Sports Day Spectacular!

One of the most-anticipated days of the year is… sports day. Today was no exception. Students arrived ready to run and revel in recreational activities reflecting learning in P.E. With hats, bug spray, and water in tow, we were ready to embrace any exercise we encountered.

Mr. Wilson and Mr. Serge packed the morning full of skill-based activities enabling us to use strength, flexibility,

To begin the day, we gathered on the court for a few instructions. Everyone was excited to get started.

We began our athletic adventure in the gym which featured fitness. This included a push up challenge, a sit up challenge, a plank challenge, and… squats. As you can imagine there were lots of grunts and groans, but also tons of giggles.

We then moved to the cafeteria, to try our hand at hand-eye coordination. Bean bags were tossed, tennis balls bounced, and reaction time refined with cones for tossing and catching.

Before heading out to the field, we enjoyed a brief break. Healthy and compostable snacks included apples and bananas. Fresh. Flavorful. Fantastic!

Once on the field, we had fun with our favorite… football (a.k.a. soccer). Students were challenged to dribble through cones, take shots on a rotating goalie, and pass precisely.

From “football” we moved to frisbee. Throwing and catching techniques were varied as students passed to static and moving partners.

From the field, we made a beeline to the basketball court with a focus on passing, dribbling, and shooting. Bend those legs and follow through.

After refueling with some popcorn, we finished with a trail run through the forest. Students flashed the number of laps on their fingers as they flew.

While tired by the end, the day was nothing less than terrific… like the two thumbs up kids of terrific!

Thank you Mr. Wilson and Mr. Serge!

Structuring Solar Ovens for S’more Scholarly Synthesis

Over the past few days, scholarly scientists have worked through the structure of the scientific method in response to the question: How can solar energy be harnessed to cook? After conducting research and gathering information about solar energy, students formulated a hypothesis and began planning their experiments. Color, shape, size, and materials were all considerations for the construction of a solar oven. Materials were listed, diagram drawn and procedures documented, keeping in mind independent, dependent, and constant variables. Once the plan was in place, students were ready to test out their solar over structure. After several days of overcast skies, we were grateful for a wonderful window of sunshine that allowed the “mercury” in the thermometers to rise. Carefully, scholarly scientists watched the clock and recorded their observations in a data table. In addition, sensory observations were recorded. In the end, after devouring the delicious marshmallow sandwich, students captured their conclusions and reflected on the key concepts of structure.



New Multiple Source: NoRedInk


Scholars, a GREAT tool for the summer (and for soon-to-be sixth grade readers, writers, and thinkers) is NoRedInk. Your accounts have been created and linked to your Google Classroom account. If you follow the link to NoRedInk, and log in with Google, a diagnostic assessment is ready for you.

One of the fun features of NoRedInk is the ability to customize the interest settings, choosing from a wide variety of interest categories. Your choices will affect the subjects of the sentences and compositions you will work with.

As you work with this tool, reflect on how you are growing as a reader and writer. It is an AMAZING multiple source!

Pondering the Power of Process

To start off week 36, we took  a moment to reflect on our learning journey at our student-led conferences. Together with our parents, we thought about how we have transformed as a scholar. Much of what was shared was purposefully incomplete. Throughout the year, there has been striving, stretching, and soaring, each a powerful part of a perpetual process. Rather than presenting our parents with a polished finished product, however, we invited them to reflect and revise with us. Process is powerful.

As we enter into these final two weeks of fourth grade, desiring to finish well, we also took time to set some goals that will help us begin fifth grade with strength and confidence.

Thank you to each parent who carved out some time today to listen and learn and love. Know your support of your scholar is beyond value!

Student-Led Conferences 2019


Bursts, Big Tree, Building, and Bar Graphs

Today was busy from the beginning. We started by revising “I am” poems to write in our risk-taking bursts. It was powerful to revisit our big ideas related to risk-taking and resilience.

We then had a special time with our buddies. For those of us working with Mr. Matthew’s preschool 1 class, we took time to read a book by Nathalie Slosse entitled Big Tree Gets Sick. As we read, we were able to make connections to our buddies unit of tools, but we also saw connections to our unit on structure and our solar oven project. After reading the book, we took time to think about one of our preschool buddies, Lucas, who also happens to be a sibling of one of our scholars, Liam. Lucas has been very sick, and we wanted to send him something to let him know we are wishing him well and hoping for healing. Each member of the class wrote a note on a heart-shaped leaf to add to a “big tree” of encouragement.


Feel better soon, Lucas!

This afternoon, we took time to continue building our solar ovens and document the experiment process.

Some groups are getting quite close to completion. The question is, which cooker will harness the solar energy the best… and why?

Multiple Sources


Things continue to bustle next door as fifth graders complete their final preparations for their PYP Exhibition. Today, some mattresses arrived!

Donations for the shoes and clothing drive were gathered yesterday. After calculating the items, the coordinators revealed the data today and have set a new goal for their drive. They have extended the deadline until Friday, May 24 to help meet their new goal of 1,000 articles of clothing.

Despite the big pile of clothes collected in our classroom, we are currently running a bit behind in the challenge. At the moment, we are in third place. While our priority is to show caring and kindness, a cupcake party does sound like something worth working for.



