Spring Break Challenge: Structure Search

During the next two weeks, keep your eyes open for examples of STRUCTURE.

As open-minded inquirers, look forward examples of various forms of STRUCTURE:

  • physical
  • social
  • emotional
  • organizational
  • procedural
  • artistic / aesthetic
  • text

When you see something interesting, take a picture and send it in. If you find links to interesting websites, you can also submit those.

One example of structure I came across this past week is an illustrated example of the periodic table. This table has a very specific STRUCTURE to help organize the elements and understand their individual properties and their relationship to one another.

Periodic Table of Elements

In preparation for our new country of focus, India, I also found this example of STRUCTURE. This is a screen shot of a portion of New Dehli, as found through Google Earth.

Multiple Source

City Structure Models

Of course, one of the most famous STRUCTURES in India is the Taj Mahal.

Multiple Sources

As an inquirer, I became curious about the social STRUCTURE of India. What can you find out from these resources?


As you search for STRUCTURE, think about these questions:

  • Form: What kinds of structures exist in the world around us?
  • Function: How do structures affect individuals and societies over time?
  • Change: How do structural changes have both positive and negative effects at the same time?
  • Connection How can structures free us and hold us back?
  • Responsibility: How do I operate within structures to sustain or shift them?

Making a Big Splash!

The weather was wonderful. The pool was pristine. The swimmers were psyched. Let the long-awaited swim gala begin!

After some brief welcoming words by Mr. Collins, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Serge gathered the third grade girls to the blocks for the first freestyle event. One after another, in a steady stream, swimmers showed off their strokes and skills – breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly.

After a series of lengths, the swimmers switched to widths, adding kickerboards and noodles to the mix. A few people got especially fancy, doing somersaults and such around their noodles.

The swim gala was a perfect event to end our month of risk-taking and our unit on struggle. For some, swimming was a brand new skill; for others, it was a skill to be strengthened and stretched. For all, it was an opportunity to grow.

Multiple Sources


Challenge: Fun with Figurative Language

Think about how you could describe aspects of swimming or the swim gala using figurative language. Add your examples to our figurative language padlet.

Made with Padlet

Upon returning to the classroom, we had an opportunity to visit the third grade classroom to see some performances related to their creativity inquiry. After seeing a few presentations, the groups split so that both groups could share other projects more personally. Half of our class hosted half of Mrs. Fischer’s students, allowing us to share our symbols of struggle and survival. A second session was held later in the day, enabling everyone to see and share.


Announcement: Screenagers Documentary

Raising children in the digital age is a challenge for parents around the globe. We all struggle with questions such as do I buy my child a smartphone? Do I limit screen time? How do I know they are using their phones for homework? What kind of messages are being sent in the Whatsapp group chats? Are there ways to build my child’s resiliency so they can stand up to cyber bullying?

Growing up in a digital age is just as challenging for our young people.  They are plagued by peer pressure, the constant ‘ping’ of messages, bullying that never sleeps, and trying to find balance between their devices and face-to-face interactions.

TASOK is proud to host an official screening of Screenagers, a documentary that focuses on issues faced by parents and students in the digital age. Here is a synopsis from their website https://www.screenagers.com

In SCREENAGERS, as with her award-winning documentaries on mental health, Dr. Delaney Ruston takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERS reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.

Please click on this link for a preview. A student version of the documentary will be shown to all students in grade 5-12 with a follow-up discussion and activities.

Screenagers will be shown on Wednesday April 10 at 6:30pm followed by a discussion in the CAC. Tickets are $10 or two tickets for $15 to cover the cost of the screening. They can be purchased at the door starting at 6:15 p m. The film has French subtitles and discussion groups will be held in English and French.

Parents of students from every grade level are welcome to join us for this highly important documentary and discussion.


Élever des enfants à l’ère numérique est un défi pour les parents du monde entier. Nous nous débattons tous avec des questions telles que: dois-je acheter un smartphone à mon enfant? Est-ce que je limite le temps qu’il passe devant son écran? Comment puis-je savoir qu’ils utilisent leur téléphone pour faire leurs devoirs? Quels types de messages sont envoyés dans les groupes de discussions Whatsapp? Existe-t-il des moyens de renforcer la résilience de mon enfant afin qu’il puisse lutter contre la cyber-intimidation?

Grandir à l’ère numérique est tout aussi difficile pour nos jeunes. Ils sont en proie à la pression de leurs amis, au “dring” constant des messages, à d’incessantes brimades et à la recherche d’un équilibre entre leurs appareils et les interactions avec les personnes en mode face à face.

