Monthly Archives: January 2013

This is your brain… (Pig Brain Dissection Demo)

brainIn October and November Mr. Hall spent time in class talking with the students about the human brain.  During that time basic brain parts and functions were identified and discussed.  The primary purpose was to increase awareness about how amazing our brains are and the importance of taking good care of it.  One of the big ideas was that we only have one brain and there is no substitute. Also, that our choices matter in taking care of the brain we have.  As a final piece to that conversation Mr. Hall will be dissecting a pig brain in class next Tuesday so the students can see some of the brain structures that were discussed and have the opportunity, if they wish, to touch a real brain.  If students feel uncomfortable, they may opt out of the activity.  Questions? Feel free to contact Kevin Hall.


“The Pine Tree” Videos

pinetreeIn December, 5th graders in Mr. Evers’ reading class read a piece of classic literature by Hans Christian Andersen titled “The Pine Tree.” After much learning of many new vocabulary words, reading, and analyzing the text, each student created a video with still photos, captions from the text, and instrumental music to represent the story. Take a look at their fine work by clicking here. 

Close and Critical Reading

Dr. Mears has been teaching our fourth and fifth graders how to read and analyze reading fiction and non-fiction test at a deeper level. Students focus on four different components:

  • What the text says (most important words/phrases, important ideas, summarizing)
  • How the text describes. (genre, mood, organization, imagery, figures of speech)
  • What the text means (theme, author’s purpose)
  • How the text connects with him or herself (similarities, how it relates to self)

This week fifth graders are reading and analyzing  More than Anything Else by Marie Bradbury which is a book about Booker T. Washington.

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Bridging Learning in Science

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We are starting a new engineering unit that will focus on structures using KNEX bridge kits. Students will study the designs of several different bridge structures while building them with KNEX pieces, and they will also extend and integrate writing with science in their engineering logs. Students kicked off the unit with a group problem solving activity aimed at creating the strongest and most stable structure using only newspaper and masking tape.

Multiplication, Volume, and Angles, oh my!

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We’ve hit the ground running in our math classes after winter break. Our fourth graders are building upon their multiplication skills and area concepts and are now learning 2×2 digit multiplication from both the algorithmic and conceptual perspective. Our students will apply this learning to more complex area and perimeter problems as well as with problem solving skills.

In our fifth grade classes, Mrs. Reed’s class is applying their area, perimeter, and multiplication skills toward their understanding of surface area and volume. Instruction includes a lot of hands-on learning to best understand the concepts and will include a box measuring project next week. Fifth graders, Remember to bring your boxes by Friday!

In Mrs. Reohr’s class, her students will be participating in hands-on learning and the protractors will be out in full force as her students work with measuring angles and triangles.

iPads and Math

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Our iPad pilot is coming along well with both students and teachers learning something new all the time. In our 4th grade math class we have been studying area and perimeter models and problems. We are using the Geoboard app by the Math Learning Center. The pictures above show students using the Geoboard app. We have also begun using an app titled Splash Math. This app provides skill reinforcement for all areas we study in 4th grade math with many practice modules and some on screen worksheets. Student results on the practice modules and worksheets is emailed to the teacher.

National Inspirer Geography Project

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Today our students picked up where they left off in December with the geography software program, National Inspirer. This is a group simulation in which student groups travel across the US, and in the process try to pass through states with certain attributes, such as cotton production, population density, lumber production, and elevation, to name a few. The program requires students to analyze several different US maps in order to plan the most productive route. The simulation will conclude on Thursday.