Adventures are the best way to learn!

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Mayday, Mayday: The End Of the School Year Is Here!

We are just a few days away from the finish line, where our Gr. 4 students will move on to Gr. 5 and be one step closer to Middle School! Reflecting upon the students as writers, readers and historians, we have not only grown physically but also as learners as well!

As readers, the students began meeting weekly where they would have the opportunity to sit down and discuss the chapter books they were assigned. In their Book Club groups, the students read some timeless chapter books such as James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg and finally Matilda by Roald Dahl. During their weekly Book Club meetings the students took on various roles where they were encouraged to analyze the books from different perspectives. Students had the opportunity to explain their understanding of the texts they read as a summarizer, word wizard, illustrator, character captain and finally a discussion director. I thoroughly enjoyed watching students take control of the conversations they had when discussing the stories. Some weeks the students seemed to be cheering on the main characters, others they would be questioning why certain situations played out the way they did. Overall, I was pleased to see that the students were engaging their assigned chapter books in a way that allowed them to be both creative but also required them to check on their understanding of the chapter books they were reading.

As we move closer to the end of the school year, the students showed the most growth as writers. Writing, an activity that seemed almost painful to the students at the beginning of the school year,  was now a way in which students could clearly express their thoughts, feelings and opinions. As nonfiction writers, the students pushed themselves to create informational books that not only displayed their own personal interests but was also educational as they taught as a thing or two about their chosen topics. As the students read aloud their stories, I was impressed to see how much independent research they were able to accomplish and how successful they were in summarizing or paraphrasing the information they collected from various books or websites. While, I may not be so experienced with video games, it is safe to say that at the end of our publishing party, I was ready to play some Fortnite!

Finally, as historians the students delved deep into our final ancient civilization, ancient Greece. While the students were familiar with the ancient Greek gods and goddesses, they were thoroughly surprised to learn more things about them from the food they ate, to they way their cities were organized and finally to the types of governments that were practice that long ago! To help them gain a better understanding of how the ancient Greeks lived their lives, the students had the opportunity to create their own polis (city-state) where they had the opportunity to strategically discuss where to put their acropolis (fortress), the agora (city center), temples, harbor and so much more. In the end the students created interesting and well-planned city-states…I would not be surprised if these students become future architects after this activity! Below you can see some examples of the maps the students created.

While we wrap up the school year, I look back at all the students have learned and accomplished with awe. I am proud of how each and every one of the Gr.4 students have persevered in the midst of difficult activities and delivered no matter how big or small the learning challenges may have been. It is with great confidence that I send these Gr. 4 students off to Gr. 5, where I am certain they will continue to wow and impress their future teachers.

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Lights, Camera, Action: Into The Woods

The wait was over and it was finally the production week for our Gr. 4 students who were a part of this year’s school play, Into the Woods. The students had worked so hard throughout the semester. I watched as they practiced their lines every moment they could spare, sang the songs while going to and from their classes, until everything revolving around the play had almost become second nature to them.

It came as no surprise to me to see all the Gr. 4 students give it their all on stage. They shined throughout the play as they each took on various roles, from the Baker’s wife to the narrators and even Cinderella and the evil step sisters. I was at the edge of my seat the whole time as the students delivered their lines with such great diction and emotion–I truly felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster as I laughed, I gasped, and sighed with relief.

As the curtains closed, I could not help but beam with pride over seeing how much hard work the students poured into the show and how much it had truly paid off. Seeing the students up on stage made me realize how talented, creative and hard working each and everyone of the Gr. 4 students are. A big congratulations to the whole cast of Into The Woods! It was truly one of the most memorable parts of my school year with the Gr. 4 students. Below are some videos and photos from the play!

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The Great Outdoors: Field Trip to La Mesa Eco Park

One of the most frequently asked questions of this school year was, “When is our field trip Ms. D?” Thankfully the wait was over and the students were ready to leave their classrooms to explore the great outdoors!

