kallentuck

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4th Graders winding down 2018-19 in style

Dear Parents and Families,

Thank you all so much for coming to our Create-A-State final presentations last week. I thought the students presented with much poise and confidence and I was glad you were there to see that. And of course, the Spring Concert always reminds us how many different and spectacular talents some of us are gifted with and work hard to develop.

The photos in the attached slide show reflect the wide variety of activities the 4th graders have participated in these past spring weeks. The temperatures finally got us into the BCD garden where we weeded then planted, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, onions and leeks, all with an eye to next years Thanksgiving Soup. Our trip to Chocolate Springs was not only delicious but the class realized how much they already knew about the amazing and complex process of making chocolate.

Thank you to the Newman/Lazar family for our final and, oh so delicious lunch bunch and to Natacha for sneaking in a make your own sundae celebration for Sadie’s birthday before the All School Assembly last Friday.

We have managed to do some classwork as well and there are some shots of the class working on different parts of our final unit on Geometry. The smiles are of the class enjoying seeing the video of our trip to the Boston Museum of Science for the first time. And, of course, almost everyone celebrated Twins Day in their own unique fashion.

We will be working on final Portfolios this week. It’s a meaningful exercise for them to recognize and reflect on their academic growth, which has been considerable for each and every student this year. It helps them think about what works and doesn’t work for them, and why. (Should I re-read this page?, should I write a short summary of what I just read?, does this answer make sense?, I’ll go back to this question later in the quiz, etc.) This is an important year for them to take some responsibility for their own learning. The days of, “My Mom forgot to put my homework in my backpack,” are over.

We are headed to Mission Restaurant in Pittsfield this Thursday for a  cooking class and delicious lunch, which seems like a fitting way to finish up our Service Learning unit on the Food Supply Cycle and Food Citizenship. Thank you Jill Duffy, Jen Glockner and all the parents who made this possible.

If possible, please send in some strong canvas bags so we can start sending home things before Friday. Hope to see you all at the closing Assembly (11:00) and family picnic at 12:00 on Friday.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/n5BiWPSmHS9AsLt9A

Best, Katharine

 

 

By |2019-06-03T13:20:23-04:00June 3rd, 2019|

Boston Museum of Science Trip 2019

Dear Families,

I’m so glad to hear from many of you how much you’ve enjoyed the movie of our trip. I confess to watching it more than once myself. Also attached are some additional stills from the trip, but I moved most of the better ones into the movie. I will add that the class was at their best, their behavior to each to each other, to their chaperones and to everyone we crossed paths with was commendable.

As you know, this last month of school is extremely busy and I’m working hard to keep the work, routines, and expectations foremost in our minds along with the many fun and extra activities sprinkled in our days.

I would like to invite you to view the classes final Create-A-State projects on Friday the 31st before the Spring Concert. I know a lot of you are back and forth to school often this month, and I thought that might be easier than yet another trip. The concert begins at 1:30, so I’d like to invite you to come a bit earlier and we will have our presentations in the Learning Commons at 12:30. 

Please let me know if you cannot attend. The projects will be going home that day, so I’m sure you can get a repeat performance at home if necessary.

Field and Fun Day activities have been selected and that will be a full Day of fun indeed. I will remind you as we get closer, but sunscreen/hats/water and towels are necessary.

Upcoming Dates :

Wed., May 15th, 1:00 – 4th grade to Chocolate Springs

Friday, May 24th – (early start to Spirit Week)- Twins Day

Monday, May 27 – Memorial Day – No school

Tuesday, May 28th- Crazy hair and hat day

Wednesday, May 29th – Fun and Field Day

Thursday, May 30 – Dress your Best Day

Friday, May 31 – Rainbow Day (4th grade color TBD) / Create-A-State Presentation/Spring Concert

Friday, June 7- Last Day of Classes / Picnic

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms!!!

