Thursday, May 23, 2019

What's your favorite . . .?

As we end the 2018-19 school year, there is a lot to look back upon. We started the year making paper tables, we met the author of our first literature book and shared our projects with her. We have gotten to go underground twice on field trips, and we visited the site that started the California Gold Rush. On the same trip, we "discovered" the graves of the characters in our first literature book. We had a smoky Friday where we couldn't go to school because it was unsafe to breath. We got to visit people who spoke with up about being interned during World War II, and we nearly took over part of the presentation. Some members of this class helped Del Paso Manor win the Sacramento Region Science Olympiad for the third straight year! We have had amazing discussions in literature where we talked about Annemarie and her family, we discussed the dances of nature through Gary Paulsen, and we enjoyed Jack and Praiseworthy's adventures in the California Gold Rush. Wasn't it nice that Praiseworthy finally got to marry Aunt Arabella! We read about Yuki, Emi and their families as they struggled for freedom. Mrs. Kurihara and Mrs. Barnsworth can never be forgotten! We have enjoyed reading about Milo and his quest to save Rhyme and Reason and all the crazy characters he is meeting along the way. We had a class meeting on the new blacktop where our entire year began turning around, socially. Human Decency became our rallying cry. We have jumped up and down during math because of the excitement we have had in wanting to share the incredible ideas that were created in class. We wowed the community recently with our science knowledge, and hopefully, we inspired some people to explore that subject a bit more. Of course, no discussion of fourth grade would be complete without mentioning our unbelievable time at Westminster Woods! What a great experience we had together, and hopefully, it is one we will all keep in our minds for a very long time. There is more, but those are some of the highlights that come to mind in thinking back on this school year.

Your task in this blog is to select a memory or two, or three . . . you decide how many memories you want to discuss, and when someone asks you, in the future, "What were your memories of 4th grade?" how would you answer that? This blog is about those memories. Years down the road, what will you remember about your 4th grade school year? Tell us the event(s) you select, and then give us your reasoning as to why you think you will remember those events. Your ideas are what will score you well here.

You know how this works: get good strong INTERESTING topic sentences, good details, a nice conclusion, and use good conventions and spelling. What trend do you think will emerge from our writing? Have fun with this!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Westminster Woods, 2019

We just completed a fun, educational week of environmental education at Westminster Woods. We hiked in the morning, during the day, and in the evening. We went to the tide pools, got blasted in a sand storm, and we saw the tallest trees in the world. We took part in a campfire, watched some funny skits, and sang some great songs. We got to play in the gaga pit, on the playground, and had a lot of fun on the cargo net on Thursday evening. We had incredible naturalists who lead us through our adventures and taught us a ton of information. Best of all, we had incredible fun hanging out with our friends. 

This blog is your opportunity to tell everyone what you thought about your trip. As a writer, excite your reader about what you enjoyed and tell us why you liked those things. Pick as many topics as you wish about which to write, but be sure you explain WHY you enjoyed those things or didn't necessarily like those things. You need to avoid simply telling what you did on this trip; the task is to give proof for your opinions. You need not write about everything, just report the highlights. Think about how you will arrange your ideas, and develop a strong, interesting topic sentence for each paragraph. We all know which word not to use in the topic sentence, right? This is the type of writing where you van get descriptive.

As always, be sure your spelling and conventions are strong. Check that sentence structure, and be sure that you are communicating with precision and accuracy. 

Have fun with this and let's see how many comments we can get! Be sure to check out each other's writings, and let's inform our readers all over the world about our incredible week at Westminster Woods.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Japanese Internment During World War II

During World War II, the Japanese Americans on the West Coast of the United States were removed from their communities and interned in camps spread around the counttry. We have read the book Journey to Topaz, we have discussed what lead up to the  internment, and we have had a field trip where former internees spoke to you about their experience. Additionally, you were able to see many artifacts at the California Museum from the time of internment. 

For this blog post, you get to give your thoughts about internment. Simply put, what do you think about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II? Think about what happened, form an opinion or two, and let that be your big idea. Then, you can use your own thoughts and factual details to support your opinion. You may write as many paragraphs as you think it will take for you to fully express your thoughts. We also read Number the Stars where there was a call for human decency all over the world. If you wish, you can discuss human decency along with this topic. Be thoughtful, and be complete so that others reading your post will learn something about Japanese Internment. 

