Thursday, December 4, 2014

Poetry, Prose, and Drama - Part 1

Over the last few weeks we have been talking about the differences between poetry, prose, and drama. We read prose that helped us understand how plants are important to people and animals. We read and interpreted poetry about plants, and we read an readers' theater to introduce us to ecosystems. The genie in the readers' theater was quite a surprise!

As we read, we picked out these different characteristics of each:

Then we had the chance to read different poems, readers' theaters, and prose in our strategy group. One group practiced a giggle poem, and if you click below you can hear this example of rhythm and rhyme in poetry.

Keep your eye out for another giggle poem written as prose!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Free Bear - Nature Walk

Every Day 6 the entire 4th grade has the opportunity to take part in Free Bear. This means we get a break from our clinics to do something of our choice, if we earned the privilege by making good choices throughout the last cycle.

There are many different activities to chose from: running club, movie, arts, board games, and yoga are just some of the choices. But one of the most popular is the Nature Walk. We are very lucky that our school is surrounded by some beautiful wetlands, and the environment is so healthy that there are many species of birds and animals that live here. Many times our large group is actually quiet enough and observant enough that we can find and see some very amazing animals.

We always love to see the Great Blue Heron hanging out by the pond with the ducks and geese, and one week we even saw a snack!! (Don't worry! It was just a little garter snake.) We've seen usual aphids, birds' nests, squirrels, ducks, hawks and buzzards. We've seen paw prints of what the high school students think was a muskrat, and today we found a ton of burrows! Something is having a blast tunneling under ground!

A student points to a burrow he found by a tree!

There are also many types of water creatures and insects to be found on our walks as well! Check these out:

One of the students found this large crawfish. Once Mrs. Bair picked it up because it didn't have claw, the student who found it was able to hold it!

This praying mantis was sitting on the ground right where we were all about to walk! After it crawled around on Mrs. Bair's arm, it flew into the evergreen.

This praying mantis was already in the evergreen!
The best part about the Nature Walk here at Bear Creek is that you can go any time you'd like! Simply come out to Bear Creek, follow the walking path, and take a stroll around the ponds and paths. It really is a beautiful place to come and enjoy nature!

Be sure to ask your child what he or she was able to do during Free Bear today! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Agriculture & Environmental Day

We had a great experience this morning thanks to several students from the Ag Department at the high school. Groups of students created 10 different stations so that we could learn all about animals, agriculture, and the environment. We were so excited that we got to pet pigs, a horse, some calves, a chicken, and a dog named Bentley! Another highlight was getting the chance to climb up in the big tractors! We couldn't believe how high they were or how much they cost. We also saw and learned about fish and aquatic environments, the local wildlife, and how to protect our environment by recycling. Even though it was a little chilly, we all had a great time and learned a lot thanks to some dedicated high school students! Check out the slideshows to see our experiences today.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Becoming Water Drops

Now that we've learned about the basic processes involved in the water cycle, we are going to complete a writing piece about it! The kids will be pretending that they are water droplets and writing a first person piece from the point of view of a water droplet. Today we watched this little video to see what it must be like for a water drop going through the water cycle!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Water Cycle

During the last two weeks we have been talking and learning about the water cycle. We learned about evaporation by doing two experiments about fresh water and salt water, we acted out molecules getting colder and turning back into drops to show condensation, and we watched it rain to learn about precipitation.

We have done some other fun things, too! One thing we did is watch the StudyJams water cycle video. We didn't do the quiz, so that would be a great way to study for Friday's quiz.

We also listened to the water cycle boogie! You can boogie with us by watching this video and singing along to the chorus:

Finaly each of us had the chance to make our own water cycle in a bag. We hung the bags in our classroom window, and we were amazed to see what happened. Today when we came in there were little bubbles on the top part of our bags. But the really amazing thing is that the bubbles were only on the side of the bag that was facing the classroom. There was no water on the side of the bag touching the window! Some of us also thought that the water level in our bag went down. And amazingly, a few of us even had large water drops in our bag that were running down the inside. We couldn't believe that we were actually getting to see the water cycle in action!

You can check out the pictures of our bags below. The water cycle is a really amazing process that is needed by every living thing!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Making our Mark and Other Topics

It has been a busy two weeks in the Bair's Den! So busy, in fact, that I didn't even have the chance to update our blog with everything that's been happening! So let's catch everybody up on what's been happening in the Bair's Den!

In ELA (English Language Arts), we learned our final Daily 5, Working with Words, and we'll be starting our word groups this week. Your child may have me, Miss Conrad, Mrs. Towsen, or Mrs. Horner as their word study group teacher. Be on the lookout for some activities that you can do at home to help your child begin to master either spelling patterns or word meanings depending upon their group. You can also watch for more information about Working with Words in a later post this week.

The students did a fantastic job on their science assessments, and we'll now be learning about exactly how water gets to be part of these lentic and lotic systems. Be ready to hear all about the water cycle, and you may want to hide your hair dryers after our little experiment tomorrow!

Another fun even during the past two weeks was Dot Day! Dot Day is based on the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. After learning that she really IS an artist, a girl goes on to make her mark on the world and encourage another to do so as well. After reading the book, everybody in the Bair's Den made their dots! You can learn all about Dot Day by clicking here, and you can also see some dots created by famous individuals by visiting this blog. The pictures below show all of us making our dots, and beginning this week they will be hanging in the lower level main hallways so that everybody can see them on the way to lunch and specials.

Some of us used watercolors or crayons to make our dots.

Everybody's dot was very unique.

Even though we made our own mark, we needed to use teamwork to share the materials.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Benchmarking and New Daily 5!

Well, this week wasn't quite as much fun because we had to take our beginning of the year benchmark tests in reading and math. While the tests were challenging, they were a little bit fun because we got to take them on the computer!

Even with the benchmark tests that will help our teachers see what we need to work on throughout fourth grade, we still worked on several different friends. In Social Studies we continued to learn working with others. We specifically talked about how to talk to somebody when we don't agree with them. It's hard to stop and think sometimes when you're angry, but we did learn that saying the right thing can make the difference between being a problem solver and a problem maker! "I Statements" can be used for positive or problem things that other people do to us or for us, and sometimes we just need to walk away. We know this is a lesson that we'll be working on for the rest of our lives, but it is going to be a focus in our classroom this year.

We were very excited to learn TWO new Daily 5 activities! First, we learned about Read to Someone. Read to Someone is a great Daily 5 activity because it lets you practice every part of reading! Here is the picture of our Read to Someone poster so you can do it at home (coming soon - check back Monday!) and some pictures of us practicing! Now when your child tells you that you have to sit EEKK (it stands for elbow elbow knee knee), you know what they mean!

We also learned about media! Media is when we get to use the iPads or laptops to help us be better readers and writers. There are games to play, books to read, and as the year goes on, we will have projects to do as well! Check out the poster to see what we have to do while we're doing Media. (Poster coming soon! Check back Monday!)

Besides learning two more Daily 5 sessions, we also started talking about and reviewing the elements of fictions stories. Even though we've been talking about characters, setting, problems, events, and solutions since kindergarten, we never knew these things made up the plot of a story. And we really didn't know that we could use a picture to help us remember them! Well, this week we learned how. Mrs. Bair read us the book I Need My Monster, and we used it to retell the story elements to create a plot map. This week we're going to try our hand at identifying the story elements on our own and see if we can create our own plot map. This is definitely something you can do at home while you're reading with your child to do their homework, so here's an example of what the story elements are and what a plot map looks like if you'd like to give it a try: