Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Multiplication Suggestions

Today everybody moved on to practicing multiplication facts. While each student received flashcards for their current level, you aren't expected to do flashcards every night. Here are some fun ways to practice your facts.

1. The Dice Game: Get two dice, and use masking tape to cover the numbers on one die. Write the numbers 7-12 on that die. Roll the dice and multiply the two numbers together. The highest product gets a point. The first person to 15 points wins!

2. Multiplication War: Played like regular war, but you flip two cards instead of one. Every card is face value, while jacks, queens, and kings are worth 10. The person with the highest product wins the cards. If the products are equal, do "I De-Clare War" and add the 4 cards together. The highest sum gets all cards.

3. Egg Carton Game: Get an empty egg carton and number the spots 1-12. Add two pennies, and close the lid. Shake the carton. Open it up and multiply the numbers where the pennies landed.

4. Skip Counting: Multiplication is really all about skip counting the multiples of a number. Have your child practice skip counting in any way. You can actually make them skip while they count by their fact number (2, 4, 6, 8, 10.....), they can write / paint / draw their multiples when skip counting, or if you're looking for some messy fun you can write the skip counting in shaving cream! Skip counting is a great strategy that the kids can use during their fact tests.

These are four simple ways to get started reviewing or practicing those facts. If you have any great ideas you'd like to share, please let me know and we'll add them to the list.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

We Are Water

We started off the school year learning about fresh and salt water bodies of water, and then we learned that fresh water bodies of water can be either lentic systems (bodies of water that stand still) or lotic systems (bodies of water that move from one place to another). But a huge question remained. Where exactly does all of the water come from?? How do we get all of that water into those bodies of water?

This week we started answering those questions by starting our unit on the water cycle. We learned that precipitation is water that falls from the sky, and it falls in the form of rain, snow, sleet or hail. Once it falls to the earth's surface, precipitation can become runoff, it can be part of a collection (as a puddle or one of our bodies of water), or it can become ground water.

Take a look at the videos below. The students in the Bair's Den became water drops and experienced runoff and collection. Ask your child to explain the process to you while you watch!

The Bair's Den AM - Runoff and Collection

The Bair's Den PM - Runoff and Collection


Dot Day

On September 15, people from all over the world celebrate International Dot Day. If you've never read the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, it's a short and sweet picture book where a student learned the power of having somebody believe in you, believing in yourself, and paying it forward.

The Bair's Den celebrated Dot Day on September 16 this year. As a class, we talked about all of the things that you're saying about yourself or thinking about yourself when you say, "I can't." Our class believes that when you say you can't, you don't believe in yourself. You don't even try things so you don't know what you CAN do. If you say I can't, it means you don't respect yourself because you won't even give yourself a chance. These were important lessons that got added to our wall of learning, and we look at them often.

This story inspired all of us to make our own dots, and as we worked we thought about the mark we wanted to make on Bear Creek this year. We also thought about how many times we say, "I can't," and made our own goals to start saying, "I'll try," or, "I can!"

Please enjoy our dots.... the official picture and our silly, goofy, wacky selves.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How to Disagree

We have been very busy learning all sorts of important strategies and routines for working independently in the classroom. There are 4 different stations students will be working on during our guided math group time: fun facts, challenges, problem solving, and technology. Over the course of the next week, I'll be posting information about each of the different stations and what you can do at home. But here are some quick summaries of the different stations:

  • Fun facts is designed to help the students become more confident and fluent with their facts so computation becomes easier. This is an individualized station where students work on their own personal level.
  • Challenges like the broken calculator and challenge 24 get us thinking about numbers in different ways.
  • Problem solving is our most challenging station. These multi-step problems require us to use many different math and thinking skills. Our goal is not necessarily to get these problems correct; the goal is to try a variety of strategies.
  • Technology is another individualized station where students work on our fourth grade skills at their person level. While we will be using Study Island, our biggest focus will be a website and app called Front Row.
Now you may be wondering, what in the world does this have to do with the post title, How to Disagree? In addition to learning these important math routines, we've also been learning what it takes to be a good teammate. Our second word of the week is respectful, and while it's easy to be respectful when you're having fun and agreeing with others, disagreements are a different story. 

