Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cursive and Keyboarding

We have been working our way through our cursive workbook and are beginning to put the craft to practice. Following our return from spring break, we will require for all students to write in cursive in all subjects except math throughout the month of April. 

We will also begin a final push with our keyboarding skills through the Typing Club. Look for an e-mail from the 4th grade team about our work with Typing Club for the remainder of the year. 

All Trinity Reads

Our community wide reading celebration will be on Friday, April 19. Between now and then our class will be reading The Other Side, a picture book written by Jacqueline Woodson that discusses the story of two young girls who are separated by a fence. The entire school will read this book and reflect on its themes and what we can learn from them. This book will surely spark wonderful conversations. Copies are available for purchase at the front desk.

Colonial Garden

4th graders will plant a colonial garden in the 9th Street Community Garden. We have planted lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, and pea seeds in flats. They are germinating and growing in a light cart in our classroom. We have learned some important lessons about how deep to plant seeds and how many seeds to plant in each cell. On Wednesday afternoon we will work with Nancy Duncan and Ann Bass to plant our little plants in the garden. Our hope is that they will provide a bountiful spring crop. We will harvest the food and share it with local agencies that provide food for the hungry.

Important Dates

March 29 - Good Friday Chapel Service / 10:30 in gym
March 29 - Early Dismissal/11:40am
April 1-5 - Spring Break/No School
April 15 - 18 - ERB Testing 
April 17 - Early Dismissal/11:40am)
April 19 - All Trinity Reads

The Circulatory System

The Heart, Blood vessels, and Blood make up our circulatory system (Hubba Bubba Bubblegum). We learned and laughed at Bill Nye's video about the circulatory system.  We are studying about how the heart pumps the blood, what is carried in the blood, and how the blood vessels are a massive transportation system.  To better understand the complexities of the heart, we will be thinking about it as "the heart house." Please see the Children's Heart Institute website for more information about this.


Ask your student about how we made blood with food coloring, cheerios, marshmallows, salt, and purple spiky balls? See if they can remind you what represented the plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. We learned about the functions of each of these parts of the blood with our simulation.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Biography Project Photos

Thank you all for coming out to the Wax Museum! It was such a fun afternoon getting to see each student shine as they shared all that they had learned about their selected historical figure. We also enjoyed the fun and fellowship that the event brought with it! Here are a few photos of the students from the day they gave their class speeches. I'll try to post more pictures later too.

Earthshine Packing List

D E S T I N A T I O N :   1 8 4 0 !

Top on our "To Bring" list is an eager spirit.  Carpe diem! Seize the day, the moment, the opportunity. Earthshine offers you the opportunity for the best three days of school  ever. 

Now, what to pack.  We have a wonderful, natural setting.  When it's windy, it's very, very windy;  when it's wet, it's very, very wet.  Layers of clothes are better than one heavy jacket.  Wool is great because it's warm even if it gets wet.  Nylon stops the wind penetration.  I once heard "there is no such thing as inclement weather, just inappropriate clothing."  Be prepared!  Just remember, we are an OUTDOOR education center.  Anything that comes to Earthshine will get dirty -- wonderfully dirty.  Old, comfortable clothes are best.  Use wool, nylon, polyester and synthetics in place of cotton clothing as much as possible (Cotton, once wet, will not dry by the time they go home).  Bring only what you can carry.

What should be brought to keep warm, dry and happy? How about....
  • sleeping bag (or bedroll) and pillow
  • towel and wash cloth (old ones)
  • toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, hairbrush, etc.)
  • water bottle 
  • underclothes
  • socks
  • pajamas
  • pants (at least three pair because the first two may get wet!) 
  • hiking boots or shoes (a pair to get wet, a pair to stay dry)
  • T-shirts, *sweatshirts, sweaters (cozy and comfortable)
  • rain gear (from head to toe), dry is happy!
  • *hat (cover those ears)
  • *gloves 
  • windbreaker and warm jacket
  • plastic bag to bring home wet stuff
  • curiosity, sense of discovery, and smiles
*These items are vital in the winter!

Optional items:
period clothing (i.e. bandana, headband, vest, apron, overalls, bonnet, nothing huge or expensive), chapstick, flashlight, and sunscreen.

