Friday, December 17, 2010

Wonderful Readers

Mr. Pahl made a pact with his third and fourth graders at the beginning of the year. He told them if they read 200,000 minutes this year, he would sleep on the roof of the school one night. Yes, it's true. He isn't sure what he was thinking at the time he made this agreement with his students, but a deal's a deal.

A little more than three months into the year, the class has read (drum roll please)...

58,346 minutes!

That is around 19,500 minutes per month!

I'm very proud of the students even if they are a little behind in reaching their goal, but they are a hardy, intelligent bunch. Don't count them out!

They also know that reading isn't about quantity, it IS about quality. The emphasis of our reading conversations at the beginning of the year has been our THINKING. Reading is thinking. These students know that good readers ask lots of questions, make connections to other texts, to their lives, and to world events, talk with other readers about their thinking, compare and contrast characters and events, and they do many other things that help them understand or comprehend the texts that they are reading.

Will you share your thinking with us? 

Please tell us what you have thought about something you recently read. 

Was there a character you loved or one that aggravated you to no end? Why? Was there something you didn't know or understand - what did you do to help you figure it out? Was there a story that filled you with joy or hope or one that made you feel sad? Is there a book or an author you would recommend? Why?

Who? What? When? Where? Why? Poems

Start with basics- the order doesn't really matter; just be sure it makes sense:
Who? Mr. Pahl
What? got out of bed
When? early one morning
Where? into the kitchen
Why? to make coffee

Then add descriptive language to make your poem "delicious."

Mr. Pahl, a tired, short haired man in his late 30's,
stumbled out of his comfortable, warm bed,
like a wobbly, newborn calf,
into the cold, dark kitchen,
early one morning,
to brew his favorite, steaming, hot coffee,
because his lovely, two year old daughter had kept him awake most of the long, sleepless night.

Please share your 5W poem with us! Click on "comments" to share.

x 11

Thanks to our hard working students for completing another set of multiples. This time, it's x 11!

Monday, December 13, 2010

More Fun with Technology and Multiplication

More Multiplication Facts. This Time It's Times Nine!

I'm so excited! Here are 2 more multiplication MC's to dazzle you with their "x 9 Rhmye." Give it UP!!!

This takes a lot of guts. Girls, thank you very much for all of your hard work and for taking a risk. I really appreciate you participating in this.

Mr. Pahl

Multiplication and Division Story Problems

Write (AND SOLVE!) multiplication and division story problems. Be as clever as possible.

Let's see...Mr. Pahl was abducted by aliens AGAIN. This time they cut him into 56 equal pieces and sent those pieces to 8 of their ships. How many pieces of Mr. Pahl did each alien ship receive?

I know my doubles. I know that 8 x 8 = 64 and 64 divided by 8 = 8.
56 is 8 less than 64, so 56 divided by 8 has to be 7 pieces.
Yes, I checked 8 x 7 = 56, so 56 divided by 8 = 7.

The answer is 7 pieces each.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Special Visitor Comes to Sunnyland

     On a dark, gloomy Tuesday afternoon in December, several third and fourth grade classes learned about using descriptive words and fantastic details in their writing from children's author Gary Hogg. Some of his books include a series called "Spencer's Adventures," a chapter book called Scrambled Eggs and Spider Legs, and a picture book called I Heard of a Nerd Bird


     During the terrific writing workshop, he taught us two important rules to include in our drafts. The first rule Mr. Hogg introduced to the attentive students was "Writing is thinking." We practiced that rule by getting a good picture of something in our minds and then jotting our ideas on paper.

      He mentioned that we should not worry about spelling in the first draft; instead, we should just focus on getting our ideas on paper. The second rule was "If you can think it, you can write it." He shared how important it was for us to write about things we know about. The idea of writing about a rocket ship is exciting, but if we don't know much about rockets, it's hard for us to write about them.

     Near the end of the workshop, our guest invited one of our classmates to the front of the audience. He read what had been written and asked the apprehensive student many questions that helped him write a more detailed and descriptive piece. In the end, our fearless student felt excited because of all the details and ideas he walked away with in his writing notebook!  

     Thank you, Mr. Hogg, for visiting Sunnyland and for spending time with us and teaching us more about descriptive writing. Thanks to the Sunnyland PTA, too, for sponsoring this workshop. We returned to class feeling inspired to write spectacular stories. 

