Today was the fourth grade witting celebration! It was an end-of-year celebration, reflecting on the many skills and concepts learned this year. They learned to write narratives, persuasive essays, poetry, and nonfiction essays. They learned to write full sentences, edit for run-on sentences, write paragraphs with topic sentences and detail sentences, to elaborate, and so much more. Their stamina has grown this year. Students shared aloud something they have learned this year, shared their poetry anthologies and nonfiction paragraphs, taught a writing skill, helped to put that skill into practice and created a piece of writing in a small group, and shared the created writing pieces aloud.
We are so lucky to not only have a greenhouse here at Leverett Elementary School, but to also have Dawn, an incredibly knowledgeable plant expert. Fourth graders visit the greenhouse and learn from Dawn each spring. One of the fourth grade standards is to understand that plants have structures, to identify them, and to describe their differences. To do this, we grow garlic in the classroom and learn from Dawn. This year, we spent time working in and around the greenhouse, and had Dawn visit our classroom. At the greenhouse, we made a plant structures salad, examining the parts of plants that common foods in salads are. Building on their knowledge of plant structures, students learned about seed dispersal and were challenged to create a seed, identify which way it would travel, and to test out the creation. Today, students worked in stations at the greenhouse. They planted their garlic, planted pumpkin seeds, weeded, turned compost, beatified the fairy garden, cleaned out the bird baths, and watered the flowers. It is important for learning to be hands-on whenever possible.
Fourth grade inventors shared their creative inventions at the 2018 LES Invention Fair. Each student came up with an invention idea, built the invention, assembled a poster presentation, and prepared a verbal presentation. They were very proud of their hard work. Fourth graders enjoyed the invention unit and sharing their work with everyone that came to the invention fair.
On Thursday, May 17, 2018, fourth graders went on a field trip to the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Students experienced a full day of hands-on science. They had access to over 165 interactive exhibits in ten galleries. There was a special traveling exhibit and live science demonstrations that could be attended.
Students were assigned to a small group and volunteer chaperone. Together, they explore the Science Center by creating, trying, and doing at each exhibit. Students learned about bionics, aerodynamics, engineering, electricity, weather, outer space, sight and sound, rivers, and much more.
A May newsletter went home with fourth graders today. Because there was not a section about math on it, I included one in the newsletter below. Please notice the upcoming events. The date for the invention fair has been announced and there will be a writing celebration this spring. I hope you and your family will be able to join us for both. We also have the field trip to the Connecticut Science Center next week.
Today, fourth grade scientists learned to keep a log of their ideas and the outcomes of the implemented ideas. Students were given a challenge: to build the tallest, free-standing creation possible using only three pieces of computer paper and three paper clips. The structures had to stand on a desk, table, or tiled floor for at least five seconds. Before getting their supplies, students wrote down their first design for the free-standing creation and drew a picture of it. Once having it approved, they were handed the paper and paper clips. Most students discussed their ideas as they worked, sharing why they thought different designs would be most successful. After the attempt, students wrote down whether the attempt worked or not, and why. They then had to record their second idea on the piece of paper, gather materials, and implement the second idea. All students practiced keeping a log of attempts today, and the outcomes of those attempts. This skill will be utilized when students begin building their inventions for the annual invention fair.
Thanks to our fantastic library, students were able to complete inventor investigations in class today. I feel so fortunate that our school library has a plethora of inventor biographies. At the start of reading today, the biographies were spread out on the carpet in our classroom library. Students were called up to pick a book. After reading a few pages, students could decide to either keep reading or to trade the biography in for a different one. All students found biographies that interested them. They could read alone or with a partner. This allowed students that were interested in the same inventor or invention to share a text and discuss it as they read. It also allowed students of all reading levels to access the biographies they were interested in. While reading, students took notes about the inventor and the invention. At the end of class, each student gave a mini-report about the inventor and invention.
Students have been hard at work this month reviewing reading and writing skills, continuing to build writing stamina, writing poetry, dividing multi-digit numbers, measuring angles with protractors, and beginning to think like inventors. During the invention unit, each student will come up with and build an invention. Their inventions will be showcased at our invention fair this spring. All fourth grade families will be invited to attend.
MCAS testing, two more trips to Morse Hill, and a spring field trip are also coming. The field trip will be announced to families once it is announced to students.
A printout of this newsletter went home with each fourth grader on Friday, April 13th.
Fourth graders have been learning about mapping, the United States, and its regions. To complete this project, students were grouped into research teams. Each team found their region’s climate, natural resources, physical features, historic sites, state names and capitals, and Native American tribes. After taking notes by hand and typing the notes into Google Docs, students wrote reports. Thanks to Ms. Gravina, students learned to use Padlet. Each team shared their reports by creating a Padlet project for their region.
If you click on the following pictures, you will be able to view a larger version of each region project.
Fourth grade students have been reviewing and practicing many reading and writing skills. Most recently, they have been working on author’s purpose, making inferences, identifying characters’ points of view, identifying themes in texts, writing complete sentences with a subject and a predicate, and fixing run-on sentences. Students are also using the vocabulary associated with each skill.