Friday, March 29, 2013

Liquid Capacity in Standard Units

The students are currently learning all about measurement using U.S. Standards Units and the Metric System. Here is a fun activity they completed to help them learn about liquid capacity.

To listent to the music while the slideshow is playing, hover over the image of the show until you see the speaker icon with a line through it at the bottom. Then click on the icon and the music will play.

ounces > cups > pints > quarts > gallons

Please comment!
How did the Capacity Creature help you remember the number of cups in pint or pints in a quart or quarts in a gallon?
Are there other visuals or "tricks" you use to help you remember how to convert units of liquid capacity?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What Have Students Been Learning?

We are so behind! I apologize for not getting these slideshows up sooner. Thanks to all the students who have been historians for our class and for the students and volunteers who have helped create the slideshows. We really appreciate you.

Mid February
Last Week in February
2nd Week of March

Reader's Theater

We have been working very hard to improve fluency in 4th grade. Students have been practicing with a rubric that explains what fluent reader sounds like. Students are paying particular attention to Phrasing, Rate, Expression, and Punctuation. Well, let's see how they did...

The Leaf Monster by Amanda McRaney Jenkins
Featuring:  Rhiannon, Claire, Julia, Fiona, Devin, Oscar, and Austin

Gingerbread Boy Uptown by Ian James
Featuring: Sophia, Shawn, Avery, Alvin, Linnea, Xavier, Gavin, Devin, Oscar, and Austin

Why Coyote Stopped Imitating His Friends by Candice Kramer
Featuring: Linnea, Avery, Karoline, Dyna, Phoebe, and River

Please comment!
What is one way you have improved your reading fluency this year?
How does better fluency help you be a better reader?
What is something about your fluency you want to continue to improve?
Give us some feedback!
What did you think of the reading?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Space: An Artist's View

We are always so lucky to have Mrs. Heywood and Jo join us for art lessons. Here is the description of the project from Mrs. Heywood:
"This project connects science investigations with art. Using a flashlight and a Styrofoam ball, we began by exploring how light falls on a sphere, creating a range of values from highlights to darker shades.   Students created their own highlights and shadows using chalk pastels on black paper.  They used spatial devices such as overlapping and diminishing size,  to convey a sense of depth in their artworks.  Look closely to see where some students added details like rings around the planets, atmospheric layers, stars, and clouds/colored gases. "
And here are the marvelous creations by students! Thank you Mrs Heywood and Jo!
Hover over the slideshow and click on the speaker icon near the bottom to play the music during the show.

Phoebe, thank you for making the slide show.
Please comment!
What is an art skill you learned from participating in this project?
What do you like about students' creations?
In what ways have you improved as an artist this year?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

More Space Science

You need Flash installed on your computer to see this animation that provides a unique view into the different sizes of the Moon, the Earth and the Sun.

Here is an interesting website through the Mundesley Junior School.

And check out this cool activity from Science Net Links that allows you to compare the size of 2 different planets or bodies in space:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mr. Pahl Goes To Portland

Each year, over 1,000 people from schools all over the Northwest gather in either Portland or Seattle to learn more about using technology in education. The organization that sponsors the gathering is NCCE which stands for Northwest Council for Computer Education.

This year, the conference was in Portland!

No, I didn't see Prue, Curtis, or Wildwood, but I saw the Railroad Bridge and the Industrial Wastelands!

 And I sure learned a lot more about ways we can improve technology use in our classroom.

The Convention Center had a lot of wonderful art inside and out. 
This was a  beautiful sculpture honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Here are a few more examples of the art at the Convention Center. The building is massive. These tremendous works of art are enormous in size. I'm not sure you can tell from the pictures.

This is an authentic dragon boat hanging above a gathering area.

I think this is a glass sculpture of poppies, I think. 

Not sure what this is. Grape? Olive? Fig?

First, we all gathered in a giant ballroom.

A smart, talented man named George Couros talked to us about how we can make schools better for you. This isn't exactly what he said, but it will give you an idea of what he wanted us to think about.

He also showed us a couple of thoughtful images (click on them to make them larger):

Later, I attended a photo workshop. Many people take pictures everyday. They have what they call 365 projects where they commit to taking at least one picture a day for the whole year.

Some classrooms do it. Mrs. Yollis has one. Our historians do something like this for us.

Sometimes people go out in search of things to photograph, and they look for certain themes. After a brief introduction, the workshop leader took us out on a photo walk of Portland. She told us to pick a theme and start taking pictures. I also learned how to use a site called Flickr. Here is my Flickr "Photostream." My theme was Angles, Shapes, Lines...Function or Design. I hope you like it.

When we returned from the walk, there was a drawing, and...

I won us a new camera!
I learned so many other things during my time in Portland, all of which I hope to share with you during the remainder of our journey through 4th grade together. 

