Thursday, May 22, 2014

Earthshine Photos!

At long's the link to the pictures we took on our trip to Earthshine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Faith Studies Update from Mrs. Peery

We are having fun studying the New Testament in fourth grade Faith Studies!  The students enjoyed playing Holy Week Trivia and creating Hosanna Prayers as we prepared for Easter.  Students also participated in a Scripture Easter Egg Hunt, in small groups.  Each group found the scripture verses from the Easter story from one of the gospels.   The groups put their story in order and compared their story with the other groups.   As a class we listed the similarities and differences between the stories found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  After Easter we are reading the stories of times when Jesus appeared to his disciples following the resurrection. We are learning that even when we don’t see God, God is present with us.  I have truly enjoyed teaching fourth grade Faith Studies this year.  We are looking forward to a great end of the year together.

Classroom Library Books

We are asking each student and family to do a book hunt at your house to see if you can locate any books from our classroom library. I was cleaning out my own darling daughter's bookshelf and found NINE books that belong to Ms. Melvin! I'm betting that there are some books from our classroom library lurking in your homes as well.  Check under beds, on bookshelves, on bedside tables, etc. We appreciate your help in getting them all back to school for next year's students to enjoy.

Sandwich Deli Writing Project

This project will make your student think outside the bun! Groups of students will work together to dream up a delicious sandwich. They will  write a descriptive paragraph that will cause their readers to drool. This will require students to use sensory language to entice the reader to choose their sandwich. Using arts supplies found in our classroom and your homes, they will also create a model of the sandwich. This project will culminate with all the faculty, staff, and 5th grade students voting on the winner of the contest.

Summer Noticing Notebook

The noticing book is a place to journal, record, and take notes during the summer months. The noticing books will be used on the first day of school next year! We ask that all rising students in grades 1-5 purchase a simple composition book by Monday, June 2 and bring it to school so we can launch this process in the classrooms. 

Investigations Student Book

Remember these? Please have your child return 
his/herMath Student Handbook 
to our classroom 
by Monday, June 2.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dates to Note

Thursday, May 22 
Our class to visit MM2GO

Friday, May 23
2:00 8th Grade/Faculty Basketball Game

Monday, May 26
No School / Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 27
Unite or Die lines must be memorized

Monday, June 2
Celebration Greet the Week in gym

Tuesday, June 3
10:00 Unite or Die performance and classroom visit

Thursday, June 5
1:00 Tribe Olympics

Friday, June 6
10:30 Moving Up Chapel
Early Dismissal for SUMMER!

You're Invited!

Join the 4th Grade for a
Learning Celebration!

Tuesday, June 3, 2013
Ten o’clock
Dickson Dining Hall

Please plan to visit our classrooms following the
“Unite or Die” play to view the students’ work.

Unite or Die

The roles have been cast and the scripts have been shared. We've had our first rehearsal and are working hard on our reader's theater production of Unite or Die, a book about how the writing of the US constitution. 4th graders should have their lines memorized by Tuesday, May 27.

Some advice about memorizing lines:

1. Repeat the lines. Have your child read the lines with someone out loud over and over again. Remind them to memorize the lines only, not the cadence and inflection. They need to discover something new each time they read the lines and say them as if they are spoken for the first time, each time.
2. Break the lines down into smaller pieces. Don’t have your child tackle all of their linesl at once. Break the script down into small sections and repeat, repeat, repeat until the lines are ingrained. 
3. Work on lines before going to sleep. Studies have shown that studying lines right before bed can have a big impact on recall. Be sure to have your child review them again in the morning to help lock them into memory. 

Human Body Proejct

Check out this information about the project we are doing in science class. All work is being done at school! We can't wait for you to see them at our learning celebration.

Human Body Cereal Box  Project
As a culminating project of our human body system study, you and your group will create a cereal box that has detailed information about your chosen topic. You will use resources such as your science notebooks, classroom resources, and recommended internet sites. Both the CONTENT of the information on your cereal box and the DESIGN QUALITY of your artwork and writing are important!

empty cereal box, markers, construction paper, tape, glue, pictures, etc.

Front of Box
The name of your organ or system should go on the front of the box similar to the brand name on a cereal box. There should also be a labled diagram showing either the parts of the organ or the organs in your system. This can be hand-drawn and colored OR a copy that you color.