PLEASE DON'T BRING:  gum, radio, cell phones, IPODs, snacks, matches or lighters

Math Fact Combination Practice

As we talked about in many of your conferences, students are still working to meet and exceed their timed test goals. The link below is a great resource to print out practice sheets for your student. While all the computer games and apps can be a lot of fun, there's nothing quite like the old-fashioned flash cards and timed tests.


Guest Speakers on NC Native Plants

We had an amazing opportunity today to learn about NC native plants from two experts in the field of botany. Julie Tuttle, Jack's aunt, is a lecturing fellow at Duke University in their Thompson Writing Program. Dr. Alan Weakley is a professor in the biology department at UNC Chapel Hill and the director of the UNC Herbarium. They talked with our 4th graders about the diversity of plants and habitats in North Carolina. Earlier in the year, we studied the various regions in our state and about the differences in the geology from the mountains to the Piedmont to the coastal plains regions. Of high interest to the students was information about the native carnivorous plants including the Venus fly trap and pitcher plants. Students got to examine a beautiful pitcher plant from the UNC Botanical Garden and worked to classify and categorize a variety of native plants and trees.

We will leave for our time at Earthshine in the beautiful NC mountains with eyes wide open to the shape, size, color, and texture of the various plants we encounter while out on hikes in the woods. Many thanks to our distinguished guests, and thanks to Robin Tuttle for organizing their visit today.

Science: Digestive System

The digestive process begins in our mouths with the aid of our teeth, tongue, and saliva. Ask your scientist about the saltine cracker experiment when they chewed for one-minute without swallowing.  We explored how the acids in our stomach break down food by experimenting with a saltine cracker and some orange juice in a ziploc bag.  We learned how long food remains in the stomach and how the small intestine is the workhorse of the digestive tract. Students were shocked to see that the small intestine is 21 feet long while the large intestine is 9 feet long. Also, ask your student about the oatmeal/stocking simulation that shows how water is absorbed into the body through the large intestines. Mrs. Pursley added to our study during Wellness class by continuing to talk about the many excretions made in our bodies to aid with the digestive process.

Paragraph Writing

There is a fine art to writing a good paragraph. We are working with students to learn to write a well-developed paragraph with a clear topic sentence, three supporting ideas, and a concluding sentence. This is harder than it might sound! We compare this paragraph structure to following a recipe. When you're learning how to cook, you need to follow the recipe exactly. As you become a more experienced chef, you might adjust the recipe to your liking. As 4th grade writers, we are following the recipe. The more we practice, the better the paragraphs are getting. You name it, and we are writing paragraphs about it.

Current Read Aloud

"When his father returns East to collect the rest of the family, 13-year-old Matt is left alone to guard his family's newly built homestead. One day, Matt is brutally stung when he robs a bee tree for honey. He returns to consciousness to discover that his many stings have been treated by an old Native American and his grandson. Matt offers his only book as thanks, but the old man instead asks Matt to teach his grandson Attean to read. Both boys are suspicious, but Attean comes each day for his lesson. In the mornings, Matt tries to entice Attean with tales from Robinson Crusoe, while in the afternoons, Attean teaches Matt about wilderness survival and Native American culture. The boys become friends in spite of themselves, and their inevitable parting is a moving tribute to the ability of shared experience to overcome prejudice. The Sign of the Beaver was a Newbery Honor Book; author Elizabeth Speare has also won the Newbery Medal twice, for The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Bronze Bow."

--written by Richard Farr
-- from www.GoodReads.com

Math: 2-D Geometry and Measurement

We have started Unit 4: Size, Shape, and Symmetry. Our classroom has been covered with rulers and yard sticks and meter sticks as the students have been busy measuring things around our classroom. 

Last week we were working to:
  • Review the lengths of units of measure
  • Use U.S. standard and metric units to accurately measure length
  • Estimate lengths based on common units
  • Determine when estimates or exact measurements are needed
  • Find perimeter using standard units
  • Recognize and explain possible sources of measurement error
Beginning this week we are working to:
  • Recognize the attributes of polygons
  • Use Power Polygons to make geometric figures given specific descriptions
  • Sort polygons according to various criteria
  • Understand the many classifications of quadrilaterals

Doodle for Google

If your student is interested in creating a "Doodle for Google," please click on the link below to learn more about the contest. Entries are due to Ms. Rankey by March 21st.