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Bird Gardens Ahead / December Happenings in 3/4th Grade

Dear Families,

Happy December! Here are some events to be aware of this busy month:

  1. I am sending home directions for a Holiday Card so please check homework folders if necessary. On the sheet with the directions will be attached the name of the student that your child pulled out of the hat to make a secret card for. The cards are due by Monday, December 16th or before. If you have any questions about the directions for the card, please contact me.
  2. We will have a small holiday celebration last period on Wednesday, December 18th when we will exchange cards. If you would like to contribute some goodies to our party, please contact Ken Dow or he will, no doubt, contact you.
  3. As you know the Holiday Concerts are both on Thursday, December 12th. Lower School concert begins at 10:30 and the Middle and Upper schools concert starts at 12:45.
  4. Thank you all for sending in proper outdoor gear. Sledding at recess if a lot more fun if you are dry and warm!

Finally, we had a wonderful visit from Ed Neumuth during our Service Learning morning last Wednesday. Ed, a retired veterinarian, is a bird enthusiast and speaks to organizations all over the county as to how to put in bird gardens specifically designed to attract a wide variety of birds and provide them much-neeeded habitat. Our year-long Service Learning project is two-fold; 1) understanding why birds matter and 2) what can we do, as a class,  to help curtail the dwindling bird populations. Designing a bird garden is just the ticket and Ed is going to help us design and install one right outside our classroom on the side of Mrs. Benner’s Science Lab.

He will be installing a feeder right on the bridge outside as we want to start introducing this spot to our bird community. We will also begin keeping bird journals in the classroom.

If anyone has an extra pair of binoculars that we could keep here that would be great.  I would return them at the end of the school year. Birdwatching might just take over jigsaw puzzles, reading and drawing during our downtimes!

Enjoy the slideshow below,

Best to all, Katharine

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ArNoVUX4qTvdK9vCA

 

By |2019-12-06T10:54:36-05:00December 6th, 2019|

Grade 3 / 4 October 2019: Owls, Pirates and Prime numbers

Happy November,

Third and fourth graders packed in a lot of activities this last month of October.

First off we had to say goodbye to our friend Nicolette who is on her way to Kansas City as I write this. But we also welcomed Peter F. to our class the next day, so he has helped fill the void! Mr. Gore had a small ceremony for Nicolette for her to receive her soccer certificate, photos attached.

We just finished up reading Owls in the Family, a favorite of mine by Farley Mowatt. The comprehension packets worked on throughout and the final quiz had the students recalling and explaining different parts of the story. For a final project, the students will be writing letters to one of the characters in the story.

The Pirate Maps and Captain Logs are also winding down. Once they determined where their treasure was to be buried, they labeled their maps and described how to get there using cardinal and intermediate directions. The Captain’s Logs are also quite interesting…I didn’t know that pirates stayed over in hotels and a few took planes to their destinations. All of that was easily changed in final drafts.

The board game called Prime Climb is a class favorite and a great way to practice prime and composite numbers. Multiplication is ongoing in Math class and next week we will be rounding numbers as well. I am working for solid numeracy, confidence, and competence with numbers and number relationships. I come at math concepts from a variety of angles because they need to understand the concepts from a variety of contexts. When they look at 48, they need to be seeing not just 8×6, but that is 2 away from 50, and thereby 52 less than 100 and one less 8 would be 40 and divided by 6 would be 8 and is the same as 4 tens and 8 ones and so on and so on. Number patterns and solid multiplication facts go a long way to help with that.

Portfolio work went home today and again I have asked the students to take some time, choose a few pieces that they particularly connected with for whatever reason and write a short reflection about that piece. If you have time to go over their work with them and have them explain and summarize some of the work they have done that is great.  It always helps to have an audience!

Please make sure everyone has warm hats, gloves, etc. – this week is supposed to be cold again.

Until then hope your weekend was happy, and a special salutation to any and all veterans in your families and communities.

Best, Katharine

p.s. link to slide show below

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RrdNEUA5oFVkE52v7

 

By |2019-11-14T07:26:44-05:00November 8th, 2019|

Grade 3 / 4 making Pirate Maps and Globes

Dear Parents,

I look forward to seeing those of you that are able to come in for Parent/Teacher conferences next week. With Halloween sandwiched in between it will be a busy time for all of us.