Finishing Up with a Fishbowl

While we worked hard on revising our writing and recording our experiment process, the highlight came at the end of the day when the second of two groups got to finish its breakout. Since the first group broke out yesterday, today students were tasked with observing. Teachers  often venture into one another’s classrooms and observe to learn and provide feedback. As scholars, we did the same thing today.

After the second broke out, the two groups gathered together to debrief. Both groups were very reflective about their own team experience and had some incredible insights about the effectiveness and efficiency of leadership, teamwork, and task completion. Many students also highlighted various learner profile traits exhibited throughout the process. Communicators, thinkers, and risk-takers some a few traits mentioned during our discussion.



Breakout and Blogging

After Ms. Kraft teased us with a “box buzz” on Thursday,…

… we were ready for today!


Due to MAP testing, we have gone three weeks without a visit, so we were ready to roam over to the library. Unlike our last sessions, though, today did not involve a read aloud nor a lesson on citations nor D.E.A.R. time. Today was time to put into practice ALL our problem solving, struggle, and structure skills as we battled… The Box for our first “Breakout.”

Upon entering the library, the two teams settled in on the carpet and were immediately tasked with selecting a team leader. Mohammad and Marylou were identified to lead the learners through the process of reading, rereading, ruminating, running, and revealing the keys and codes for the set of locks. While the first clue tested the teams tenacity, students quickly readjusted, as needed, and confidently and collaboratively continued to crack the code. One team managed to Breakout today, while the other will continue to battle the box tomorrow.


In debriefing with the Breakout team, they highlighted some important aspects of team dynamics, what made their team efficient and effective, and the importance of savoring one another’s skills. Very reflective!

Breakout EDU


Blog Bucket-Filler

This year, the blog has been prioritized as a place to stay informed about events and weekly expectations, highlight happenings in our classroom, share our reflections, extend our thinking with a variety of resources, and scaffold learning. Last week, Kathleen Morris of Edublogs, reached out regarding our blog and requested to feature it in this week’s edition of “13  Examples of Great Class Blogs.” How exciting! Check us out at #6 this week… and be sure to explore the other blogs listed.

*Note: As I was checking out last week’s list of GREAT blogs, I saw a fun feature on Ann Michaelsen’s “Connected Teaching and Learning” blog and decided to add it to our sidebar. Can you find this new feature?


Stand Proud!

As part of their Fifth Grade PYP Exhibition related to the central idea of sustainability, two groups of students have opted to organize projects in response to their trip to Stand Proud, an organization that helps survivors of polio and youth with other disabilities.

Pool Party

One group is organizing a fundraising pool party to help Stand Proud purchase water filters.

After surveying possible attendees (students in grades 3-5), the student organizers decided on this Wednesday, May 15 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The cost of the event is $7.00 (Note: A discounted price of $5.00 is available for those who bring food donations to share).

Students must have a signed permission slip in order to attend.

Note: The event will have adult supervision.

Shoe and Clothing Drive

Another group of students is organizing a shoe and clothing drive, also to support Stand Proud.

The clothing drive will run from Tuesday, May 14 through Monday, May 20. The student organizers are inviting students and other members of the TASOK community to donate old shoes and clothes that are still in good condition.

Note: Students have specified that clothing donations must be thoroughly washed.


Multiple Sources

To learn more about polio, check out the following links:


As you reflect on this post, the fifth graders’ projects, and polio… what kinds of connections can you make to our unit on STRUCTURE?

What role does STRUCTURE play in organizing these events?

What types of STRUCTURE cause or are affected by polio?

What STRUCTURES have been established worldwide to help prevent polio?

Measuring Our Mastery of Measurement

Today, we explored one final aspect of measurement – capacity, which includes a very common set of units, particularly for those who enjoy cooking and baking. Unlike the metric system, which is based on multiples of 10 and can be converted in conjunction with one’s understanding of the prefixes, the customary system often does not have an easy way to remember. In our workbook, though, we were introduced to a very valuable visual, the STRUCTURE of which allowed us to explore equivalents and create conversion tables.

As extension of this exploration and a culmination of our year-long journey with the metric and customary measurement systems, students were challenged to create their own visual for a specific aspect and system of measurement, complete a conversion table, and represent equivalents on a number line. Working in teams, students used multiple sources including their grid books, workbooks, and online resources, if needed, to make a multiple source we could reference in the room.

Teams of thinkers really worked well, discussing essential elements, sharing creative ideas, celebrating various skill sets, and delegating roles and responsibilities. STRUCTURE was incredibly integrated, both intentionally and instinctively by these incredible inquirers!


Return for the resource reveal!

Multiple Sources

Digital Citizenship

After working with our preschool buddies, we ventured over to the middle school to learn about digital citizenship and citations.

The sixth grade students had prepared a lesson featuring some important information about citations. As students who are to show integrity and be principled, this is important information to become knowledgeable about. It is information we will need apply to our work as scholars this year and in the years to come.

After a brief introduction, students worked in groups facilitated by the sixth grade students to create correctly-formatted citations and sort sources into those that are reliable and unreliable.

In addition to learning the content, we also learned a lot about preparing presentations, sharing information, and facilitating groups. Challenging!

Multiple Sources

The following is a GREAT overview of citing sources.

As we learn more about citations, STRUCTURE will play a key role.


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