Wintry greetings from Fourth Grade:
A lovely white blanket of snow has covered Goshen Friends School transforming our verdant campus into a lovely winter scene. But this is a fragile and fleeting scene. The sun will melt away the blanket if it becomes too warm. The children will move it around and play with it and soon it will be gone. I hope you had a moment to enjoy the fragile beauty of the season.
Fourth grade has been hard at work this month. We dove headlong into basic division after completing our multiplication unit. Starting next week, we will begin the infamous long division all of us remember from our childhood. The goal is for kids to become comfortable and confident dividing 4 digit numbers by 1 digit divisors. The children will also learn how to solve multi-step word problems and interpret the remainders. This is sophisticated and difficult, but these children rise to the challenge every time.
Science has gotten a little uhmmm… “old” shall I say, perhaps more appropriately – “moldy!” Earlier this week fourth graders began studying mold. We learned what mold is (it’s not a disgusting as you think, we actually eat mold!) and where it grows (well I guess we all know where mold grows). Most excitingly, we set up an experiment to figure out how to grow bread most mold quickly. Pictures below show children checking on their work and setting up the experiment.
Combined reading groups with 3rd and 4th grade were a big success, so much so that Tr Missy and I decided to continue the groups for one more book. The books we chose all explore Chinese and Chinese-American Culture. (The Chinese New Year was February 19th – HAPPY NEW YEAR!) The titles of the books are:
The Year of the Panda by Miriam Schlein Strange things are happening on Lu Yi's farm. First, some men from the Chinese government ask Lu Yi's father to sell the property that has belonged to the family for generations. Then a giant panda appears in a neighbor's field, a rare occurrence, given the farm's distance from the high-mountain bamboo forests that pandas inhabit. Lu Yi has a feeling that the two mysteries are somehow connected.
The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Better Bao Lord In 1947, the Year of the Boar, Sixth Cousin, also known as Bandit, leaves China with her parents for a new beginning in America. Proud of the American name that she chose herself, Shirley Temple Wong is optimistic that her new home will be the land of many opportunities. Soon Shirley is the biggest Brooklyn Dodgers fan of all, listening to the radio to hear the triumphs and heartbreaks of the team and her hero, Jackie Robinson.
Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear by Lensey Namioka Everyone in the Yang family is a talented musician except for nine-year-old Yingtao, the youngest Yang. Even after years of violin lessons from his father, Yingtao cannot make beautiful music. Now that his family has moved from China to Seattle, Yingtao wants to learn English and make new friends at school. Still, he must make time to practice his violin for an important family recital to help his father get more students. Yingtao is afraid his screeching violin will ruin the recital. But he's even more afraid to tell his family that he has found something he likes better than music.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the PowerPoint presentations from our immigration unit that the children completed in January, please do. Our students asked engaging questions which earned them high praise from the women they interviewed. Indeed, I think you’ll agree that these presentations show a genuine connection to the person each interviewed. Beginning in March, students will start a short independent study on a Pennsylvania history topic. This will give them the opportunity to explore a part of Pennsylvania history in more depth and some freedom to work on an art project to support their research work.
Important Upcoming Dates:
March 11 – All School Gathering March 13 - Open House March 19 – Parent Teacher Conferences March 20 – Parent Teacher Conferences – No School March 20 – March 29: Spring Break March 30 - Classes resume
Take care and Think Spring!
Graduates of Quaker elementary schools know themselves and are able to recognize the strengths of peers. Because they are effective communicators and creative problem solvers at an early age, the fifth graders approach transitions with self-assurance. They are not only prepared for a middle school setting; they are “ready” in every sense.