Be good humans.
Mr. Pahl

A Strong Paragraph

The students in Room 12 are constantly working to refine the writing craft. I have noticed lately that we could use more work on paragraph structure, so students were assigned the task of writing a paragraph about something they know a lot about. They weren't held responsible for presenting factual information, just for writing a solid, well organized paragraph.

They have learned that a paragraph should have a strong opening sentence that either answers the prompt or establishes the main idea for the reader. Hopefully it has some sort of catch or hook, or something that a reader will find interesting and makes them want to read more. The topic or main idea sentence should be followed with 3-5 well written, detail sentences that support the main idea. Finally, the paragraph closes with a concluding sentence that wraps up the piece. It should address the main idea sentence without repeating it; when possible the closing sentence should share some thought, feeling, or opinion.

Here are a few examples from students who did all 3 of these things pretty well in our last assignment:
Owls by Linnea
                Owls are interesting and complex in almost every way. For example, they have three types of feathers; the primary are the biggest and used in flight, secondary feathers are mostly used in flight and down (the 3rd type of feather) is just used for keeping warm. Owls also have facial disks to help them hear and expert eyes that can see in the dark! Owls are special because most birds usually have 3 toes in front and 1 toe in back while owls are able to have 2 toes in front and 2 toes in back. There are many types of owls are around the world. Elf owls are the smallest, not even as big as your hand! The Great Grey Owls are the biggest: bigger than this paper! Big, small, young, old, owls are just amazing!

Bald Eagles by River
       Bald eagles are very graceful flyers and hunters. They hunt alone and don't share food. They are the second largest type of eagle, second only to the Marshall eagle. Bald eagles have a 6 foot wingspan while the Marshall eagles have a 6-8 foot wingspan. They live near rivers where they feed on salmon. One of the strangest things about them is that they have black chicks. Bald eagle are graceful flyers, successful hunters, and as chicks weird  looking creatures, but those three characteristics are what make the bald eagle such an amazing animal.   

Pig Paragraph by Gavin
Can you guess what porcine means? It means piggish and I think pigs are the coolest animals on earth. Pigs usually have cotton candy pink skin, but sometimes their skin is an elephant gray with dark spots. Pigs are usually found on farms where they are raised and then sent to a restaurant or a store to be turned into bacon or some other type of meat. Pigs' tails look like really short springs. Their snouts are oval shaped with two nostrils that look like black holes. Pigs have four stubby legs and they love to play in soft, squishy mud. They eat sloppy food and usually live in pens. I hope everyone thinks the pig is an amazing animal, because even though pigs are messy, they are still really cool.

Tui by Phoebe
A Tui is a very exotic bird that lives in most parts of New Zealand. The Tui’s feathers are a greenish-bluish iridescent color on most of its body. Some parts of its body are mostly an iridescent green or an iridescent blue. On its throat, there is tuft of white feathers that looks like a mix between a roster’s wattle and a tied up, fancy scarf that is covered in fluffy white feathers. Its unmistakable call sounds like a long, exotic mixture of many different bird sounds. The main diet of a Tui is nectar from a plant called flax. How the Tui sees is interesting. It sees in ultra violet so the flowers it feeds on stand out even more than they seem to stand out to us. A lot of birds see in ultra violet. All birds fascinate me, and I especially like the Tui for its unique call and tuft of elegant white feathers.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thank You, Scott

Our Head Custodian, Scott Sorensen, was honored Wednesday for 30 years of service to the Bellingham Public Schools. Thanks for all you do, Scott. We appreciate you.

Yes, this chocolate butter cream chocolate, did I say chocolate, cake was very yummy.   

Please leave a message for Scott in the comments. 

Think You Can Design a T-Shirt?

Kid President is back with a t-shirt design contest.

Family Blogging Month Results!

Thanks to everyone who participated in Family Blogging Month. It was wondderful for me to read all that you had to say, and it made me very excited to see so much activity on our class blog. During the month of February, we had almost 2,000 page views and over 350 comments on the blog!

The results are in...

in THIRD place, with a total of 4 Family Comments:

free glitter text and family website at

in SECOND place, with a total of 7 Family Comments:

free glitter text and family website at

and the winner, with a total of 8 Family Comments is:

free glitter text and family website at

I decided to hold a student competition in addition to the family competition for most comments.

In the Student Comment category, there was a very close race. Two bloggers were neck and neck the entire month, but in the end, one blogger won by a very narrow margin.

in third place, with a total of 24 comments:

free glitter text and family website at

in second place (our early leader), with a total of  31 comments:

free glitter text and family website at

and the winner, with a strong finish and a total of 34 comments:

free glitter text and family website at

Keep an eye on our blog in the near future.
Each of the students named above gets to create their own post!

Please comment!
Tell us what you thought of Family Blogging Month.
What could we do to get even more families or family members involved?
Is there anything you learned about your classmates that you didn't already know?
What would help you participate more in the next blogging challenge?