Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ravenous Readers

Custom Glitter Text

So far, our fourth graders have read a total of 15,728 minutes! I have a little wager going with the students. Inspired by other teachers and administrators around the world who have done wacky things to motivate their students, I have agreed to SLEEP ON THE ROOF OF THE SCHOOL if our students read 250,000 minutes by June 15. We keep a daily tally of our reading minutes and will update the total on our blog regularly.

Please comment! Is there something you read or are reading this year that you REALLY liked? If so, what is it? What do you like about it? Are there any books or series that you anticipate reading?  Please share your thoughts with us!   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Multiplication Arrays

Students are learning about multiplication and division in the first math unit. To help give them a concrete understanding of the concept, as well as help them learn the factors of numbers, we spend some time on arrays. During one math class this week, students took pictures of arrays they noticed around the school, and some students even took pictures at home! Enjoy the "product" of their labor and use it to help you learn your multiplication facts!

In order to see the captions, hover over the slideshow. In the bottom left, click on the comment "cloud" icon next to the stick figure icon. The captions should appear near the bottom of each picture.

If you have pictures of arrays from your school or home, please e-mail them to Mr. Pahl at and we will post all of the pictures we receive in a later post.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Multiplication Facts

Different people have many different ways of learning their basic math facts. I had to learn my multiplication facts in the 3rd grade. I got grounded because I hadn't learned them yet, and I had to write them all down several times until I had them commited to memory. If there was a fact I didn't know, my dad sent me back to my room to fill yet another piece of paper with 8 x 7 = 56. It took about 4 days without TV or playing with friends, but it sure did the trick.

Now that I'm a teacher, I got to thinking..."THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY."

There are many shortcuts, rhymes you can write, memory tricks, and other good learning strategies you can use to learn these basic facts. We will discuss them in class. It's important that you really understand what 7 x 6 = 42 means, but it's also important just to have the facts memorized in your head. You have to learn letter sounds in order to read words, and you have to learn your basic math facts in order to complete more complex math problems. To help you memorize your basic multiplication facts, my students from last year and I created these Animoto videos. I hope you will watch them often, and I hope you learn your facts very soon. Make it a goal to learn all these facts by the end of October if you don't know them already.

We'll also make them for the 4's and 12's and get them up here soon.









This Is Sunnyland

Create your own video slideshow at

Please comment!
What are some things you love about Sunnyland Elementary School? If you are a student at another school, please tell us what is special or unique about your school? What do you love about your school? Is there anything our schools have in common?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday Assembly

Each Monday, Sunnyland will begin the day with an all school assembly to kick off the week. This week, we were lucky enough to have members of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Ensemble play for us and share some intersting facts about their instruments as well as teach us a little about music.

Here is a Tagxedo of what students learned about woodwind instruments and symphonic music.

Please comment!
What is the name of the large instrument in the top picture? What is the name of the small, black instrument in the third picture? Which makes a higher pitch: a smaller or larger instrument? Do you know why?

Before the man played his instrument in the video above, he asked us to listen carefully and think about what color we "heard." There is a special word in music for the "color" of what is being played. Does anyone remember that special word? What colors do you hear when you listen to the snippet in the video?

Welcome Back Everyone!

Room 12 at Sunnyland School is BACK IN ACTION! There are 31 bright, eager 4th graders in our classroom who are ready to learn and support each other. One of our first activities was to discuss what kind of classroom we would like to have. This Wordle exemplifies the views and values of our community members. I hope we can all work together to make room 12 represent what we see here.