 

Best, Katharine

https://photos.app.goo.gl/k2UyAuY1BhD2oa5r7  

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/xE2TTebYs2U1tkAN8

 

 

By |2019-05-10T15:05:47-04:00May 10th, 2019|

4th Grade Poetry Slam/ April 2019

Dear Families,

“You’ve been slammed” the class announced as we surprised different classes with poetry recitations yesterday and today in honor of National Poetry Month. Tomorrow we’re surprising the Administrative offices, shhhhh!

In Social Studies the class is totally engaged in our final Create-A-State project. All of the physical maps have been completed and now we are on to road maps, regions and products and downtown maps. Landmarks, histories, and flags will follow and some may have time to produce a travel brochure as well.

This class has done a great job of converting our knowledge of factions over to decimals in Math class. We also did some measuring with yardsticks, rulers, and tape measures of each other and various other classroom items.  I like to save the Geometry unit for the end of the year and we will be starting that next week.

The class has gotten much more comfortable with our ELA reading book, Locomotion and the packet that goes along with it. The packet calls for using detailed evidence from the text to explain their answers which connects with all the work we have done this year on how to find the main idea in what we read and how to determine what are supporting details. Thorough reading comprehension includes not just remembering and understanding what you’ve read but identifying which statements support your understanding. They are becoming quite adept at providing evidence and explaining their point of view.

In the slideshow (link below) there are some shots of the class receiving their most recent issue of the Penguin Press. This paper is their creation and has become quite anticipated each week. Also included are some shots of our recent session with the Wise Bodies program. How does a flower reproduce? How many different parts are involved and what do they look like? These are some of the questions we considered and learned about.

As part of our Service Learning unit, we will be visiting Chocolate Springs in Lenox on Wednesday, May 15. Senor Silva and I will drive the class in the school vans. The class has already asked me if they can bring money to make a purchase. I am asking that each child brings no more than $10, if any, and I am hoping that Mr. Needleman might treat us to a small goody as well. The process of how cocoa pods become the delicious chocolate we all know and love is one of the more complex ones and a great example of the many steps of the food chain.

We will continue working on learning how to read food labels and what to look for as well as preparing a presentation of what we have been studying all year about the Food Supply Chain.

We are planning to leave on Thursday at 1:00 for our trip to the Boston Museum of Science which allows us to eat lunch at school and have some recess time as well before the long drive. We will still make a bathroom stop on the Pike on the way. I think most questions have been answered in class but if you still have any last minute concerns, please don’t hesitate to email or call. I will send as many photos as possible back to school and Ms. Hedidnger will get them out to you as soon as she can.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Jts3qTCNSS5HPzAa9

We will be back in time for dismissal on Friday, if we are any later, I will contact school asap. Last year the timing worked out perfectly, here’s hoping for the same this year.

Best, Katharine

By |2019-04-30T13:00:02-04:00April 30th, 2019|

Welcome April

Dear Families,

The 3rd trimester is up and running!

In Social Studies we have begun to incorporate all we have learned about map skills into our Create-A-State projects. Each student has created their own state and will construct a physical map, a road map, a landmark map, a downtown map, a map of regions and products and finally a history and a flag. We will invite you all to see the finished work later in May.

In Math class, we are continuing to practice simplifying fractions and finding equivalent fractions. We are also measuring with yardsticks and rulers and figuring out what all those little lines on the ruler really mean. Are we as tall as our arm span? Would I measure this table with a yardstick or a ruler?

In ELA we have finished up The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. The timelines projects came in today. Everyone shared their work and were duly proud of it. We have begun our final book of the year, Locomotion by Jacquline Woodson.

As you can see from classroom photos taken throughout the year, we use a combination of collaborative and independent learning in all our classes. I believe students need skills in both working in a team, and solving problems independently. Part of my job is to determine when to use each of these strategies and give them opportunities for both. Social Studies is often a great time to work cooperatively with atlases, answering questions about landforms, determining latitudes, labeling rivers and adding cardinal points. Opportunities abound in ELA and Math classes as well.