TASOK a la fierté d’organiser une projection officielle de Screenagers, un documentaire axé sur les problèmes rencontrés par les parents et les élèves à l’ère numérique. Voici un résumé de leur site Web https://www.screenagers.com

Dans SCREENAGERS, comme dans ses documentaires primés sur la santé mentale, le Dr. Delaney Ruston aborde avec une approche profondément personnelle les recoins vulnérables de la vie familiale, y compris la sienne, pour explorer les conflits suscités par les médias sociaux, les jeux vidéo, éducatifs et autres addictions à Internet. SCREENAGERS, par le biais d’histoires poignantes et étonnamment amusantes, ainsi que de réflexions surprenantes d’auteurs, de psychologues et de chercheurs en neurosciences, montre comment le temps passé avec la technologie influe sur le développement des enfants et propose aux adultes des solutions leur permettant de mieux naviguer dans le monde numérique et de trouver un équilibre.

Veuillez cliquer sur ce lien  pour un aperçu. Une version du documentaire destinée aux élèves étudiante sera présentée à tous les élèves de la 5e à la 12e année et sera suivie d’un débat et d’activités.

SCREENAGERS sera diffusé le mercredi 10 avril à 18h30 dans le CAC., et sera suivi d’un débat. Les billets coûtent 10 $ l’unité ou 15 $ pour deux billets. Cet argent servira a pour couvrir le coût de la projection. Les billets peuvent être achetés à la porte du CAC le jour de la projection à 18h15. Le film est sous-titré en français et les groupes de discussion se dérouleront en anglais et en français.

Les parents d’élèves de tous les niveaux sont invités à se joindre à nous pour ce documentaire et cette discussion extrêmement importants.


Jessica Hajee


The American School of Kinshasa

Kinshasa, The Democratic Republic of Congo

Eric Carle Extravaganza!

Tonight was the night all our anxious artists came together to reveal and revel in the wonderful work created with our beloved buddies.

In the hours ahead of the event, a plethora of preparations had to be done. We are beyond grateful to the atelier team for their assistance in helping prepare the venue so perfectly.

Tiny tables were topped with tissue-papered creatures. In the background was the brown paper that absorbed excess paint and protected Ms. Yoko’s tables during our project. What could have been trash instead became a treasured table topper.

Ms. Yoko readied the ribbon to be cut.

Easels elegantly embraced our artwork, each purposefully placed for our parents to peruse.


As the appointed hour neared, scrumptious snacks, prepared by our parents, poured in creating a feast any hungry caterpillar would be thrilled to find. Thank you to Mrs. Katalayi and Mrs. Ouedraogo for coordinating our snacks. And, thank YOU to all who contributed the tasty treats.

Were you as hungry as this caterpillar??

Below are two versions of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” One is read by the author, Eric Carle. The other is an animated version. Compare and contrast the two tellings.

Ties and tiaras, dress slacks and dresses were donned for the grand opening of the Eric Carle-Inspired Collaborative Creations Exhibition. Artists and admirers alike gathered with glee.

Mr. Matthew got the evening off to a stunning start with a marvelous movie that masterfully meshed together the pictures of our process. The smiles and sentiments shared by artists in the audience (especially the boys in the back row) were evidence that everyone enjoyed this creative exchange. 

Mr. Matthew, Mrs. van der Merwe, Ms. Yoko, Mr. Gloire, Ms. Mimie, Ms. Nancy, and Ms. Abigail gathered as Mr. Collins pronounced the exhibit officially open with the cutting of the ribbon.


With the “doors” official open, the families flooded in.


The festivities continued with food and fellowship around the tiny tables.


We are so grateful to our preschool buddies and their teachers, Mr. Matthew and Mrs. van der Merwe, for allowing us to be part of this most magnificent memory-making meeting of the minds!

Goals, Growth, Grid Book, and… Gratitude

We had another fast and furious Monday.

Our discussion about our vocabulary was filled with questions, comments, and connections about the meanings, relationships, and spelling patterns. All of these details are valuable. Please add to the padlet with your own ideas and resources.

Made with Padlet

Instead of continuing our read aloud of Tua and the Elephant today, we spent some time reflecting on ourselves as learners and on our learning habits. We then set some goals as we head into the last quarter of fourth grade. This will help us focus our learning and target our areas for growth as fifth grade approaches.

