Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Two Days Today

A bit rushed yesterday afternoon, so no post. So, as the title suggests, we’ll do two days today.

Yesterday we began in Tech Center. Many of the students are close to completing their Prezis, and a couple are already done. They look great! Mr. Riko will be saving these is .pdfs so the students can show off their great work.

in theater class, Mr. Pratt began working with students on a final theater project that’s just perfect for fourth grade – putting on a melodrama! He began by explaining to them about the “science” of nineteenth-century acting. This overwrought style was the work of a Monsieur Delsarte.


He went on to have the students learn the different parts of the stage like “down stage right” and “up stage left.” The students had to waddle like penguins in a group from one area to another as he called it out! It was funny!


Finally, he gave them the plot of their melodrama. The students split up into groups and picked roles. One of the favorite roles was that of the villain telling the poor old people, “But you must pay the mortgage” with that wicked laugh. Hah, hah, hah!


Today we began the day with a writing exercise where the students had to write down that same story using correct dialogue form. They had a chance to volunteer to get up and read their version of the story with all the different voices after we finished. It was fun! The students also had a chance to watch the first part of Annie in the late afternoon. That will be our spring musical this year, and we will be starting to learn the songs soon!


Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 11-15 ten times each and write a sentence for each word. (2) Do the spelling crossword. (3) Do page 125 in the Practice book. (4) Do the social studies review sheet. This is the most important of the assignments as we will have a test on chapter 2 Friday and the students can use this paper to help them on the test! (5) Do Equivalent Fractions 3 practice sheet. (6) Do Problem Solving, pages 243-244 and Test Prep on 246-247 in the math book. There will be a math test tomorrow after we review the chapter.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Quick Post

Just a quick post today. We had a nice day – good music lesson, lots of work on writing and math. The students were fantastic…as usual.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 1-5 ten times each in cursive and write an original sentence for each one. (2) Make a table to sort the spelling words by suffix. (3) Do pages 119-120 in the Practice book. (4) Do the History chapter 2 review page.  (5) Do the Equivalent Fractions 1 practice sheet. (6) Do pages 238-239 in the math book.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Under Water

Fridays are a little busy. We always have a writing assessment, a reading assessment, a math assessment, and a spelling test. Sometimes we have more than that! And getting all those papers passed out, passed in, graded, recorded … well, you can begin to feel a little overwhelmed!

But we also had fun today. Since two of the classes were on a field trip and another was at an assembly, we had Coach Angel all to ourselves for PE. And this was fun for the students as they played a cool variation on dodge ball.



We also finished the day with art. The students are starting a unit on shapes. We talked about the difference between geometric shapes and organic shapes. Since we have been doing a lot with fish lately, it seemed only appropriate to create an underwater scene to practice our organic shapes. The students used wet-paper watercolor as a medium here.




Homework:  Finish the math book math on pages 236-237.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Imaginary Creatures

We start out the day most days with journals, and the assigned topic this morning was to suppose the student had an unusual animal – real or imaginary. The students were asked to describe how they would train this animal to make it into a good pet. The results were often hilarious. Here is one example.

Hi. My name is Lucas and I have brought by pet. I call him a Spitosaurus. It has a dog’s body, a dragon’s wings, and a cat’s tail. It can move very fast. It can also breathe fire. It is very hard to train. You must first put him or her in a big cage (it is very huge). Then you have to give him food. It will start to like you then. Start to train him just like a dog because most of his brain is dog. He is called a Spitosaurus because he spits on people if he feels threatened. But his spit is acid. There are not many left in the wild, but if you want to find one in the wild you would have to go out to your back yard. You have to train him a lot for him to like you. There are only 100 left in the world. Spitosauruses like to eat Taco Bell. Nobody knows why. So I have to go to Taco Bell every day and order lots of Doritos Locos tacos. I think that explains why there isn’t any food for more customers in the line behind me in the morning. OK. That is my Spitosaurus. Oh, no! My Spitosaurus just escaped!!!!

We also began writing tall tales today inspired by our reading of Pecos Bill yesterday. We’ll be revising and editing them tomorrow.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 16-20 ten times each in cursive and a sentence for each. (2) Do “Plural Possessives,” pages 116-117 and “Verbs,” page 118 in the Practice book. (3) Do Longer Long Division 4. (4) Do “Simplest Form” pages 234-235 in the math book.

Students also need to write about a page about the person they chose for their report. This should be written in the first person. “I read the book Marie Curie by Mike Venezia. I learned a lot of things I did not know about her…..”

A few students may even need to finish their rough drafts although they were given 75 minutes of class time to work on this.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Short Post

A very quiet and productive day. Probably the only major new thing we did today was to begin work on equivalent fractions. We’ll be doing a lot with those for the rest of the year (though this year’s class is so smart at math I wonder if we won’t be finished with the book by early spring!)

