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!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

What is everyone doing in the summertime?



Happy summertime 5th graders! So, what is everyone doing? On the last day of school, you said you'd like a place to come in and tell us all what you are up to. Here you go: let us know what you are doing throughout the summer and keep in touch. I hope you all have some fun times to share with us. I know a lot of you are going away on trips; I know of two people who have already left and summer just started! Anyway, let us know what you are up to over the course of summer. I hope to hear from you all. 



Hey 5th graders, if you have photos of your summer adventures that you want to show to the class, send them to me and I will post them for you!

Warren just turned half a year old!



Dylan on Osterbrogade Street-remember Number the Stars?


Photos from Dylan's adventures!
Captions by Dylan

Big chair in Squaw Valley

Hard swinging logs from my first blog

 Easier swinging logs

Morning doves in my backyard

 Montara Beach

 Apple summer camp certificate


From Mr. La Marr:

The redwoods way up north are so much taller than at Armstrong Redwoods. These are at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. 


How's that for a goosepen I saw at Humboldt Redwoods State Park?


Elijah and his "cute poop"!


Geoffrey, Benjamin and Eric on Lone Peak in Big Sky, Montana


Geoffrey, Benjamin, and Eric near a Hot Spring in Big Sky, Montana

Monday, May 21, 2018

If you can have one day of 4th grade to do over . . .

  . .  . which day would it be?

We started the school year by making newspaper tables! We've conducted numerous science activities, and we taught the community some amazing science in Science Night, 2018. We have taken part in fun and thought provoking literature discussions. The Heroes of California visited our classroom as well as the author of our first book, Marci Seither. We played a gold rush game, and we are building websites to share our knowledge with the world. We won Science Olympiad, and many of you contributed mightily to Del Paso Manor's second consecutive win. And then, there are the trips! We have been underground, twice! California Caverns started our field trips, and what a way to start! We spent a day hiking in the footsteps of the gold miners who launched the biggest migration of people, ever. We hiked all over Old Sacramento and heard some strange stories our our city's past. We got to spend time with internees from the Japanese Internment camps. We went to the Exploratorium in San Francisco and to ExploratoRio just a few minutes a way. Of course, we got to spend a week living in a redwood forest and venturing into the tide pools. We've spent time with Pearley Monroe, Jack and Praiseworthy, Annemarie and Ellen and Yuki. We got to see many of Gary Paulsen's mistakes as he trained for the Iditarod, and we have gotten to follow Milo along on his adventures in the Lands Beyond. Of course, we cannot forget the lovely Mrs. Barnsworth or Emi's grandmother, Mrs. Kurihara . . . Along the way, we made good friends into better friends, we laughed, and we enjoyed our time together. 

There is so much more but the question is this: if you could redo just one day of fourth grade, which day would it be? Tell the reader the day you'd redo and explain to us all why that is the day you would do over again, if you could. The more reasons you can give, the better we will understand why you chose that day. 

Use good spelling and conventions, be clear and comment on each other's posts. This is the final blog of the year-let's make it the best!

Sunday, April 15, 2018



We just completed an amazing week of environmental education at Westminster Woods. We hiked at day and at night, we went to the tide pools, we saw the tallest trees in the world, we took part in a campfire, we hiked before breakfast, we played on the cargo net, in the gaga pit, on the playground, and we had incredible fun hanging out with our friends. 

This blog is your opportunity to tell the world what you thought about your trip. As a writer, tell your reader 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. You need to avoid just telling what you did on this trip. The task is to explain why you liked, or didn't like, certain parts of your experience. You needn't write about everything, just the highlights. Think about how you will arrange your ideas. For each paragraph, be sure that you have a topic sentence. We all know the word not to use in the topic sentence, right?

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 the world about our incredible week at Westminster Woods. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

By the Great Horn Spoon! The next chapter



We loved By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman. However, the book just seems to need "the next part." By popular demand, and the chants of the 4th graders, the next part will be written!

In this post, your job is to tell "the next part." After the happy ending at the long wharf, what would happen to our characters if the story continued? Give it some thought, write what you think would happen, or what you'd like to see happen, and post it here. Be sure that the events you write fit in the scope of the story and would continue right where chapter 18 ends.

Be sure you have strong sentences, good spelling and correct conventions. We are all looking forward to seeing what each 4th grader will add to our recently completed literature study. HAVE FUN with this one, fourth graders!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

What do you think of Mrs. Barnsworth?


We have read about the Barnsworth family in The Adventures of Pearley Monroe. Consider all the information we have read and discussed with respect to Elizabeth Barnsworth. Think of when she first arrived in Coloma all the way to when she departed and everything in between! 

What is your opinion of this character? Create a piece of writing that fully details your ideas about her. Give a strong topic sentence, use precise details as proof of your topic sentence, and finish with a powerful conclusion sentence. 

Be sure you edit and revise your writing so that it is as good as you can make it. Be sure the grammar and spelling are strong. Remember, our blog is read all over the world, so let's teach the world about Mrs. Barnsworth!

You may also comment on the writing that your classmates create. You may ask them questions, disagree (as long as you state your reason), or give a compliment about what they have written. It's always fun when people leave a thought about the work we do.