During library, we divided our time between D.E.A.R. time, which we all appreciate, and an assessment on how to use the card catalog – destiny.tasok.net After a couple weeks of practice, students had the opportunity to show off their searching skills by entering a keyword, title, or author; writing the call number; locating the book on the shelf, and verifying the find with Ms. Kraft. While we still have a bit of work to do with certain sections of the library (genrefied fiction, especially), we are definitely showing growth.

Today was our last session of swimming before the swim gala on Friday. Since the swim gala is a culmination of all our hard work throughout our swim season, we trust our moms and dad will be able to come see us splash around and celebrate our strokes.

This afternoon, after a series of specials, we returned to the room to analyze angles. We talked about turns (a.k.a. rotations), portions of a circle (quarter, half, three-quarter, full / whole), and connections to the clock. We also referenced our benchmarks of 90, 180, 270, and 360 degrees. The connections being made seemed almost endless.

The finale of our day was a birthday celebration. Kyle’s mom joined us with a colorful cake and juice. We greatly appreciated this opportunity to celebrate a special young man!



Homework for Mar. 18-22 (Week 28)

  1. Read for at least 30 minutes each night. Complete the online reading log OR one on paper. (Copies are available in class).
  2. Explore some lessons on IXL.com and / or Khan Academy in the following areas:
    • Math
      • *Angles (Z.1 – Z.5)
      • Data and Graphs (J.1 – J.8)
      • Logical Reasoning
      • Word Problems (R.15)
    • Language
      • Verb Tense (HH.1 – HH.8)
      • Greek and Latin Roots (S.1 – S.6)
      • Character Descriptions (F.1 – F.3)
    • **A Scholar has a goal: This week, we answered 3,658 questions and over 33 hours on IXL. Another great week of learning!
    • Log on and “Launch” into some learning with Everyday Math. (Note: Log on information is in your planner.) **Alert: Any lessons in Unit 4 and 5 can be reviewed.**
  3. Reflect back on Week 27 and complete the “Reflection: Learning Habits” form.
  4. Note: Homework is due on Fridays.**Check back later in the week for additional homework related to in-class discussions and activities.


    1. Library is scheduled weekly on Mondays from 9:30 – 10:10 a.m.
      • Be sure to bring your book bag!
    2. P.E. is scheduled weekly on Mondays and Fridays.
      1. Alert: We will be SWIMMING this week.


Coming Soon

  • Mar. 20 – Eric Carle Exhibition – 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
  • Mar. 22 – Swim Gala

  • Mar. 25-Apr. 5 – Spring Break


Learner Profile Trait of the Month – RISK-TAKER

Data, Degrees, Descriptions, and… the Digits of Pi

After starting our day with an intense encounter between Tua and the mahouts, we dove into data like she dove into a pile of cabbages.

After reflecting on our work from yesterday, today’s data allowed us to think more about the importance of a clear number line. As a result of scholarly curiosity, we also mulled over mean, median, and mode. While this was not a planned part of our lesson, we investigated these ideas because we were interested.

More Math Antics

We also revisited the idea of angles today. After watching a PBS video called, “What’s a 360?” we looked at a circle that had been divided into 360/360. Each slice represented a rotation of 1 degree.

Circle with 360 Degrees

We then thought about what we have been learning about fractions, equivalent fractions, and… the clock. The clock was today’s very valuable multiple source.  We started by thinking about the different ways a WHOLE clock is divided. We discovered that a WHOLE clock can be divided into:

  • 2/2 (There are 2 sections, 1 for each half hour)
  • 4/4 (There are 4 sections, 1 for each quarter hour.)
  • 12/12 (There are 12 sections, 1 for each hour.)
  • 60/60 (There are 60 sections, 1 for each minute.)

We then examined the angle of the clock’s hands when it is 3:00 p.m. When the minute hand is on the 12 and the hour hand is on the 3, the rays make a right angle or a 90 degree angle. We then connected this to our understanding for fractions – if we slice the clock into 4 pieces, the portion represented when it is 3:00 p.m. is 1/4 (one fourth).

  • 1/4 = 3/12 = 15/60 = 90/360
  • These are all equivalent.
  • 90/360 represents the number of degrees (90 °) when it is 3:00 p.m.

We then looked at how many degrees each set of 5 minutes represents.

  • 1/12 = 5/60 = 30/360
  • These are all equivalent fractions.
  • 30/360 represents the number of degrees (30°) when the hands are separated by 5 minutes (eg. 1:00 p.m.)

Finally, we looked at how many degrees each minute represented.