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 11-15 ten times each in cursive. Write an original sentence for each. (2) Do the spelling crossword. (3) Do page 112 in the Practice book on hyperbole. (4) Write a summary of “Wild Horses” and answer the questions on page 219 in the Treasures book. You should write at least half a page for the summary and at least two to three sentences for each questions. (5) Do the Longer Long Division 3 practice sheet. (6) Do “Equivalent Fractions” on pages 231-232 in the math book.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Short but Productive

A very quiet, productive day. We went to Tech Center in the morning. We checked over our homework and read a selection from Treasures about a man named Dayton Hudson who created a wild horse sanctuary in the Black Hills. We learned about the relationship between fractions and division. We studied the Mojave Indians. And we did a little bit of mixing, too. Not bad for a shortened day, is it?

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 6-10 ten times each in cursive. Write a sentence for each word. (2) Do the spelling jumble. (3) Do pages 109 and 113 in the Practice book. (4) Do The Desert study guide. (5) Do the Longer Division 2 math practice sheet. (4) Do 228-229 in the math book.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Back to Reality

We had a pleasant day in room 19. It seemed a little pedestrian after those two field trips, but it was definitely productive. Our big event for the day was music class where Ms. Moran continued to work with the students on solfege, canonic form, and proper vocal technique. As usual, the students had a lot of fun learning all of this!


Other than that, we started a new story in Treasures, reviewed for and took math tests, and started work on fractions.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 1-5 ten times each in cursive and write an original sentence for each one. (2) Do pages 107-108 in the Practice book. (3) Do “Critical Thinking,” page 195 and “Standards Practice,” page 197 in the Practice book. (4) Do the Longer Division 1 practice sheet. (5) Do pages 225-226 in the math book.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Calle Olvera

Today was our field trip to El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park, better known to most of us as Olvera Street.


While many of us in Southern California think of Olvera Street mostly as a place to get great Mexican food or to buy south-of-the-border kitsch, it is really the historic heart of Los Angeles. It was here in September of 1781 that 44 pobladores, our first families, arrived here and set up a small settlement on the banks of the Porciuncula River. This trip was a way for the student to discover that a surprising amount of early Los Angeles history is still preserved.

As is only right for an urban school journey like this, we took full advantage of public transport. All of this was courtesy of the Metropolitan Transit Authority whose Metro Field Trip Program provided our students with free day passes and tap cards! Thank you, MTA! Many of our students and parents had never been on the subway before, so this was indeed a grand adventure.

Arriving at Union Station, we walked across Alameda to wait for our docents to begin their tour. As we were waiting, we took the opportunity to visit Los Angeles’ first fire station. A gentlemen there told us lots of interesting stuff about how early firefighting worked.


Our docents were fantastic! They pointed out things of interest and told us good stories about early Los Angeles.


For most of our tour, we were on the plaza. All Spanish colonial cities were designed around a central square called a plaza, or, in Mexico, a zocalo. This is ours.


Around the edges of the plaza, by the magnificent Moreton Bay Figs, are various statues and monuments. The settlement of California was authorized by King Carlos III of Spain. Here is a statue of him, a gift from the people of Spain.


The actual planning of this was done by Felipe de Neve. We have no idea what he looked like, and the sculptor of this statue worked for Disney studios. He does sort of look like a Disney cartoon prince, doesn’t he?


This area around the plaza was the prosperous center of a small farming town for almost a hundred years. During this time, many handsome buildings like the Pico House hotel were built.


But starting around 1890, the focus of development in Los Angeles turned south and west. The plaza and its old buildings were neglected. By the late 1920’s, much of its was in ruins.


It was then that a civic-minded reformers – and a shrewd businesswoman – named Christine Sterling decided to make restoring the area her passion. And on Easter Sunday, 1930, the old plaza and one small street that ran off of it were reopened as the Olvera Street we know today.

Of course, our students did more than learn history of this trip. They practiced math, too, and the most practical kind of math there is – using money! This is the only field trip where doing the buying stuff is not only allowed but even encouraged. Our students, accompanied by their fantastic parent chaperones, went through the little puestos or stalls where the vendors were more than willing to bargain with them.


No visit here is complete without a student buying a confetti egg…


… and finding a willing partner to share it with!


Homework:  Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yesterday … Troubles Far Away!

