First week-check!

When I look back on the week, I really cannot believe that it has only been one week that we have been together in fourth grade.  We have learned so much!  I feel like we are already forming a community as we share together in morning meeting and through our writing and reading.  I am excited for the rest of the year!  Below:  I have included a quick synopsis of the week mostly as seen through photographs.

First day of school:

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Besides learning many of the procedures and expectations for how our class will run, we took some time as a class to answer questions about what we would like our class to look like and our own responsibilities to make it what we want it to be.  This activity went along with one of our read out-louds Officer Buckle and Gloria, where a policeman gives safety tips to students with the help of his faithful dog Gloria.  He receives letters from some of the students and one in particular is on a star, which is why we used stars on our own connecting activity.  Below I have included all of our charts with the students’ ideas.

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Day 2:

Today, to encourage the children to create ideas for their writing notebooks, we brought in meaningful objects that told a story.  The children were so excited to share their objects with each other and to record seeds for writing ideas.

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Later in the day, we helped save Freddy!  Freddy is a worm that went boating and did not wear a life preserver!  Now his ship has capsized and the life preserver is underneath.  Poor Freddy! The students worked together to put the gummy life-saver from under the cup boat onto the middle of a gummy worm…using only four (or three) paperclips–no hands.  This was both an exercise in problem-solving and group dynamics.  At first, I was rather disappointed when the students told me they had done this last year. However, soon as they were working, the students related to me that this year was harder.  With this unplanned turn of events, the following day, I was able to change my plans to include a lesson to introduce independent and dependent variables in science experiments focusing on the variables between this year and last year.  Sometimes unexpected learning is the best kind of learning.

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Almost got it!

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Success!

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Day 3:

Today, we talked about a class goal in preparation for the students to create their own fruit goals next week.  As a class, we will work on putting others before ourselves as we grow the fruit of the Spirit in our classroom.  We decided that we would grade ourselves every week and create a graph to see if over a nine week period, we show improvement in our treatment of others.  After coming up with ways the church, school, and home could help us, we all came and signed our goal sheet.

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Day 4:

Throughout the week, we have been working on gleaning ideas to put into our writing notebooks.  Today, we added a heart map.  This is in the shape of a heart where inside one puts various things that are important to him or her.  By looking at this, the children were able to come up with so many memories and ideas about what they could write about next.

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Day 5:

Today was a bit different than the other days because the students had art, music, PE, and library.  Before our electives happened, I introduced to the students Genius Hour.  Genius Hour is where the students get to create a project on something that interests them.  They must have a driving question, must research their topics, and finally create a project to share with others about their discoveries.  I was not able to give the students a full hour today, but in the time that we had, the children eagerly worked and came up with some really exciting ideas.  I am excited to see where this project takes them.

In a nutshell, that was our week.  We had a great week of learning and here is to many more weeks throughout the year.

And so the journey begins

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:14.  After praying and thinking, I chose this verse to be our theme verse for the year.  Not only does it fit our travel theme that is throughout the classroom and integrated into the lessons as I mentioned tonight, it also fits along with the fruit of faithfulness that we will be cultivating this year.  It takes faithfulness to continue toward a goal and to seek God’s will.  To me, this verse is not about the easy path; it is about pushing through even through the darkest of times to reach the goal that God has called us to grasp while He walks along side of us.

Faithfulness is a journey.  Fourth grade will be a journey.  It will have its ups and its downs–its struggles and its easy-cruisings.  But the end will be sweet where we can look back and see all of the memories that we created and all the lessons that we learned this year, lessons that span the world.  I’m excited to see where the journey will take us and all that we will learn together in the process.

Thank you to all those who came out tonight!  It was wonderful to meet you and to see all the eager faces in the anticipation of the school year.  For those of you who missed it (or for those of you who want to show your friends), I have included the video shown at our presentation.  The password to view is cca. Enjoy!  See you on Monday!

Please feel free to contact me with questions, concerns, or comments.  We are teachers together for your child.