Posts tagged allan


So far we have “Shared the Planet” and we have investigated “Where we are in place and time”, now we will be exploring “How We Organize Ourselves”.  This unit focuses on the colonial period during American History (Virginia to be exact) but we also focus on how other communities also organize themselves.

A rather exciting and large investigation culminates with the fourth grade Colonial Day. Our class just started doing research on colonial trades and crafts. We will continue research on Monday and Tuesday of next week. During our writing workshop periods, we will organize our research into oral presentations and create our research visuals (poster) for the big day. The areas of research include, what the tradesmen produced, how he produced it, who needed his services, what other trades people did he work with to create his products or conduct his service and other interesting facts that may help us understand this trade or craft better.

From colonial day, we will discuss the change our country went through during this colonial period, we will end this unit with the American Revolution and compare this war to other revolutions that have occurred around the world.

We can’t forget about the science part of How We Organize Ourselves! In science, we will finish our living systems unit and move into the Space unit. We will talk about how the universe is organized and explore the planets a bit more!

For a quick look at colonial trades, clothing, etc. you may check out Williamsburg’s website:



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Moon Phase Log

I just sent an email out to the parents about this but thought I’d post it here too!


Tonight the 4th graders start their Moon Phase log. It should only take a few minutes to do each day… And the goal is to do it each day, including weekends—to really try to find the Moon in the sky and observe its shape/phase. This can be such a powerful/memorable activity if students are able to follow through… Any support that you can give will be much appreciated.

Most of us actually did our first observation in class—we had to lean quite a bit to spot the Moon out our windows. I’m attaching the directions to this email. The directions include a Moonrise/Moonset chart so that students can plan when to do their observations. We looked carefully at the chart and pinpointed those days that might be somewhat problematic because of sleep:

March 9: The Moon will rise at 8:05pm and set at 6:47am.
March 10: The Moon will rise at 9:18pm and set at 7:23am.
Starting on March 11th, students should do their Moon observations in the morning before school, rather than after.

The toughest part about understanding the phases of the Moon is realizing that half of the Moon is always lit up (the half that is pointed towards the Sun)… When there’s a new Moon the half that is lit is pointed away from us. When there’s a full Moon we can see the whole illuminated side… All the other phases result because we’re only seeing part of the lit up half from our perspective on Earth. That’s what the Moon’s Orbit diagram (“How the Moon Works”) is all about. I’ve already plugged in 2/28 and 2/29 so that the students can see how to mark the orbit diagram… It’s just an approximate placement and now that I study it closer, I’m realizing that I’ve probably got the 28th way too close to the 29th—so the students and I will learn how best to place the dates on the Moon’s together 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

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A Change in Class Procedures

Hello Parents!

I’m writing to inform you of a new behavior “system” we are implementing in our classroom.
Why new behaviors plan?
We have such an energetic, smart, funny, and fun-loving class– a class that enjoys each other’s company tremendously. Unfortunately, silliness and socializing are getting in the way of us accomplishing our learning in a timely manner.

These are the reoccurring problems in our classroom:
(1) calling out, not raising hands, talking when others are talking
(2) socializing with friends rather than doing assignments
(3) playing with hidden toys inside of desk
(4) excessive silliness that disrupts lessons or group projects

How the new plan works:
– Each student has a pocket with 5 cards in it, going from blue, to green, to yellow, to orange and finally to red. These pockets are on a bulletin board.
– Every student starts out the day with a blue card, which stands for EXCLELLENT! You’re doing a great job– Keep up the good work! Many students will remain on blue all day.
– When students choose inappropriate behaviors (not trying, being disrespectful), they are asked to acknowledge their responsibility by flipping their card on our behavior bulletin board.
– There are only 2 ways to get in trouble: (1) to not try and (2) to be unkind and/or disrespectful.
– Green=good: Just a warning. It’s OK to make a mistake. Do your best to turn the situation around so you can flip back.
– To earn a flipback, students should show kindness and respect and/or demonstrate that they are serious about their work.
– Yellow = caution: Warning #2. Work extra hard towards a flipback. Fill out a behavior slip, lose recess for one day and pay $2 tiger buck fine.
– Orange=danger: Parents are contacted, student fills out a behavior slip, lose one day of recess and pays a $5 tiger buck fine.
– Red=unacceptable: Visit to the office, parents will be contacted by phone, lose recess for two days and pay a $10 tiger buck fine.
– At the end of each day, the students will record the color they are on in their agenda. Students who have filled out a behavior slip must take it home and have a parent or guardian sign it. The slip must be returned the next day. This should provide a record of the students’ work habits and conduct over time. Students who are consistently being respectful and on task will have evidence of their hard work. Students who are struggling with attention and work habits can become more self-aware of how they are doing over time by studying their behavior color pattern… Moreover, parents and teachers can offer consequences for poor performance and incentives or compliments for improvement.

I am hopeful that this behavior system will help get us on track… And I greatly appreciate your support with helping students to be focused on learning.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions…
Lisa Allan

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