Friday, December 19, 2014

Five for Friday

Happy Friday!

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We had a very Grinch-y week in 4th grade!

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We finished our Weathering and Erosion unit-with a lot of success on the test!

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and started our States of Matter unit.

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I made this little cutie...
and gave him some snowflake friends for a garland for my door!

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Done! I love my kiddos, but I always enjoy vacations-they always seem to come at the perfect time!

Happy Holidays!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Thursday, December 18, 2014

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

I had an idea.

A wonderful, awful idea.

This week, we've spent the week focusing on my favorite story How the Grinch Stole Chirstmas.

The first day, we read the story and then compared it to one of my favorite Christmas movies-the 1966 animated version.
Video for those who are nerds and don't have all the TV Classics (including claymations!) ;)

Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas [1966] (Classic) in Family | View More Free Videos Online at

Before we even started, we talked about comparing and contrasting.

Then, we listed things we noticed in the story.

Video time!

After that, we listed things that we unique to the movie.

Off to compare and contrast! I asked them for 5 things in each section.

Those that were finished, started doing a description of the Grinch-I left it totally up to them on how they described him.

The next day, we worked on character traits of the Grinch.

I put a Grinch on the board, and we listed traits-with backing up our thinking as a whole class.
Then, they did their own character sheet-showing how the Grinch changed from the beginning of the story to the end of the story.

BTW, I got the Grinch description sheet and character change sheet from Fun with Firsties-good for all ages!

Since I did get the sheet from a lower grade, I added a little bit extra for my kiddos-I wanted them to tell me what made the Grinch change.

Students also had to FAST the Grinch  in their Reading Notebooks.

On Day 3, we worked with the song- You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

I printed out the lyrics, and found a video that had them all in it!

We worked with pulling out adjectives first-highlighting them. Then we underlined and labeled different types of figurative language.

Student had an adjective sheet to do (from Jivey!), and they had to pick one of the figurative language sections and illustrate it.

And there's is so much more that you could do with this book-and all of these activities tie into the CC as well! (We only did 3 day because we had a dance thingy rehearsal/show on Thursday, and our party is on Friday!)

Have a happy holiday! (Don't be a Grinch!)

Smiles and Sunshine,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Poems

One of my favorite things to do with students this month is ...Nicole Shelby's Holiday Sensory Detail Poems!

Holiday Sensory Detail Poems
This year, I did it a little differently.

First, I reviewed the different sense that we could use.

Then, I brainstormed a bunch of things that went along with each sense (although I used the 4th of July to model!)
The students then decided that they wanted to brainstorm in partners words/things that they associated with the holiday season (some asked if they could focus more on Christmas, and I said that it was fine)

(I had offered them partners, trios or quads. I picked their partners from my stick bin)

Of course, some were more organized...

than others...
After they brainstormed, we did a gallery walk and I let them add words if the wanted

I gave them on of the sheets from Nicole's pack, and had them brainstorm words (independently) that they wanted to use in their poems.

Then I modeled a very simple poem on the board-and had them do the same on the back of their paper.

After they finished, we talked about how boring that poem was, and how we could make it better-with revisions, adding in more details and figurative language.
Now it was their turn!

They revised their poem, and then went to their final drafts. They had their choice of papers, or they could do it on plain and decorate it.

Some wonderful poems!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Weathering and Erosion

This year, I've been working on curriculum mapping out lessons, so I have a better idea on how the year flows-and make it easier to plan for years to come!

During our parent-teacher conference day, I took some time to plan out my Science-making it easier for me to teach the same thing three times and making sure the kids had consistent information!
We start our science off with Weathering and Erosion-which is broke into two multi-day labs.

I introduced them to the topic by doing a thinking strategy-Zooming In.

I took pictures of rocks that had been weathered, and cropped and zoomed a tiny piece. We talked about what they thought it was and why before showing the 'full' picture.

I tried to show different examples for the different kinds of weathering-and I had to stick in the Old Man in the Mountain-a New England favorite (although his face fell off in 2003!)
The next day, we drew a model of the weathering and erosion cycle, with examples of the different types (gleaned from the Study Jams video we watched the day before)

Now we moved onto the labs! I do a skittles lab-to simulate weathering, as well as a soil lab-to simulate erosion.

For our skittles lab, we use skittles, vinegar (chemical weathering) and water (physical weathering) to slowly wear away the skittle. Kids love seeing what happens!

I have everything set up on trays before hand, and students work in partners.
 They use an eye dropper to concentrate the liquid.
 Some of them get really into it!
For erosion, we do a soil lab.
Students 'erode' the soil by being the wind (THAT was a messy day-but I got smart and had them do it on the floor this year so it could just be vacuumed up!)

Or a glacier

We had 'fake' glaciers-the ice would have melted before we did the lab!

And water-which I set up a little differently (and emphasize that the color change, nor the dact that turns to mud are acceptable answers on why it erodes!) so they can really see what happens.

I have them suction out the excess water so they can see what the water did!

After each step, we talk about that happened and how the soil was eroded.

Then, we test! Students do get to use the model that we drew at the beginning of the unit. Overall, they do a very nice job, and they love the hands on part of it.

Now we shift to states of matter-another fun topic!

Smiles and Sunshine,