Today was not all that eventful, other than a pleasant trip to the Tech Center. So, since I did not have an opportunity yesterday to post about yesterday’s trip to Redondo Beach, let me provide a little about what we did and learned on it. Our trip was sponsored by the  Montrose Settlements Restoration Program. Starting in the 1940’s the Montrose Chemical Company began manufacturing the pesticide DDT. It discharged much of this into the LA County sewage system and the chemical contaminated the area from Santa Monica to Seal Beach. The company and its insurers ultimately paid over 200 million in fines to help mitigate the damage. Part of money is used for education. We were lucky enough to be part of this.

Our trip took place in two locations. The first is the Sea Lab, a facility just across the street from the power plant in Redondo Beach. This is staffed by some incredibly talented people from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. They began with a game that helped the students understand how DDT moves through the food chain.


The students then had the opportunity to see and touch actual sea life from this area. There were several tanks set up for this purpose.


The larger tanks, holding specimens like black bass, had windows so they students could see.


In the shallower tanks, the students could see how halibut cleverly camouflage themselves.


They loved the rays, particularly the bat ray.



They had the chance to pet horned sharks.


The students then walked about a mile to the Hermosa Beach pier. They were given more information there about the different kinds of species that are safe and unsafe for human consumption.


The bad species – those most contaminated with DDT and heavy metals – are also listed prominently on the pier.


The students were then taught how to fish using rods provided. For many of our students, this was the first time they had ever done this!


The students were shown how to fillet a fish, and what were the safest ways to eat our local fish.


We left with peaceful memories of a warm day spent on the Southern California shore.


Homework:  (1) Do any five of the words from 6-20. Because of Friday’s field trip, we will do the test tomorrow. (2) Do pages 99, 101, 104, and 105 in the Practice book. (3) Do the division practice sheet. (4) Do pages 180-181 in the math book. (5) Complete the rough draft of the composition about yesterday’s field trip.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fox and Crow

We started off the day with journals. Our story this week in Treasures deals with disabled athletes. So the students were challenged to write about how they would adapt if they were injured in an accident and had to use a wheelchair. It was not an easy assignment for them, but we had some thoughtful responses.

We then went off to music class. The students worked on vocal technique, particularly using head voice and also on solfeggio (the do-re-mi tonal relationships). They also had some work on the instruments to help them understand the relationship of the solfeggio tones to the diatonic scales.


Because of our field trip tomorrow, we switched our theater times with a fifth grade class. Today Mr. Pratt worked with the students on improvising a familiar story.


The story he chose was Aesop’s fable of the Fox and the Crow. The students were split into small groups and they chose different roles:  narrator, fox, crow, and tree. They practice the play several times in their groups.


The groups then came up one by one to perform for the rest of the class.


The rest of the day whizzed by. We helped get ready for tomorrow’s field trip by reading a short comic book prepared by the Cabrillo Museum about the impact of DDT and PCB pollution on the fisheries of Santa Monica and San Pedro bays. We looked at the vocabulary and spelling for the week. We went to PE. We continued our study of division in math.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 1-5 ten times each in cursive. Also create an original sentence for each word. (2) Do the spelling jumble. (3) Do pages 94, 95, and 96 the Practice book. (4) Do division practice paper. (5) Do pages 178-179 in the math book.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Improvising Our Day

Today we did most of the usual Friday things. We went to the library. We took spelling, reading, writing, and math tests. But not everything went totally according to schedule. The district arrived today to trim the trees on the playground, so the students had no outdoor activities including recess or PE. So we improvised a bit. Since we had previously read a selection from Because of Winn Dixie in the Treasure anthology, we watched the movie during lunch. That worked out perfectly because it was Rizwan’s birthday and his family brought us pizza and snacks for lunch!

In the afternoon, we added some more items to our aquariums. We put in elodea, duckweed, and pond snails. The students had fun with this!



Homework:  (1) Do the Freshwater Environments questions. (2) Do pages 176-177 in the math book.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Picture Day

Today was picture day. This is one of those days that teachers kind of dread because you spend a good bit of the day just waiting to get called to the auditorium and when you get there it takes forever. But it’s an important part of the school year, and students like it when they get their pictures and their yearbooks. So, it’s worth it.


Getting everybody in place for the group shot is not as easy as it might seem, but we had a couple great photographers. The photo they took will look a lot better than my iPhone picture I promise you!


The other big thing for today was … fish! We are turning our attention from terrestrial environments to aquatic environments. So we cleaned out our terrariums and filled them with water and gold fish. Choosing and scooping out the fish was a lot of fun for the students.


As you might suspect, many of the fish have names already.


We were lucky enough in the afternoon to have Coach Angel all to ourselves and the students had a great time at PE in the afternoon.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 16-20 ten times each and write a sentence for each word. (2) Do “Singular and Plural Nouns” on pages 91-92 of the Practice book. (3) Do the multiplication practice sheet. (4) Do pages 174-175 in the math book.

