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Monday, September 29, 2014

Force and Motion: Intriguing Wonderings!

Wondering: "How far would the bowling ball go if we had a taller ramp and a longer space to travel?"

We have begun our study on force and motion with our energy unit.  Last week, we conducted a test to see what would happen when we rolled five different spheres down a short ramp and measured the distance the objects traveled.  Then we recorded our wonderings and tested them the next day.  (Our wonderings are the things we are still wondering about- such as "what would happen if we did this...).  Some of our student wonderings led us to the hall and others led us outside to test a word we had not learned about yet, but introduced: friction!  It was a great engagement lesson and created more wonderings!  Once we had our data recorded, we used this nifty bar graph sticky notes and created a data representation.  Students created their own "scientific claims" and supported their ideas with the data they had collected!

(A wondering: what would happen if we rolled the marble and the bowling ball on a rougher surface and down a larger ramp?"

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pen Pals in San Antonio, TX!

We have pen pals in San Antonio, Texas, this year and we got our first letters from them today!  We were all so excited and have started writing our letters back to them!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Favorite Quotes

Throughout the halls at CCES, teachers and staff have been working hard to make our space more positive and prettier!  This is the quote that fourth grade teachers painted last night and it will be hung in the fourth grade stairway above the window.  We can't wait to see everyone at open house to check out all the beautiful student work and new art work hanging in the halls!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Controls and Variables

We started our discussion today of controls and variables in experiments and conducted an experiment to discover whether weight and size has an impact on force and motion.  Our "paparazzi" in each class (which now has a name based on past space shuttles- Team Discovery, Team Atlantis, and Team Endeavor), recorded their wonderings and we will test them as we continue on with this part of our unit.  Watching them create their own questions and ask each other is such a proud moment for me as a teacher!


Engineering Design

Students had to put their thinking caps on today to figure out how to create a circuit that would power a buzzer and a light at the same time when the "watering trough" emptied.  We constructed the trough and when it was empty, it tilted and connected to close the circuit.  there was a lot of "productive struggle" going on in the lab and it was AWESOME!  The hard part was figuring out how to make the light and buzzer go off at the same time!  There were lots of cheers when they figured it out!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Class Behavior Rewards

Last week, we filled up our marble jar in Studio 214 for good behavior!  The crew got to choose what they wanted for a reward, so we had an ice cream party and wore silly socks for half the day in the room!  It was a lot of fun and I wonder what they will choose next time!

Friday, September 19, 2014

What is that?

Our district superintendent shared this with us recently and I thought it was so good!  Thank you, Dr. Biggerstaff!
Do you know what this is?
colander - cropped
You probably have some good guesses…or INFERENCES!
Click on the link below for a great lesson idea on teaching inferences using pictures. High level thinking required…which is always a great lesson bonus! This lesson could be used with any level.

Good for the Brain!

Here are some great tips about how to engage student's brains in the classroom to increase their learning!  I love all of these!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"A Reminder for Emily" An Electrical Engineering Story

This week we have started working on engineering practices associated with energy.  We read this story about a little girl named Emily, who lives on a sheep farm in Australia and she has a problem to solve.  Through this story, we have learned about the engineering design process and we are in the process of creating our own buzzer/light systems to alert Emily that the sheep need more water so she won't get in trouble anymore for letting the water run out.  We are completing schematic designs with electrical symbols to create our plans and then we will test them and build the circuits.  The last step will be to improve our designs!  Below is a link to the beginning of the story.
These materials come from "Engineering is Elementary" and they're awesome!

Wonderopolis Bell Ringer

We use Wonderopolis everyday in science as our bell ringer.  To tie in more writing in science and to introduce the topic of the day, we use a wonder to cover all those things.  Students are encouraged to use the thinking stems and the W questions to create their response and generate new "wonderings". 


A Green Guest in Class

A student brought in a special guest today to share with our science class and boy, did it look creepy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CCES Says "Thank You", Grace Union!

We would like to say a special thank you to Grace Union Baptist Church for the supplies they sent to CCES!  Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Every Minute Counts!