This semester, students headed out to the largest public park within Metro Manila, La Mesa Eco Park. After learning about the plant’s parts and functions as well as various plant adaptations during science class, the students were well equipped with basic knowledge about plants and ready for their field trip.

While in La Mesa Eco Park, the Gr. 4 students broke off into two groups were they rotated between various activities. The first activity was a guided tour around the park where students learned about Philippine native trees and their various uses. After, students had the opportunity to plant two of their very own trees! These quick learners were able to properly plant trees within no time. With our hands already dirty, we went off to our third activity of the day where the students learned about vermicomposting–they learned about the benefits and why worms are so important to a plant’s lifecycle. Before heading off, some of the students were even brave enough to hold 5-6 worms in their hand! Finally, students learned about the lifecycle of a butterfly and were even able to go into a butterfly sanctuary where they were surrounded by butterflies.

To end the field trip, the students gathered under the shade of the trees and where we ate our packed lunch and relaxed before heading back to school. All in all, the field trip to La Mesa Eco Park was a great success, and while we were unable to do all the activities found in the public park, we hope that the students will want to go back and share this wonderful learning experience with their families and friends too!

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Reaching New Limits with Reading Strategies

As readers, the Gr. 4 students are always looking for new ways to help deepen their understanding of the texts they read in class. When it comes to nonfiction texts, we have mastered various reading strategies to help us understand the different aspects of informational text. Now, we have transitioned into practicing other reading strategies that can be used for both fiction and nonfiction text such as: finding the main idea, learning how to find the sequence of events, and comparing and contrasting.

When it comes to finding the main idea, we have learned tricks/tips such as asking ourselves guiding questions:

  • What is the title of the text?
  • Are there any photos/images that can help tell me more about what I am about to read?
  • Are there any key terms/words/phrases that continue to repeat?
  • What does the first sentence of the text introduce to you?

After practicing this strategy using various activities and reading stories the students learned that in the end finding the main idea helps readers to ultimately understand: what is the author trying to tell/teach me?

The second strategy we tackled this past month was identifying the sequence of events. We learned that this strategy may not be applicable for all types of stories or books but can be really helpful when we read historical text (whether it is fictional or nonfictional). We also learned that finding the sequence of events is something we do on a daily basis especially when we retell stories like we do every Monday for Morning Meeting time!

Finally, we discussed when and how we can compare and contrast as readers. We learned that we can compare and contrast characters, settings, themes/lessons and even books that share the same story lines. As a whole class we read two versions of The Three Little Pigs where we compared and contrasted the way the authors retold this classical story. The kids went on to read two stories: Hercules’ Quest and Zomo’s Friends. One was a Greek myth, while the other was a proverb/adage. Students learned that even when stories may come from different cultures we can still find similarities and differences in the stories we read!

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Ancient China: The Greatest Hits

China’s history is filled with many events that may leave your speechless or going “Aha! that makes sense!” One of them being The Great Wall of China and the second being China’s participation in the Silk Road. As we wrapped up our unit on ancient China, the students were tasked with two hands-on activities that connected to these two accomplishments of China.

Students had the opportunity to try their hand at being engineers and architects as they were required to create their own version of the Great Wall of China…with a twist! The objective of this project was to have students use various materials to build a one foot-long wall that had the following features: two watch towers and a zip line that could carry materials from one side of the wall to the other.  Students got straight to work brainstorming ways in which they could build a sturdy wall as well as create a zip line that could move materials from one side to another. The biggest challenge for the students it seemed was to create a pulley system. I was thoroughly impressed with how students were able to bring their brainstormed ideas to life and work as a team to create something that could act as a well as well as a zip line. Below are some photos of the students hard at work as they plan and put their ideas into action.

