Friday, December 13, 2013

African Safari

Mrs. Lynch, our teacher,  just got back from South Africa. She saw many different animals that we do not have in the USA.  Mrs. Lynch got to see the "Big Five".  These animals are the biggest and baddest in Africa.  These are some of the pictures Mrs. Lynch took of the "Big Five"while she was on her trip.

Cape buffalo

On Boulders Beach there are penguins.  Penguins can live there because the ocean is so cold. Sharks also like this area because of the cold water.

While in Cape Town, Mrs. Lynch visited Robben Island.  Nelson Mandela was held in this prison for speaking out against the South African government.  He wanted all South Africans to have equal rights and to be treated fairly.  After his release, Mandela became the first black president of South Africa.

Entrance to Robben Island
Mandela's prison cell

Table Mountain is also known as the Sleeping Giant.  Table Mountain is a plateau.  A plateau looks like a mountain with the peak chopped off it.  

View of Table Mountain from Robben Island

Our teacher also went to Zimbabwe to visit Victoria Falls.  Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.  It is nicknamed "The Smoke that Thunders".  It is almost twice the height as our Niagra Falls.  
Victoria Falls
When Mrs. Lynch returned from her trip, she surprised us with our own safari cars.  We used the safari cars to have our own trip to Africa.  

Our safari cars
Ready to go on a safari
Your student bloggers,
The Fantastic Fourth

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Door Decorating Contest

Every year the lower school classrooms decorate their doors for Book Character Day.  On this day we dress up like our favorite book character from any book.

This year we decorated our door like "Read Box".  Instead of renting movies, you can watch book reviews.  We used the app called Educreations and recorded our voices giving a summary of any chapter book we read.  We also included who we think would like to read this book.

We took our digital reports and turned them into QR codes.  You can scan the QR code and watch our book report videos.

We also drew the front cover of our chapter book.

You student bloggers, 
The Fantastic Fourth

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Box Top Winners

Our grade was the first Box Top winners of this school year.  We turned in Box Tops to raise money for our school.  Our school collected 3,290 Box Tops in September and the beginning of October.  Our grade alone collected 614 Box Tops.  Each Box Top is worth ten cents.  The grade who turned in the most Box Tops won a Dunkin' Donuts party.  Box Tops can be found on many foods and products.



We are going to keep collecting Box Tops so we can earn another Dunkin' Donuts party.  

Your student bloggers,
The Fantastic Fourth

Friday, October 11, 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Day

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Today we all wore pink to school.  We each donated a $1 (or more) to Women Supporting Women.  This organization helps women and men during their rough times.  Women Supporting Women can give tips, advice, support, and confidence to those in need.  

Here are some other ways we can show our support:
-wear pink
-raise money for breast cancer research/awareness
-wear pink ribbons
-hang a pink wreath on your door
-make support signs
-hug a person in need
-send a note to a cancer survivor

Your student bloggers, 
The Fantastic Fourth

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Measuring Density

Our science experiment was really fun. We used washers to measure different liquids on a scale.  The liquids we measured were cooking oil, glycerin, plain water, and alcohol.  We learned that glycerin has the most density out of these liquids.  Density is how close or spread out molecules are in a substance.   The molecules that were spread out more, weighed less.  So, they had less density.  

For fun, we measured the density of soapy water.  We learned that soap does not effect the amount of density in plain water.

Your student bloggers,
The Fantastic Fourth

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spelling Practice

The students teamed up to practice their spelling words last week.  Each group of students were given a small tub of magnetic ABC letters.  They worked together to make as many of their spelling words as possible in five minutes.  Even though we are an iPad classroom room, it is important not to do everything digitally.

This simple activity worked more than just their spelling skills.  It also tested their teamwork and communication skills. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pinwheels for Peace

Pinwheels for Peace is a national project created by a school in Florida.  It is celebrated each year on September 21.  The whole point is to write your wish on your pinwheel and as the wind blows it blows your wishes into the world.

This our Pinwheels for Peace.  Our art teacher, Miss T., asked the whole lower school to make pinwheels.  Fourth grade and fifth grade choose their favorite artists and copied their paintings on to pinwheels. Pre-K through third grade made their own designs on their pinwheels.

On our pinwheels we each wrote a wish for the world.

Sydney- I hope there are no more wars.
Alex- Stop murder
Brice- I hope there are no more wars.
Olivia- I hope people stop fighting.
Grace- I wish bullying would stop.
Brooke- I hope the whole world is in peace.
Jacob- World peace
Hannah- I wish there were no more bad people in the world.
Ayush- I hope there are no more wars.
Kate- I hope there were no wars and no one would get hurt.
Aidan- I hope there are no more wars.
Marshall- People need to stop fighting other people in their countries.
Hugh Thomas- I hope to bring peace to the world forever and ever and for all eternity.
AnnaMarie- I wish the world would be a better place.
Carter- I hope there is no more child abuse.
Kat- I wish for no more bullying and everyone would be nice to each other.
Puja- I wish everyone would get along.
Gavin- I wish for peace for the world.
Pranay- I wish the war in Syria would stop.
Sumira- I wish the world was a better place.

This is a short video we found on YouTube to tell you a little more about Pinwheels for Peace.

Your student bloggers,
The Fantastic Fourth

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Back to School Night

We had a successful Back to School Night, and I appreciate all the parents that were able to attend.

A few thoughts about the evening...

