Thank you to Cadence (Whit’s big sister) and Grummy (Avery and Lucas’s grandma) for being our Mystery Readers this week and last! We loved being surprised by your visit and hearing a new story from you! THANK YOU!
To conclude our study of the five regions of the United States, students planned a road trip to their top favorite National Parks. Before we left for spring break, students started working on this project, where they had to first decide which National Parks piqued their interest. From there, students narrowed down their list down to five, and then to a final three parks. Students then used price sheets to help them calculate the cost of airfare, daily rental car and transportation-related costs, lodging, food, and activities for each park. They mapped out their trip and created a final slide presentation to show where they “went” on their road trip. We had so much fun learning about the different parks, and then learning that 4th graders get into National Parks for free!
Check out their presentations! (Please note: Some slides may require additional access permission. Be sure to email me if you need access.)
Learn about how your child can learn more about the National Parks over the summer:
- Check out Every Kid Outdoors where you can learn more about how to get your National Parks Pass (free to 4th graders!)Check out these amazing interactive trips to 5 National Parks with Google, and take a Virtual Visit to a National Park.
- Consider becoming a Junior Ranger by completing some digital activities and learn more about some of our wonderful natural wonders and historic sites. Many of these are activities that you can start now and keep your brain learning over the summer with some reading and writing activities. There are plenty of online activity guides & interactives to explore!
- Unearth the basics of archeology as a Junior Archeologist, gaze up at the stars as a Junior Ranger Night Explorer, dig for fossils as a Junior Paleontologist, or blast off out of this world as a Spaceflight Explorer Junior Ranger. Young train and railroad lovers can become Junior Ranger Railroad Explorers.
- Print out and complete a National Parks Map & Activity.
To practice our nonfiction reading skills this trimester, students chose a historical event or topic, researched it, and then used their research to “teach” the rest of us about the topic/event using a choice board of activities. Check them out!
Check out some amazing videos, skits, and projects uploaded to Padlet:
- Aven’s skit on the Joplin tornado
- Avery’s video on the Vietnam War
- Lucas’s video on the Great Depression
- Violet’s projects on the Orphan Train Movement
- Whit’s projects on the Japanese Internment During WWII
- Alyssa’s projects on the Great Chicago Fire
- Aston’s project on the Pandemic of 1918
Ecology Investigations and Scavenger Hunts
This trimester, students focused on aspects of Ecology. First, we completed an ecosystem scavenger hunt to practice our skills of observation as we watched for interactions among organisms. We researched pond and desert ecosystems, and noted the biotic and abiotic (living and nonliving) elements and interactions of each. Students put their learning into illustrations and oral summaries, and used the platform Educreations or Flipgrid to create a lesson in which they taught the rest of us what they learned. A huge thumbs-up to these students for trying something new to show off their learning, from a distance!
Biome and Organism Research Project
As a final project, students chose a biome and researched a specific organism living in that biome. Using websites such as Blue Planet Biomes, Arizona State University’s “Ask a Biologist,” NASA’s “Climate Kids,” and DK Find Out, students researched biotic factors (producers, consumers, and decomposers) and abiotic factors (sunlight, temperature, precipitation, and other aspects of the physical environment). They researched their organism’s habitat, physical and behavioral adaptations, diet, and interactions between other organisms in relation to its part in the food chain and food web within that ecosystem. Lastly, we researched the various ways that humans can negatively and positively affect the organism and its environment. Here are snippets of the organisms researched by some 4th graders.
These students have become experts on the following biomes and organisms. Be sure to ask them to tell you more about what they learned!
- Whit— The Temperate Rainforest and the Western Hemlock
- Violet–The Deciduous Forest and the Native Maple Tree
- Lucas–The Leatherback Sea Turtle in the saltwater/ocean biome
- Brooklyn–The Arctic Fox and the Tundra
- Avery–The Deciduous Forest and the Red Fox
- Aven–The Blue Ringed Octopus in the Coral Reef
- Aston–The Tundra and the Caribou
During Distance Learning and to honor National Poetry Month, we accessed the website Epic! to read the book Garvey’s Choice, by Nikki Grimes, which is written in verse. We stopped periodically to reflect on the character, how he changes through the story, and other major story events. We practiced our summary writing skills using the format Somebody Wanted But So Then, which summarizes the character, their problem, how they solved the problem, and how the story ended.