Please Comment! What is something you learned from Mr. Hogg or something you will remember about his visit?  

Third and Fourth Graders Are Learning Basic Mulitplication Facts

     When I was a third grader learning multiplication facts, I had trouble getting all those numbers straight in my head. I struggled and struggled to remember them. Then, for three nights in a row, I was sent to my room to write down each fact: 1 x 0 = 0, 1 x 1 = 1, 1 x 2 = 2, and I did this over and over and OVER until I had finally memorized them. Now that I am a teacher, I think "There MUST be a better way..."

     Please come back to our site often in the next week or so. Hopefully the students will do a better job than I did!

Please comment! What are ways you learned your multiplication facts or "times tables" (as we used to call them)? Are there any tricks or shortcuts you used?  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where is Your Favorite Place to Visit?

     One of my favorite things to do is to journey into the San Juan Islands aboard a boat. Leaving from Anacortes, WA, about an hour south of Bellingham, the large, white and green, sailing vessels of the Washington State Ferry System carry me into a land of wonder. There is something different and surprising around every corner. The islands often appear to be covered by a gigantic forest of trees from far away, but when I get closer, marvelous homes surrounded by trees stand in front of me. I often wonder "How did they build a house here?"

     On a few of the islands, small towns have been built right along the shore. It is a delight to walk or bike off the ferry and check out the sights. I enjoy browsing in the bookstores and eating a tasty meal in one of the small, locally owned eateries.

     During the trip, I am sure to see many varieties of birds soaring above or bobbing around in the deep, green water. If I am lucky, I will encounter one of the majestic, graceful pods of killer whales that live part time in these islands.

     Behind the boat is a long trail of bubbly, white foam. Further in the distance on a clear day sits Mt. Baker like a sentinal keeping watch over everything. I have seen it many times, and it still takes my breath away. My next trip to the islands is only a few weeks away, and I await it with great anticipation.

Please comment! Describe your favorite place to visit.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Music and Stories from Japan

Each year, the Mount Baker Theatre invites students to one of several performances. We thank the Frank King family for their generous donation to help cover a major portion of the cost of these events. Many of our students' only experiences with music, theatre, and dance of this caliber come from their annual trek to Mt. Baker Theatre with their classes.

The teachers selected Portland Taiko this year because it mixes fantastic drumming and other percussion with storytelling, history, and culture. Our class joined all of the other 3rd and 4th classes at Sunnyland along with hundreds of students from around the county for this spectacular show. I asked students to write about their experience and thought I would showcase a couple of examples of their work because of vivid use of language or thoughtful descriptions of what they observed. My students right now are working to improve their use of strong, powerful verbs, relevant details and rich, colorful descriptions. Please enjoy what you read and feel free to leave comments and constructive criticism. If you are interested in reading more of the students' work, please visit the Sunnyland Room 12 Google site.

Here is a 4th grader's account of the trip:
            The Taiko Drummers!

            Yesterday, my class and I went to the Mt. Baker Theater to watch the amazing Portland Taiko Drummers!

            First I'll tell you about what Taiko is. First of all, Taiko is Japanese drums. It also requires respect, cooperation, and perseverance, to do Taiko drumming. I also noticed there were many Taiko drums.

            Now I tell you somethings I learned about Taiko. They used to communicate with Taiko drums for celebrations on someone's birthday or on a holiday. Or they played they're drums during evacuations in times of danger. I also learned and saw different sizes and sounds of different Taiko drums.

            And now some of my favorite parts of the Taiko drumming. I first noticed the catchy rhythms and beats they played. I didn't think they would play a flute, but they did. And later on I learned that it was made from bamboo but it sounded like the metal ones made here but better and smoother sounding. And the BOOM! CRASH! And CLANG! They made with the Taiko drums. The boom was made from the extraordinary strength and the stick pounding onto the huge drum. The crash was made from the two Japanese cymbals colliding into each other. And the clang was from the stick hitting the rim of one of the smaller Taiko drums. Another of my favorite parts was when the Taiko drummer told a story about a boy who found the rain gods Taiko drum. If you hit it in the center it makes someone's nose tune bigger, if you hit nit on the rim, it makes someone's  nose turn smaller. Then the boys nose turns super big, reaches the heavens then the rain god pulls his nose up and then starts a ridiculous chase.