Back of the Box
The back of your box should include the following information:
  1. The function of your organ/system
  2. The process of how it works (the steps of the process)

Left Side
Tell about a disease or disorder associated with your system/organ. What causes the disorder/disease? What are the symptoms?How can it be treated?

Right Side
List at least 4 interesting facts about your system/organ

Your group members’ names!

You should be able to open the top of your box. Make it look like top of a real cereal box.

Put a “prize” related to your organ/system.

Literary Essay

The students are hard at work on literary essays as part of our author study. They meet daily in their author groups and think through their ideas as they write these essays. We have been using as an exemplar an essay composed by two English majors of the highest quality (that's Mrs. Rencher and Mr. Merritt!!) about author Jacqueline Woodson and her books Each Kindness and The Other Side. We have been emphasizing with the kids the structure of the literary essay, the importance of a strong thesis statement, the use of evidence through quotations from the text, and the best techniques for summarizing the plot and the scene. As teachers, it has been amazing to observe and to support the kids as they learn to compose this essay. Writing a strong literary essay requires high levels of thinking. We will continue this week on the most difficult part of the essay: the conclusion. We look forward to sharing the final products at the 4th Grade Learning Celebration!

Read our class essay that the students used for guidance and inspiration:

Standing Strong in Jacqueline Woodson's Books

It is very difficult to find the strength to stand up for what you believe to be morally right when the group of people around you is choosing to stick together and be unkind. Newbery winning author, Jacqueline Woodson, writes about this tough issue in her books. The Other Side tells the story of Clover befriending a girl who all the other girls were ignoring because of her differences.  Each Kindness deals with Chloe’s regrets for remaining part of the group and not following her heart. A closer look at these books can lead the reader to examine how individuals must make important choices in life that will impact themselves and others.

Finding the strength to make the right choice is an important part of The Other Side. In the story, Clover sees a pretty white girl on the other side of the fence. Clover’s mama and her friend Sandra tell her that she should not cross the fence. When Clover finally meets Annie, who is sitting on the fence, she struggles to find the strength to sit with Annie because all of her friends have told her to stay away. Even when Clover does find the strength to sit with Annie, she worries about what Sandra and the other girls think when she says to herself: “And when Sandra and them looked at me funny, I just made believe I didn’t care” (22). Sitting on the fence with Annie teaches Clover that even when you make the right choice, it can be uncomfortable because of what others think.

In Each Kindness, Chloe is filled with regret for rejecting Maya, the new girl, despite Maya’s many attempts to be friendly. Ms. Albert, the girls’ teacher, dropped a pebble in a bowl and shared with their class that kindness is like the ripples going out into the world. Chloe is especially sad that she will never be able to make things right with Maya since Maya and her family have moved away. Chloe walks to a pond after school one afternoon: “When I reached the pond, my throat filled with all the things I wished I would have said to Maya. Each kindness I had never shown” (18). Chloe found the strength to stand up for what she believed was right, but it was too late, and she will never forget that lesson.

As Jacqueline Woodson shows in her books, it is very difficult to find the strength to stand up for what you believe to be morally right when the group of people around you is choosing to stick together and be unkind. In The Other Side, Clover is a great example of how, even though it might be uncomfortable and hard when you are making the right decision, you will be proud of yourself for doing the right thing. Also, you will be a leader who encourages others to take a close look at their own choices and actions.  Chloe, in Each Kindness, is a great example of how sometimes you have to live with your choices and you can never make things right. She found the inner strength to be kind to Maya, but it was too late. Reading these books will forever make the readers think about how they treat outsiders. Hopefully, Jacqueline Woodson’s powerful books will send a ripple of kindness out into the world.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Discovery Place Visit

We headed to Discovery Place last week for a class about the human body. The class got to see a cow's eye be dissected and to inflate pig lungs. Ask your child to tell you how to tell the difference between a male and female pelvis.

Before our class about the Human Body, we visited the aquarium. Enjoy these photos of some jellyfish and the octopus. The fuzzy white stuff underneath the octopus is her eggs! She had just laid over 1,000 eggs a few days before we visited. 

Dr. McBryde

Grace's uncle, an ER doctor, came to visit our class last week. He talked with the class about being safe and making healthy choices. Hopefully your children will never smoke nor text while driving after his visit! He answered many, many questions from our budding medical students. Thanks, Uncle JP!

Colonial Gardening and Market Basket Making!

