And you can program it to turn, and move itself and spin and other cool stuff.
  2. It’s fun. And you get to learn a lot of stuff about different stuff like the past and Native Americans and stuff like that. That’s what we’re learning about now in home room. They liked to put totem poles in front of their house, some people.
  3. I love reading. I also love to color and I like doing math a lot, too. I’m reading right now the series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” I just started and I’m on like page 70-something and I really like it. They’re really funny. In third grade you have to read five books and then you have to take book quizzes on all of those at the time that you finish them and then you can pass on to another one.
  4. A lot of things are hard. But I can’t think of one right now.
  5. I want to be either a teacher or a book writer. Books like “Clementine” or “My Weird School.” Chapter books for children.
  6. Maybe it might be a little harder than it is now. I’ll be learning new stuff, and — it’ll be complicated. I might move houses because my Mom really wants to move to Hood River.

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Jack Miller

JACK MILLER

  1. I’m looking forward to social studies. It’s sort of like an art project but it’s about Celilo Falls. We made a waterfall, we made Celilo Falls, and other people made houses and people and fishing nets and weapons and then we put it all together and it made a huge town thing. We’re going to do a booklet about what we’ve learned. It’s interesting how many salmon people caught there.
  2. I like it. Math. We’re studying multiples and factors. I like reading.
  3. Play on my scooter or watch YouTube or something. I’ve had the scooter two months, for my birthday.
  4. Hard division.
  5. I don’t know.
  6. I don’t know.

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Jess Aubert

JESS AUBERT

  1. When I get home, I want to play with my baby cousin at my Grandma’s house. She’s 4. Her name is Charley. She really likes to play outside and she likes to play with our Matchbox cars.
  2. Good. I like to do PE and I like to go to recess and we do something in class called Mystery Doug and we do it once a week. We have like a project we do. It’s called Mystery Science and he has, like, mysteries. The last one we did was about, we had to do a roller coaster with marbles, and we did littler marbles of it and we had to make a hill with foam padding, like a tunnel, but was cut in half, and each one had to be lower than the next one. It was about energy and we had to test if you make the second hill bigger than the first, if it would go up and it would go down, and it didn’t, and we had to make it smaller each time and our goal was to make it into the cup at the end. We learned about energy from that. The person sitting next to you is your partner and Abby is always my partner.
  3. I like to play outside. When snow comes I like to play in the snow. When the driveway gets too much snow my Dad plows the driveway with the little baby tractor and he makes snow mountains and we make slides and snow caves and it’s really fun. And I like to play on the swings at our house, and at my grandma’s hose we like to go the barn and feed the cows. And, do you know about the Pacific Lamprey is? We went to our pond and there were two baby lampreys so we got a bucket and put them down in the river because they’re good for the fish. We learned that on one of our field trips to the Parkdale Fish Hatchery.
  4. In skiing, learning forward on the steep parts.
  5. Firefighter. One time I found a little worm and my brother put some garbage on a burn pile and then he lit one side and he didn’t see it and I went on the other side and picked it up and put it on the ground. Worms are good for plants.
  6. Happy. I hope next year the Beavers win the civil war.

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Diego Bustos

DIEGO BUSTOS

  1. There’s basketball practice. It’s our first one. Basketball is fun. My favorite sport is football.
  2. I don’t really like it. I kind of like it. It’s boring. I don’t like writing that much.
  3. I like math and playing football. We (Hood River Eagles) were first place and no one scored against us. I was a lineman.
  4. Writing cursive. It’s hard to write.
  5. I don’t know.
  6. I don’t know. I think about playing football more.

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Trinity Evans

TRINITY EVANS

  1. I was playing with some paper with glitter on it and I rubbed some on my face.
  2. Its really good. I like my teacher, Mr. Gries. He’s fun. I like math and writing. We’re writing biographies and state biographies, and annual reports. I studied California. I wanted to write about it because I went there for an early birthday president. We stayed at a friend’s house and went to Disneyland and to a park. It was fun.
  3. I like to read and write and play video games and go outside and play.
  4. I don’t know.
  5. I haven’t really decided.
  6. Not very much. I think about today. Or tomorrow.

What they said in 2016

(Edited for space)

Jess Aubert

What is a good thing that happened to you today?

There was pumpkin pie at lunch, and it had whipped cream on it.

What are your thoughts about school?

I like it. have a lot of friends. I like playing at recess and I like gym. We get to exercise.

What are your favorite things to do these days?

Read. I like non-fiction, like “Bad Kitty” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

What is a challenge to you?

