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:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What's The Code of Conduct Really Mean?

All of us had a code of conduct at our primary schools, and now we have another code of conduct at Bear Creek. Our Bear Creek Code of Conduct says:

I am respectful,
I am responsible,
I am helpful,
I am safe,
and I will help keep Bear Creek bully free.

But what do all of those words really mean? A code is a set of directions or something to follow. Conduct is another word for behaving. So a code of conduct is a guide for how we should act. 

Last week we worked together in teams to brainstorm what it means to do or be each of these words. If you come to our classroom, you'll see our brainstorming posters hanging in the front of the room. Not only did we brainstorm how to do the code of conduct at school, but we also thought of many ways that we can be respectful, responsible, helpful, and safe at home, too!

After we did our brainstorming, we looked at our team's last poster and picked one of the ways off the poster. Each of us drew a picture to show that word in action. These pictures are now hanging in our room as reminders about the behaviors we want to try and show at Bear Creek, at home, and out in the community.

Finally, we needed to teach you about our Code of Conduct. To do that each of us practice a little script to tell you about our Code of Conduct. You can see our class's video below! Do you have any questions? Do you have any other ways to show these words in your daily life? We'd love to hear from you, so please leave us a comment!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Learning Our Classroom

The second week of school has been as busy as the first! In Social Studies we are trying to get a better understanding of the Bear Creek Code of Conduct. First we brainstormed different examples of how we show we are respectful, responsible, helpful, safe, and how we keep Bear Creek bully free. Next, we picked an example from our brainstorming charts, and we are drawing pictures to show those things happening. The last step will be to create a video that teaches others what these words mean. Look for that video! It's coming soon!

Thinking about how to be responsible at home and at school

Thinking about how to be respectful

There are many different ways that we can be safe.

Being helpful is a huge part of being a good teammate.

We also started to learn about our Daily 5 stations. The Daily 5 are the reading and writing stations that we will do when Mrs. Bair is working with individual students and strategy groups. During the next few weeks we are going to learn about each of the Daily 5 stations and practice them so we can be independent learners while the groups are working. The first two stations we learned about are Read to Self and Work on Writing. When your child does their reading homework, you can follow the steps of Read to Self so that your child has a comfortable, quiet setting where they can do their reading. Here are the posters so you know what Read to Self and Work on Writing look like in our class.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Learning to be a Team at Bear Creek

Well our first week sure did fly by! We spent a ton of time learning how to open our lockers (almost all of us have it!), learning our way around Bear Creek, getting to know our new friends, and learning about how things work in our classroom.

One of the most important things we started to talk about was being part of a team. We played a game called Name Juggling, and when Mrs. Bair added more than one bean bag, it was very easy to see how our actions affect other people. Even if one person started laughing and being silly, the whole game got messed up! We talked about what that meant about our actions in the classroom. We played some other games to practice being active listeners, and we also did some activities to get to know each other better.

Our favorite activity was 2 Truths and A Lie. Each student had to think of 2 true things about themselves and one lie about themselves. Then the rest of the class had to figure out which one was the lie. We had a LOT of fun hearing about everybody's pets, interests, and favorite foods, and there were some very creative lies to try and trip us up!

On top of all of the activities in our classroom, we did a lot of different stations throughout the school with our team. We learned about bus rules with Mr. Kingsborough, school rules with Dr. Spagnolo, and played a crazy balloon game with the counselors and Mrs. DelMarcelle, the instructional coach. It was a busy and fun week, and you can see pictures from all of these different activities in the slideshow below. The best part, though, was really starting to think about what it means to be a team. Here's what we came up with so far! I'm sure we're going to be great teammates in no time!

Our class decided these were the things good teammates do

And here's our beginning of the year slideshow:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wow! What a First Day!

I can't believe our first day is over - it went so fast! Here in the Bair's Den we spent a TON of time trying to learn our lockers (some of us have mastered it already!), and we did different stations to learn about Bear Creek. We talked about how to get our lunch in the cafeteria, and we got a chance to try out the playground. The music teachers and reading specialist talked to us about clinic time, and we learned that every Day 6 we get to have Free BEAR. That's a fun time where we can pick the activity that we want to do. Some of the choices are a game in the gym, computers, a nature walk, movies, chess club, puzzles, and board games.

After lunch we did one more station to learn about the walking path. Did you know that we can walk from Bear Creek all the way to East High? You can!! We learned the rules for the walking path, and Mrs. Shenk taught us a fun chant to help us remember them. In the picture below we are signing our names to show that we will be safe and have fun on the walking path.

It was an amazing day that flew by! I can't wait to see everything that we can accomplish tomorrow!

Team 4A (Team Kit Kat) signing the walking path

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Welcome and Special Schedule

Hi everybody, and welcome to The Bair's Den! I am looking forward to having each of you in my class, and I hope you are just as excited as I am to be starting a new adventure at Bear Creek School!

Please check back here every day, and you will be able to find out a little bit more about our classroom, see some pictures, and find out more about what our days will be like in The Bair's Den!

