The fourth graders have taken on a 40 Book Challenge – which means each student (and the teacher and some parents) are going to try to read 40 books by the end of the school year. Although this sounds like A LOT of reading, with a growth mindset, the students are realizing that they are capable and enthusiastic readers. With only 5 weeks of school under our belt, the 4th grade class has already read over 60 books! WOW! To make our books more enjoyable we have been focusing on reading intensely to grow ideas. Students have been learning how to capture details from the text to: visualize, predict, make connections, notice character traits, and identify different types of characters. Characters are at the heart of a good story, and through all our reading we have meet some truly inspiring and enchanting people and traveled to some beautiful and magical places. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller
4th grade has been working on learning meters, rhythms, the grand staff, and the note names of the lines and spaces. They’ve been doing so well that they earned a Quaver day – where they can use our amazing online curriculum to reinforce their knowledge through fun music theory learning applications. //drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0BzKf9ibAHGPvQVZpaVh3UWwtUXc
We are also preparing for our Veteran’s Day assembly that will take place on Thursday, November 10th at 8:30am. Please make plans now to join us for this very special assembly. Ask your students about “American Tears” – they’re working hard to memorize this wonderful song honoring our veterans.
4th grade has spent the last couple of weeks diving deep into our study of energy. We have learned so much! Through interactive games, demonstrations, videos, and activities students now understand: what energy is (and isn’t), different forms of energy, and how energy is transferred and transformed. Some highlights were going to the design lab to explore potential and kinetic energy with marbles, ramps and pumpkins, and then going to the science lab to design to build windmill blades that would capture the kinetic energy of wind in order to generate electricity. What a fun couple of weeks!
Design with Mr. Lenz & Mr. Seehausen
Ms. Gaines’ 4th grade class has also enjoyed a lot of lab time. Beyond the spaghetti/marshmallow challenge, they have used the lab for a bridge building challenge and ramp experiments. 4th graders came in with the task of designing as many different bridges as possible with only one piece of paper, and each bridge had to hold 10 screws. After enough designs, students took their best one and added screws until failure. The strongest bridge held over 500 screws!
To supplement Ms. Gaines’ lessons on kinetic and potential energy, the 4th graders came to the design lab to run a ramp experiment. Students ran 3 trials of 5 different ramp heights where they timed how long it took for the ball to travel 1 meter. As a fun supplement, students learned how the law of conservation of energy prevents a mass on a pendulum (in this case, a pumpkin) from hitting their face if released from that height. Ask Mr. Lenz for some great slo-mo reaction videos!
The fourth graders have been busy creating a classroom they can call their own, by designing and writing a classroom constitution. We started by interviewing each other to figure out what the ideal classroom would look like. We found out that the student’s main needs were: kind friends, comfortable spaces, good teachers, fun projects, learning choices, peers and teachers that listened and believed in each other. Once we discovered the needs, the students embarked upon turning the needs into sentences that would reflect the rights and responsibilities of the group. To do this we looked to the experts. We got some great advice from Thomas Jefferson and James Madison! In the end, the students worked together to synthesize the most important needs into rights, and then they paired each right with a corresponding responsibility for a total of five classroom rights and responsibilities. Although we could have ended there, we took it one step further. Each student was then challenged to design something that would represent the constitution and what it means to our classroom community. Of course we ended the process with a very official signing ceremony.
I am so excited for the 2017/2018 school year to begin and to meet your children. I love teaching and look forward to coming to work everyday to inspire and learn alongside my students. I believe that only by teaching children how to learn and reflect on themselves, as well as the world around them, prepares them for a successful future. Inspiring curiosity and an enduring love for learning are my ultimate goals. With that philosophy in place I use the classroom to guide students through experiences that allow them to construct new learning from passions, connections to their background knowledge, and the world. Students need to be the center of the learning, not the teacher! — Mrs. Gaines
Bienvenidos! I am looking forward to seeing you all following a super busy and fun-filled summer. I’m excited to start off this year with you and look forward to sharing our new Spanish classroom, which I designed with each one of you in mind! We have a great year planned with a lot of new vocabulary to learn, conversations to share and cultures to experience! Hasta luego, amigos! See you next week. — Sra. Jylan Maloy
The Design Lab is welcoming all lower school students starting on day one. Your classroom teacher will join us on a lab tour and get-to-know me, Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen. We will model design thinking as we discuss ways to make sure that the design lab is a safe, comfortable and inspiring place for all students. A common question regarding design thinking is about curriculum: It is important to emphasize that design thinking is intentionally not a stand-alone curriculum. The goal is to integrate these concepts and skills into existing units of study. My role as lead design thinking teacher is to help classroom teachers find meaningful and relevant ways to incorporate design. Lower school classes will use the design lab on an as-needed basis, with the entire morning blocks reserved for lower school use.
