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.