Before we start a new project I am often asked, “Can we work together?” Yesterday, we had an interesting discussion about the pros and cons of working collaboratively. Here are some of the comments: ” If you give someone the answer then they’ll never know it themselves for a quiz”, “Sometimes it’s helpful to work with someone else because they can show you a new way or a strategy for figuring something out you would never have thought of”, ” Sometimes you can give hints, or just guide them”, “It’s fun”, ” I like to work alone because sometimes I work at a slower pace” and “I like it when we come up with different answers and compare what you did.” It helped me explain to them why sometimes it works and sometimes, it doesn’t!

Finally, there a few snaps from last week when the class was receiving the first copy of The Penguin Press. In case you don’t know, that is our new in-house newspaper. In-house, in that it is totally written, edited and created by the class. I’m just the copier and that’s fine with me! If you haven’t seen a copy, just ask. It’s worth a read.

Finally, in backpacks tomorrow (Friday) I will be sending home the final paperwork/forms that have to be signed and returned for the trip to the Boston Museum of Science. If they could come back on Tuesday, that would be helpful.

Thanks to Dan and Angelica for a fabulous Taco Tuesday Lunch Bunch!

Have a great weekend,

Katharine

To view photos in Google Photo, click this link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cZb8Zs5HYF4Cpo5C7

By |2019-04-12T12:55:58-04:00April 12th, 2019|

4th grade Welcomes Parents and Friends

Dear Families,

Thank you all for making the time to come in for conferences. It is so helpful to share their learning, their strengths, weaknesses and to join in common goals.

The slide shows below illustrate some of the fun of our Valentine’s Day party (thanks for those goodies, parents!), and our visit time with parents and friends as well.

Also, I quickly photographed their thank you cards to the folks at High Lawn Farm, because each and everyone was so terrific I didn’t want them to be forgotten.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/YvJ6YmJ6E5p3sG5L7

https://photos.app.goo.gl/syy6qMpXYpc8oKh69

Next week begins the 3rd and final trimester of the year! The only difference, besides curricular, is that they add a shop class to their schedule and I lose them to that once a week. They are duly excited to head up to the shop and work with Mr. Katz to create, build, hammer, nail, and glue!

Have a great weekend,

Katharine

 

By |2019-03-01T14:35:51-04:00March 1st, 2019|

4th Grade’s High Lawn Farm Trip/ Service Learning/Farm to Plate

Dear Parents,

I just wanted to share some of the shots from our trip to High Lawn Farm in Lenox this past week. It was part of our Service Learning curriculum on Farm to Fork…just how does our food get to our plates? Why is that important for us to know and how can we share that information to make our world a better place?

To be able to see first hand the amazing operation they have there really strengthened our understanding of the Food Supply chain. We saw the Farmer, Processor, Distributor steps all in one place. Later that afternoon we studied the paths of apples, chickens and peanut butter, where they are grown and how they are processed and distributed to the stores.

Josh Needleman of Chocolate Springs in Lenox has invited the class to come in for a discussion of the many steps that chocolate takes- from the cocoa tree to our taste buds. (He asked to wait until his busy time is over, so we will head there after Easter sometime.)

It’s important for kids to know where their food comes from so they have more of an appreciation for food and farmers,” said Alexa Fiszer, a lead environmental educator at Common Ground. [An urban farm/educational center in Connecticut.] “This [appreciation] often helps evolve kids’ understanding of the food production system and the ways in which it has evolved over the course of history.”

I want them to remember that everything comes from somewhere, and often many hands are needed along the way to get it there.

Also included in the slide show are some shots of work being done on our Tall Tales and using fraction strips to help with the concept of equivalent fractions.

There is a video of our recitation of MLK’s I Have A Dream Speech, you may have to turn up the volume for that one. What a great job they did with that, they have set a pretty high bar for next year’s class.

Finally, please send in a set of dry clothes. These warm days often create a muddy mess. Indoor shoes, sneakers or slippers as well – some kids are wearing their heavy snow boots all day.

