Carol Wooten tells us about King Richard III's bones, carbon dating, and mitochondrial DNA; Discovery Center presents "Astronomy Abounds," and students make a pocket-sized solar system; watering in the high tunnel; our Valentine's Party; investigating the sun and moon; "Yellow Out" Day to support Mrs. Brown and her family; and, our area and perimeter garden investigation!
Here, we are working in groups to find out what it was like for immigrant kids in America (where they lived, their work lives, what school was like, and how they played). Students also performed their Readers' Theatre on Angel Island and Asian immigrants; we completed a fractions pizza investigation and listened to each group's theories; and, we planted leeks in the high tunnel!
Students work together to understand why people flee from political unrest; reader's theater about Japanese and Chinese immigrants; Rima K. (Isabelle's step-aunt, who is Austrian-Russian), telling us her immigration story; a map showing the paths of the kids' ancestors; and, Joshua's mom, Johanna (an immigrant from Columbia) telling us about her challenges, opportunities, and path to American citizenship.
Ellis Island research, math games, and our Fourth-Grade Ellis Island Simulation!
Tana Pulles, education outreach specialist for the Springfield Department of Environmental Services, made connections to our field trip to the Noble Hill Landfill earlier in December. Students learned about how trash is compacted and that--due to the thick plastic liner and lack of sunlight and oxygen--a plastic milk jug NEVER decomposes. We also learned how aluminum is mined, how glass can be recycled infinitely, and that only about 30 percent of the trash we throw in a landfill should be there.
Also: Retired Pershing Science Teacher Larry Davis delivered an extremely informative and entertaining presentation on forms of energy and transformation of energy. At the end, kids who volunteered to try it were literally "shocked" by "Sparky"--essentially a static electricity machine!
Finally: Check out our Holiday Party pictures! Kiddos bobbed for candy canes, played "Minute to Win It" with bells in a tissue box, competed in a Hershey's Kiss relay (with gloves on!), decorated powered doughnuts, got winter tattoos, participated in the silly and hilarious "photo booth," and received candy, holiday crackers, personalized ornaments, and pictures/picture frames. Thank you to our homeroom moms Carol Wooten and Lisa Cantin for making all of this possible!
Check out our field trip to the James River Power Station, reading Wired in partners and inquiring into electricity, City Utilities' own Cara Shaefer and her presentation on renewable and non-renewable energy sources, snap circuits, and our 6-Word Memoirs!
Measuring with meters, centimeters, and millimeters; playing with/inquiring into static electricity; a group static electricity experiment with balloons and wool; writing circular stories with our Kindergarten Buddies; and, experimenting with batteries, wires, and light bulbs as we inquire into circuitry.
The Springfield Greene-County Courthouse field trip! Students got to see first-hand the inner workings of the judicial branch--from attorneys (several from Field--thank you!), a judge, a commissioner, bailiffs, a court reporter, and a sheriff's officer to two jury boxes (where many got to sit), the judge's bench--and her gavel--a holding cell, the jury room, the sheriff's office, and the main security office. Here, we are also making Christmas cards for Ugandan orphans, sharing during writing workshop, and collaborating in small groups as we learn about Missouri.
Thinking about the key concept "perspective" through Reader's Theatre--The Boston Massacre, The Boston Tea Party, and The Patriots and The Loyalists; also, rules and laws of number systems (looking at the Mayan Numerals base-20 number system as well as base-10). Sorting and practicing our Words Their Way words in groups; rules and laws of culture, with Native American John Hernandez; writing the Declaration of Independence; and, celebrating Red Ribbon Week with Nerd Day, Crazy Hair Day, and Mustache Day!
Columbus Day--thinking about hypotheses, theories, and laws of the day and the "rules and laws" of Geometry that helped scientists prove the Earth's spherical shape; brainstorming how we can incorporate more Spanish into the regular classroom; "The King's M&Ms," an investigation into unfair taxation; and using "magic" paper to share our thoughts with our classmates about a protest of British rule.
Finishing our inquiry into multiplication as area; asking ourselves what we know about Rules, Laws, Responsibilities, Children's Rights, Government Documents, and Citizenship; and, classifying concepts to discover what else uses "rules and laws," e.g., Music, Science/Nature, Math, Art, Sports/Play, Language, Cultures, and Economics.
Sharing during Writing Workshop; sorting coins to get ready for Words Their Way word study; investigating erosion in the garden; and, beginning our multiplication as area inquiry..
Students inquire into direct and indirect uses of water, and think about how much water is used getting a cup of Coke to McDonald's; measuring our classmates' heads to find data landmarks, such as maximum, minimum, median, range, and mode; also, students become a water molecule and take a 3-D journey through the water cycle, through lakes, rivers, oceans, clouds, groundwater, soil, plants, animals, and glaciers.
Students inquired into the properties of water, compared and contrasted fiction and non-fiction text, showed off their water filters at our Fourth-Grade Water Filter Museum, solved a water contamination mystery (cholera in a London water pump in 1854), performed their Water Cycle Reader's Theatre, thought about data collection and organization with a box of raisins; and they got to talk about how to purify, protect, and conserve water on our walking field trip to Brentwood!
Working in the garden with our Kindergarten Buddies, looking for "opposites," such as "smooth and scratchy" or "colorful and dull." Also, working in groups to illustrate the amount of water in living organisms; and, practicing our multiplication facts.
Students concentrated on constructing circles with a compass for the first time, made predictions about a water cycle demo, shared with partners a piece they wrote entitled, "What I Know to be True About Reading," and they had a ball testing water (for pH level, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and temperature) during our field trip to South Creek in Sequiota Park.
Here, we are each telling a "water story" from our lives, generating and classifying our water questions, and simulating "dying" every 20 seconds from the lack of clean water throughout the world. Students also lifted water to experience its weight and imagined carrying it on their heads. In groups, we inquired into water collection around the world, and we inquired into this question: "Who is responsible for protecting water?"
We spent a lot of time the first week of school getting to know ourselves as learners, finding out more about each other, thinking about PYP, and setting some goals for the year...