Monday, September 28, 2015

Mrs. Grant's 4th Graders Enjoy Eating BARK!!

Dr. Joyce Hardy from Chadron State College came to our classroom and provided a great activity to help us begin to culminate our science unit about plants.  Students were fascinated that plants produce chemicals that "smell" to either attract critters or discourage them.  Some are detrimental and some are beneficial to the reproduction of the plant!  The sweet smell of apples helps the tree reproduce as critters eat the fruit and help scatter new seeds.  However, it seems that many of the aromas that we find appealing are stinky to some critters!!  For example, we got to examine a ginger root.  The scent keeps it safe in the ground from insects, but leads to the delicious aroma of gingerbread for humans!! We learned that peppermint comes from the leaf of the plant, ginger from the root, cinnamon from the bark of the cinnamon tree, and lemon from the fruit.   Students especially enjoyed trying ginger ale.


3rd and 4th grade students had a great opportunity to learn animal science first-hand from experts sponsored by the University of Nebraska Extension Office.  Terri Lemmon organized a great day for our students providing opportunities to learn about topics such as livestock by-products, the muscular, circulatory, reproduction, and skeletal systems of livestock, careers in agriculture, diet, health, and nutrition, and also had a chance to hang out with some real farm animals!!

Learning about the circulatory system - Students got to see a real cow heart!

Everyone loved the goats!

Playing Beef & Pork By-Product Bingo

Learning first-hand about the reproduction system of livestock


Students learned about the digestive system and diet of cattle!

Here are students learning about how joints move!

Exploring the Circulatory System Model

Learning about taking care of animals!!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

September 4th Letter to Parents - OFF TO GREAT START!

September 4, 2015

Dear 4th grade Homeroom Parents,

We are off to a great start.  Everyone is starting to get into the routine of things and working hard.  The first week of Friday folders went well.  “Most” everyone returned them signed.  Please help your student remember to take care of this responsibility!  They are excited about earning classroom bucks!

Our P.E. time is on Mondays and Fridays.  Students are doing well remembering their tennis shoes.  Music is on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Library check-out is on Wednesday mornings, and Library class on Thursday mornings.  Mr. Bach visits our classroom for Guidance Class on Tuesdays.  Mr. Horst works with students for Computers & Keyboarding on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Our lunch recess is from 11:30 to 11:45 a.m., and student eat lunch from 11:45-12:15.  

Students have been placed in Reading/Language groups, and each student may have one additional teacher other than myself.  (Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Piercy, Mrs. Schmidt, or Mrs. Dickey (Mrs. Rice is her sub until sometime in October.).  Reading is held Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 11:30, and Language is from 1:45 to 2:30 Mondays through Thursdays.

Science found us discussing the three kinds of science and how science is all around us.  Ask your student how “diapers” are science!  We are now into our first study about plants.  Students might enjoy telling you about the biggest seed in the world!  We are going to begin a collection of seeds to use in our study.  Students have been told they can bring any kinds of seeds they find over the month of September!  Thanks for your help in this regard!

 I have not organized classroom party committees yet, but will keep you posted.  Students may bring treats for their birthdays if they so choose.  Please keep them simple and easy to manage in the classroom environment.  We do not have a regular time for a mid-morning snack, and students are doing well making it til lunch.  Thanks for helping them start the day with a good breakfast.  Our schedule is a little different on Fridays, so I have told the students that we could have a snack on Fridays if they would like to bring something.  If you would like to send something for the class to share that we can keep to use on Fridays, that would be great.  

One of the projects I am planning to do for Nebraska history will require a white china dinner plate for each student.  I have been collecting some; however, if you see inexpensive plates at yard sales, second hand stores, auctions, and so on, please keep us in mind.  We won’t need them until spring.

Math is going well.  Students have really impressed the 4th grade teachers since beginning their new math series in the 3rd grade last year.  Most of what we are doing now is review.  Starting with Lesson 10, students take an assessment every five lessons.  They will not have homework when there is a test, and I will try to not have homework on weekends.  Students are required to correct their daily work to 100% if they miss more than three problems on any lesson.  I will staple the test and the prior five lessons together when I send them home.  I will post a grade for daily math once or twice a week, and all assessments are posted.

To help your student perform well in math, help them follow these helpful pointers:
  1. Practice your facts.
  2. Copy the problems carefully.
  3. Show all of your work.
  4. Do all parts of the problem.
  5. Be a careful reader.
  6. Neatness counts.
  7. Follow the directions.
  8. Check over your work.  Make sure all of the problems are completed.
  9. Use the reference numbers for help when needed.  (The numbers next to the problem number are the lesson where that concept was taught and can be reviewed.)
All 4th grade students have a pencil bag that they are responsible for taking to Reading & Language class and for use in home room.  It contains two pencils, a red pen, a dry erase marker, a highlighter, scissors, and an eraser.  Students check in their bag weekly with their homeroom teacher.  In my room, students check their bag in during “Pay Day” on Mondays or the first day of the week.  If students have all of the items, they receive an additional amount of classroom money.  If the do not, they can purchase replacement items.  We also take care of replacing used up pencils, etc., at that time.  This will be a great precursor for middle school readiness!

Please remind students not to bring toys or other distracting items to school.  We do not want them to get lost, stolen, broken, or interfere with learning.

Thank you for your support at home.  I am enjoying getting to know your children!  We look to have a great year!  Be sure to check with Mrs. Matt if you are not signed up for the Campus Portal or would like to receive a math disk.  I do not usually have time to post grades daily, and I often get a little behind, so be patient.  Please let me know whenever you have questions or concerns.  Also check out our blog on the Chadron Public School website or at  Enjoy the Labor Day Weekend.


D. Grant