Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ag Day 2017

On Thursday, October 12, the 4th graders at Bear Creek braved the chilly, rainy weather to participate in a very special educational experience at the fairgrounds. Students in grades 9 - 12 who are taking classes as part of the agriculture department at the high school presented Agriculture and Environmental Education Day.

The high school students have worked since the beginning of the year to create stations to help the 4th graders learn about farming and our environment. Through the ten different stations, the kids had many hands on opportunities to learn about how people impact their environment and how agriculture is an important part of the Elizabethtown community. The fourth graders were excited to pet many different animals, climb in tractors, try different foods, and participate in different games and activities. Each of these stations provided students with background knowledge that we can using during our science and social studies units this year.

Please enjoy these pictures of our morning at the fairgrounds and ask your child to tell you about their favorite part of the day!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Thinking Like Mathematicians

Before jumping in the 4th grade math curriculum, everybody in the Bair's Den is trying to get into the right frame of mind to think like a mathematician. We are trying to break some big myths that many people think about math. These myths include:

  • Some people are math people and are really great at math, and some people just aren't math people and will never be good at math.
  • Being good at math means you can solve problems fast.
  • Math is only about solving problems - number are the most important part of math.
To break these myths, we have been challenging ourselves with a variety of different math activities that haven't involved numbers at all, although they have involved some very famous math theories and conjectures.

Our challenges so far included finding the fewest number of squares in an 11 x 13 rectangle and creating a coordinate grid comparing different objects. Our current challenge showed us this pattern:

Using these first four figures, we had to figure out how the pattern grew. Some of us saw it growing vertically on the left, others saw it growing diagonally on the right. Others saw rows being added to the bottom. After we talked about the different ways it grew we began working on these three questions:
  • What would figure 10 look like, and how many squares would it have?
  • What would figure 55 look like, and how many squares would it have?
  • Can you use exactly 190 blocks to make this figure?
Here's some examples of the work friends did to try to solve this challenge:

We're excited to keep working on this challenge to see if we can figure out the answers today!

As we have been working on these different challenges, we've also been thinking about and applying the math practice standards:

These practices focus on the different goals for how we think and act in math. Each student picked one of these practices to be their math goal for the first part of the year, and they made a plan about how they'd like to meet their goal. We're all really excited to see if we can reach our goals and improve our math thinking!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Being Scientists

Last week we started talking about the scientific process, and today we started our science unit on water systems. This unit will include different types of bodies of water and the water cycle. In order to help us understand the scientific process, we are looking at each part very closely. We started with making observations and asking questions.

On Friday, the kids had the opportunity to practice this by writing down some observations and questions they had about Bear Creek in their science journals. Today, we went outside to our beautiful wetlands and made some observations about the bodies of water and the ecosystem.

Making observations of the large pond

Checking out the small pond
I was able to get the morning crew in action, but there was too much excitement in the afternoon! During our observations, the afternoon group spotted a turtle sunning itself on a log in the large pond, and we also had the chance to see a great blue heron fly from a spot right in front of us to another spot across the pond! Many of us were shocked about how big it was, and we had a few exclamations of, "It's a pterodactyl!" and, "It's a crane!" Herons are very skittish, so it's pretty amazing this one hung around and put on such a show for us! We are very excited to get back out and see what other observations we can make.

Making observations: looking at things in the world around you and noticing even the smallest details
Asking questions: asking questions about why things happen and what things are

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Open House Excitement

It was great meeting all of my new friends this afternoon! If you couldn't make it, don't worry. You will have a chance to make your name tag, pick your seat, and get your homework folder on Monday morning.

To those of you who asked question, we will definitely have a chance to talk about them on Monday and Tuesday. If you still have more, bring them along! I am here to answer your questions and help you feel better about Bear Creek and 4th grade.