We are deep in the throes of making our pirate maps as you know because you’re helping with the paper for the directions to the treasure. Some students are totally engrossed in designing and labeling their maps, while others are more taken with writing up their Captain’s Log. I’m hoping the maps will be completed for you to see next week. You can’t imagine the map skills that are being put to use for this project.

We are about halfway through our reading book, Owls in the Family by Farley Mowatt. I have encouraged the students to write in the margins when they spot a simile or an example of onomatopoeia or a word/idea they are unsure of. In answering their comprehension packets, many still say, “…but it’s not in there.” I point out that those very words of the question may not be on the page, but the idea is there for them to infer from. Having them summarize some of the story, or share a favorite part with you is a great way to strengthen their comprehension skills.

In Math the fourth graders are tackling learning mean, mode and median while the 3rd graders are practicing multiplication in a variety of ways. Half the class enjoyed playing the board game, Prime Climb last week and the other half will partake this week.

The slide show attached includes some shots of the class finishing up their globes/continents. Thank you to Ms. Sicurella for making the globes with them in Art class. We finished up placing the continents and oceans in homeroom. I assure you not only will everyone know where the continents are but they will spell Antarctica correctly as well!

We did a close down of the garden with the first and second graders last week. We harvested the leeks and flash froze them to include in our Thanksgiving Soup this year.

I sent out an email to recap the plans for Halloween this week. Let me know if you have any questions about it,

Happy Weekend and Happy Halloween!!

Making Globes Photos

Katharine

By |2019-11-14T07:31:39-05:00October 25th, 2019|

Grade 3/4 Welcomes October with Peer Reading and Service Learning

Dear Families,

We have begun Peer Reading with the B-2’s pre-school class! It requires a lot of patience to read to a 2 year old who is really interested in so many things other than just the book and the class had to make some adjustments. It wasn’t just reading a story straight through and I was pleased to see them interact and try to get to know their new friends.

We also had a chance to present our dioramas to the 5th & 6th graders at a Middle School Meeting. I like to give the students as many opportunities as possible to present their own work; to stand up and demonstrate what they have created and to answer questions about it. It takes a lot of presence and courage, some have that naturally others need a little more practice.

I have also begun having the class use Reading Journals at home. They have a free reading book here at school and I would like them to read one at home as well. Reading with a parent or on their own is fine, again, practice is everything.  In Math we have moved on, for a bit, from Place Value and onto multiplication. We will be working with different ways of graphing and prime and composite numbers shortly.

Scholastic Book order forms went home this week. If you haven’t seen them yet, they are in the homework folders. You are under no obligation to order anything if you don’t want to. If you do choose to order, you can do it directly online yourself (all the info and order #info is in the letter) or send in a check for Scholastic to me and I will send it in. The deadline for the October order is Oct 22nd.

On Wednesday the morning was devoted to planning our Service Learning Project for the year ahead. We had a terrific discussion about the ills of the world and where our efforts might be best realized to their best effect. We have decided upon doing what we can to preserve the bird population as there are many simple actions we can do to help the birds. Hint: be prepared to start drinking shade-grown coffee and use some decals we will make that help to save birds from flying into windows.

Thanks to Maggie M. and Nicholas for our delicious apple cider donuts the other morning!

Some Important Upcoming Dates:

Monday, October 7 – Away Soccer game with IMS. PPU time at BCD is 6:00.

Wednesday, October 9th– No School Yom Kippur.

Thursday, October 1oth– Mountain Day- Hiking in Kennedy Park in the morning/weather permitting. Please have an eye out for the weather that day, fleeces might be needed and proper footwear. No sandals, please. (No bagels for snack that day).

Friday, October 11th – Grandparents Day. We are so looking forward to having grandparents and friends in our classroom that day. If grandparents are unable to come, we will match that student with another friend and their Grandparents. No one will be alone!

Monday, October 14 – No School. Indigenous Peoples Day.

Thursday, October 17th – Bagels for snack if ordered.

I’m really looking forward to Grandparents Day. They really bring out the best in the kids and it’s great for the students to share their classroom and all the work they are doing.