  • 1/60 = 6/360
  • These are equivalent fractions.
  • 6/360 represents the number of degrees (6 °) when the hands are separated by 1 minute.

Image result for degrees and clock

Based on what you know about fractions, equivalent fractions, and angles… what is the size of the angle represented on the clock above. How do you know?

As I started looking for video resources, I just couldn’t stop. There were so, SO many options for using this model to solve problems about fractions, angles, and time. Here are just few samples. As a scholar, definitely consider these multiple sources. Which one exercises your brain the most?

JoAnn’s School


The final chunk of our day was spent working on our symbols and symbol descriptions. Our deadline for completion is tomorrow. It might be a struggle, but… we will survive.


Pi Day!!!!

While we didn’t talk about this today, because we were working with circles today and because the date is March 13 (3-14), it is important to include some information acknowledge… Pi Day.

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. To learn more, check out the following resources. Pi is really math-magical!


Visualizing Pi

From Visually.

Many… MANY multiple sources:

Color, Coding, and Constructing

It was a wonderful Wednesday!

After reading more about Tua and her elephant (things are getting complicated), we prepared for our buddies.

We began our time with our buddies sharing a read aloud called Red is a Dragon.

This book not only had a connection to our region of study, but allowed us to share something we all knew and love… COLOR. Yesterday, we started to write “I am…” poems related to being a risk-taker, so we used that same format to help our buddies write poems about a color. This was a tad challenging, but with patient and persistent prompting, we were able to craft some creative, color-filled poems. It was nice, at the end, to just share some quiet reading time with Eric Carle books.


After recess, we had another appointment… this time with sixth graders. For the last several weeks, sixth grade students have been preparing a lesson to teach us how to use Ozobots. A small groups of student leaders communicated regularly with Mrs. Rupp, gathering information about our class, sharing ideas, and receiving feedback. All their planning culminated in today’s big event. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the sixth grade students and invited to sit in pre-established triads. The group leaders then shared a brief presentation establishing expectations, setting the purpose, and sharing the agenda for our time together. With clear signals and expectations, sixth grade students divided and conquered. The challenge… use the iPads to design a dance for the Ozobots, which would culminate in a dance off. Fourth grade scholars, along with their sixth grade coaches were completely engaged in the process the entire time, experimenting with various designs, patterns, colors and codes. Students were willing to take risks and receive feedback. It was especially interesting to see how everyone from both classes showed a number of learner profile traits – open-minded, communicator, knowledgeable, risk-taker, principled, and reflective. After the dance off, students then had to create a color-coded pattern for speed in preparation for a final race.  Exciting!!


To end our day, we worked to represent our data on a line plot. The trickiest part was creating the number line. As it happened, after we started, we had to revise and redo our line, so all our data fit without being too tight.

Sizing Things Up

Tuesday was typically teeming with tons of tasks.

We started by reading about Tua and her elephant. What do you do with an fugitive elephant? Well, bring her into the kitchen, of course. As we track Tua’s troubles in our plot diagram, we are also talking about tricky words and terrific ways the author shows not tells. As was true in our last read aloud, figurative language continues to be a critical component of a writer’s craft.

After having explored multiple ways to represent fractional number stories, we captured a variety of strategies for solving problems involving mixed numbers in our multiple source grid books.

Then, we set our to apply what we know about halves and wholes to measuring each other’s heads to the nearest half centimeter. Everyone had the opportunity to try out the measuring tape and to read and record the fraction noted on this number line tool. Our results will be used to create a line plot tomorrow.


Our biggest head size was 63 centimeters. Our smallest head size was 45 centimeters. Tomorrow, we will figure out what the most common (mode) head size is in fourth grade. Care to venture a guess?

Part of our day was also dedicated to drafting a poem related to our learner profile trait of the month – risk taker. Thinking about some of our recent vocabulary words and reflecting on our knowledge about risk takers, we brainstormed a list of related words. Then, we chose one word with which to start an “I am…” poem. While some are still drafting, many manage to manipulate words in a way that resulted in rich descriptions of who risk takers are. After revising, these poem will be posted publicly for others to ponder.

Here’s a preview of a few poems in their draft forms. Reflection and revision are still needed prior to publishing, but these are off to a great start.

I am… by Leslee Rupp

We ended our day by working on our symbols of struggle and survival. We reviewed the expectations on our single-point rubric and got right to work. As some finished up their artifacts, they began work on the description, which is to detail the parts, process, and purpose of their symbol. The end products will be powerful.


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