Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Plant Questions

Here are the answers for our science study guide questions tonight:

Friday, December 4, 2015

Understanding Government

Over the last few weeks, we have started our unit about what makes Pennsylvania a unique state, and we started by talking about our state's government. We learned the interesting fact that our state government was the model for the United State government and other states' governments. Since we learned about the federal government last year in third grade, that made things pretty easy for us!

One thing we talked about was the concept of checks and balances. All of the branches of our government have equal power because they each have special jobs to keep the others from getting too much power. Unfortunately, we've also talked about how people don't work together, and then we have problems like our current budget situation here in PA.

To really highlight how the branches of government have to work together, we did an activity where three friends had to balance a marble on a triangular piece of paper. It doesn't sound hard, but we very quickly learned that it was REALLY challenging. There were marbles bouncing all over the room! Eventually we figured out that we had to work together and hold the paper equally to get the marble to balance. It took a while, but we it really helped us understand how the branches of government have to work together.

Is this how we're supposed to do it?
I think we've got it!
Dropping the marble to see what happens
Uh oh! Watch out!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Goodbye

Last Thursday the Bair's Den had to say it's first goodbye of the school year. Our friend Katie is moving on to a new school, so we sent her off with a bang. We did a compliments car wash for Katie, and each of us let Katie know all of the things we noticed about her that made her a kind, caring person. It was a sad day, but we know that Katie will make us proud!

The Bair's Den with Katie one final time

The required silly picture

Monday, November 23, 2015

Finally! Ag Day!

On October 15, we had the opportunity to experience 10 different stations taught by students taking agriculture classes at the high school. These students worked diligently to put together small stations that helped us learn about agriculture business topics and environmental topics. We got to see and pet animals, climb into a tractor and combine, and participate in games and activities to help us learn topics important to us and our community. Some of us also got to see our siblings, as well!!

We were very excited to spend time with the high school students. Check out the slideshow below to get a glimpse of our experiences that day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Water Cycle

These past two weeks we've been learning about the water cycle. We completed two experiments to show how evaporation happens even in our classroom, and we were really excited to watch the runoff last week when we had so much precipitation. As we get ready to learn about condensation and start our writing pieces, you can use this song to help your child review the process of the water cycle!
Be prepared... you may not be able to get this song out of your head!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Be a Problem Solver, Not a Problem Maker

"We're all good people. Sometimes we just don't make the right choices."
- Khila

Khila's quote is a great example of how we wrapped up our "unit" on team building this week. Since the beginning of school we have really been focusing on how our actions affect others, how it's important to stop and think when we respond to situations, and how we all have choices when it comes to challenging situations.

One thing our whole class agreed upon is that when you are frustrated, upset, and angry, it's hard to stop and make the right choice. We also all agreed that nobody is perfect; even grown-ups could sometimes make different choices about how we respond when we are upset. But we all agreed that our goal will be to choose actions that will help solve problems that are happening instead of making more problems.

What does is mean to make more problems? The kids had some really great ideas not only about what problem solvers do, but WHY they do those things. Here is the chart we created together, and yes, these were all of the kids' ideas!

After we thought about how quick and easy it is to respond with a choice that make more problems, we brainstormed all of the things that problem solvers do. I think we could have probably filled up two or three charts, but these were the top answers and the "whys" behind them.

As Khila said, we all know that we will never be problem solvers 100% of the time. We are all humans and everybody makes mistakes. But if we can get ourselves to stop and think before we act sometimes, hopefully we will start solving more problems than making problems bigger.

This will continue to be a theme throughout the entire year, and you can use this as a reminder for your kids' at home. We are specifically focusing on the why behind the actions to help us better understand how to make a different choice.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Understanding Genre

We have been talking about a new, fancy grown-up word the last few days, and that word is genre. Genre is a word we use that means different types of books. Books are split into two main categories, fiction and nonfiction, and there are many different genres in each of those categories. So far we have learned about fantasy books and science fiction books. Both of these are examples of fiction genres.

So what can you do to help your child understand what types of books he or she is reading? A simple way is to ask if they are reading a fiction or a nonfiction text. The pictures below give the definition we're using in class and some examples of each. Understanding the types of books that they are reading and the purpose for those books often helps kids start to understand books a little better. While we will be talking about all of the different genres of books during the next week, this is a topic we will review throughout the year so keep asking your child what kind of book they are reading!