Great weekend to all,

Best, Katharine

p.s. the slide show below has a little bit of most things mentioned above plus some shots of a math card game that brought out the card sharks in us all.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ump1jBuExbKWg7Mr7

 

 

 

By |2019-10-04T15:25:58-05:00October 4th, 2019|

2019-20 Grade 3/4 – So much depends upon…

Dear Parents,

Thank you all who were able to come to Back to School Night. I hope you got a little taste of the variety of materials we use, my curricular hopes and dreams as well those of the students.  We gave this some thought and they divided their Hopes and Dreams for the year ahead into academic goals and personal goals.  I told them I am confident they will all be able to achieve their goals, at least to some degree and I am.  Some included, “…learn how to read a map and how to draw a dog”, …”to  keep going even through tough times” “…to participate more with my good ideas in subjects in school”, ” to get better at soccer and to read more books” and one we all struggle with, “…to not get rude when I am angry.”

The slideshow attached will give you some idea of the different activities from this past week. Working in the garden with the Pre-Schoolers, presenting our dioramas to our classmates as well as the 1/2 graders, reading through a new Poetry packet and choosing a poem to work with next week, practicing using longitude and latitude to find different locations on a map and finally – Kayaking!! They had a perfect day for it and had a blast!

Portfolios went home today along with a sheet with some questions for them to choose from to answer about their work. Perhaps you could take some time and review the work with them and help them decide which one (s) to write a short reflection about. I know this is a challenging assignment, we will work on it as the year progresses but I think it is so important for them to start taking some ownership, pride, and responsibility for all the work they produce here at school. Self-reflection is an important first step in becoming independent and life-long learners.

We will start peer reading with the B-2 preschoolers next week but otherwise will follow our normal schedule. We will join the Lower School for Mountain Day ( our annual hike in Kennedy Park) the following week on Thursday, October 3rd and I will send more info about that as we get closer.

Enjoy this beautiful weekend, sounds like a lot of you will visit the Apple Squeeze or just get to spend some time outside for these wonderful days of summer becoming fall.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/rSjPgXBpoJkgMvMZ9

 

 

Best, Katharine

By |2019-09-20T16:30:27-05:00September 20th, 2019|

Grade 3/4 off to a great start!

Dear Families,

We’ve had a busy and wonderful start to the year!

We’ve finished our Hopes and Dreams, both personal and academic, for the year ahead, created some class rules to help us achieve those dreams, reviewed the ideas behind Growth Mindset, started our Poetry Folders, filled in our continents/oceans maps, visited all our special classes at least once, and…managed to have some fun while doing it.

Our routines are becoming more familiar each day and I look to you for some help and support with that. Please remind your child to check their planner each night to help remember what may be due for the next day. I told them on the first day that the planner will be (one of ) their best friend this year. I will sign it at the end of each day after a short conference making sure everyone understands whatever assignments are entered.

As I plan ahead for our many projects, I want you to know that while I do believe in the importance of student voice and choice and the power that that autonomy can give to some, others will need more structure and I am prepared to step in when I sense the need.  One of the strengths of a multi-age classroom is that students can learn at their own rate. One of my many goals for the year is to create a learning family that is dynamic, flexible, challenging and accommodates all levels of learning.

If possible, before you drop off please tell your child how they are getting home that day; i.e., parent pick-up, afterschool program (p.m.), etc. If plans change during the day, just email me and copy Melissa Kruse in the office ([email protected]) or vice versa, so we can get them safely to the right place.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Back-To-School night on September 18th and will be checking in by phone before then. Needless to say, if you have any concerns or questions, please email me directly.

Thank you for sending in inside shoes and a change of clothes, for some I know that is still on the list. I was so happy to hear that everyone was able to join the soccer team, it’s such a great opportunity at the end of these beautiful fall days ahead. It also helps strengthen the sense of family and belonging here at BCD. They all seemed pretty excited about it this morning.

I hope the photos (just click the September in 3/4 Grade link below)  below give you some sense of the work we’ve been doing already. They include some shots of our visit to the Distance Lab to work on the Four 4’s problem, filling in our continents maps, drafting our Hopes and Dreams, organizing our cubbies and a little Choice Time.

Have a great weekend,

Katharine

September in 3/4 Grade

By |2019-09-25T15:27:41-05:00September 6th, 2019|

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 |2019-06-03T13:20:23-05:00June 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 |2019-05-10T15:05:47-05:00May 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 |2019-04-30T13:00:02-05:00April 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 |2019-04-12T12:55:58-05:00April 12th, 2019|