Thursday, September 22, 2016

We Are Water

We started off the school year learning about fresh and salt water bodies of water, and then we learned that fresh water bodies of water can be either lentic systems (bodies of water that stand still) or lotic systems (bodies of water that move from one place to another). But a huge question remained. Where exactly does all of the water come from?? How do we get all of that water into those bodies of water?

This week we started answering those questions by starting our unit on the water cycle. We learned that precipitation is water that falls from the sky, and it falls in the form of rain, snow, sleet or hail. Once it falls to the earth's surface, precipitation can become runoff, it can be part of a collection (as a puddle or one of our bodies of water), or it can become ground water.

Take a look at the videos below. The students in the Bair's Den became water drops and experienced runoff and collection. Ask your child to explain the process to you while you watch!

The Bair's Den AM - Runoff and Collection

The Bair's Den PM - Runoff and Collection

Dot Day

On September 15, people from all over the world celebrate International Dot Day. If you've never read the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, it's a short and sweet picture book where a student learned the power of having somebody believe in you, believing in yourself, and paying it forward.

The Bair's Den celebrated Dot Day on September 16 this year. As a class, we talked about all of the things that you're saying about yourself or thinking about yourself when you say, "I can't." Our class believes that when you say you can't, you don't believe in yourself. You don't even try things so you don't know what you CAN do. If you say I can't, it means you don't respect yourself because you won't even give yourself a chance. These were important lessons that got added to our wall of learning, and we look at them often.

This story inspired all of us to make our own dots, and as we worked we thought about the mark we wanted to make on Bear Creek this year. We also thought about how many times we say, "I can't," and made our own goals to start saying, "I'll try," or, "I can!"

Please enjoy our dots.... the official picture and our silly, goofy, wacky selves.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How to Disagree

We have been very busy learning all sorts of important strategies and routines for working independently in the classroom. There are 4 different stations students will be working on during our guided math group time: fun facts, challenges, problem solving, and technology. Over the course of the next week, I'll be posting information about each of the different stations and what you can do at home. But here are some quick summaries of the different stations:

  • Fun facts is designed to help the students become more confident and fluent with their facts so computation becomes easier. This is an individualized station where students work on their own personal level.
  • Challenges like the broken calculator and challenge 24 get us thinking about numbers in different ways.
  • Problem solving is our most challenging station. These multi-step problems require us to use many different math and thinking skills. Our goal is not necessarily to get these problems correct; the goal is to try a variety of strategies.
  • Technology is another individualized station where students work on our fourth grade skills at their person level. While we will be using Study Island, our biggest focus will be a website and app called Front Row.
Now you may be wondering, what in the world does this have to do with the post title, How to Disagree? In addition to learning these important math routines, we've also been learning what it takes to be a good teammate. Our second word of the week is respectful, and while it's easy to be respectful when you're having fun and agreeing with others, disagreements are a different story. 

While I could take the time about how to disagree, I thought Kid President said it really well. After we watched his take on disagreeing, we talked about each step and added them to our wall of learning. Hopefully this year we can learn to disagree and still treat people well. Check out what Kid President has to say!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Free Bear

It was a very exciting day in 4th grade because we got to experience our first Free Bear! What is Free Bear you ask? Well, every cycle day 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, from 12:10 - 12:40, all of 4th grade attends a clinic. The clinics are interventions to provide extra support and enrichment to push students' thinking. But on Day 6.... on this wonderful day, students who've earned it by following the Code of Conduct and getting their work done get to choose the activity they'd like to experience. Choices include:

  • dodgeball
  • nature walk
  • computers
  • movie
  • sidewalk chalk
  • legos
  • board games
  • Challenge 24 
  • drawing
  • yoga
  • puzzles
While we didn't get to see any animals on our nature walk today (a group of about 50 makes being quiet a bit challenging!), we did get a chance to check out a really cool plant that we call a Touch Me Not. We realized that the plants at Bear Creek have very unique ways of spreading their seeds. The cattails go from looking like giant corn dogs to GIANT Q-tips. Touch Me Nots are very unique as well. Their seeds grow in pods. The pods grow bigger and bigger until..... well, you just need to check out our slow-motion video below to see what happens! It was a great day to be a 4th grader at Bear Creek. We can't wait for the next Day 6!


This year, my homeroom will be focusing on a different word each week during our class meeting. As we thought about which words we wanted to focus on, it seemed like there would be no better word than the word brave to start off the year. We all need to be brave when we start a new school year, and we all need to be brave as we meet new groups of people. There's a lot of things we want to be brave about. Check out our slideshow below to see how we all hope to be brave at home, at school, or in the future!