-I love teaching siblings because the parents seem to trust the process a little more.  They saw firsthand success with their older child and now look forward to the same growth with their newest fourth grader.

-Parents experiencing fourth grade for the first time are excited, apprehensive, and curious.  I hope they have as much fun this year as their student.  It truly is an amazing year.

-This may be the year that the student knows just a little more than their parents when it comes to technology.  These fourth graders are cruising right along with Socrative, Google Drive, iBooks, and Notability.  We are building a technology foundation that will carry them through their academic career.

-Having a former parent stop in just to say, "Thank you" or "I miss fourth grade" reaffirms that I am in the right profession.

-A group of parents with a sense of humor and understanding makes the night go just a little bit better.  Keep in mind- I'm used to talking with nine and ten year olds all day.  It's a little intimidating having a room full of adults.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Super Science

Our first unit in Science is about liquids.  We already know that liquids take the shape of the container they are in.  Also, we know that when you add dye to a liquid it doesn't effect the shape, size, or texture of the liquid.

During today's experiment, we learned that cohesion is the force that attracts molecules to themselves.  Water and glycerin both have a lot of cohesion.  When we put a drop of water and glycerin on waxed paper, the drops stayed in a circle form and did not spread out.  Soapy water, cooking oil, and alcohol do not have a lot of cohesion.  Those drops spread out into a thin layer of liquid on the waxed paper.

This is the first time we are blogging, instead of our teacher doing all the work.  This is our way of keeping you informed and in touch with our classroom.  We hope you enjoy our first blog and visit often.  We will tell you about our school days, our science experiments, special projects, field trips, and much more.

Your student bloggers,
The Fantastic Fourth

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Improving Each Day

What a difference a day makes.  We started our day using the iPads for reading.  We practiced highlighting our vocabulary words and using the built in dictionary to help us define the words.

A little bit later in the day we used the Socrative app to do a "Getting to Know Me" activity.  Instead of doing the traditional paper and pencil approach to What I Did This Summer, we went digital.  I actually think the students put more effort into the assignment because they were typing instead of writing.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our First Day

What a day!  The first day of school always seems to be the hardest.  The students are busy chatting with their classmates.  The parents linger in the classroom getting pictures and last minute hugs.  Former students come to visit and share all their summer memories.  Administrators come in the classroom and welcome all the students back to school.  Whew!

This morning seemed like a whirlwind.  I finally felt at peace when all folders and art supplies were labeled.  It was refreshing to see just one textbook on the students' desks.  This year we will be using iPads and moving down the paperless path. 

Imagine this....Students will pull their work off Google Drive, complete it in Notability, and email me their assignments.  I can then mark their assignment/project and send it back to them.  All of this can be accomplished without using paper.  This will be overwhelming in the beginning, but will become second nature for the students in no time. 

Today was about survival.  Tomorrow is about exploration and productivity. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

We're Wild about Fourth Grade

Thirteen years ago was my first day as a fourth grade teacher.  I am just as excited now as I was then.  The students came yesterday for our Open House.  They got to see their classroom, visit with their classmates and organize their desks.

This year our classroom has a safari theme.  I love changing the classroom decor every year.  It makes each school year unique and special for that group of students.  I love when my former students visit our room just to see the new theme.  

We are going on an African adventure this year.  A trip to Africa would not be complete without seeing a traditional hut.  I've affectionately named our hut the "Reading Rondavel".  Each day two students will get to sit in the rondavel during their free time and read.  

I think we can all agree that the "after" is much more inviting for a group of Fourth Graders.


Here are a few other pictures of our classroom.

All tests/quizzes and important reminders are written on the calendar.
Did you know that Sharpie markers easily erase off laminated paper with rubbing alcohol?

I love this rocking chair!  It was a baby shower present from my mom when I was
pregnant with my first son.  Yes, his nursery was safari themed, too.  

I make seat covers for all the students' chairs.
This year they are cheetah print.
The seat covers are so much better to look at than the orange plastic school chairs.

The window valance is made of old burlap and has a black fabric trim.
I made a matching table skirt for my computer table.
The table skirt helps hide all the computer cables and cords.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Books, Books, Books!

One of my goals this summer was to add books to our classroom. Like most teachers, I purchase the books on my own so I am always looking for discounts, sales, or freebies. A couple weeks ago I hit the mother load.

Purely by accident I stumbled upon our county library's annual book sale. The books ranged in price from $0.25-$1.00. You can't beat those prices! I also love the fact that the books have library quality binding.

I paid less than $15 for all of these books.  How can you turn away a deal like that?!?  I'm already looking forward to next year's sale.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

QR Crazy

It's only July, but I'm already planning for September.  Over the last month I made several sets of QR code flashcards. You may be thinking, "What in the world are QR codes?"

You've probably seen QR codes in magazines and on packaging.  They are a newer version of a barcode.  After scanning the QR code with your iPhone/iPad/iPod/Android, you are directed to a company's website or given information about a product.

In the fall, our class will be using QR coded flashcards to review math facts and concepts.  Students will work a problem, then scan the code on the back of the card.  The answer will be displayed on their iPad after scanning.  This is a great way for students to self check their own work.
Go ahead and work the problems.  Scan the codes to check your answers.
I made cards for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and sequencing.
All of the sets are available on TPT.

Plastic soap dishes work well for flashcard storage.
This is just the beginning of the QR craze in our classroom.  Happy scanning!