All of our specials will be held from 11:25 - 12:10. Each day I will update our homework page and the community portal to remind you which special we will have the following day so you can help your child remember their sneakers, recorders or library books if needed.

  • Day 1 ~ Phys Ed (students should always wear sneakers for PE)
  • Day 2 ~ Library
  • Day 3 ~ Music
  • Day 4 ~ Health (students should always wear sneakers for Health)
  • Day 5 ~ Art
  • Day 6 ~ Art

New this year is a double art class. Students in the Bair's Den will have art on Days 5 and 6 during the first and second marking periods. Then we will have technology on days 5 and 6 during the third and fourth marking periods. 

I'm hoping that all of you will be able to come and join me on Thursday, August 21 from 8:30 - 10 AM for our Open House. Come and see the school, visit the classroom, make your name tag, pick your first book, and meet some new friends.

I cannot wait for our new year together to begin!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Sneak Peek at the Bair's Den!

Hello new 4th graders!! At the end of 3rd grade, you had a tour of Bear Creek, and you may have even attended one of the orientation tours here at Bear Creek this summer. But you may still be wondering, "What's it REALLY like to be a  fourth grader in the Bair's Den?" Well, the students who were in my class in the past have some answers for you! Check out the video below to get the scoop!

We hope you enjoyed the video! If you have any questions, please leave comments, and I will answer them for you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Sand Story

 Our touch pebbles group looked at a picture from the Pueblo Indians  and we had to think how we were supposed to right it so. Enjoy our story.

by Emma and Megan
There once was a man who came back from the war. The mans family had been  killed in the war, so the man had no friends but since the man served the war he could go anywhere! So he chose to go to the village where he saw a girl sitting by herself, she was selling rugs. She told him that she knew him and she knew his family died. She also had the perfect rug for him, he took the rug home and laid it over the floor, the man set down his weapons and his shield and he sat on the rug all of a sudden the rug began to glisten and glow then the door bell rang, answered  it and there was his family. They rejoiced and were as happy as can be, and it was then realized the was a rug made of friendship and love.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Interpreting Poetry

Students in our Touchpebbles reading strategy group have been working on interpreting the poem, "The Song of the Wandering Aengus" by William Butler Yates. After working together on visualizing and interpreting what we felt the poem meant, partners took their thoughts and created a story version of the whole poem or just some of the stanzas. Here are two of those stories.

Molly and Rachel's Story - The First Two Stanzas

The man went to the woods nearby because he was confused. He had peeled wood from a tree and then made a wand to fish with. He went over the stream to get a berry on his string. When the moths and birds were finally coming out and when the lightning bugs and stars were flickering out, he went fishing. To get across the flowing stream he made a bridge.

He caught a silver trout, and he laid the fish on his floor at home. He set up a fire nearby to heat the fish up. Then he heard a rustle on the floor. Somebody called his name!

Sam and Megan's Story - The Whole Poem

There once was a man who had fire in his head. When he went to the hazelwood he fished for a silver trout when stars were flickering about. Not knowing the fish was a disquised human, he took it home and laid it on the floor.

Suddenly, the fish turned into a girl! The man got frightened and mystified, and the girl ran away. The man tried to chase her on the hollow lands. She faded through the brightening air. Though the man is now old, he wanders to find where she has gone.

Lily and Xavier's Story - The Whole Poem

I went out to the woods because my hair is red. I cut a stick from a tree. I put a berry on a hook, a moth went to my berry, and lightning came down from the sky. I dropped the berry in the stream and caught a fish.

I laid my fish on the floor and went to make the fire bigger. But then the fish flopped on the floor, and some random person yelled my name. The person who yelled my name was a girl who had a flower in her hair. She said my name and ran away through the foggy, clearing weather. 

Even though I am old and very confused, I will run through lots of empty lands with lots of hills to find out where the girl has gone. I will give her a kiss and hold her hands. We will walk through the bits of long grass and work until it's time to quit the job. The moon looks like silver in the sky, and the sun looks like gold from above.

You can check out other stories by clicking the links we add here when they are published on our student blogs!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Science Review

During this week we are taking a little bit of time to review all of the many topics we've learned in science the last few years. The Science PSSAs actually offer us a lot of opportunities to review and get some hands on practice of some fun topics.

One of those fun topics is clouds, and reviewing clouds goes right along with what we're learning in Social Studies right now: climate! Did you know that climate is the temperature and precipitation that a place has over a long period of time? And the different types of clouds are seen in different climates depending upon the different precipitation that falls... or doesn't!

