Friday, November 30, 2012

Nonfiction Websites

This year in school we've been looking at some nonfiction websites.  Our class likes reading online.  You can find the websites at our class website.  We hope you enjoy the websites we show you below.

These are the websites:  DOGO News, Meet Me at the Corner, KidsReads, Wonderopolis, and Zooborns.  DOGONews has videos then an article. The video is about the article.  They post a new article every day.

KidsReads is a site about children's books. You can find your favorite author or favorite book and read about the author, find other books by the author and you can read about that book or another book.

Wonderopolis is a site that has a wonder of the day.  They count all of the wonders and they show all the wonders there have been.  Most of the time there are pictures and videos and there is an article that talks about the wonder.

Zooborns is a site that shows all of the baby animals in the world. They have a lot of animals to look at. The animals are in alphabetical order.

Meet Me at the Corner is a site with videos. Most videos have a small article to go with it.  You can search a topic of video also. It shows you how to make a video book review and how to make a video on Meet Me at the Corner.

These are all of our websites. There are some websites we haven't checked out yet, too. If you would like to explore some websites for us and tell us how they are, that would be great.  All of the sites that we just mentioned are ones we've looked at.  Please comment and tell us about some new nonfiction sites.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Science Challenges

We have been working on science experiments for the past few weeks.  They are fun and challenging.  For example, we did a Gobstopper experiment.  Mrs. Sibberson got this idea from reading Mr. Keefer's blog.  When we do Science Challenges, we learn about creating good experiments to our questions. We try to make better predictions or hypothesis.  We take observations and write those down. We keep track of what we notice on paper. Some people make tables. Some people take videos. Some people take pictures.  We also talk about variables-what you have to keep the same in an experiment.

We want to share our last Science Challenge with you.  We each wrote our own question about Gobstoppers after we did a Gobstopper observation in school.  For the one at school, we put four Gobstoppers in a cup of water. We were in groups of 2 or 3 and we watched to see what happened. We had a table with four boxes to keep track of our thinking and observations.

So, last week, we each came up with our own question about Gobstoppers and we experimented at home.

Student 1:  My question was, "What would happen if I put Gobstoppers in hot water and salt?"  My prediction was that it would disintegrate faster than in regular water.  First I got a cup and put hot water in it. Then I added salt. Then I added the Gobstoppers. I kept a paper where I wrote words about what I noticed.

Student 2:  My question was, "What would happen if I used more candies in a warmer temperature?" but when I got home it was really cold out. So I decided to just use more candies. So my new question as, "What would happen if I used different kinds of candies in warm water?".  First I got out a glass of water. I filled it with cold water.  Then I put the Gobstoppers in. Then I put in a mint.  After that, I added a little bit of hot water.  When that happened, the colors that came off the candy went everywhere. After that, I added some PEZ. It didn't do much.  The big difference in my experiment from the first experiment, was that the color went everywhere in the water. In the first experiment, it just stayed on the bottom.  I used paper, a pencil and some colored pencils to draw my observations. I wrote notes about what happened.
Student 2's Observations

Student 3: My questions was, "What would ice do to the Gobstoppers?"  When I got home, I got out my Gobstoppers and I got some cold water.  Then I froze it with the Gobstoppers in it.  I checked on it every 5 minutes.  At 20 minutes, I took it out and saw that there were cracks in the Gobstoppers.  I took notes on what I saw in the freezer every five minutes.

Other kids in our class had awesome observations and photos.

One student used various liquids including water from the local swimming pool (with permission, of course!).

This is what Gobstoppers look like after they have been in Sierra Mist.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The One and Only Ivan: Conversations Around Big Questions

We are almost finished with the book The One and Only Ivan. As we get to the end, we are collecting questions that we think are big enough, that we will still be thinking about them once the book is over.  This is a list of questions we came up with today:

Why does Ivan say, "It's not as easy as it looks."
Why do Ivan and his friends think some humans are nice and some are not?
Why does Ivan change saying he is in a domain to saying he is in a cage?
Why did Ivan decide to keep his promise to Stella when it is really hard?
Why doesn't Ivan live in a jungle?
Why does Julie come to visit Ivan?
Why did they chain Ruby's feet in the circus?
Why do humans upset Bob (but Julia doesn't)?
Why does Ruby talk so much?
What do words have to do with the book?
How long was Ivan in the jungle?
Is Mack nice or not nice?
Does Ivan want to go back to the jungle?

