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!