Check out Ben’s summary:
In the book Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes, Garvey, a 9 or 10 year old kid is interested in astronomy, science fiction, and reading. He likes almost anything but sport. Garvey’s dad wants him to be a jock but Garvey refuses to. At his school people call him names like “Two-ton” and “Fatso” At first Garvey does not like it, but then when he joins choir he meets a kid named Manny. Manny has albinism, so people at his school call Manny names like “Albino boy” and “Ghost” but Manny does not mind. He teaches Garvey to choose the name he responds to. At the end of the book Garvey learns to no mind the insults. A metaphor in the book comes from Garvey “The insults bounce off me like raindrops, and I dance in the puddle they make.” In conclusion, Garvey eventually makes a good bond between him and his father.
Here is Avery’s summary:
In Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes, Garvey doesn’t have a good relationship with his father and his father has always wanted Garvey to play football, but Garvey is only interested in the star’s and books, for example, reading anything but sports. When he feels like a failure he comforts himself by eating food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, and a loyal friend to Manny, and Joe. Garvey is also overweight, and teased by other kids. For example one kid called him “’Dump Truck” and another kid said “see you a’round. Get it… A’round.” At the end of the book Garvey’s dad has his old band come over and Garvey gets to sing the main chorus when he does sing the main chorus he thought my voice and the band is an amazing mix. Read this book to find out if Garvey gets a good relationship with his dad.
In the book Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes, Garvey wanted to have a better relationship with his father. His father wanted him to play sports. Specifically football. Garvey wasn’t a sporty kind of guy. He was more into music, the stars, and reading. But Garvey realised that his father and his fathers father were football friends because thats what they talked about. Garvey realised that he messed up by not wanting to play football. So after that Garvey joined a music club and thought he found the missing puzzle piece of his life. He met a friend named Manny who has albinism and they became friends. Then Garvey did a musical and his dad came to it. Once it was over his dad was proud of him and then Garvey and his dad had a good relationship after all.
Students also created Flipgrid videos to give a reading reflection of a book they are currently reading or have just finished.
Ben’s summary of Percy Jackson and The Olympians. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan:
This book is about a kid named Percy Jackson who gets found by a creature called a Satyr. They are half goat, half person. He finds out he is a demigod; which are half human, half God. They take him to a place called Camp Half-Blood. In the real world there are many monsters who are trying to kill the demigods. But, at Camp Half-Blood monsters cannot get in.
In the book Percy is Poseidon the God of the Sea’s son. He is accused of stealing Zeus’ symbol of power, the Master Bolt. Percy goes to find the Master Bolt with Annabeth and Grover. Annabeth is also a half-blood. Her mom is Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Battle. Grover is the Satyr who found Percy. Their journey takes them to Hades, and few other places.
In the Chapter We take a Zebra to Vegas Percy, Annabeth, and Grover have just retrieved Ares, The God of War’s shield which was hidden in a trap. During this part Ares tells Percy “Free ride West, punk. Stop complaining.” after promising them a reward for getting his shield. They end up taking an animal transport from Vegas to Los Angeles. Inside the transport is a zebra, albino lion and an antelope. Because Grover is a Satyr he was able to communicate with the lion and antelope. Percy could communicate with the zebra because his Dad Poseidon created horses.
I chose this passage to represent the book because it is an important part. It’s one of their last legs on their trip to the Underworld to “find” the Master Bolt.
For Earth Day, students had the option to choose to complete an Earth Day Scavenger Hunt OR compose an Earth Day poem. Students then used Flipgrid to record their poem or a video to show the items found for the scavenger hunt. Check out some of their videos!
During our distance learning time, we had the opportunity for a Show & Tell and Talent Show. Here are some grainy pictures to show a little bit of how we have been trying to connect over the past month. Enjoy!
Students were asked to share a haiku during our classroom meeting in Zoom today. A haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. The topic of our haiku: Distance Learning. Here are a few written by 4th graders:
We learn what we can.
I would rather be at school.
I want to see friends.
There’s the quarantine
And the social distancing
And now homeschooling?
Blankets and pillows
Surrounding me as I talk
To my friends on Zoom
I was stuck at home
With a lot to do at school
But it’s not so bad
The mornings: drowsy
At three-thirty: weak
Sadly, I’m stuck here
Distance learning isn’t pleasant
But I’m still getting through
No longer at school
The four walls of my bedroom
Currently my view
Distance learning plans
Computer, Google docs, Zoom
My school has now changed
We work together apart
This is a nightmare
We had so much fun making our arcade to show what we’ve learned about force and motion concepts!
To begin, we took inspiration from Caine’s Arcade. Caine was 9 years old and living in California when he created an arcade out of cardboard boxes at his dad’s shop. He is quite the engineer and we loved learning about him. From there, we took game ideas and turned them into our own playable creations! We loved playing each other’s games, and even had the 3rd and 5th grade classes join us for play!