The class and I are looking forward to seeing some of you for Bring a Parent to School Day next week & Happy Valentines’ Day to ALL!

 

Best, Katharine

https://photos.app.goo.gl/1qHotcttg945TXkr5

By |2019-02-08T10:03:50-04:00February 8th, 2019|

Tall Tales and Long Division/January 2019

Dear Families,

Now that we have finished reading Maniac Magee we can recognize it as a Tall Tale. Not that it shares all the elements, but certainly enough to qualify. We’ve been reading them, from Pecos Bill to Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind and just this morning, Mr. Fawett invited us up to listen to some early American Folk Songs, many of which tell a Tall Tale. Soon we will craft and write our own.

In Social Studies we are deep into completing our USA maps; identifying oceans, lakes, mountains, rivers states and their capitals, understanding time zones, longitude and latitude and defining geographic terms. Finally, they shade the different regions and create their own unique maps that share the correct information displayed as they choose.

We will share our recitation of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream Speech this Tuesday morning with the rest of the Middle School. We have reviewed some of the more difficult vocabulary and geography as well as watched and discussed the speech; when it was given, why and the continuing impact it has on our country. I will tape it and put that up in my next blog.

Finally, long division/zeros in the quotient have been relatively painless for this group and we will be moving onto fractions and decimals shortly.

Thank you, Christina and Amanda, for our delicious lunch bunch of last week. Always a special and appreciated treat for the class.

Also, if you haven’t already, please send in a set of dry clothes and some inside shoes. Pants and shirts get wet this time of year. Also, it helps our classroom rug if we’re not tracking salt and snow from the outside.

As you know, the ERB’s will be happening next week, the first two periods of Monday-Thursday, with Friday as a make-up day if necessary. I might shift the schedule a bit to make up for some lost periods but otherwise,  there is really nothing special to do to prepare, except for a good night’s sleep and that works for everything!

The slide show below includes some shots from Open Book Quizzes, USA map work, some math work in the Distance Lab and of course, the ever-popular Lunch Bunch!

Best, Katharine

https://photos.app.goo.gl/J6wudWftFYzTBf2q7

 

 

By |2019-01-25T10:23:19-04:00January 25th, 2019|

An Engaged and Enthusiastic end to 2018 in 4th grade.

Dear All,

The slideshows below contain a lot of classroom activity from these past busy weeks.

Particularly moving for me was the exchange of Holiday cards, where each student exchanged a creative card with a positive, encouraging thought about another classmate. Each one was made with care and thought and meant a great deal to each recipient.

I hope the enthusiasm for playing the Prime Climb numbers game and deciphering Pascal’s Triangle is evident in the short videos. Supplementing our math curriculum with these problem-solving challenges has been great for the class to make the connections and see the patterns that are so important for building a solid foundation in mathematical understanding.

A short video is also attaching showing an activity from our Community/Service Learning morning earlier in December. As you know we have been studying our Food System. Our food – where does it come from, how does it get to us and why does it matter? The video tries to show the class putting cards in the correct order that showed how an apple from Washington State gets from the field to our plate. Our conversation that day has led to our upcoming trip to High Lawn Farm in Lenox later in January. To see a modern day dairy farm and how it produces and distributes the products we enjoy will augment our earlier visit to Hawthorne Valley Farm. How lucky we are to live where we do!

Finally, I cannot thank you all enough for your generous and, oh so, delicious Holiday gift. My cup runneth over with all those goodies that I would rarely ever get for myself – a great gift, as this class is for me.

Have a wonderful, restful and Happy Holiday!

p.s. If you do travel, I did ask the students to send a postcard to the class – 4th grade/BCD/PO Box 867/Lenox, MA 01240. Thanks.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/7GdpgPVHgAJEznaX9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ME3qWp4mtbK95KBV8

 

 

 

By |2018-12-21T12:24:11-04:00December 21st, 2018|

4th grade bids adieu to their 1st trimester

Dear Families,

It really has been a great trimester. We had a small celebration at the end of the day, along with a big cubby and classroom clean out. We are putting world geography on the back burner and moving on to the USA. We discussed that geography is not only defined as the study of the physical features of the earth but how people affect those features and how they are affected by them. Our physical maps are divided into my regions as well.