We typically read nonfiction books because we would like to learn something new. Nonfiction books include facts, and they often have photographs and a variety of different text tools like a table of contents, an index, captions, and many others.

We typically read fiction books for entertainment. Fiction books are stories that include characters, setting, a plot (problem events), and a resolution. There are many different types of fiction genres including fantasy, realistic fiction, historical fiction, fairy tales, folktales, and myths.

Pep Rally

Tomorrow night is Bear Creek Night at the Elizabethtown Area High School football game. All of the kids brought home blue tickets in their homework folders today. If you take that ticket to the football game, the kids will get in free. To celebrate Bear Creek Night, we held a pep rally today. The entire school met in the bus lot to hear from some football players, cheer with the cheerleaders, and clap along to the band. Take a look at the pictures and videos below to enjoy some of the excitement. And don't forget to wear your blue and white tomorrow to celebrate our second school spirit day!

The band played while everybody met out front.

Dr. Spagnolo and Mr. Kingsborough led the cheers!

The football team thanked us for our support and invited us to tomorrow night's game.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Teamwork and a Positive Mindset

Our second week of school was just as busy as the first, and we wrapped up with a special activity with Mrs. DelMarcelle. Mrs. DelMarcelle is our instructional coach at Bear Creek. She teaches some clinics, and she co-teaches with classroom teachers to help them try out new techniques and strategies. To help us get to know her a little better, she came to our classroom and helped us do a teamwork activity.

The object of the activity was to use 12 straws and an 18 inch piece of masking tape to make a golf ball catcher. Our teams had only 12 minutes to make our catcher, and it was a challenge!! Some teams got to work right away, and other teams had some disagreements in the plan. In the end none of our groups were able to catch the golf ball, but we learned some really valuable lessons about working together and listening to each other. We are going to try and use these lessons as we move through the year.

Working together to make the golf ball catcher

Everybody had a job to do

Brainstorming a plan for their catcher

Another big thing that we are trying to work on is our attitude. Many of the things we'll do this year are very challenging, and a lot of students are very quick to give up when the going gets tough. If you're wondering how to talk to your child about having a more positive attitude, here are some phrases you can try. Next time you hear your child say one of these phrases in white, try rephrasing with one of these colored phrases to help them develop perseverance and a growth mindset.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Off to a Busy Start

It has been a busy first 6 days in the Bair's Den! We celebrated our "Happy New Year" by learning how to open our lockers, getting to know each other a little better, and learning a lot about how things work around Bear Creek.

The students on Team Kit Kat (or team 4A) got to learn how similar we are by playing 20 questions. The teachers would ask a question, and we would stand up and give a high 5 to others who answered the same as us. Some of the questions included, "Have you ever flown in an airplane?" and, "Do you have more than 4 brothers and sisters?" We also found out who has lived in other states and who went to another state for vacations this summer. It was great to get to know each other and make some new friends!

Kit Kat kids and teachers playing 20 questions

Besides decorating our doors, we had a "New Years Celebration" before lunch on the first day of school! All of the fourth graders came out in the hallway and used noise makers to celebrate the new year. It was quite the noisy experience, but it was a lot of fun. Our final special New Year's celebration was to make our own party hats. We decorated the hats with things that told a little about ourselves, and as you can see we make quite a handsome crew!

Throughout the first 6 days we have been focused on being good teammates. We are thinking about how our actions affect others, we took our first pretest and started our math classes, we're learning how to do classroom routines like Read to Self and Work on Writing, and we're all learning to find our place at Bear Creek. So it has definitely been a busy week, but don't worry; even with all that work we Bair's Den kids - we still know how to have some fun!!

Yup - we are super silly!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Happy New Year!

I hope you all are getting as excited as I am for the start of our new school. The fourth grade wing has a very special "new year celebration" planned for you as we start our new adventures at Bear Creek. We'll be celebrating a Happy New Year in August instead of January! Each teacher has picked a country, and on the first day of school, we will ring in the new year. Can you guess which country I picked for our classroom?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Open House

Thank you to everybody who was able to come out to our Open House this afternoon. I was very excited to be able to meet 16 new friends! I am really looking forward to getting our year started, and by the looks of things, so are you! Check out what the newest 4th graders said they were looking forward to!