Our class had a very special opportunity when Jenn Siegfried and her mother came in one afternoon. While some of the students were planting seeds in our garden with Mrs. Kluttz and other students were playing a colonial bartering game, another group got to help make a beautiful Boston market basket. Andy's grandmother is passionate about the craft of making these baskets and shared her love and knowledge with our class. Enjoy these photos and stop by our classroom to see the beautiful basket!

Typing Club Information

You received a letter along with your child's narrative about our Typing Club goals for the 4th graders. We typically practice twice each week during our school day. It would be really helpful it the students take time to practice at home as well. Please encourage them to log in a few times each week and practice for about 10-15 minutes. The Trinity portal is below. Your student will know his/her log in information. Happy keyboarding!

Social Studies Update

We are in the midst of our StoryPath unit on Colonial Boston. Last week, the citizens of Boston (played by the students) experienced a critical event. A visitor to the classroom, Chief Justice of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson (played by Trinity's own Mr. Luft), came to a tavern meeting to empathize with the plight of the colonists, who were struggling to understand why they should have to pay higher taxes if they had no representation in Parliament. He replied that he is as frustrated as they are at the high taxes they have to pay, but he was not willing to go so far as to not enforce British law. After the meeting with Justice Hutchinson, the citizens got word that his house had been ransacked. His most prized possessions had been destroyed; his life's work gone. The citizens of the town discussed the meaning of vigilante and learned that a group calling themselves "The Sons of Liberty" were involved in the sacking of his house. The students will be interviewed this week to see if they played a role in the sacking of Justice Hutchinson's house. 

This week we will be doing some more in-depth reading and writing about conditions in Colonial Boston and the colonies. 

Reading Strategies

Good readers are constantly stopping to think as they read, to ask questions, to analyze a character's motivations, and to make predictions. Over the past few weeks we have been learning some new strategies to apply as we read to take us to a new, more thoughtful level of understanding and interacting with our books.

Golden Lines
When reading you may come across a sentence that is beautifully written and begs you to read it again. It has meaning that applies to the book you're reading but also applies to life outside your book. These lines often point to the theme or big understanding in the book. An example from Pam Munoz Ryan's book Esperanza Rising is, "Wait a little while and the fruit will fall into your hand."

Contrasts and Contradictions
You will notice this in your books when a character acts out of character. Readers get to know their characters so well, and they begin to feel like our friends. When an author chooses to have a character say or do something that doesn't fit with his/her personality, it stands out to a good reader. It leads you to wonder what is going on with the character to make him/her act that way. What does this reveal about their inner conflict or emotions?

Tough Questions
A tough question is leading, insightful, thoughtful, and probing. Often in our books a character is asked a tough question either by himself through internal dialogue or by another character. What does this show you about the character, and how will he/she respond?

As our beloved characters travel through  trials and tribulations, they will periodically have an Ah-Ha moment. This will be when he/she realizes or comes to understand something that therefore changes his/her thinking and actions. Fans of Oprah are familiar with her famous Ah-Ha moments! Good readers will wonder how does this change things? How will the character respond?

Again and Again...
As good readers read, we'll often see things come up again and again. It might be an object or a phrase. There must be some reason the author keeps including it, and it's our job as a reader to stop, take notice, and try to understand what it might mean or represent. These are recurring images or motifs in a book. Often the recurring object will represent some idea much bigger than the object itself.

Narrative Report Cards

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns after reading your child's most recent report card. We truly love your children and hope that the words we wrote helped you to get a snapshot of their life as a learner. 

Math: How Many Packages? How Many Groups?

Last week we began our work in Unit 8 about multiplication and division. We will work to have many strategies to solve these types of problems including arrays, the US algorithm, and the expanded algorithm. Goals of this unit include:

Multiplication with 2-Digit Numbers
Students estimate products and practice strategies for solving multiplication problems with 2-digit factors.

Strategies for Multiplication
Students practice strategies for solving 2-digit by 2-digit multiplication problems. 

Solving Division Problems
Students use representations and story contexts to develop strategies for solving division problems with 1-digit or small 2-digit divisors. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring Fling at Metro

We were thrilled that the Metro teachers invited us to come be a part of their elementary school Spring Fling. We joined in the fun and did light box art, planted flowers, helped make crafts, played with balls, danced, and took silly pictures. It was such a great culminating visit to Metro, and we loved getting to see all of our friends one more time.