Today we learned a song to help us remember the different types of clouds. You can try it out for yourself to see how well you can sing The Cloud Song!! I think we're just about ready to try out for The Voice! :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wetlands, Conservation, and Pollution

This afternoon we had the opportunity to participate in a special presentation that taught us how easy it is for a watershed to become polluted. Mrs. Risser, one of our aides at Bainbridge Elementary, came to visit us at Bear Creek, and brought along a very cool model of the watershed of Elizabethtown. We were able to review that watersheds were all of the tributaries that flow into larger rivers and bodies of water. Here in Elizabethtown we are part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

After reviewing watersheds, Mrs. Risser started talking about the different things that we do every day in our normal lives that can pollute a watershed. Did you know that if you put fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides on your yard, you could pollute our watershed? You have to be very careful to follow the instructions for using these chemicals because if you apply too much, they just sit on the ground. Then, the next time it rains they flow right across the ground and into the streams and creeks. Cutting down trees, farming, and building houses can also pollute our watershed because of erosion. If farmers and builders don't take care of the ground, large amounts of soil can wash into the creeks!

Now, it was one thing to HEAR about all of this, but Mrs. Risser used a really great model to help us SEE exactly what happens. Kids sprinkled cocoa and Kool-Aid on the model to represent soil and the different chemical. Then two of our friends sprayed it with a bunch of water to pretend it was a heavy rain storm. You should have seen the colors run right out into the streams, creeks, and river!! This model helped us understand what happens with runoff and pollution, and we got to see exactly why we have to be careful with our Earth. We really appreciate the way Mrs. Risser helped us understand this, and we hope you'll check out the pictures to see for yourself.

Mrs. Risser introduces us to the watershed model.

Did you know that there is only a very small part of the Earth that can actually be used for farming?

Mrs. Risser used an apple to show us the tiny part of the Earth that is left to grow our food.

Sprinkling Kool-Aid on the model to represent fertilizer.

Adding more Kool-Aid to represent herbicides and pesticides.

It's a storm!!!!

If you look in the blue part at the front of the model, you can really see how the colors have run off into the river. That's what happens when we pollute our watershed!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

More Wetlands Podcasts

Here are the rest of our wetlands podcasts!! We hope you learn even more from these!!!

Enjoy Team Turtle's podcast:

We hope you learn a lot from Team Thunder:

Here's what Team Fox has to say about the wetlands:

Finally, check out Team DJM's presentation:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wetlands Podcasts

Our class is very lucky that our school sits right in the middle of some beautiful wetlands. And over the course of the last month, we have been learning about what wetlands are, why wetlands are important, and how they are being destroyed. We hope you'll take a minute to listen to our podcasts and become more mindful about protecting the environment.

Enjoy this podcast from Team Lightning:

Listen to this podcast from Team Gummy Bear:

We hope you learn a lot from Team Snapper:

And enjoy this podcast from Team Cardinal:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why Reading Homework

Have you ever stopped to wonder what the big deal really is about reading homework? Why do teachers encourage, and is it really that big of a deal if your child skips reading each night?

The fact is, yes, it does, and this graphic popped up via the website Upworthy that helps visualize exactly what a difference reading each night actual makes for your child. Now this graphic uses 20 minutes of reading each night as it's basis, instead of the 15 that we do, but I think you can get the general idea. Look at the learning that happens outside of school when your child reads each night:

By the end of 6th grade you can see that a child who reads each night experiences the learning that happens in 60 days of school. And the best part is that your child can be reading books they love or about topics they love! Remember that chapter books aren't the only thing you child can learn from as they are reading. Websites, magazines, newspapers - these are all great resources for your child to learn as they are reading. If you need more suggestions about topics, books or resources, please let me know!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Field Trip Update

Hello Families! Anybody else ready for spring??? I know I definitely am!

I wanted to give you an update on our field trip. As of right now (Wednesday evening) our field trip will still be held on Friday, January 24. Your child will need to wear comfortable shoes and dress warmly because we will be on our feet all day, and we will be walking approximately 2 blocks from the capitol building to the museum.

If there is a 2 hour delay on Friday, our field trip will be postponed until Friday, February 7. This will be an automatic decision, but we will try to post the information here, on Twitter, and on the Bear Creek website if the decision needs to be made.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the trip on Friday. Fingers crossed that we have a full day of school so we can go and enjoy our time in Harrisburg!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Holiday Fun

We had a busy month between parent teacher conferences and our holiday break! We all worked very hard to write about our lives as a water drop going through the water cycle, and you will see those pieces published on the blog very soon. We practiced our reading strategies and skills by learning about how they celebrate Christmas in the tropical climate of Hawaii, and we started to learn about the physical regions of Pennsylvania.

Please be on the lookout for our field trip permission slip which will be coming home on January 6! We'll be traveling to the state capitol and museum in Harrisburg on January 24, and we are very excited for the trip.

Our last day before break was filled with fun, food, and teamwork! Everybody enjoyed the delicious food we had for breakfast (a special thanks to Miss Conrad and Ms. Miller for flipping ALL of those pancakes!) and to all of the families who donated supplies for the morning. Please check out the fun we had in our slideshow below! You'll see us enjoying breakfast, stuffing Santa's belly full of jelly (aka balloons), playing pictionary and bingo, having a snowball toss, and participating in a snowman building contest and a Hershey kiss relay. It was definitely a fun way to celebrate the end of 2013!