            I just want to say thank you to the King family for paying us to see the amazing Taiko drummers!  

And this is from one of our third graders:
Taiko Drummers  
        On Wednesday morning we wher just starting the day my class walked out side to get on the bus to go see the Taiko Drummers at the Mt. Baker Theter for a field trip.
        When we got there it was kidov loud. All that was on the stage was drums. Flat drums, round drums, small drums, big drums. The bigger the drum is the louder the drum is. One of my favorit drums is the ones with the ropes. The ropes wher white and purple. To tune the drum you have to tighten the ropes that what I thought was cool about that drum.
        A little after, they picked people to go on stage. They picked my friend Dominique. She is in in 4th grade. Dominique picked the 2nd littlest drum.
        My favorite part was when they told they storys. They acted out one of the storys. One of the storys was about two people hwo got stuck in camps. They worn’t fun camps they wher jail camp. The people who got stuck in the camps for about 2 years. The other story was about a girl who was playing tricks on other people. When she got cought by the rain gods they took her up to the clouds the most pouworful rain god told them to make shure she stas there. When the clouds had no rain left one of the clouds said “lets go to Fred Meyer to get some more rain”
        Thank you for the field trip I had a blast!

Thanks again for visiting the room 12 class blog. We hope you enjoyed your visit and that you will return again soon!

Friday, November 5, 2010

"This Is Sunnyland"

Room 12 students took pictures and wrote about what makes our school special. I put everything into an Animoto slide show.

We hope you enjoy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Third and Fourth Grade

I have known about this tool for some time, but haven't really used it much until now. Wordle is a fun, free Web 2.0 tool for creating word "clouds" from text. The students wrote short pieces about what they thought of third and fourth grade to this point. I copied what they wrote and pasted into Wordle, and this is what was created. The words that are the largest are the words that students used most often.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Friday

Hello fantastic students!

As usual when I am away, I miss you very much. Your energy, enthusiasm, eagerness to learn, and your kindness add so much to my life each day. Luckily, I am learning great things while I am away that we will be able to use in our classroom right away! The best thing I learned this week was something that will help YOU become better learners. I am really excited about it and can’t wait to share it with you. I’m not being more specific because I want to surprise you. Make sure you’re there on Monday to find out what it is. Until then, please write a few sentences telling me about something you learned this week. Have a great remainder of your day and a terrific weekend.

Mr. Pahl

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Time to Bring the Blog Back!

Hi everyone. 

There is much I would like to share with you today, but as time is not on my side, I will have to keep today's post fairly short. We are beginning a 4 week unit on salmon as part of the Students For Salmon project with Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (N-SEA). The students and I feel passionately about this project because it is something that connects all of us. Though we don't live in the oceans, estuaries, rivers, streams or creeks, the quality of salmon habitat is directly tied to the quality of OUR habitat. It is also a wonderful topic to study because it relates to many other topics Bellingham 3rd and 4th graders examine. 

Below are examples of the students' Thinking Maps titled "What I Learned About Salmon" following a one hour presentation from Monica at N-SEA. Thank you, Monica! Click on an image to enlarge it. 

I look forward to sharing much more about this project with you as we make our way through it. 

Mr. Pahl

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March 15 Problem of the Day

Amazon River
Katie, who loves to swim, was reading about how dangerous it is to swim in the Amazon River. The Amazon River is home to snakes, eels, alligators, and attacking piranha. Katie's teacher saw what she was reading and asked Katie, "What river contains about the same volume of water as the Mississippi, the Yangtze, and the Nile rivers combined?"
Katie's teacher told her that it is the Amazon River. The Amazon is the biggest river in the world and has a drainage area of 2,722,000 square miles.
If the Mississippi River had a drainage area that was exactly one-third the drainage area of the Amazon River, what would be the Mississippi's drainage area to the nearest tenth of a square mile?
Hint: Break 2,722,000 into 3 equal parts to get the answer. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 10 Problem of the Day

Submarine Dream

When his class was studying World War II, Fred volunteered to research the early history of the submarine. Fred was surprised to learn that the submarine had a rather lengthy history.