Doing a backflip on my trampoline. I can do a front-flip but I can’t do a backflip. I do trampoline a lot in the summer.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A firefighter, I like to save. I practice with worms and bugs. I pick them up out of the driveway and sidewalk and put them in the grass so they don’t get hurt.

What do you think about the future?

I think I’m going to be a good person, because I save the worms, and I’m kind. I have helped my brother get a band aid when he got hurt.

Jack Miller

What’s a fun or good thing that happened to you today?

Today was toast and eggs day. Friday is cereal day. I like Frosted Mini-Wheats. I get a ride to school with Grandma and Grandpa (Roger and June Baker, who had lived in Hood River 20 years at the time).

What are your favorite things to do these days?

Watch TV, read books. That’s all. (Last book read was “Joshua Dredd”: kid whose mom and dad are supervillains but he wants to be a superhero.)

What do you think about school?

It’s harder. The math is harder, and the reading’s harder, the writing’s harder. The math is multiplication and division and the books have a lot more words.

What is a challenge to you?

Science. There’s hard tests. Running. (Asked why) I don’t really know.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A policeman.

What do you think about the future?

I don’t know. I think flying cars, jetpacks. Phones, better phones. (They will) teleport you, maybe.

Diego Bustos

What is a good thing that happened so far today?

I played tag at recess.

What are your favorite things to do?

I like video games, like the Lego Movie videogame. I got President Business for one million Legos. You have to get Legos and you get money, like Legos on X-box. It’s fun because I got to be really tall and I got to kick. (Who do you kick?) A lot of people. I like to play football, at the middle school. I play with a team in Hood River. I played linebacker and defense. It’s fun to tackle. It feels like I’m in space.

What do you think about school?

It’s boring and hard. You have to do a lot of math and writing.

What is a challenge to you?

Math. You have to do math problems.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a builder like my Dad.

What do you think about the future?

I wonder how it’s going to be like.

Sofia Rodriquez

What is a good thing that happened so far today?

That there’s these things called Santagrams and I bought them for 50 cents each and send them to my friends.

What do you think about school?

We do a lot more multiplication than we did in second grade. I’m making more friends and there is something called choir, you go every Tuesday after school and I joined the choir.

What are your favorite things to do?

I like to read a lot and I also like math. What I like about math is that it’s not as hard because my brothers taught me when I was younger. So it’s not really hard but it’s not really easy so it’s right.

What is a challenge to you?

I think swimming at the middle of the pool, it’s like seven feet. I also think that dividing by higher numbers. There’s this rope and you jump off it and you go to the middle of the pool and swim straight over there.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A teacher.

What do you think about the future?

I think that when I’ll be older I might be able to do the bigger numbers. Dividing will be easier, and I will be able to swim from the other place and it won’t be as hard.

Trinity Evans

What’s a good thing that happened to you today?

I played on a little ice puddle. I skated on it a little.

What are your favorite things to do?

I like to do crafts a lot. I just like to make stuff out of card board. I made a Christmas tree I can put up in my room. It’s about that tall (indicating 3 feet).

What do you think about school?

I think it’s been going really well. I’ve been meeting lots of new people but I mostly have the same people from last year. I just have one new student. He’s new to Cascade Locks, he used to live in Portland but he moved here. It’s been a little weird but I’ve got to know him really well.

What is a challenge to you?

Maye multiplication and division. I haven’t been taught a whole lot but I KNOW them, I just don’t know all my times tables and division tables. I work on them every day and night.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’ve been thinking about a person who studies bugs, because I really like bugs a lot. They’re just really helpful to the world and I just really like them. Many kinds of bees are endangered and that’s really bad because they actually make foods like berries. I learned that like a week ago.

What do you think about the future?

I think it’s going to go very well, because I’ve had a perfect life so far. I think the world will be better, because what I want to do when I grow up will actually help the endangered bugs in the world.

Nicholas Tuttle

What are your favorite things to do?

Recess. I‘m trying to make a big snowball at school. We made an igloo at home, with my Dad and brothers.

What do you think about school?

Good. Reading, math, science, and art. I like them. In science, we’re talking about clouds and we made a book with instructions. We watch what type of clouds are out, like cumulus, and see what the weather will be like from the clouds. And they’re not made out of cotton: they’re made out of water.

What is a challenge to you?

Running. Because I just broke my leg (in October). It’s different. I still limp a little. I got it broken playing football.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A football player.

What do you think about the future?

Good. I don’t know about it. It will be harder at school. The snow will still be here.



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