We have started reading, Maniac Magee, which I’m happy to say is awash with similes, metaphors and plenty of challenging vocabulary.

In Math, the kids have been working on a Prime Climb game. Effortful but some of the best fun in math class so far. Please ask them how it works and what they think they learned from doing it. We will start tackling double-digit division next week.

I was delighted the EVERYONE had snow pants the other day. Hallelujah!  Could you also send in a bag with a set of dry clothes as well, despite best efforts, wet clothes can really ruin a school day.

Also, please don’t let the students do their homework in pen. Pencils only, please.

The slideshow below includes some shots from our trip to the Colonial, working to complete our last World Geography maps, some collaborative work on the Prime Climb game, a few shots from Thanksgiving Soup and a new arrangement for the categories “Instead of” and “Try Thinking” from our Growth Mindset poster.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/8HHkNRGMyBQ4hSGo6

Happy Weekend to all!

Katharine

 

By |2018-11-30T15:47:27-04:00November 30th, 2018|

Gleaning and other purposeful work in Grade 4

Dear Families,

As part of our Service Learning program, the class had a wonderful, cold, rainy, memorable morning gleaning bok choy and turnips at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent last Monday. Jill Duffy helped organize the trip, joined us and, along with Declan, welcomed us up to their home with an outside fire and some of their home-pressed cider. Many thanks to them both. Both Senor Silva and I were pleased to see how fully the class embraced the experience and showed how resilient and engaged they can be.

Inside the classroom we are learning as well! As some of the classroom photos below illustrate, in Social Studies we are working in groups looking for the main idea.  Identifying the main idea of a passage can improve comprehension of all related topics and is a valuable skill that needs to be taught and practiced. We are finishing up our World Maps and getting ready to start our study of US geography. Prime Meridian, International Date Line, hemispheres, physical maps, cardinal directions, Tropic of Capricorn and parallels are some of the new words and concepts that have been discussed in this first trimester.

In Math, Fibonacci numbers, exploring factors, reviewing place value and rounding are laying the groundwork for our current emphasis and practice of multiplication of both 1 and 2 digit numbers.

Before we begin our first novel in ELA class we are working to identify the many Elements of Writing and Literature that form the foundation on which all good writing is built. Everything comes from somewhere, good writing included. Protagonist, theme, simile, and foreshadowing are some of the terms in our notes this week.

The 3rd grade will join next Wednesday for a trip to the Colonial Theatre to see a production of, The Phantom Tollbooth. We will take a bus up to Pittsfield at 9:15 and will be back in time for lunch and recess at school.

Also, try not to forget that we have a lunch bunch, thank you Jen Glockner,  on Tuesday of next week (11/13) when we get back to school. It’s hard to remember them at the start of a week and there’s nothing worse than packing a lunch on those days!

As you can see from the photos, Halloween was a blast – thank you to all of you that sent in goodies and treats and to Dan and Lyndsey for organizing it.

Also, thank you to all who made time to come in for conferences last week.  It’s so helpful when we’re all on the same page about strengths, weaknesses, where we can hold them up and where we can let them go.

I hope the slideshows below give you a better sense of how busy and hardworking we have been.

I will check in before Thanksgiving Soup, a week from next Tuesday! Enjoy the long weekend.

Best, Katharine

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/F6MVYPgJ11HurGZa6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/dNm8zwpwYvA24rfM9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/sJ6boYFSu5mgURB19

By |2018-11-08T15:47:16-04:00November 8th, 2018|

At Berkshire Country Day School,
we value connection.

Tell us a little more about you and your child so we can connect and learn more about what you are looking for in a school.