While I could take the time about how to disagree, I thought Kid President said it really well. After we watched his take on disagreeing, we talked about each step and added them to our wall of learning. Hopefully this year we can learn to disagree and still treat people well. Check out what Kid President has to say!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Free Bear

It was a very exciting day in 4th grade because we got to experience our first Free Bear! What is Free Bear you ask? Well, every cycle day 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, from 12:10 - 12:40, all of 4th grade attends a clinic. The clinics are interventions to provide extra support and enrichment to push students' thinking. But on Day 6.... on this wonderful day, students who've earned it by following the Code of Conduct and getting their work done get to choose the activity they'd like to experience. Choices include:

  • dodgeball
  • nature walk
  • computers
  • movie
  • sidewalk chalk
  • legos
  • board games
  • Challenge 24 
  • drawing
  • yoga
  • puzzles
While we didn't get to see any animals on our nature walk today (a group of about 50 makes being quiet a bit challenging!), we did get a chance to check out a really cool plant that we call a Touch Me Not. We realized that the plants at Bear Creek have very unique ways of spreading their seeds. The cattails go from looking like giant corn dogs to GIANT Q-tips. Touch Me Nots are very unique as well. Their seeds grow in pods. The pods grow bigger and bigger until..... well, you just need to check out our slow-motion video below to see what happens! It was a great day to be a 4th grader at Bear Creek. We can't wait for the next Day 6!



This year, my homeroom will be focusing on a different word each week during our class meeting. As we thought about which words we wanted to focus on, it seemed like there would be no better word than the word brave to start off the year. We all need to be brave when we start a new school year, and we all need to be brave as we meet new groups of people. There's a lot of things we want to be brave about. Check out our slideshow below to see how we all hope to be brave at home, at school, or in the future!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Great First Day

We had a great first day in the Bair's Den! Team Kit Kat (4A) stayed in their morning classes all day because we attended several stations to help us learn about Bear Creek, and boy.... was there A LOT to learn!

First we got our homework folders because we had tons of paperwork to take home. Families, please check your child's homework folder for your contact paper and medical form. These should be filled out and returned as soon as possible.

After getting all of those papers situated, we went up and learned about the cafeteria (so many choices, so many things to remember) and recess. We even got to play a little bit on the playground! After our small break we headed down to check out the science lab and learned about all the different things we can do during Bear Time. We'll have reading clinics, band and orchestra will meet during that time, and on Day 6 we have Free Bear! Ask your child to tell you all about this. In the afternoon we had another session to learn about the walking path and how to act while out there.

Probably the most fun we had was a team building activity to learn each other's names. We stood in a circle, picked a person, said their name, and threw a bean bag at them (gently!). Once everybody had a chance to throw to somebody, we tried it again. Then we did it a little faster. And then it got crazy because Mrs. Bair kept adding in more and more bean bags!!! We didn't quite understand how this was a team building activity because we only really learned one person's name, and to be quite honest, things got really silly. Kids described their feelings as frustrated, tiring, fun, nerve wracking, crazy, confused, excited, and emotional. Whoa..... that doesn't sound like team building!

So we started to talk and think about what was easy and what was hard about the activity and how it relates to our class. When there was only one beanbag, it was really easy, but the more that was happening the harder it got. In reflecting on this lesson, our classmates came up with these ideas about how this activity relates to what happens in the class:

  • It's okay to make mistakes. Sometimes there's a lot happening at one time, and you're going to make a mistake. You just have to keep going.
  • You have to focus on yourself. If you followed your own pattern in the game, it was easier not to mess up, but if you worried about everybody else things got messed up.
  • You have to think about how your actions affect other people. If you threw the bean bag too high or didn't say somebody's name, your action messed somebody else up and that could mess up the whole game.
  • Sometimes you have to think about other people's perspectives or opinions. Just because you like something doesn't mean it's fun for everybody.
Pretty cool, huh? Sometimes it's not just about learning math and reading at Bear Creek. :)