Sunday, March 20, 2016

Explorer Unit - Living Museum

The bulk of our Where We Are in Time and Space inquiry into Explorers ended last week on Wednesday with a Living Museum. We hope you enjoyed it.

After preparing presentations in groups about various eras of exploration, the fourth graders identified individual explorers to research. As always, the central idea, the lines of inquiry, and the other elements of the unit guided their research and determined the focus.

Central Idea: Exploration leads to discoveries, opportunities, and new understandings.

They created a short speech and five questions to help viewers learn about their explorer's unique points.

They dressed up as an explorer.

More importantly, they shared the explorer's reasons for exploring, the consequences of the exploration (discoveries, opportunities, new understandings), how it fit into the history of exploration (change/reflection), and issues of perspective related to the exploration. For example, African-American Mathew Henson received less accolades, less glory, than Robert Peary, though both of them, and others, Native Americans, reached the North Pole first.

The unit is over, but questions remain. Hopefully, fourth graders will "go further" independently. For example, they could use their knowledge of the history of exploration when they write historical narratives, a task we will start soon.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Recorders! Recorders! Recorders!

Students in 4A have been making music on the recorder. They've discovered ways to break down and practice a piece of music that seems challenging at first as part of their new instrument skills.

Here's our BAG Blues with a number of solo improvisations.

Here's a recording of 4A playing with dynamics. The original song is from Halloween and tells the story of an old woman going to a graveyard to clean up a pile of bones. Listen right to the end for all the dynamic levels the girls can play.

Two students are holding their recorders correctly in this photo. Can you guess who?

Monday, March 7, 2016

4A PE: Striking and fielding skills being displayed in Hoop Ball!

Central idea: Developing the skills and techniques of striking, fielding, catching, and throwing a ball.  Using these skills in addition to learning strategies to contribute to active game play.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Introducing the students' summative assessment task

The Grade Four students have been inquiring into the central idea Exploration can lead to discoveries, opportunities and new understandings.  As they come to the end of their unit we will be asking them to create a 'live museum exhibit' of a chosen explorer and use the SOLO Taxonomy to guide their research and presentations.  To give the students an example of what success looks like in this task, Mr. Hughes, Ms. Sandra, Ms. Mollie and Mr. Peto chose their own explorers and demonstrated what the task could look like.  Students assessed the four teachers using the SOLO Taxonomy and looked for evidence of them connecting ideas and going further.  Look out for the Grade Four blogpost of the students' final exhibits!

You can read more on the explorers chosen by our four teachers by clicking the links below.

Henry Worsley (Mr. Peto)
Chang Ch'ien (Ms. Mollie)
Isabella Bird (Ms. Sandra)
Sylvia Earle (Mr. Hughes)

The SOLO Taxonomy will help students plan their research and think deeply about their explorers
From left to right:  Henry Worsley (Mr. Peto), Chang Ch'ien (Ms. Mollie), Isabella Bird (Ms. Sandra) and Sylvia Earle (Mr. Hughes) 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Researching Explorers

The 4th graders have been honing in on their research skills to learn more about famous explorers and explorations through out history. Using guiding research questions, 4th graders utilized many resources to find and organize new information on how explorations have taken place over time, the reasons for exploration, and the consequences of different explorations. They paired up to create a presentation based on their research to teach others about what they learned. 
Some explored using Google My Maps and created routes of famous explorations. Check out the presentations below.

Over the Rapids

Dusty Treks

Ocean Depths

Space Race

European Explorers