Gr. 4 Students Brainstorming on how to make their rendition of The Great Wall of China:

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Final Products of the Gr. 4 students’ Great Wall of China:

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To wrap up the unit on ancient China, students participated in a trading simulation. This was the second simulation the students were able to participate in and also required them to put their negotiating skills to the test! Students were divided into five groups that each represented a certain region that had traders who sold and traded items on the Silk Road. The object of this simulation was to have students learn about globalization, how to trade/negotiate, identify the most well-sought out products and finally learn about the real life scenarios that took place on the Silk Road. I enjoyed observing students try to out bid each other and scramble around looking for the most coveted item–silk. Finally, students moaned and groaned as they too experienced similar events that would happen to traders on the Silk Road–from being ambushed by bandits to contracting the bubonic plague. All in all, I was glad to see the students learn how important the Silk Road was to the ancient Chinese and how it can still be seen today!

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Book Week: Book Character Dress up Day Winners

One of the most anticipated events of this semester was Book Week: Character Dress Up Competition that is hosted by the Library Team. Every year the EY/ES classes have an opportunity to choose and promote various books–from memorable picture books to beloved chapter book series. In addition, to providing the EY/ES students with a preview to various stories, the students are able to showcase their talents, whether it is singing, dancing or simply storytelling.

This school year Gr. 4DD decided to go with the terrifyingly exciting chapter book series, Goosebumps! With a lot of hard work and dedication Gr. 4DD was able to put on quite an entertaining performance where they pulled students in to the Goosebumps world by displaying the famous monsters and creatures found in the books as well as the children who get roped into unfortunately scary situations. Our performance ended with a dance number using Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller.”

That being said, I am pleased to share that the Gr. 4DD class was recognized for their creative and entertaining performance and won the Book Character Dress Up Competition!

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Growing as Readers and Writers

As readers, we are always looking for new strategies that can help us better understand the texts that we read. At this time of the year, we began to tackle how to properly and accurately read nonfiction text. To introduce students to the multifaceted world of nonfiction books we embarked on a Text and Graphic feature Scavenger Hunt. Before we started our scavenger hunt, we first needed to know the “ins-and-outs” of each text and graphic feature found in nonfiction books.

From there, students each were given IPads and allowed to use our newly introduced online library app, Epic! Epic is a digital library that provides students with a wide range of books that cover various topics that students are interested in or are currently learning about. The students each have their own accounts which tracks how many books they have read and provides them with a curated selection of books that cater their unique interests. Here is a link to the Epic website that can be accessed both on the computer or through a smart device: https://www.getepic.com/. In addition, below are some photos of the students hard at work trying to identify the various text and graphic features found in nonfiction text such as images with captions, timelines, indexes or table of contents.

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For our final writing unit of the semester, students had an opportunity to practice writing persuasively. Students learned the purpose of this writing style and when it is most appropriate to use it. We were also able to identify persuasive writing in its different forms– from advertisements, to cereal boxes to even commercials we see on a daily basis. As Christmas is just around the corner, the students were tasked to write persuasive letters to their family members to try to convince them to buy them their “dream” present!

As professional writers, the students thoroughly completed each of the steps of the writing process. I enjoyed seeing the students hard at work as they brainstormed a very lengthy list of presents they would want to receive from their family members. Students also took the time to conduct some research to use reliable facts and information to help support their request for specific presents. Finally, students made sure to paint themselves in the best light by using descriptive language as well as slipping in several compliments to help ease their family members into buying them specific gifts.

At the end of the day, the students knew that whether they got those presents or not, that the persuasive letters were entertaining and worthy to share with their family members!

 

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October Activities Overload (Pt. I)

The month of October has been jam-packed with many activities happening both inside and outside the classroom. The first of these activities was Spirit Week. The students had the opportunity to showcase their creativity by dressing up in various outfits/costumes that related to the different themes each day. For Class Theme Thursday, this year Gr. 4DD decided to dress up as their beloved CISM teachers while they asked me to dress up as their honorary CISM student. The kids had a blast coming up with outfits that accurately represented each of their favorite teachers. Below are some highlights and photos of the kids throughout the week.