After we created the list, we got into groups and had conversations around one question. The question we talked about was the last one, "Does Ivan want to go back to the jungle?"  We tried to stick with one question to build our thinking. Then we had a whole class conversation about the question.  After we shared and built our thinking, we each thought about the question again. Here are some of the things we said about the question:

Does Ivan want to go back to the jungle?

I think he doesn’t care because Ivan made a promise to Stella that he would take care of Ruby and take her to a safe place.  So if Ruby’s safe, that’s all he cares about.

I don’t think he wants to go back to the jungle because it would bring back bad memories.

He is just trying to do his best and he wants to stay because he’s with his family and he wants to think of the good things.

I think he might want to go to the zoo so he could be with Ruby and Bob. In the jungle he might get hurt and he knows that.

I think Ivan wants to go to the zoo because he can have more space than just a cage.

I think Ivan doesn’t want to go because he can see Ruby and Bob and he is not used to getting his own food.

I think he wants to go to the jungle because he made a promise to Stella to keep Ruby safe and now he’s calling his domain a cage because of Stella. She made him change his mind. Now he is seeing Mack with the claw thing, training and all that stuff. Now he doesn’t like it there.

He wants to go to a jungle because he wants to be free.

He wants to go to the zoo so he knows that he is not the only gorilla left of his kind.

I think it’s half and half because he doesn’t want to go to the jungle because all of his friends are at the mall. He would want to go because he’s free in a bigger space instead of caged up.

I think he wants to go to the zoo because he wants to stay with Ruby because he promised Stella he would protect Ruby and he doesn’t want to break that promise.

He wants to go to the zoo so he can be with Ruby.

He wants to go to a zoo because he wants to keep his promise to Stella.

I think he wants to go to the jungle because since Stella died, he doesn’t think he belongs there anymore.

I think he wants to go to the jungle because he’ll take Ruby with him and they’ll make friends there and protect Ruby.

I think Ivan is going to bring Ruby to the zoo and he’ll stay there with her and they’ll be treated the way they want to be.

I think he wants to go to the jungle but in some ways he doesn’t because if he goes, he will miss all of his friends.

I think Ivan wants to stay at the mall because if he goes to the jungle or the zoo, he won’t get to see his friends anymore.

He wants to stay in the cage because he’ll miss Ruby.

I think Ivan wants to go to a zoo to keep Ruby safe like he promised.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The One and Only Ivan-Our Reading Notebooks

During Read Aloud time, we have our notebooks open. Several times during our reading, Mrs. Sibberson stops to give us time to jot our thinking. When we were looking at other people's thinking about the book for Global Read Aloud, we saw this notebook from Mr. Hong's class and some of us wanted to try new things and columns in our notebooks. We thought we'd share some of our notebook work on our blog.
Student 1: I'm writing in two columns. One half is thoughts and predictions. The other is questions and answers.  It helps me understand and organize my journal. I have 2 questions that I have a prediction that might answer it.  The first one is, "How does Ivan talk to Stella?" The 2nd one is, "How does Ivan talk to Bob?"  The first prediction is they have cages, not glass separating them. The second prediction is about  the bat and baseball Mack gave Ivan and Ivan used the bat to make a hole in the corner of the glass part that lots of humans see Ivan. I think Bob went through that.

I think the epigraph is important.  "It is never too late to be what you might have been." I think it means you are _________ right now but you could be _________. Right now we are at the part where Stella has blood trickling down her leg and Stella backed Ruby into the cage.  I think Stella does this because #1 She had blood trickling down her leg. OR #2 We watched a book trailer that said friends are made and some are lost.  #3 Stella said old age is a good disguise so I think Stella is old.

Student 2: While Mrs. Sibberson is reading The One and Only Ivan, I write down in my journal if I have any questions.  I write questions in the questions column and if there are any answers to the questions, I write that down next to the question in the answer column.  If I find something important or interesting, I jot it down on the other page.  Sometimes I sketch something on that page so I know what they look like or just have an idea of what it looks like.  It helps me because I can just look back at my questions and answers and the other page/pages to remember what happened in the last couple of days.  Also, because I write all of the important parts, that sometimes leads me to my main question, "What does the epigraph mean?"  I chose that as my main question because it didn't make sense to me and I think the question is a question that will last a long time.  I think that the epigraph means that he will live out in the wild because the epigraph is, "It's never too late to be what you might have been."

