Sunday, May 21, 2017
"I never knew words could be so confusing," Milo said to Tock as he bent down to scratch the dog's ear.
"Only when you use a lot to say a little," answered Tock.
Milo thought this was quite the wisest thing he'd heard all day.
-Norton Juster in The Phantom Tollbooth
In this, the final blog of the year, you get to tell the world anything you want about fourth grade. We have done a lot this year: we've spent a week in the woods, we've been underground twice, we visited the site of the gold discovery that kicked off the world's biggest voluntary migration of people, and we've visited internees from the Japanese Internment Camps. We've read awesome literature, had amazing discussions about the books, and we got to visit with the author of our first book. We've played a couple of games where we learned about mathematical problem solving and the California Gold Rush. We've created media for the world to learn from us, and we've entertained the community with incredible hands-on science. You have also created some incredible structures with Keva planks and K'Nex. We've also laughed a lot along the way. Those events are just a handful of the highlights of this school year.
You get to pick anything about fourth grade that you wish to tell a reader, except for the California Gold Rush. That topic has been amply covered. The challenge, though, is to follow the message in Tock's advice to Milo: you only get a few words to say a lot; Faintly Macabre comes to mind here, too. You have FIVE sentences to tell your reader about your chosen topic. The power of your sentences needs to be strong in order to fully tell your reader what you want to say. Choose wisely!
Sunday, April 23, 2017
During a recent discussion of Woodsong, it was stated that one of the big ideas was that the Iditarod has many hardships. Following that, the question was asked if the California Gold Rush had more hardships. For this blog, give your opinion on the following:
What had more hardships, the California Gold Rush or the Iditarod?
Carefully compare the two events. Use the information from Gary Paulsen’s Iditarod experience and our gold rush study to make your decision. Be sure that you have support for your ideas and use multiple examples to prove your big idea.
You need to have a solid opinion statement, followed with supporting evidence including your thinking, and then a conclusion that strongly restates your opinion. Your overall task is to convince your readers of the opinion you have.
We are nearing the end of the school year, so this post should have excellent spelling, conventions and powerful vocabulary so that your ideas come screaming through the writing!
Let’s get a good discussion going on this topic! Comment on each other’s thoughts; disagree with the ideas that are against your opinion, and support the ideas that are in agreement with yours.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
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 creek walked, 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.
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 worldwide audience about our week at Westminster Woods.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
You have read a book about the California Gold Rush, and you've participated in a simulation about the same topic. You have heard a lot of fate cards and will continue to hear more. We toured Coloma and a great deal of information was given out on that day. You also had a tour of Old Sacramento where you learned about the gold rush era. At the beginning of the simulation, many of you said you would not want to be a gold miner in the 1850s, but do you still feel that way?
Your job in this blog is to write about the life of a California Gold Miner in the 1850s. Think of what your Big Idea would be and then support that idea with details to prove your idea. Think of all the work we have done about the gold rush, and reflect on what it would be like to be a miner during the gold rush. If you'd like, you may tell whether you would like to have been in the gold rush; be sure that you support that opinion, too.
Write with good conventions: no sentence structure errors! Be sure to edit your work before you publish it as once it is online, it stays there. Give good thought to the prompt and come up with ideas that no one else will develop. Think of your audience: other fourth graders around the country who are learning about the California Gold Rush. Be sure you teach them something.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
We just completed our trip to California Caverns where we got to explore several rooms full of speleothems! At one point, we were 150 feet underground in the coolness of 53˚ temperatures. We got to experience complete darkness and lighting from the Gold Rush era. We were surrounded by calcite and limestone, which we have studied in class. We squeezed through tight spaces, and saw things that could only exist under the ground. Hopefully, everyone found some great gems during their gemstone mining time, too.
Tell the world about California Caverns:
What was it like for you there?
What did you enjoy?
What was something that amazed you?
What did you learn there?
Was there something that you didn't like?
These questions are just some ideas to get you started. You can write about anything you'd like about California Caverns.
Create a post with a strong opening sentence to get your reader interested. Add some exceptional details and try to get your reader excited about California Caverns just by reading your blog. Remember to keep an eye on good spelling and conventions. Let's eliminate the run-ons!
Get descriptive, add good thoughts, and teach people from all over the world about California Caverns!
Saturday, September 10, 2016
It's the first blog of the year!
For your first blog of the year, your task is to be creative and innovative. If you could create anything in the world that would do anything you would like it to do, what would you create?
Your challenge is to think of something that you would love to see in this world. Tell the world what it is, explain how it would work and tell us why you would want that item. Of course, if there is anything else you'd like to tell us, please do so. Remember: you are writing for an audience that is all over the world!
Your writing will be scored on how well you clearly communicate your ideas. Be sure not to leave any unanswered questions for your reader. You will also be scored on the strength of your spelling and your ability to write with strong conventions (capitalization, punctuation, grammar and good sentence structure).
Make your blog post interesting so that everyone who reads it will want what you have created. Once you have posted, be sure to see what others are creating too, and comment on their ideas. All comments are to be encouraging, but if you have a question about their item, be sure to ask it!
Have fun, get creative and let's see that room 15 innovation at work!
Saturday, May 14, 2016
All year long, you've written blogs on a specific prompt. Now, it's your turn to write about something you want to say. Your job in this post is to think back over the year and pick out a topic about which you would like to write. The topic has to be related to our class and school, but you can select anything you want to tell about and then let everyone know your thoughts. You can select a trip or two that you liked, or maybe there was a study that you liked a lot and you want to tell about that. We met the author of one of our books this year, and we've created projects on a number of topics. You even made a webpage about Westminster Woods this year! Science Night is a big event; maybe you want to tell about that! We have even gotten almost 10,000 hits on this blog this year from all over the world. That is quite an accomplishment! We have had some interesting discussions throughout the year, and there have been humorous times as well. Whatever you choose, it's up to you to decide what you want to say about it.
Be sure that you use good spelling, good conventions and your usual great ideas to tell people what you want with regard to a topic in this year's class. Support your opinions with strong ideas! This is your final post: make it your best!
And, well, you know-let's comment on each other's ideas, like we always do!