Our saying in fourth grade is "Every Minute Counts" and we do our best to use every minute!  The days are flying by because we are staying so busy on the second floor and we are loving every minute of it.  We were working for a few minutes during recess and eating popcorn here and then played some too!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Engineering Design Process

This next week, we will be starting our first engineering design task!  This task will require students to help a young girl in Australia figure out how to create a light and buzzer system to alert her when her animals run out of water on the farm.  They will imagine, design, create, and redesign their models!

KCTM Math Grant

Our class will be getting some new iPads through a grant I applied for this summer through the Kentucky Council of Teachers of Mathematics and we got it!  We will get $1,000 to purchase some iPads and they will be used for "math-casting" during RTI and students will be creating a math-cast to explain math topics they are currently studying.  They will use a free app "Whiteboard Interactive" that records their voice and what they write and then will be uploaded to our blog so struggling students can watch it at school and at home. 

Leaders of the Month Tree

Each month we will be posting pictures and biographies of our fourth grade Leaders of the Month on our tree in the fourth grade stairway.  Our special volunteer, Ms. Patsy and her husband, Mr. Billy, put the finishing touches on our tree this weekend and it turned out so cool!  She handmade the flowers out of paper and he cut the flower stems out of wood and painted them!

Lunch with the Crew

We have gotten to have lunch together a couple of times this year!  This was the first time and the second time we had lunch together in the court yard on a pretty day.  It was like a picnic!  I know we have the best kids!

Electricity Science Stations

To make our learning concrete, last week we completed stations and students created series and parallel circuits with switches.


Harry Potter and Science

Last week, I got to attend some meetings that focused on teaching the new NGSS standards.  The meetings are so helpful!  One of the awesome things we did was use a dichotomous key to classify jelly beans by the appearance so we would know what flavor they were.  These are the same jelly beans from Harry Pottery with flavors of vomit, booger, and pickles!  Then we were asked to create our own which his higher level thinking.  I cannot wait to do this with our fourth grade students!

Mission Statement: Stepping Out of Comfort Zones

In my personal mission statement that I wrote for Leader in Me, I added that I wanted to make sure I always did things to step out of my comfort zone, because that is when we grow as individuals.  I did that recently when I performed by singing in a concert with a choir to raise funds to drill a water well in Africa to supply fresh, clean water for 12,000 people.  I was so nervous getting up there on that stage, but I made it and it was so much fun!  Something that made it even more special was seeing one of our crew members in the audience- I could have cried!


Promoting Reading

This is a Pinterest inspired board!  Instead of copying book covers though, we had our students draw the covers of their favorite books and they did a fantastic job!  Thank you so much to our special volunteer, Ms. Patsy who put it all together for us!  We love our volunteers!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Conductors and Insulators


          Yesterday we conducted an experiment to test objects to see whether they were conductors or insulators.  Then we created a human series and parallel circuit and tested some of our wonderings about whether we thought other objects would be a conductor or insulator, such as salt water and a magnet and hair!  During that time, we also talked about open and closed circuits and how electricity flows through a path.  It was so much fun!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Renewable and Nonrenewable Website for Practice


Here is an awesome site to use to read up on renewable and nonrenewable resources to prepare for this week's retake for that learning target!

Thank You Project

Stay tuned!  Fourth grade is working on a special project to thank some of our local sponsor and helpers that helps us throughout the year here at CCES with their time or donating goodies.  We put the students in charge of this project and here is the first idea they came up with.  They are so awesome!


Special Author Visit

We had a special visit today by an author!  The kids loved the visit and got to meet the main characters in person! 


          We have paparazzi in our class and their job is to record and lead a section of science class that focuses on student wonderings.  They lead a discussion about whether the wondering would be researchable or testable.  It is our hopes that we will have time each week to do just that- test and research to answer our wonderings!  They do a great job leading this!  We called it paparazzi because it goes along with our classroom theme and because the paparazzi documents events with pictures and articles and that's what we're doing too!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Guest Speakers- Recycling

We had guest speakers talk to us today about recycling!  They did a great job of explaining what we can recycle here in Cumberland County and how we can be better recyclers!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bill Nye the Science Guy Video on Energy

If you have not mastered the natural resources learning target, this is a great video to watch!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Leader in Me Hand Motions

A special thanks to the fifth grade students in Mr. Turner's class for recording this and sharing!