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Friday, September 28, 2012

A Big Bite

The last two weeks have been a great time to learn and grow in room 23.  We completed chapter 1 in math, geometry, and took the first test.  Everyone did a great job.  We are now working on place value, addition, and subtraction.  Reading and writing numbers through the millions place is a focus for us.  We are learning about maps and globes in Social Studies and about the scientific method in Science.  Everyone will need a 12 inch container by the end of next week for terrariums.  Also, we have finished building our Puff Mobiles and will begin testing them next week!  In reader's workshop we are still establishing routines and getting to know each other as readers. We have read over 80 books as a class so far this year, AMAZING!!  Have you checked out some of the book reviews below?  These are some of the newest books in our classroom.  We also had 100% participation in summer reading and were treated to Bubble Mania by Casey Carlisle.  Thanks to the PCC for sponsoring this event. In writer's workshop we are developing routines and have even started to create lists of possible writing topics.  Creative Arts Fridays are going really well.  Check out the blog post above which describes our creative arts blocks for the month of September.  The playground dedication was fun and we all enjoyed singing the new school song written by Mrs. MacMurray and Mr. Lee.  Here is a video of us singing the song at the playground opening ceremony.  4th grade is so much fun, we can't believe that September is over and Monday morning will be October 1st!

Creative Arts Chronicles

Our first month of Creative Arts Fridays has been a huge success.  The children are adjusting nicely to the routine and enjoy the independence involved in switching classes.  It has been fun for us to get to know another group of students as well.
            In Poetry workshop, we have written Bio Poems which will be on display at Open House.  Some of us have even written bio poems about characters from our books. We have begun studying Walt Whitman and his influence on American poetry. Click here to listen to a wax cylinder recording of Whitman as he reads from “America.”  Everyone agreed that it was cool to hear Whitman read his poem, especially since he has been dead for over 120 years! We learned that Whitman often wrote in the style of free verse poetry and used the poetic technique of “catalogue,” to write some of his poems.  We began preparing for MCAS by answering questions about “The Runner,” and discussed some test taking strategies when answering poetry questions. We will be using Whitman’s poems as mentor texts, as well as a collection of poems by Georgia Heard, called Falling down the Page, to write list poems in the coming weeks.  Too much fun!!!
            The children are excited about chorus and sound really good already! The concert in December will be great, we can just tell.
            It is so exciting that we get to have Art class on Fridays with Mrs. Hess!  Who wouldn’t want to spend forty minutes creating art and letting the creative juices flow? We are so lucky! In Art class, Mrs. Hess has been discussing elements of art and has been working on a unit on Value.   Grandma Moses is the artist of the month for 4th graders!  The students have been working with colored pencils and they will be creating landscapes by painting. Today was our first day painting! The next focus will be on using Value and Form with three dimensional shapes.  There will be a sculpture component to this next phase of the Value unit.  We can’t wait to see what is created.
            We are really excited about working in our technology lab.  This summer we got new computers in there, and we are learning how to use them.  We have learned to sign into the computer using our user name and password.  It is exciting to think that everything we save in our folders will be available to us next year, and even after we leave Kennedy School!  We have learned how to use Microsoft Office in order to format and type our biopoems.  In the next few weeks we will begin to learn about different Internet websites.
Artfully Yours,
Mrs. Merten and Mrs. Williams

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bookworm Buzz

Justin Bieber: Just BelieveJustin Bieber: Just Believe by Molly Hodgin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

O.K., I admit it, I do find Justin Bieber intriguing.  Who doesn't love "Baby?"  This short biography on "The Beebs," is just right for 4th graders.  I liked it as much as the One Direction book and much better than the Taylor Swift Book. There is a great deal of talk worthy information in this book (it is an unauthorized biography), especially if you are new to the biography genre, or just want to learn more about Justin.  This book will appeal to boys and girls and I anticipate that this will become a great mentor text in writer's workshop when we talk about author's voice.  I think you will enjoy this latest installment in Scholastic's "Pop Artists," biography collection.  I think I hear "The Beebs," playing on the radio now!!

