Friday, October 26, 2012

Emily Carr and Charcoal Drawing

We are very fortunate this year to have such quality art instruction from Ms. Avera and from J's mom, Mrs. Heywood, who is the art teacher at Shuksan Middle School. We are continuing our in depth study of trees and art inspired by trees and the environment. Mrs. Heywood taught the class about Emily Carr, Canadian artist and author.

She emphasized Carr's profound connection, love, and respect for nature and shared images similar to the ones below (obtained from on October 26, 2012) for students to see examples of her unique style.

Emily Carr, Big Raven (Cumshawa), 1931, Oil on canvas, 87.0 x 114.0cm, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr Trust.
Emily Carr, Totem Walk at Sitka, ca.1907, watercolor on paper, 38.5 x 38.5cm, The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, The Thomas Gardiner Keir Bequest.
Emily Carr, Untitled (Formalized Cedar), c. 1931, Charcoal on paper, 91.8 x 61.2 cm, Vancouver Art Gallery
Students learned about scale, contrast, and ways a drawing or painting can show "movement." Next, Mrs. Heywood demonstrated how to use vine charcoal to create a drawing and use shading and texture. She modeled the technique used to draw a tree "skeleton" and then the process for adding leaves or other elements to the picture.
Finally, students had the opportunity to make some art!

Here are their beatiful creations.

Charcoal Drawing on PhotoPeach

Thank you, Mrs. Heywood!

The Water Cycle

Room 12 4th graders have begun the Students for Salmon environmental science program through Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. The introduction to this program gives students a solid understanding of water. It's as important to salmon as the air we breathe is to us. We will discuss a watershed soon, but as a quick intro, we covered the the water cycle.

This detailed image from the USGS shows how it works. Go here for a more detailed description.

Here is another, more simple image that shows how the water cycle works:
borrowed from Exploring Nature October 25, 2012

 And finally, here is our example of using Whole Body Learning to help students remember the concept.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 22-25

It's been another great week. Here is a little of what we have been doing...

The Noise Guy!

We have an AWESOME PTA at Sunnyland! They provide students with many fun and interesting opportunities for learning and entertainment. This week, Charlie Williams, a.k.a. "The Noise Guy" visited our school and provided us with lots of laughs and also some ideas for being creative.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Good Night Gorilla

As a way to help students improve descriptive writing skills, I enlisted the assistance of a classic children's book: Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. There is little text in this precious story about a mischievous, little gorilla and her (or his) zoomates who sneak into the zookeeper's cozy cottage to sleep. The students individually wrote details from the action they saw on each page. Then they got into groups to refine and revise their stories. We discussed the use adjectives and adverbs, vivid descriptions of characters, the setting, and events, ways to transition from page to page or scene to scene, and delicious words ("How did you went?").

After another revision and editing, students narrated their stories and matched them with photos uploaded to Photo Story. All students' work will be put on their Google Sites when they are completed. Here is an example of a finished story that was very well written. Nice job Dyna, Phoebe, and Claire!

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 15-19

What have we been up to this week?

Mathematicians have been learning to quickly and efficiently multiply numbers 0-12, and then use that knowledge to multiply 2 digit x 1 digit numbers. They have also been representing multiplication problems with arrays and using arrays to help them identify the factors of numbers. Students already proficient with basic multiplication have learned to multiply 2 digit and 3 digit x 2 digit numbers and have begun learning the division algorithm.

Authors in room 12 are using their superior use of language to "re-write" the classic children's book Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathman. In the next phase of this process, the authors will narrate the story using Photo Story 3 for Windows. We hope to have those ready to share with you next week.

Thinkers and questioners and outstanding readers have been devouring books! Several adults have commented "You have a class of readers!" Yes, we do. Thinking about their thinking has been the task at hand; students have been asking questions before, during, and after reading to help them better comprehend the text. Many excellent learners are also seeking out the answers to their questions and recording those in their reading journals. Good readers know to look for the answers to questions later in the text, or by going to another source if necessary.

Technology skills abound! Computer whizzes in room 12 have already learned to use several different applications and web tools, and to move effortlessly between windows. "Facilitated" independence is the goal, so they are also learning various troubleshooting skills that help them when things don't quite work the way we think they should. In order to use these applications effectively, students are also learning how to save files, move files around between folders, and how to create folders in different locations and on different networks! We know that collaboration is an important aspect of successful classrooms, so students are working in small groups on technology projects and are producing unique, creative artifacts to showcase their learning.

Thank you to our awesome volunteers! Matt, Tara, Fiona, Kate, Steve, Carolyn, Jo, and John have enabled me to get so many more things done AND have been awesome support for students.

Here is the second slideshow created by Shawn, Makani, and Devin highlighting the students' learning for the week of October 15-19.


Art with Ms. Avera!

Ms. Avera and Mr. Pahl are switching classes once a week so her students can learn more technology and Mr. Pahl students can learn more about art! We are all having so much fun. Here is what room 12 students created in one of the early classes which focused on the concepts of light and shade with pastels.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Our First Slideshow: October 8-12

I have been wanting to get students more and more involved in creating content for our class blog. It is my goal to help my students become creators of technology, not just consumers of technology. (Thanks Ms. Larson) So I finally decided to have Historians as one of our class jobs. Two students take photos and take a few notes throughout the week - other students can participate in this as well; however, it is the primary responsibility of two students - and they learn how to edit, upload, and post a slideshow highlighting their learning experiences. 

This is the students' first experience with this, so we'd love some of your feedback. What do you think? Do you like what you see? Why or why not? Are there things you would like to see more of less of? Is there a way the captions can be improved? Any specific suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

We hope you enjoy. Come back soon to see what a fun field trip we had this week! 

Mr. Pahl