The word search is extra credit.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Some Rain Must Fall

Here in Southern California we live in not quite a desert – it rains a couple inches a year too much for that description – but certainly an arid land. So we ought to be grateful for any precipitation we get. I just wonder why it can’t all happen after 2:30 in the afternoon. Rainy day schedules are long!

It was a pretty routine Wednesday. We started with journals. We continued by reviewing the “Mighty Jackie” story and reading about Biddie Mason. We reviewed a good deal of Science material, and we worked on division with three digit quotients. All good stuff, but nothing particularly memorable.

There really should not be much homework to do tonight despite the long list because the students were given 90 minutes at the end of the day to work on it, and many students were finished well before 2:30.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 11-15 ten times each and write a sentence for each one. (2) Do the spelling crossword. (3) Write a summary of the “Mighty Jackie” story and answer the questions on page 181. (4) Do “Primary Sources” and “Context Clues” on pages 87-88 of the Practice book. (5) Answer the science study questions. (6) Do the multiplication practice paper.  (7) Do pages 172-173 in the math book.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Two Day Update

I had to leave early yesterday to sign some important papers, so I did not get a chance to update everybody about our activities here in room 19. So today we will begin with what we did yesterday.

We started with our journals, of course. Monday we were writing stories about someone who did something unexpected, something that other people never thought that person could do. That assignment was not altogether easy for the students, but it helped get their minds ready for reading the main Treasures selection for the week about Jackie, the strike-out queen.

We went to music, and, as usual, Ms. Moran was fantastic. Students continued to develop both rhythmic awareness and notional literacy with her – and had a lot of fun doing it!


We switched theater times with some fifth grade classes that were on a field trip. So the students worked with Mr. Pratt on a variety of pantomime activities and learned to turn these into improvised scenes. Here two students are doing a pantomime tug-of-war.


Today our main fun activity was going to Tech Center. The students worked with Mr. Riko in making Prezis about Native Californians.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 6-10 ten times each in cursive. Write a sentence for each word. (2) Do the spelling jumble. (3) Do the Three Times Two 2 math practice sheet. (4) Do 169-170 in the math book.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Book and Music

This Friday, like most, was an opportunity for the students to show how much they learned this week. Our first half hour of the day gave the students a chance to pick their favorite journal assignment of the week and to revise and edit it into a final product. I will have the weekend to enjoy these.

After that, we went to the library. As always, Mrs. Denson was not only sweet to the children, but she also was so impressed with their good library manners that she gave each one of them a sweet when they checked their books out!


After this, week took our reading, spelling, and math tests. These were generally quite good and the results are on the grade book.

In the afternoon, we had a chance to see the Dosan Philharmonic, a semi-professional orchestra composed mostly of Korean-Americans in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Here is Dr. Oh introducing them.


They played a light pops concert with selections from Cats, The Wizard of Oz, Cinema Paraiso, Tango Argentino, and a rousing rendition of “You Raise Me Up.”

Homework:  Do pages 162-163 in the math book.

I did not have a chance to run off the report cards this week, but be sure to check the grade book to see any changes. You will receive a report card next Friday.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Crazy Hair and Flowing Lines

We began the day today by having the students write a letter in their journals to a famous person, either living or dead. Many, like this one, were really good.

Dear Albert Einstein,

You are very smart. Your world-famous theory is E=MC2. What does that mean? What other theories did you discover. In your early life, what did you do? I heard that you played the violin. Were you good at playing it? In your lab, did you work with chemicals, or was it you a marker and a whiteboard? Why would I ask you these questions? Because you’re my favorite scientist. Not Marie Curie, Not Ben Franklin, not Charles Darwin, nor Leonard da Vinci. You’re mankind’s most famous scientist.


PS:  Your hair is always messed up.

PPS: Comb your hair!

Thursday is art day. We have been studying lines, and today’s lesson was about flowing lines. These are typical of Asian paper and ink drawing and scrolls, and after viewing some examples and discussing them, the students were challenged to paint portraits in watercolor without attempting to draw them first in pencil. This was hard, but some students did beautifully.



We did have one picture of Albert Einstein and his hair….


The rest of the day was devoted to some of the usual things. At PE, during the Mixing block, I am working on overhead throw. Here the students are attempting to clear the marker of the cones while demonstrating good form.


Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 16-20 ten times as well as a sentence for each one. (2) Do pages 79-80 in the Practice book. (3) Do the Brother Martin study guide. The students will be able to use this on their test tomorrow. (4) Do the Rain Forest comprehension questions. (5) On the Two by Two 4 multiplication practice sheet, do odd numbers only. (6) Do pages 160-161 in the math book. Note that these are estimation questions.

The word search is extra credit.