View all my reviews

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bookworm Buzz

Lincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America ForeverLincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this young adult version of Bill O'Reilly's adult bestseller, Killing Lincoln.  There is SO much here that will appeal to many elementary and middle/high school students.  I really liked the way the story was organized, with information about the Civil War prior to Lincoln's assassination, the day/hour/minutes leading up to, during and after the attack on Lincoln, and the pursuit of his killer.  The organization of characters and all of the extra information will make this book very popular with Lincoln enthusiasts and new readers of the Civil War era.  This book is a bit of a challenge for 4th graders right now, but if you find someone who has read it, and you can talk about it with them, give it a shot, I know you won't be disappointed! I would love to talk about it with you! :)

View all my reviews

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bookworm Buzz

I told you that I would be reviewing several books this weekend and here they are!  Hopefully you can find one that interests you and you can add it to your book bag.

About AverageAbout Average by Andrew Clements
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a great story about courage and quick thinking.  This book will be a great companion novel to our weather unit.  If tornadoes scare you, this book might scare you, but the ending is just right!  I would like to read this book again just to examine the main character's personality traits and to figure out what motivates her to act on the way that she does.  I think you will like this new novel from Andrew Clements.

View all my reviews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lulu's adventures continue in this new novel by Judith Viorst, Lulu Walks the Dogs.  If you like to read books in which the author speaks to the reader, almost as if answering questions as they come up, you will love this book. I am really enjoying watching Lulu grow and change over time.  She is a character and her new friend Fleischman is proving to be a great friend for her.  What will their next adventure bring?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As a fan of the Amulet series, Prince of Elves did not disappoint.  The illustrations continue to contain so much information about the story, which is truly a science fiction/fantasy, that a reader really needs to go slow and not rush it.  Luke was right next to me as I read it and when I had questions, he was right there to help me out.  This is the most challenging of the Amulet books so far, due to the plot, that it would be a challenge for many fall 4th graders.  If you love this series, try reading it with a friend so that you have someone to talk to about it, this will help. There was a big plot twist at the end and readers have to be careful not to miss it as it sets up the next novel.

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology PoemsForgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finally got around to reading this book of poetry and as usual, I asked myself, "What were you waiting for?"  I was inspired to re read William Carlos Williams' Poetry for Young People and I just kept coming up with so many ideas for use of this book as a mentor text in writer's workshop.  We will definitely be writing our own "false apology poems," when we read Love That Dog and Hate that Cat, by Sharon Creech.  My favorite poem was "This is just to say."  Mrs. Richards will have to get us our own copy because I am certain that we will be wearing hers out!

View all my reviews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
One Direction is so popular that when I saw this biography by Riley Brooks, I just had to have it.  It was well written and just right for fall 4th graders.  Although Liv is a HUGE fan of 1D, I didn't know that much about the band, so this was a great place to start.  If you like 1D or just want to learn about one of the most popular boy bands in America and the U.K., then this is the book for you.  I promise to share it, cross my heart!

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I don't know that much about Taylor Swift, despite her popularity, so I thought this book would be a good place to start.  Fans of Taylor will really enjoy this book and it is just right for 4th graders.  However, if you aren't a big fan, you will become bored with all of the references to her clothes,makeup and boyfriends.  I think 4th graders are deeper thinkers than this book gives them credit for being.  I'm not sure the author is correct, the author I have on my book is Riley Brooks, so that needs to be examined.  I'm happy to share my copy, let me know what you think.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Big Bite

We had a really great second week of school, and it was a full week!  We continued working on geometry in math and learned how to play "Polygon Pair Up."  There will be a test on chapter 1 next Friday.  In language arts, we have been learning about using context clues, prefixes, and suffixes to figure out the meaning of unknown words.  Everyone was surprised when they realized that what we had learned in language arts helped them in math during our discussion of many sided polygons.  Ask your child what she/he learned.  In reader's workshop we are still establishing routines and improving our reading stamina.  We reviewed narrative elements by using the picture book, Hug by Jez Alborough. In writer's workshop we created editing cards to use on our rough drafts and final copies.  Everyone is making great progress with their goals. Creative Arts Fridays continued today with an engineering presentation by Mr. Adams, our Engineer in Residence.  He explained the role of engineers in our world and some of the fun projects that children can do at home which are based on the engineering process.  Then he introduced our first engineering project for this year, Puff Mobiles!  We spent time creating designs, and working in teams to choose a design to build next week.  We are REALLY working on cooperation and team work, it is a major goal of this project in addition to the science standards.  Creative Arts Friday continued with poetry workshop.  We are almost done with our bio poems and should be ready to head to the computer lab with Mrs. Merten to get started on our final copies.  During chorus, Greyson and Caitlin(from Mrs. Merten's class) were chosen as the first celebrity singers of the year!  Our day ended with Kyle sharing some ladybug larvae that he found and had put in a small water bottle.  Next week is a short week, so we will be really busy!  I will be posting some book reviews over the weekend, so check back frequently for the updates.
Happy New Year to all our friends who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah!
Mr. and Mrs. Adams

The Engineering Design Process

Engineering for KIDS
Here is a video of Mr. Adams and the beginning of his presentation today.