To finish off Spirit Week, the students worked together and displayed true sportsmanship as they participated in this semester’s Sports Day. Despite coming from different grade-levels and being of various ages, the students had a wonderful time collaborating and cheering on one another through each of the different competitions. As a result, a big congratulations goes out to each of the teams who showed that nothing could have been accomplished without the trust and respect they had for each of their teammates. Below are photos of the students during Sports Day.

Towards the end of October, the students had a chance to celebrate an organization that is near and dear to my heart, the United Nations. This year’s theme was “Greening the Blue,” which aimed to bring awareness of our impact on the environment and our ability to leave a positive mark on the world (with both big and small changes in our lives). The performances ranged from a beautiful rendition of “Colors of the Wind” by the Gr. 4-5 students to an interactive performance of “They Don’t Care About Us” by the Nursery to Gr. 3 students. Each performance was met by a loud round of applause by teachers, students, and parents. After, students were brought “around the world” by visiting the different cultural workshops set up by the Middle and Upper Schoolers. Some of the favorite workshops included Switzerland as well as Romania. However, the moment all the students were waiting for happened after the cultural workshops, which was the Global Potluck! There simply was no need to go and fly to other countries to try cuisines from different parts of the world, when instead students simply had to step outside into the hallways. Students are immediately met by tables filled with food and smells that could quickly transport them to the Middle East, Europe and back to Asia. Below are some photos from our UN Day celebration.

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Before the students headed out for their semestral break, we had one more holiday to celebrate–Halloween! Below are some photos of the students who came dressed in their chosen Halloween costumes. A big thank you goes out to the PTA who did a wonderful job providing us with an afternoon filled with sweets and scares! Here are some photos from our final Halloween Celebration.

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Spirit Week 2018

This year’s Spirit Week will be held from October 1 to October 4, 2018. We encourage your child to come to school dressed using items and clothing already found at home. We hope the kids can get their creative juices flowing and we look forward to seeing what they dress up as on each day!

Spirit Week Themes:

  • Meme Monday
  • Tropical Tuesday
  • Wake Up Wednesday
  • Class Theme Thursday

For the final day of Spirit Week, Gr. 4DD has decided upon dressing as CISM Teachers and Staff Members. Please ensure that your child comes in dressed in an outfit that may include: button down or polo shirt for boys, blouse or sundress for girls and finally slacks or jeans for both boys/girls.

I will be sure to share many photos throughout next week’s Spirit Week!

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Strolling through September

What a blast it has been getting to know our new Fourth Graders! Throughout the month of August, I quickly learned that these students are a vivacious and affectionate bunch! While in September, the students went full speed ahead with their learning. Here’s a rundown of what we have been up to in ELA and Social Studies!

The students have been busy learning different strategies to help them best understand the various texts they read. As if we were detectives/investigators the students and I looked at whole slew of stories from different perspectives. We learned the importance of identifying the author’s purpose, by asking questions such as is the author writing to entertain, inform or persuade me of something? We also realized that by identifying the author’s purpose it can help us to better understand why and who authors are truly writing for. Furthermore, we learned that in many of the stories we read, author’s try to teach readers lessons/morals that can be applied to our own lives. One of most memorable lessons we learned was that we can achieve more when we work together! Finally, students have had the opportunity to take a closer look at the main characters of stories. Through the use of book clubs, students had the chance to read picture books that allowed students to practice reading fluently and accurately, while also giving them a chance to read a full story within our ELA block. Here are some pictures of students in their book clubs!

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In Social Studies, the students traveled back in time where we focused on the ancient Indian civlization. It was interesting to see how advanced the first inhabitants of ancient India were, the Harappan civilization. We were able to closely inspect photos of the famous cities of the Harappans, Harappa and Mohenjo Daro. We were able to take note of “advanced” technology they had at the time such as paved streets, indoor plumbing and the Great Bath! However, the true highlight of learning about the Harappan civilization is being able to recreate important tools/artifacts or scenes of everyday using modelling clay. Below are some photos of the students hard at work.

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  • http://www.deped.gov.ph/