William Bourne, a British mathematician, drew up a design for a submarine in 1578. In the early 1600’s, Cornelius van Drebbel used Bourne's plans to build a submergible boat which traveled for short distances under the Thames River. This craft was built out of wood and covered with tightly wrapped sheets of waterproofed leather. It was propelled by oars that extended through its sides.

The first submarine-like boat to be used during wartime was David Bushnell's "Turtle". The Turtle was a one-man wooden barrel-like boat that was powered by hand-turned propellers. It was used during the American Revolution to plant bombs on the hulls of British ships. Although the Turtle was functional as a submarine, the bombs it planted were ineffective.

In 1800, Robert Fulton built the "Nautilus", a military submarine. This submarine was built with copper sheets over steel ribs and hand-powered propellers. It employed tanks that were filled with water to submerge and a horizontal rudder for steering.

It took the Nautilus 2 minutes to submerge. Once submerged, it could travel forward at a speed of 2 miles per hour. The Nautilus held enough oxygen to remain submerged for 17 minutes. Calculate how far the Nautilus could travel forward before its oxygen was exhausted?

March 10 Learning Summary

In fractions the last few days, we learned that higher number are actually lower.  People think 1/16 is more than 1/8 because 16 is bigger than 8, but they're surprised when they learn it is the other way around. If you are comparing something has 16 equal pieces or something that has 8 equal pieces, one of the 16 pieces is smaller than one of the 8 pieces.

Here is an example using this cake. The number 4 is bigger than the number 2, but when it is a fraction, a larger number actually means a smaller piece. 1/2 of this cake is twice as big as 1/4 of this cake! What do you think 1/8 of the cake would look like?

In multiplication, we learned how to use repeated addition to help solve problems.
2 x 3 is the same thing as 3 + 3 and 4 x 5 is the same as 5 + 5 + 5 + 5. We also learned that you can break up one number in multiplication to help make problems easier to solve. Let's say you don't know 4 x 9 yet. You can break up the 4 and do 2 x 9 plus 2 x 9 to get the answer. We still need to learn our basic multiplication facts, but this is a strategy we can use when we get to bigger numbers or for basic facts we don't know yet.

During writing we found out about the PBS Kids Go! contest. Now we're all hoping to write a fabulous story that will help us win a laptop or camera or mp3 player.  "I'm so excited for itto come! My mom always does her book work on the computer and if I win the laptop, I can play Madden on my laptop while she does her work."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March 9 Problem of the Day

Road Trip!

Jill and her family toured the United States by car during their vacation. From their home, they drove 2,452 miles west to Los Angeles. From Los Angeles they drove 857 miles east to Denver. From Denver, they drove 1,212 miles southeast to New Orleans. From New Orleans, they drove northeast 1,427 miles to New York City. From New York City, they drove southwest 842 miles back to their home.

They traveled many back roads and saw wonderful sites. The trip took eleven weeks to complete. Their car’s odometer read 11,234 miles before the trip began.
How many miles did their odometer have on it when Jill's family completed the eleven-week journey?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Problem of the Day

Here is today's Problem of the Day, brought to you from MathMastery Daily Brains:

Solar Eclipse A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the sun and the earth and casts a shadow over part of the earth. It is called a total solar eclipse when the moon's shadow completely blocks out the sun. During a total eclipse, you can see a ring of gas around the sun. The ring of gas is referred to as a halo and is called the corona.

The first total solar eclipse of the decade took place on June 21, 2001. It was visible over the Atlantic Ocean, Africa and Madagascar. The next total solar eclipse took place in 2002 and the closest one after that will be in 2017. The total solar eclipse that took place in 2002 was on December 4 and was visible in southern Africa, over the Indian Ocean, and in Australia. The eclipse that takes place on August 21, 2017 will be visible from Oregon to South Carolina. (We might get to see it here in Bellingham!)

Exactly how much time (years/months/days) will there be between the two total solar eclipses in 2002 and 2017?  Answer in the Comments section of today's posting. Be sure to explain how you got your answer.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More Pictures From Seattle

Hey Room 12ers!

Pick your favorite picture or two. In the Comment section, describe the picture and tell 2 or 3 reasons why it is your favorite.