Click here to see the video that he showed us!

Greyson and Caitlin

Ladybug larvae shared by Kyle

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Juicy Nibble

Today, Mrs. Dressler came to our class and read The Prince of Butterflies by Bruce Coville.  We really enjoyed the story and the pictures were great.  Mrs. Dressler is the new Assistant Principal at JFK.  Mrs. Dressler came to JFK when Mrs. Y went to Medway to be a principal.  Mrs. Dressler wants to get to know all of us and our names.  Did you know that there are 479 students at JFK?  Mrs. Williams is also reading a Bruce Coville book to us.  It is a retelling of Shakespeare's Macbeth.  Click here to read more about Bruce Coville.
By, Chris

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Author Alert

Wellesley Books is hosting some great author events this fall. Sharon Creech will be at the Wellesley Free Library on Wednesday, September 19th at 4:00.  She will be reading from her new book, The Great Unexpected, and will be signing copies purchased at the event! Click here for more details.

On Friday, Ocotober 5th, Jan Brett will be at the Wellesley Free Library.  Click here for more information.

Lowis Lowry will be at the Bardwell Theater at Dana Hall in Wellesley to read from her new book, "Son," which is a sequel to The Giver. Click here for more information.

I hope you get the opportunity to meet one of these great authors!

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Big Bite

The first week of school was really fun!  We got to know each other and learned what 4th grade would be like.  We started  geometry in math and began reader's and writer's workshop.  We  played "Negative Comment Freeze Tag," read Ish by Peter Reynolds, and agreed never to say "I can't," again. We even retired a jersey for "I can't."  We learned that we could say, I'm having trouble, I need help, this is hard for me and many other ways to say "I can't," that are more positive!  We have begun our year long yoga practice. We learned how to breathe deeply, and three poses!  We read  The Gingerbread Man  Loose in the School by Laura Murray.  We colored our own gingerbread men and will be taking them to our specials.  Friday is going to be creative arts day!  Today we had poetry workshop, art and chorus. We are excited to have technology with Mrs. Merten every Friday. We were treated to an instrument demonstration by the Franklin Music Department. Here is a video of the demonstration:

We can learn to play strings or another instrument.  Our first week was great and we can't wait until next week!
Megan and Mrs. Williams

Monday, September 3, 2012

Juciy Nibble

Hi gang!  Tomorrow is the first day of school and I can't wait to meet all of you! I know that you may be a little nervous, but we are going to have a great first day together, I just know it!  When you come into the classroom in the morning, find a desk you like and read the letter on your desk.  We will start to get to know each other right away.  We have P.E. with Mrs. Perry tomorrow, so wear/bring sneakers.  We will have snack around 10:00 and lunch at 1:05.  Try to get some sleep tonight so that you are ready for tomorrow's fun. If you can't sleep, or need something to do, write a paragraph about your weekend.  You can use my paragraph as a mentor text to get you started.  You can dictate to a parent and print it out if you like. You can earn a blue ticket for completing this enrichment activity.  Please share it tomorrow!

On Saturday, as I watched the Berskhire Mountains fade from view and the Catskill Mountains rise to greet me, I knew that this last weekend of summer was going to be one for the memory books!.  I was able to visit my family and spend time with my sister, brother, aunts, uncles and cousins.  I had dinner at The Eveready Diner in Hyde Park, NY and ate very fattening Disco Fries.  I continued my streak as a "claw master," and won 6 prizes from the claw machine at the restaurant!  My 6 year old niece dubbed me "Queen Supreme!" We even managed to sneak in one more trip to Saratoga for the horse races.  Driving home through the Berkshires last night was magnificent, the mountains were majestic and the moon was red! So long summer, so long Berkshires, hello new school year!
Here I am with my mom on my right and all of her sisters.
Mr. Williams with a raspberry shake and tomato soup at the diner.
Children holding my claw "winnings."

Livi with her own ,"real live American Girl Doll."

My brother, doing one of his favorite outdoor activities, gardening.


My cousin had a picnic table right next to the rail so we could see the horses walk by all day.  FUN!!