Just like you, I'm excited to get to know my new friends, see you succeed at your lockers, and have lots of fun! But I'm like you in another way, too. I'm always a little bit nervous about the start of the new year. Don't worry, though! We will have a great time getting to know each other and Bear Creek next week. Come prepared with any questions you have about the school, 4th grade, or me. We will have lots to start learning next week.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

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. Here is the special schedule that we will follow:

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

As you can see, we will have Phys Ed on our first day, so please be sure to wear or bring sneakers. We also eat a very late lunch (12:40 - 1:25) so we have a snack time each morning. We have two food allergies in our class this year, a peanut allergy and a raisin allergy, so please be mindful of that as you are packing healthy snacks for your child. A piece of fruit (apple, banana), goldfish, and pretzels are all all great snack ideas to start the year.

I'm hoping that all of you will be able to come and join me on Tuesday, August 25 from 2:30 - 4 PM 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!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Welcome to 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 3, 2015

Exercise Your Brain

While it's easy to think about reading and practicing math facts as fun things to do over the summer, there are many other ways to keep your brain in shape! You can click on the image below to see some fun and different ways to keep your brain (and your parents' brains!) working over the summer.

Another fun activity we've enjoyed this year was GoNoodle. Starting June 29 your family can can enjoy Camp GoNoodle! Sign up here to get in on the fun!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Celebrating Hubble and New York

Today we talked about the importance of our learning to the real world, and we specifically talked about how science, math, and research help us every day. To highlight the importance of developing these important skills, and the importance of being creative, we talked about two milestones: the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Telescope and the opening of One World Trade Center.

Both of these accomplishments showcase people using art, math, science, creative thinking, and problem solving skills. We also noticed that reading and writing were important parts of the ways people were sharing these important events with the world. While we couldn't take time to look at every image or learn every fact about Hubble and One World Trade Center, the kids were very interested about both. You can check out the links below or do your own search to learn more about both of these events.

The Official Hubble Site

One World Trade Center

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Watch the Eagles!

Today we had some time to learn about one of the top predators in Pennsylvania, the bald eagle. In math class we completed a graphing activity, and one of the favorite animal choices was the bald eagle. After we surveyed our friends and made bar graphs, pictographs, and line plots using the results, we had a chance to watch the live eagle nest cam from Codorus State Park.

Did you know the following fun facts:

1. Female eagles are actually bigger than male eagles.
2. The eagles don't actually sit ON the babies, the nestle around them and cover the babies to protect them.
3. The adult eagles don't always feed the baby eagles when they bring food back to the next.
4. The eagles' nest is about as wide as Mrs. Bair is tall! That's over 6 feet.

There are many more amazing facts you can learn about bald eagles by checking out the webpage with the live eagle cam! You can view it by clicking here!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Protect the Wetlands - 4!

Over the course of the last two months, we have been learning about ecosystems, food chains, and the delicate balance that's found in the environment. During the last few weeks, we put it all together while learning about a specific kind of ecosystem: the wetlands. Using what we learned, each student had to decide which claim they wanted to support in a writing piece and podcast. The claims where that everybody should protect wetlands or that wetlands should be developed for buildings and more usable space. Take a listen to hear what Aleisha, Jed, Dean, and Damien have to say on this important topic!

Protect the Wetlands - 3!

Over the course of the last two months, we have been learning about ecosystems, food chains, and the delicate balance that's found in the environment. During the last few weeks, we put it all together while learning about a specific kind of ecosystem: the wetlands. Using what we learned, each student had to decide which claim they wanted to support in a writing piece and podcast. The claims where that everybody should protect wetlands or that wetlands should be developed for buildings and more usable space. Take a listen to hear what Natalie, Gracin, Hunter, and Ryan have to say on this important topic!

Protect the Wetlands - 2!

Over the course of the last two months, we have been learning about ecosystems, food chains, and the delicate balance that's found in the environment. During the last few weeks, we put it all together while learning about a specific kind of ecosystem: the wetlands. Using what we learned, each student had to decide which claim they wanted to support in a writing piece and podcast. The claims where that everybody should protect wetlands or that wetlands should be developed for buildings and more usable space. Take a listen to hear what Emma, Bradley, Chris, and Calder have to say on this important topic!

Protect the Wetlands!

