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!

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.