Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Advice For President Trump

Last Friday, we watched one of our country's most important traditions- the peaceful transition of power. This election, more than any I can remember, was full of strong opinions for and against each of the candidates. Some people were happy with the outcome, while others were disappointed. Regardless of how you feel about him, on Friday, January 20, at about noon, Donald J. Trump became our 45th President. We watched him take the oath of office, (although when I told the kids we would be watching the swearing-in ceremony, one student asked incredulously, "They're going to be swearing at the ceremony?!"

It was powerful to see the thousands of people gathered in Washington for this important ritual. Students were very interested in what was happening, and asked lots of questions. It was a great learning experience. I asked them what advice they would give to President Trump. Their answers are below.

Kid President also has some timely advice...on how to disagree. Maybe President Trump and the politicians in Washington should watch!

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Telling Room

We had an amazing morning at The Telling Room, a nonprofit writing studio in Portland.
 We warmed up with an activity called "Polaroid" where we had to freeze and represent something in a scene. Our scene was during a volcano eruption in Pompeii.
Then we got to walk around Commercial St. and use our 5 senses to to describe our surroundings.  
When we came back inside, we used the words and phrases we wrote down to create haikus.

 Thanks to Marjo, Thew, and Myles from The Telling Room for all your help.Thanks also to Tyler and Amelia's dads, and Seth's mom for chaperoning. Check out our haikus! (You can click on a picture to make it bigger.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"I Am NOT A Turkey!" Projects

 We had a lot of fun creating and sharing our disguised turkeys. So many creative ideas! 
 Luke Skywalker and an old Granny
 A hip-hop dancer and a hunter
 A gymnast and Albert Einstein
Cinderella and a Brussels Sprout
 A policeman and a paperboy
 A race car driver and an army soldier
 Amelia Earhart and Superman
 Isaiah Thomas from the Celtics and Punky Brewster
 A magician and a tiger
 A firefighter and Supergirl
 A ninja and Batman

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Terrific Teamwork!

We have been all about teamwork in fourth grade this week! On Monday, groups worked together to build the tallest tower they could from candy corn and toothpicks.
Unfortunately, the candy corn kept breaking, so our towers weren't as high as we had hoped. It was a good lesson in dealing with frustration, however. We talked about perseverance, and how scientists trying new things often have to deal with things not going their way, but they don't give up.

On Tuesday we had our second Adventure-Based Learning, or ABL, of the year. We are lucky that we get to participate in Sweetser's ABL program, which emphasizes cooperation and group problem-solving. A couple of times a month, all the fourth graders spend most of the morning in the gym on a variety of challenges that require them to communicate and work together in order to be successful.
One of the challenges our first week was to see how many times each focus group could hit a balloon ball  to keep it in the air. Lots of teamwork needed for this one!
This past week, the big challenge was to make a line that reached all the way across the gym, using only your group and what belonged to you. At first it seemed impossible, but with some brainstorming and cooperation, it was amazing what happened!

We finished up the week with some cooperative research based on the S.O.L.E. model, which stands for Self-Organized Learning Environment. Students worked in groups of 3-4 to research a Big Question, and report their findings to the rest of the class. Our question connected to our current math focus on measurement. We were wondering why different places in the world used different units of measurement.
We talked about what keywords might get us the results we wanted, and decided we should search for "History of Measurement for Kids," and  "Customary vs. Metric Measurement for Kids". 
Students had 30 minutes to research and find answers to the Big Question. They took notes so that they could share what they learned with the rest of the class.
We learned that the Egyptians were the first people to use a unit of measurement- the cubit. Many units of measurement were based on the human body, such as a foot.
We also learned that the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar are the only three countries that use the Customary System of measurement, rather than the Metric System. A meter, the basic unit to measure length in the Metric System, is one ten millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator. 
Everyone was excited to share what they learned. We all enjoyed learning more about measurement. In math class, we've started measuring items to the nearest inch. Next will be measuring to the nearest 1/2 and 1/4 inch. Families, look for opportunities to ask your child to measure real items at home. They need lots of practice to internalize the different units of measurement. If you don't own a ruler, tape measure, or yardstick, please consider getting at least one of them so that your child can practice, (plus they are just handy to have around!)
Here are the measurement charts that students will be putting into their math notebooks this week.

Thanks for reading about our terrific week of teamwork!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Weather at Your School

We had an exciting day a couple of weeks ago when meteorologist Mallory Brooke, from Channel 8, came to our school early on a Tuesday morning for the Weather at Your School program. And when I say early, I mean 4:30 am early! (No, we weren't there at that time, but when I got up at 4:30, I turned on my t.v. and saw her already broadcasting, outside of Skillin!)

Students were invited to come between 6:00 am and 7:00 to help out with the Bus Stop forecasts, and several hardy souls made the effort and came before the sun was even up!
 Mallory and cameraman Frank came into the school to give a weather presentation at 9:15.
We learned how Mallory uses the maps from the National Weather Service to forecast the weather up to a week ahead of time. The different colors mean different intensities of precipitation. We were glad to see rain forecast for later in the week, since southern Maine is having a drought.
Gavin got to ask a question on-camera for evening meteorologist Roger Griswold. He did an awesome job!

We were so happy to be chosen for the Weather at Your School program. It ties in perfectly with our science focus of Weather and Water, and we now understand a lot more about Mallory's job. She first decided on this career when she was only in 4h grade herself, and based on student comments I heard after she left, I think Mallory has inspired a few future meteorologists herself!