Over the course of the last two months, we have been learning about ecosystems, food chains, and the delicate balance that's found in the environment. During the last few weeks, we put it all together while learning about a specific kind of ecosystem: the wetlands. Using what we learned, each student had to decide which claim they wanted to support in a writing piece and podcast. The claims where that everybody should protect wetlands or that wetlands should be developed for buildings and more usable space. Take a listen to hear what Makayla, Austin, Andreas, and Cole have to say on this important topic!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The State Capitol

On Friday, February 6 we had the chance to visit Pennsylvania's state capitol and state museum. The students of the Bair's Den did an amazing job representing themselves and Elizabethtown, and we learned a lot along the way!

We started in the newly updated Welcome Center at the state capitol building. The kids got to try their hand at voting on a bill, played games to identify many different facts about the state, learned more about the capitol complex, and had the chance to learn about the people and facts that make Pennsylvania unique.

Then we moved on to our tour of the capitol. After an introduction in the beautiful rotunda, we had the opportunity to visit the Senate, the State Supreme Court, and the House of Representatives. We were all very impressed with the beautiful artwork that represents Pennsylvania, and we all wished we could get our hands on some of the gold. Did you know that it would be impossible to build our state capitol today because it is priceless?

After lunch in the capitol, we walked over to the museum. We had the chance to see beautiful artwork by Pennsylvania artists that was put on display for Governor Wolf's inauguration. There were historical villages, cars, and artifacts to see. And we all loved the third floor where we got to see the amazing animals of Pennsylvania!

Pennsylvania is definitely a fantastic state, and we are lucky that we live close enough that we have the opportunity to visit our state capitol and see the information we've learned in action.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wait - You Need to Read to Play Hockey

Sometimes we have a hard time understanding how grown-ups use different skills in their real lives. We often think that we're just learning about things because we need to know them for "the test" - GASP!!! But last week we found out that is not the case.

We talk a lot about how our parents use math and reading in their real lives, but on January 22, Connor Carrick, a Hershey Bears defenseman, was here at Bear Creek to tell us that even hockey players have a lot to read. They have many plays that they need to learn, there are schedules to follow, and there are events that they have to go to that require them to read speeches or different books.

Connor did a great job reading the book Snowflake Bentley to us, and he answered many of our questions about his life and playing hockey. While we still know that some of what we learn is for the test, this reminded us that even playing professional sports means you have to know how to read!

Catching Up - Saying Goodbye

It's never easy to say goodbye to a friend, but unfortunately sometimes it happens. On January 15th the Bair's Den had to say goodbye to Kylie. We had a great last day that ended with some tasty cupcakes and a compliments car wash. Each student gave Kylie a compliment to take with her to her new school. We hope that Kylie will always remember she is part of the Bair's Den!

The start of the compliments car wash

Kylie is all filled up with compliments ~ bring on her new school!

The Bair's Den '14 - '15

Catching Up - School Spirit

Nobody can claim that Team 4A doesn't have school spirit. Most recently we won the PTO's box top contest for January. During a month long contest kids from all for classes on our team brought in box tops. We were so excited to try and win the Super Bowl party that we brought in 1,260 box tops!! How amazing is that? For our enthusiasm we were rewarded with a Super Bowl Party on Friday, January 30. We each got a plate of cheesy nachos, some cookies, and a drink. We got to spend some time hanging out with our friends watching Air Bud. It was a great afternoon, and we are very proud of ourselves for the good work we did for our school.

We are not just about box tops, though. Team 4A goes all out on school spirit days, too! Check out the fun we all had on 80s Day!

Catching Up - Holiday Fun

Thanks to some amazing parent volunteers we had a wonderful time around the holidays.

First up Chris and his mom shared their Hanukkah traditions with the class. We were all very curious to hear how the holiday was different from Christmas. We heard the story of why Hanukkah was celebrated, got to hear about some of the traditions and see a menorah and dreidl, and then we got to try some Hanukkah doughnuts. We had a great time learning from Chris and his mom, and we appreciated them taking their time to come in.

Enjoying some treats!

Listening to the story

Learning about the candles and why they are lit

"Gold" Coins

We also celebrated our long holiday break with a fun party. We had Christmas treats for a snack, played some crazy "snowball" games with balloons and cotton balls, and we all had the chance to play the dreidl. Some of us ended up winning handfuls of Hershey kisses! It was a great way to ring out 2014 and get ready for the fresh start of 2015!

"Snowball" volleyball

How many "snowballs" can you pick up with your nose?

Who is the best snow shoveler?

Who's winning all the kisses?

Delicious treats!