Is there something you're looking forward to? Here are the things that have some of our friends excited for 4th grade:

I hope you have something you're excited about, too!! Don't forget! Phys Ed on Monday! Wear or bring those sneakers. :)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Welcome to the Bair's Den

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Bair's Den! I'm looking forward to have each of you in my class, and I'm very excited to see what this school year has in store for us. It's my hope that all of you will very quickly enjoy the new adventure that is Bear Creek. Please check back here often to see what is happening in our classroom. There is also a page that will help you review the math skills we are learning in class!

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Bair's Den! I'm looking forward to have each of you in my class, and I'm very excited to see what this school year has in store for us. It's my hope that all of you will very quickly enjoy the new adventure that is Bear Creek. Please check back here often to see what is happening in our classroom. There is also a page that will help you review the math skills we are learning in class!

All 4th graders each lunch from 12:40 - 1:10, so students are welcome to bring healthy snacks to eat in the morning. Please keep in mind that we have an apple allergy in the morning and a peanut allergy in the afternoon, so we would like to limit snacks that have those items in them. I do frequently have snacks for those students who forget or cannot bring their own, and I do appreciate any donations. Favorite snacks in the past have included pretzels, goldfish, cheez-its, and fruit snacks.

Our daily schedule for my homeroom students (students assigned to me for math and science in the morning) looks like this:

9:00 - 11:25 ~ Math and Science with a bathroom and snack break in the middle
11:25 - 12:10 ~ Special
12:10 - 12:40 ~ Clinic / bear time
12:40 - 1:25 ~ Lunch and recess
1:25 - 3:30 ~ ELA classes with Mrs. Horner or Mrs. Towsen
3:30 ~ Dismissal

Our special schedule follows a 6 day cycle and looks like this:

Day 1 ~ Phys Ed
Day 2 ~ Library
Day 3 ~ Technology
Day 4 ~ Phys Ed
Day 5 ~ Music
Day 6 ~ Art

Students will also have the opportunity to play and instrument, and those schedules will also follow a cycle day schedule once they are set by Mrs. Emery and Mr. McLaughlin.

As you can see, we do have Phys Ed the first day of school, so don't forget to wear your sneakers or bring a change of clothing with sneakers if you have a special outfit already picked out for the first day!

I'm hoping that you will be able to come and join me for an Open House at Bear Creek on Thursday, August 24 from 2:00 - 3:30. Come and see the school, visit your classroom, make your nametage, and meet some new friends!

I can't wait to begin our year together!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer Fun

It's hard to believe we are half way through our summer vacation! Where is the time going? I hope you have all had some amazing adventures! If you're looking for more things to do, here are some simple suggestions to have fun and grow your brain this summer!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Skype with a Scientist

Over the last month, both of the classes had the opportunity to participate in a program called, "Skype with a Scientist" that I discovered online. This program matches classes with scientists who talk about what it's like to be a scientists studying in their particular field.

The Bair's Den AM had the opportunity to Skype with Kathy, a marine biologist who studies coral reefs and sponges. She is particularly interested in discovering a way to find out corals are sick earlier than people can now to help protect our fragile coral reef ecosystems. You can check out some photos of the work she is doing by clicking here and checking out these pictures from one of her research trips.

The Bair's Den PM had the opportunity to Skype with Sara, a environmental scientist who is studying the effect of climate change in polar regions. She shared a very interesting presentation with us, and she even incorporated everybody's animal from their ecosystem projects into her presentations!

Sara talking about how our animals fit into a food web and what happen if those animals disappear.

We watched her on the big screen, and she could see us from Mrs. Bair's computer.

It was really surprising to hear how climate change affects every animal!

The AM class had the chance to ask questions and asked Kathy about her favorite sea creatures she's studied, how she uses the scientific process every day, what kinds of tools she uses and how she collects data. The PM class had questions all ready, but we didn't get the chance to ask Sara our questions that day. We are hoping to Skype with her again after the PSSAs are over.

We are really thankful that we had the opportunity to meet these amazing women, and it was really interesting to hear how they are using the same process we have learned about in our class!