Welcome back to school, 4th grade students and families! I am Mrs. Sara Miller and I am so thrilled to be your music teacher this year. This year in music, we will continue our study of recorders, xylophones, drumming, singing, dancing and playing – all while having tons of fun in our well-appointed music room. I teach Pre-K through 8th grade music at Seven Peaks as well as enjoy cooking, reading and walking in my spare time. I have a fun family of 7 that also keeps me hopping, with kids ages 16-14-10-8-5. I look forward to getting to know each one of your families – feel free to stop by the music room any time and introduce yourself!
Welcome Back Artists! Looking forward to a new adventure in art this year as we welcome new students and work in new spaces and create new things. We have one amazing art room now and we have worked hard to prepare it for all ages. I look forward to welcoming your young artist to the new space and am excited to start creating with them! Every year I am amazed at your students ability to problem solve, try new techniques and mediums and persevere through challenges to see their hard work pay off. See you soon! Mrs. Santucci
The 4th grade class closed down the year with a few big celebrations last week. First, we had our final get together with our Touchmark buddies. Each student sat with his or her buddy and shared the biography they wrote based on their buddy’s life. The pieces were so touching; sad, funny and reflective. I witnessed laughter and tears as the groups were sharing. Afterwards the children and their buddies shared a popsicle and discussed summer plans. Many of our partnerships are planning on staying in touch over the summer and into the future. I am so proud of this community partnership.
Secondly, the fourth grade class ended our American Revolution unit with a full on party. This celebration included the reading of various colonial journal entries describing our journey to America in 1760, our life in the Pennsylvania colony in 1765 and life in the heat of the American Revolution 1775-1776. Afterwards, the class shared the main sections of the Declaration of Independence. Then, it was time to finally celebrate our freedom with a traditional colonial dance and colonial desserts. We so enjoyed our time together with fellow classmates and parents. What a great way to end a most spectacular year in 4th grade!
It is hard to believe that fourth grade is beginning our final Core Knowledge unit — The American Revolution. We began this unit discussing why people immigrate to a new country and what conditions lead to a mass movement from their homeland. Students role played as their journey began as colonists boarded ships for a two month journey across the Atlantic to the Pennsylvania Colony. In journal entries, colonists detailed the what, when, where, why and how of their exodus. Once they arrived in the colony they named, planned and built their town (The Seven Hills), chose a governor (Caleb Kitchens/ as William Williams, Jr.), constructed laws and punishments, decided the tax structure and what they deemed important to fund like roads, a school, a jail and an armory.
So far life in the colonies is hard work, but the colonist see the fruits of their labor and are extremely proud of their new home. Each colonist has job, is paid a wage and contributes to the betterment of our town. Unfortunately, conditions are about to change. King George III is running low on funds (from the French and Indian War) and the Proclamations are about to begin. How will the colonists react to all of this taxation without representation?
To assess the 4th graders on our most recent Core Knowledge unit, Magnets and Electricity, the class was given a challenge to create their own experiment based on static electricity, magnetism and/or electricity. First, the 4th graders had to formulate a question, then search through the classroom and at home for electricity and magnet supplies. Next,each student worked through the procedure and observed their results. Finally, they had to write a thorough conclusion, explaining the science behind what they observed.
Examples of questions chosen:
Can a comb move water? (static electricity)
How does a switch work? (open vs. closed circuits)
What can a magnetic force work through? (magnetism)
Can you make confetti dance? (magnetism)
All steps of the experiment were written down in either a poster form, slideshow form or in a lab report. The concluding task was to present their experiment to at least one other student in class. Once again, I was just a guide and monitor. The 4th graders were in charge and engaged in their own scientific discoveries.
The 4th grade is buzzing about electricity and circuits!! After picking up a Squishy Circuit Trunk from the High Desert Museum, the class was off to discover what makes an electric circuit. After formulating questions, collaborative groups used materials consisting of batteries, wires, clips, LED lights, buzzers, motors, conductive dough and insulating dough to discover what makes a circuit work and what can cause a short circuit. Groups wrestled with many issues, but in the end discovered what was needed to make a complete circuit. Groups also discovered why the conductive dough allowed electric current to flow through it (salt and regular tap water containing minerals) and why the insulating dough, stopped the flow of electrons (no salt and distilled water). At this stage of the year, I revel in the ability to present a challenge, then just step back and watch the curiosity and wonder of the students take flight. I love the teamwork and flowering of ideas that transpire in the classroom. I am just a guide, it is wonderful.