As usual, please take some time to read others' thoughts and comment on their work.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Journey to the California Gold Fields

All of our gold rush teams have made it to Golden Gulch! Some had very few troubles, while some needed multiple tries. We heard of the struggles that some of the teams had, and it's clear that the journey was full of dangers and obstacles. 

For this writing, your task is to take the role of a gold miner in Golden Gulch who is telling what he or she knows about the journey to California. You can discuss the perils that were faced, the choices that had to be made, the challenges that the miners had to overcome and the stories that you heard. You are more than welcome to offer advice and suggestions to others who will follow. Make sure that you use the information from all the teams and not just your own. The way you structure this is up to you, but be sure your point of view is a gold miner who has arrived in Golden Gulch. 

As always, write with clarity and precision. State your opinions, but be sure to have supporting evidence. The world poured into California for the gold rush so let's tell the story of the journey that people from all over the world took as they attempted to get rich!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

What do you want to say?

It's your turn, fourth graders!

This is your space to write and comment about anything you'd like to say about the topics we study in class. Any topic that we have spoken about is fair game here. Say what you want about whatever we've studied. Commenting back and forth would open up a great conversation about our studies in class. This could be fun!

Always try to remember to do your best with your spelling and conventions. Comment respectfully, especially if you disagree with what's been written. Disagreement is where the fun begins because others' perspectives cause us all to think a little differently. Think about what's been said, comment in support or in opposition to your classmate's thoughts, but always have an opinion that is stated with kindness. 

Let's get some great commentary going, room 15!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Themes for The Adventures of Pearley Monroe

Authors write books to teach something to their readers. When readers get ideas about life from the books that they read, they are discovering themes of that book. Theme statements should be about the real world, and they should be an idea that is important in the book. 

Fourth graders: we just completed the reading of The Adventures of Pearley Monroe by Marci Seither. We discussed several theme statements in class, and we worked to refine them to reflect our ideas about the book. The task you now have is to create your theme statement and then write about it in this blog. You need to use some text evidence, but most of the ideas should come from you, the writer. Tell the world why the theme you chose is such an important idea. Take the idea from the book, but then get innovative with your own thinking to prove that the theme is an important one. 

Open with a strong statement about your theme, build your good thoughts into proof, and be sure to conclude with a convincing closing that will make your reader remember the great thoughts you developed. Let's tell the world of all the outstanding ideas we learned from Marci Seither's incredible book!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Underground Railroad

If you were alive in the time span of 1810 to the 1860s and you lived in an area through which the Underground Railroad ran, what role would you take? There are many choices:

  • You could be a slave who has decided to run for freedom

  • You could be a conductor who helped escaping slaves run to freedom

  • You could run a station where escaping slaves stayed during the night and maybe for days until it was safe to advance

  • You could hunt for runaway slaves, especially after the Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850

  • You might decide to have absolutely nothing to do with the Underground Railroad

There are multiple points of view that you can take. Your job in the first blog of the year is to select the one role you would take in the Underground Railroad. Create a strong topic sentence that will get your reader so interested in your blog piece that she or he could not possibly click off it until the entire piece was read. Then, fill in the details to support your main idea. Select ideas from all the reading we’ve done, the video we’ve seen, the discussions in class, and YOUR own thoughts to help support your idea. Write your details in a way that adds interest and will keep your reader on your blog. When you reach the end, develop a strong conclusion that restates your main idea in a way that your reader will leave thinking, “That was a powerful piece of writing.” Avoid conclusions such as, “That is why I think that . . . “ or “Those are my reasons for . . .”

Be sure to edit for good spelling, good grammar, good punctuation and capitalization and good sentence structure. Once you post the writing, it is online and it can no longer be edited, so be sure it is ready to publish.

Be sure to read your classmate’s blogs and comment on them. You can ask them questions, you can compliment them, or you can agree with their ideas and add on to them. Be supportive to your friends. 

Let’s teach the world about the Underground Railroad and what it was like from different perspectives!