Student 3: I am writing questions on one side and answers on the other.  I have answered one question and the question was, "How many keepers did Ivan have?"  The answer is 6. This helps me because I understand the book better when I ask questions. I understand that Ivan is sad because he is the only one in his cage. When I want to tell about the book, I go to the next free page and write down my thoughts. We are trying to figure out what the epigraph means.  The epigraph is, "It's never too late to be what you might have been?"  It goes through our head every time we read it. The epigraph helps us understand how the story is going as we try to figure it out.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Global Read Aloud-The One and Only Ivan

We are excited to participate in this year's Global Read Aloud. We are going to read THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate. Today, we previewed the book by watching the official book trailer, reading the first few pages, the back cover, the inside flap, etc.  After we previewed, we collected some of the questions we are going to keep in mind as we read.  Here are a few that we are thinking about:

What does the epigraph mean?
Is Ivan's species extinct in this book?
Why is Ivan living at the mall? We don't have a zoo animal at our mall.
Why is the glossary at the beginning of the book?
Why doesn't Ivan live in the jungle?
I wonder why Ivan says, "It is not as easy as it looks."
How old is Ivan?
How did Ivan and Ruby get to the zoo?
How does the elephant get t the mall?
Why does the book keep saying, "It's not as easy as it looks."
How did Ivan become friends with the baby elephant, Ruby?
Why is the story about the gorilla?
Why is Ivan lonely with the elephant?
Why did Katherine Applegate pick The One and Only Ivan for the title?
Does Ivan get out of the mall?
Does the gorilla go to the mall and shop?
Why is he upset and stressed out?
How did the author come up with this idea?
What does words have to do with this book (humans use too many words)?

Awesome Skype with Kate Messner

Our class enjoys Skype with Kate Messner. She rocks!

We invited Kate Messner to Skype with us on Friday.  Kate Messner is an author of the book Capture the Flag and we read this as our class read aloud.  We asked her a few questions and she answered them.

What is the favorite book you wrote?
Do you read Harry Potter? Why did Jose like Harry Potter?
Will there be a movie for Capture the Flag?
Why did you want to become and author?
How did you get the ideas for the characters and their names?  How did you think of Snickerbottom's name?
How did you get the idea for Capture the Flag?
What are the other books in the  series? When will they be out?

Kate Messner was in her sun room at her house in Vermont. It was by a lake. That is where she does all of her work. She showed us her desk and her notebook. She uses it to write the other books in the series.

This was our first Skype visit and we were really excited for it.  It was hard not to scream because we were so excited.  A couple of people got to ask the questions to Kate Messner.  There was a technical difficult for a minute or so but we managed it.

Kate told us about the two new books that she is writing that have the same characters in Capture the Flag.  The next one is coming out in April. It is called Hide and Seek.  We can't wait! We loved Capture the Flag. So, we recommend this book to you.

We are hoping to do more Skype visits in the future. We'll write blog posts about those, so please keep reading our blog!

Thank you, Kate Messner!!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Explain Everything in Math

In math, we are learning strategies to figure out problems.  We are starting to use an app called EXPLAIN EVERYTHING on the iPads.  With this app, you can write and draw pictures to show your strategy.  You can also record what you are doing and it will record your voice too.  You can save your piece and look at it again, share it, put it on your blog or wiki, and more.  It helps us to hear other people's strategies to test out on an another problem on our own.

Here is a question we had to solve and explain.

Mom bought 4 egg cartons. Each carton had 6 eggs in it. 2 eggs were bad.  How many good eggs did Mom get?

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Monday! What Are We Reading?

We decided to join into this Monday blog tradition today! We wanted to share some of the books our 4th grade class has been reading.

CAPTURE THE FLAG by Kate Messner
There are three main characters in this book.  They are Anna, Jose and Henry. The flag from the Smithsonian was stolen. Right now there is a huge snowstorm so the characters are stuck in an airport and they think the person who stole it would be in the airport.  They have two suspicious characters.  They meet a boy named Sinan. Senator Snickerbottom thinks his family or part of their orchestra stole the flag.  

We read this book during read aloud time near the end of the day every day.  We jot down our ideas in our notebooks.  We sketch pictures and make predictions in our notebooks too.  We also talk about the book. We are learning to just jump into the conversation and keep it going.

In this book, there is a little girl named Goldilocks. And there are three dinosaurs. There is a mamma dinosaur, a papa dinosaur and a little dinosaur from Norway. The three dinosaurs wanted to eat Goldilocks so they made chocolate pudding to distract Goldilocks. They made sure she could get in.  Goldilocks went to take a nap...

This book is related to Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  But Goldilocks got "caught in the wrong story".  Mo Willems put the pigeon in this book (and in every book he writes)  so look for it!  There is a funny lesson at the end.  We think this book is for all ages.

