Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wacky Hair Day

It sure was nice to see everybody's smiling faces back today after our eventful last couple of days. I hope that everybody's families, friends and homes made it safely through Hurricane Sandy with little or no damage. Compared to other locations just a few hours away we certainly can consider ourselves very lucky.

Our day back was a busy one, and here at Bear Creek we celebrated Halloween by having Wacky Hair Day. Unfortunately because of the two days off due to the bad weather many of our friends didn't remember this particular spirit day. But we did have a few people who were all decked out with some pretty Wacky Hair - even the crazy teachers!! Check out the slideshow below for some cool dos!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Science Tools

If you've been checking out our posts, you know that last week we spent part of one morning trying out all sorts of different tools that scientists use to complete their experiments. This week we're going to take a closer look at each tool and learn what it's used for and how to use it properly. Our week will end with a little quiz to see how well we've learned about the tools and their uses.

To help prepare the kids for this quiz we will be doing some Scientific Tool Olympics here at school. At home, you can help your child by studying a few tools each night using the chart they brought home today. The great thing is you do not have to study all 12 tools every night! Since we have four evenings, I recommended to the kids that they study four tools tonight, four tools tomorrow night and four tools on Wednesday evening. Then on Thursday evening you can do review each tool. Hopefully chunking the tools like this, along with our hands-on activities during the day, will make it easier for your child to remember these important tools.

Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming post about our Olympic Events, and please let me know if you have any questions about the studying.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Science Tools and Crazy Hair

The first three days of our week have been very eventful! On Tuesday, we celebrated the fact that Bear Creek earned $1,000 in school supplies from the Avery contest. Our school finished 15th out of over 9,000 schools! Last year Dr. Spagnolo and Mr. Kingsborough promised to have colored hair if we were one of the top schools so Tuesday they fulfilled their end of the bargain. Dr. Spagnolo had green hair and eyelashes, and Mr. Kingsborough had a pink beard and mustache to go along with his pink hair and eyelashes. Unfortunately we didn't get a picture with Mr. Kingsborough, but some of us were lucky enough to get our picture taken with Dr. Spagnolo!

We have been finishing up our writing pieces about the scientific process, but we are already looking at our next science topic: the tools that we will use this year when we're completing experiments! During the past week student in the Bair's Den, along with all of the other 4th grade classes, visited the science lab for one period. During this time we tried out many different tools, talked about how they were the same and how they were different, took photographs of the tools, and made a hypothesis about how they will be used. After we complete our writing pieces we'll be going back to take a look at our hypothesis to create a graphic organizer that shows all of the tools, their photos, and the job each tool does.

Check out the slideshow below to see us in action in the lab getting acquainted with these tools and how they are used:

We're also doing a lot of blogging this week! Be sure to check our student blogs for our informational pieces about the scientific process, our descriptive autumn poems, and some choice pieces that we have been working on. We would love to have you comment on our posts!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Our College Friends

On Tuesday, October 8, we had a group of very special helpers come in to visit with our class and Mrs. Towsen's class. Miss Conrad is one of the coaches of the Lebanon Valley College Women's Soccer team, and their team came to visit with us, help us with a writing project and read with us!

One of the tools that writers use to make their writing more interesting is descriptive words. Authors usually think of these words by using their 5 senses because almost everybody can make a connection to seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or feeling things. So we started working on a poem about autumn that will use all five of our sense.

To add extra pizazz to our poems, the college girls helped us use some of the things we observed about autumn to make beautiful pictures to go with our poems. We'll be hanging the artwork and our finished poems in the hallway and stairwell for everybody in the school to enjoy. Take a look at the slideshow below to see all of our hard work.

Thank you to the LVC Women's Soccer team for coming to visit us and help our in our classrooms! We had so much fun, and we hope that you'll come back again some time.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Homecoming, No School and Book Fair... Plus Other Info

Can you believe that it is already October? It doesn't seem possible that we have been in school over a month already! We have had or will be having some special events, and I wanted to take just a few minutes to tell you about them.

One Monday we welcomed a new student to The Bair's Den! Rochelle moved to E-town from Donegal, and we are very happy to have her in our class.

Yesterday afternoon band members, football players, cheerleaders and The Bear came to visit Bear Creek for a pep really. As you can see from the pictures we all had a great time cheering on the team and clapping along to the music. We were also very proud and excited because our very own Ian was chosen to be the 4th grade representative at the game tonight! Congratulations, Ian!!!

Waiting patiently for the pep rally to start

Can you see the first person to spot the E-town Bear?

Ian gets called up to join the players.

Getting introduced to the entire school

Clapping and cheering - we totally beat 5th grade in the cheer off!

The Bair's Den also had another excited winner today when Emma's name was randomly chosen as the Box Top winner for the month of September! Emma got a coupon to buy some books at the book fair! Congratulations, Emma!

Tonight (10/5) - Tonight is Bear Creek Night at the E-town Bears football game, and it is also Homecoming. On Tuesday your child received a blue coupon for free admission to the football game so we hope that you will be able to come out and join us as we cheer on the football team.

10/8 - As Lydia said today, "Thank you, Christopher Columbus!" Your child does not have school on Monday, October 8 due to the celebration of Columbus Day. School will be back in full swing on Tuesday, and it will be Day 5.

10/9 - 10/11 - The Book Fair will be continuing here at Bear Creek. We will be shopping during our library class on Thursday, October 11 at 11:25 am. Feel free to come in and shop with your child. If that time doesn't work for you, there will also be another family night from 6:00 - 8:30 on Thursday, October 11, so you can come in and get some books with your child.

One last thank you to everybody who sent in change for the Penny Wars. Bear Creek raised an amazing $918 for the capital campaign! 4th grade made a respectable showing and came in second place behind 5th grade.

It's been a great start to the school year, and I'm looking forward to another amazing month in October!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

But That's Not Math....

Here in the Bair's Den we try to get a lot of bang for our buck each day, and today was no exception. All of the sudden, during our Social Studies lesson on using latitude and longitude to find location, somebody said, "Wait - why are we doing math during Social Studies???" That's a really good question because many times we really break up our day into the different subjects, and it can be hard to see how everything is connected in real life.

We spent some time talking about this, and the class realized that many of the things we do every day involve more than one subject. Just take a trip to the grocery store. You have to read the labels to find the things you want, think about your health to make good food choices, and use math to make sure you're not spending too much money. Three subjects in just one trip! And if you count the list you have to write or type so you don't forget everything - that's four!!

Just this week we have been doing a lot of that combining to get the most out of our time. We've been working on number lines, adding, subtracting, skip counting and place value while we are learning how to use latitude and longitude. In science, we're learning that scientists have to be able to write about what they've done and learned so that others can try to redo their experiments. And we also combined reading, art and community building to create projects to go along with the story Big Al by Andrew Clemens.

Big Al is a big, ugly fish who really wants friends, but he doesn't have any. Finally, after trying many, many times, Big Al is able to save the day and have many new friends. To help us understand the author's purpose (to teach us an important lesson) we used visualization and teamwork to create our own scenes from the story. We then used our scenes and the plot map we made to summarize the story and make connections. Check out the pictures below to see our teams in action. We'll add pictures of the final products when we hang them up for display.

So even though we talk about math, social studies, science and communication arts, we're starting to realize that many times we're doing all of those subjects together to help us learn.