Friday, May 25, 2012

Living History Museum

Today the students at Bear Creek got to participate in a very exciting event! We had a living history museum right in our school!

Students from Mrs. Houseal's and Mr. Weber's 6th grade Social Studies classes each picked a famous person from history and created a presentation about the person. But these were no ordinary presentations. Instead of just standing up and talking in front of their class, the students developed a costume or props and a pose for their individual. After preparing for weeks, today was the day they shared their work with the rest of the students at Bear Creek.

As we walked up the steps we saw 6th graders in amazing costumes standing all over the hallway. Each 6th grader had a pose, and they did not talk to us, laugh or do anything unless we put a ticket in their cup. When we put a ticket in the cup, the statues came to life (some of them even scared us!) and did a short presentation for us. Some of them even memorized what they were saying! As soon as they were finished the sixth graders froze and were statues again. As you can see from this slideshow, we were mesmerized!

We were very sad that we could only spend 45 minutes in the museum, but we were very excited that we could get more than 5 tickets. We thought we were going to only get 5 but there were SO many more cool people we wanted to see. The teachers all had extra tickets so we just had to go and ask, and then we could visit other statues.

After we got back from the museum we talked about it. Some of the people in our class can't wait to be in the museum when they get to 6th grade, but other kids did not really want to do it at all because they thought they would get stage fright. We all agreed that we learned a lot and were very impressed by the 6th graders hard work.

Thank you for sharing your projects with us, sixth grade!

Creating Podcasts

Our school runs a 6 day cycle, and each day we have a clinic period called BEAR time. During this time some students attend reading or math clinics, and other students work independently on different tasks. Every Day 6 the fourth graders have an opportunity to select an activity of his or her choice during our free BEAR activity period. The fun activities students can choose from include large group games in the gym, building with Legos, arts and crafts, playing Challenge 24, and karaoke.

During the last several cycles some of  students have been learning how to develop and create podcasts. The students were allowed to pick the topic of their podcasts based on their personal interests. Some students did a podcast on clouds that was inspired by their science class. Others did a podcast about the making of maple syrup that they did with their gifted teacher. Some did an all about me podcast to teach her audience all about herself, and still others have work on topics like recycling and Thomas Edison. Here are some images of the kids hard at work (and peeking at me taking pictures):

Beyond learning about their chosen topics we have learned about many different technology skills. These include:

  • creating a podcast using Garageband (including speech, images and background jingles)
  • finding free use images using Google's advanced search
  • citing sources (just the basics)
  • creating slides in Keynote and exporting them as an image
  • exporting and uploading podcasts
It's been a crazy half hour every Day 6, but Mrs. Shank and I have had a wonderful time working with this group of students. I'm not having much luck uploading the podcasts to this site, but you can check the students' creative work by visiting my school launch page. More podcasts will be added next week so we hope you'll check back to hear even more of the students' work!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Reading Incentive

Here in the Bair's Den we know that the best way to be a better reader is to read a LOT. We have talked a lot about reading books on our level that are about topics in which we are interested. With school coming to an end soon, you might be wondering about ways you can encourage your child to keep reading over the summer, and here is a great suggestion!

Barnes and Noble just announced their summer reading program for kids! Your child can read any 8 books of their choice and record them on the reading log that can be downloaded from the website. When you take the completed log to your local Barnes and Noble store your child can pick out a free book from the books they've selected. It's a great way to encourage your child to read over the summer and keep them reading.

I hope you can all participate in the summer reading program this summer!

Field Day

Over the course of the past two weeks all of the students at Bear Creek had the chance to participate in their Field Day. Organized by our Phys Ed teachers, Ms. Shenk and Mr. Klose, these full day events allowed the kids to practice all of the physical and team-building / sportsmanship skills while competing in a safe environment.

Fourth grade students participated in 15 different events that included the 400 yard run, hurdles, basketball shooting, and kick for distance. We had a great time over at the track, and we're thankful for all of the parent volunteers who helped to make the day so successful. You can check out all of the pictures from the day by visiting Ms. Shenk's page on the Bear Creek website. Here are just a few from our team from that great day!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Vote For Our States

During the last few weeks we have learned about a new style of writing: persuasive writing. We learned that writers use persuasive writing to convince the reader to think a certain way or do a certain thing. To tie this new skill in with something we're already doing, we wrote pieces to persuade our readers to visit the state we chose for our state and region research projects. We have worked very hard to write about good reasons to visit our state, and now we'd like you to tell us how we did! Here's how you can help:

First, check out our different blog posts to read about all of the different states. 47 states are represented by  our class and Mrs. Towsen's morning class, and all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. are represented by the afternoon class. After you read some or all of our posts, please use the voting link to select the state you'd most like to visit. All voting must be finished by Wednesday, May 30. Here are the links you'll need:

AM Class Voting

Mrs. Towsen's PM Class
PM Class Voting

Thank you so much for providing your feedback and helping us with this fun project. We're so happy we have so many readers from all over the world with whom we can share our writing!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Social Studies Projects

The last few weeks we have been working together in groups to learn about the regions of the United States. First, each student in our class and Mrs. Towsen's class and our class became an expert on one state. We learned about the climate, landforms, industries, products, resources, history, and special historical events of our state.

Next we got together with kids from both classes, and we formed 5 regions groups to learn about the various regions of the United States. We took the information we learned about our states, and we synthesized it and summarized it to tell what things the region had in common. We planned out what we were going to do each day, and we all worked very hard and even helped each other out to make sure that every one of our tasks got finished.

We're very excited to be moving on to the final phase of this process: our projects. We are going to be making websites, posters, movies, games, and slideshows to teach other and the world about the five unique regions of the United States. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates and the chance to see our amazing finished projects!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Field Day Postponed!!

Due to the weather forecast for tomorrow our Field Day has been postponed until Wednesday, May 16. This means we will be having a regular school day tomorrow. Tomorrow is Day 1 so students should wear their sneakers for PE class, and they do not need to bring a packed lunch if they want to buy in the cafeteria.

Wednesday the students WILL need to bring their lunches unless they have already signed up for a bag lunch. Please email me if you have any questions about the schedule change!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


This past week we have been working on identifying story elements and using them to summarize a story. We learned that when you summarize you have to include the most important information, you have to put it in the proper sequence, and our summary needs to make sense even if you didn't read the original story.

Our class read the story Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Pollaco. If you have never read this book our class highly recommends it. This story taught us what how bullying can make you feel, and it also taught all of us to believe that we can accomplish anything if we believe in ourselves.

We identified the story elements as a group, and then we worked with our partners to use those puzzle pieces to create a summary that made sense. We talked a lot about our connections to the story and began to understand how you need to add some details to a summary so people will get interested in the story. Here are pictures of us working with our partners and doing a gallery walk to read the completed summaries!