In this picture book, there is a family who went to a farm to visit their grandparents.  Before they went they got cameras. It rained a lot while they were there. It rained for days. Then they went to a beach and had fun.  It rained again. They went to a party. The pictures in the book are photos of their vacation. They weren't all that good.

This book is realistic fiction. It helps us write personal narratives.  It helped us think about looking at pictures and remembering what our life was like.  

THE ESSENTIAL 55 by Ron Clark
This book is called The Essential 55 and this book is by Ron Clark.  He is a 6th grade teacher.  He has 55 rules in his classroom.  Once in a while our teacher, Mrs. Sibberson, reads us a rule.  We've read four rules so far.  One is about Doritos. One is about saving spots in the cafeteria. One is about saying thank you and one is about bragging. For 10 minutes, we highlight the important words that we want to talk about.   We are learning to share our opinions and learning about other people's opinions. We go into groups and we are learning to keep the conversation going.  

A Bus Called Heaven is by Bob Graham.  It teaches us to be leaders.  It's about a bus called Heaven and a towing guy. The towing  guy is trying to tow the bus. But the people didn't want him to because it is important to them. They worked together to make it into a kind of "clubhouse".  A girl challenged the towing guy in table soccer.  Whoever wins gets to decide what happens to the bus.  If you want to know who wins, read the story.

This book is about Ralph Fletcher's childhood.  We read a story in our class called "Statue".  The story is about when Ralph Fletcher pretended to be a statue. His parents wanted to buy him.  They bought him and took him home. They put him in the front yard without him moving.  This is only one of the stories in the book.  This is the only one we've read so far.

Ralph Fletcher drew a map in the front of this book to help him think of his ideas.  He drew a map of his neighborhood. Some of us drew maps of our neighborhoods, parks, and houses to help us think of personal narrative ideas.

We'd like you to read it and tell us what you think of it in the comments.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Math Games!

In our classroom, we played math games.  We wanted to share some with you.

Pentago is one of our favorite games.  Pentago is a fun, strategic game where you get 5 of the same color in a row. Only 2 players can play this game at one time.  When you put down a marble, you have to spin one square on the board.  We like the game because it's fun, challenging and it doesn't take that long. You can play it over and over again. You can also play online.

The next game is called 4-Way Countdown. Countdown is a dice game.  It is a math game because it teaches us how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. It is so fun as a math game. As an example, if you get a 4, you can either put up the 4 or the 1 and 3.  To play, you can have 2, 3 or 4 players.  The goal of the game is to get all of your numbers standing up.

We have some games that are Logic Puzzles. These games are really hard but they are really fun too.  You need to use your brain to complete a logic puzzle.  Logic Puzzles are usually one-player games.  There are a lot of logic puzzles in our classroom.

Close to 100 is a game with cards.  We like card games. The way to play is to get 100.  It's easy to learn and is fun.  Every player gets 6 cards with numbers.  You have to make two 2-digit numbers that equal 100.  There are a couple cards in the game called "Wild Cards". You can decide what numbers those are going to be.  If a person gets 101, then he or she has 1 point.   There are 5 rounds. The person with the lowest points at the end of the game wins.

Othello is a fun game. Here is how to play:  You start out with 2 white and 2 black pieces next to each other.  Black always goes first.  The object of the game is to have the most pieces of your color at the end of the game.  You can only capture the other color if you surround it.  You can go across, vertical, and diagonal.  It is fun because you have to think really hard to get the most pieces.

Another game is called Set.  You can make a set of three cards that either have the same shape, color, shading, or number. Or, a set needs to have all different shapes, shading, numbers, and colors.  There are different shapes--the oval, the diamond, and the squiggly line.  You need 12 cards to play.  You need to try to make a set of 3.   Two or more people can play this game.  This game teaches you how to find patterns for the future. This is a very fun game for children and adults.  You need to do a lot of thinking to play Set. (You might want to be 6 or older to play this:-)

Gobblet Gobblers and Gobblet are like Tic-Tac-Toe. But, you can ""gobble" each other by putting a bigger piece on top of a smaller piece.  It is a fast way to learn.  You try to get 4 in a row.  In Gobblet, there are two colors-white and black. In Gobbler Gobblet there are 2 colors-blue and orange. Only 2 people can play this game.

Square Up is a game with 1-2 players.  There are colorful squares and you can't lift them  up. You can only slide them.  You try to match the colors to the ones in the box.  You have to shake the box and look at it. Then you match it.

If you have suggestions for other games we would like, please comment!