Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Students For Salmon Field Trip

Our fourth graders, their teachers, and a few brave volunteers ventured out in a downpour to plant trees near Squalicum Creek as part of our Students For Salmon Program with Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association.

This is part of an effort to improve the Squalicum Creek watershed by restoring the riparian zone along the creek.

The students learned how to properly dig a hole for a tree, set the tree in the hole, and mulch the area around the tree. They worked in teams to plant over 50 native trees and shrubs, and then mulch them as well.

Thanks to our volunteers and of course to N-SEA for a great field trip despite the cold and the rain. We had a great time.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What's Happening in Fourth Grade?

Here is an update from Ms. Avera. Mr. Pahl's update will come early next week.

Reading: We are continuing to work on determining the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details and summarizing the text.  Our metacognitive strategy is determining text importance.  Our comprehension strategy is: identifying sequence of events.  We are continuing, and will throughout the year, to use Readabout and Smartfiles which are non-fiction text.

We are continuing our study of Leonardo Da Vinci and finishing his biography.  Students are asking questions and writing responses about his inventions and art work.  Students are continuing to use their listening and speaking skills to have discussions around their written responses.

Writing: We have completed our “Spooky Stories” that included: strong verbs, adjectives and transitions.  We are now working on another imaginative narrative piece to solidify their understanding of sequence of events, opening hook and closing.

After Thanksgiving Break the students will be writing a personal narrative about their Thanksgiving experience and from this writing narrow the topic.  This skill or “a moment in time” will help students focus their writing.

Social Studies: We are continuing with geography and using Time Lines to understand the sequence of history.

Art:  We completed a painting of Birch Trees in the fall by using negative space and wet on wet watercolor technique.  The students ripped pieces of tape and placed them on the watercolor paper then put a layer of water down with a wide brush.  Students then dropped in analogous colors and let the paper dry.  The colors blended together to create leave patterns.  Once the paper was dry we peeled off the tape and drew the lines and knots onto the tree trunk.  When that was complete we added a shadow on one side of the trunk by mixing colors and then adding water to soften the edge.  

The students will be drawing a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables using colored pencils.  In this lesson students will be learning more about shading and proportion.   

Thanks Again, PTA

We have such a wonderful, hard working PTA. This gorgeous sign appeared in front of our school a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for all you do for us Sunnyland PTA!

Congratulations Mathletics Certificate Winners!

Our Mathletics certificate winners for the last two weeks are:

Eric and Devin

Angelina, Miranda, Brian, and Devin

Maximus, Mattias, Kyle, Sarah, Kayden, and Charlize


and Alex! (who isn't here this week) 

Our First Nutrition Class

 Mara, Common Threads Farm Garden Educator visited us today for our first nutrition class! 

Today's lesson was focused on identifying and labeling plant parts, naming the parts of different plants we eat, preparing a special vegetable "burrito," and using observations to describe foods we eat rather than sharing our opinions about taste. 

What are fruits we eat? 
What are flowers we eat? 

 Now it's time to classify these plant parts. Are they seeds, roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or fruits?

 Now the REALLY fun part begins. Let's prepare a special "burrito" using ONLY parts of plants to make it!

Yum! Shredded apples and beets, chard stems, kale or lettuce leaves and...sunflower seed butter! They were (mostly) a hit. 

Thank you Common Threads Farm for choosing us to be one of the schools you work with. We really value the service you provide our children and our community. 

Please comment! 

What is something you learned today about plant parts or eating plants? 

What are your favorite plant parts to eat?

What are kinds of flowers, seeds, roots, stems, leaves we eat? 

What observations can you make about food textures and tastes (instead of saying "I like that food" or "That's gross!")? 

Marvelous Math!

Our fourth graders are working hard learning and using math strategies to solve a variety of problems. One area I have noticed that they can struggle is in explaining their thinking and in using good math vocabulary. Some students also struggle to learn the right steps to solve a problem, so we came up with the idea of creating our own math channel on Vimeo to help us.

The students met in small groups to discuss the kinds of problems we should make videos of.

Then they wrote out how they would solve and talk about the problems.

They practiced and practiced...

until they came up with videos like this:

Come visit the Room 12 Math Channel to learn more great ways of solving math problems!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Room 12 Math Channel

Check out the Room 12 Math Channel on Vimeo. We are adding videos to it on a daily basis. Please leave us feedback on the quality of the videos and let us know if there are specific problems or topics you'd like to see.

Thank you!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Reading Aloud To Children

I love reading aloud to my students and to my daughters. My wife and I even enjoy reading books aloud to each other. We read the whole Hunger Games Series that way! Check out this infographic below about the importance of reading aloud to literacy learners. Only 15 minutes a night can make a difference!

Please comment!
What is your favorite thing about reading aloud?
Who reads aloud to you?
Who do you read aloud to? 
What are some of your favorite books to read aloud?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hooray For Us!

Good News! Your application to participate with Common Threads Farm Education Program was accepted! Sunnyland Elementary School  is one of four Bellingham Schools that will be partnering with Common Threads during the winter of 2013-2014 to expand garden and food-based education programs.  Mara Schradle, a Common Threads Garden Educator, will be at your school every Tuesday working with fourth grade students to deepen their understanding of everything from life-science to nutrition to teamwork through garden and cooking based education.  

While this pilot project will look different at each school (Happy Valley, Sunnyland, Alderwood and Whatcom) Some of the things you might look forward to include:
  • Good smells wafting down the halls of your school as students learn to prepare easy, healthy, low-budget snacks and meals
  • Classroom based science experiments related to plant growth
  • Youth run farm stands
  • More student engagement in early season garden planning
  • More student grown produce making its way into the snack program or the cafeteria
Thanks to grant support from the Sustainable Whatcom Fund of the Whatcom Community Foundation - Common Threads is able to offer the extended Garden/Food Educator resource to each partner school at no additional charge.

Laura Plaut
Executive Director
Common Threads Farm
1711 Ellis #102
Bellingham WA 98225

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

Thank you, veterans for your sacrifices for our country. Happy Veteran's Day.

Do you know a veteran? Please tell us about her or him. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Contour Drawing and Water Color

Students have been learning about contour drawing which is drawing the outside line of an object.  They have also been gaining understanding of mixing secondary colors from warm and cool primary colors.  The students used these skills to draw and paint the leaves.  They first drew the leaf then painted the inside with water.  When the paper was still wet students dropped in analogous colors that reflected the colors of the leaves they saw while at Memorial Park. 

The students then wrote poems using the words they wrote down when observing the trees.  This was their first of many poems they will write this year.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Bellingham Kiwanis Super Readers

Once again, the Bellingham Kiwanis Club is sponsoring the Super Readers Program at Sunnyland. Our students read every night anyway, and now they can get rewarded for it beyond the joy, mystery, and intrigue that reading normally provides.

Just keep track of the number of minutes read nightly on the Super Readers monthly calendar. At the end of the month, turn in the calendar.

For participating, students are entered into a drawing for fabulous prizes!

To kick off the Super Readers Program this year, members of the Kiwanis Club brought Bellingham Blazers players to talk about the importance reading has played in their lives. 

BIG THANK YOU to Bellingham Kiwanis Club and the Bellingham Blazers!