Our first shared writing of the year centered around exploration, specifically five important explorers. However, 4A knows that exploration did not start or end with these five. We wrote our post using a mentor text, The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. In the coming weeks, you can check back to each student’s personal blog to find their independent writing about an explorer of their choice.
The 4A Important Book About Explorers
The important thing about explorers is they make history. They travel to new places, far and near, to help us learn new things about the world. They find new paths to already discovered places. Explorers explored for many reasons such as getting scientific knowledge, finding riches, colonize new lands, to learn about new peoples, religions and cultures, and sometimes to teach and “civilize” native peoples. They are determined risk-takers who persevere during challenging times. They help create new knowledge of the world and help create maps of the land and sea. They used tools to find their way and even invented new tools to make exploring easier. The bad thing is that sometimes they spread diseases and treated the natives poorly. Explorers are adventurous, curious, resilient, intelligent, brave, and daring. They persevered when they were scared or they went the wrong way. But, the important thing about explorers is they make history.
The important thing about the Vikings is that they raided some parts of the world. They were brave, fierce, bold, smart and clever warriors. They made their own weapons and ships/boats. They farmed like no one else. The name Vikings did not come into use until after the Viking Age. They searched for land, slaves and gold. They wore cone shaped helmets made of leather. The Vikings were separated into 3 groups with different kings and chiefs. They had gods they worshiped such as Odin, Thor, Freya, Freyja. But the important thing about Vikings was that they raided parts of the world.
By Hiroki Yoshimoto, Akif Ustun, Emma Ha, Katherine Kendall, and Victoria Zou
The important thing about Vespucci is that mapmakers named America after him. Vespucci was born in Florence, Italy so he explored for Italy. His famous discoveries took place between 1499 and 1501. No one is sure of is voyaging records. Vespucci was one of the first people to call the land The New World. He was remembered as the first European to notice that the land to the west of Europe was a new continent, it wasn’t part of Asia. He had a favorite voyage, and that was in 1499. This is a map of his most known voyages.
Vespucci sailed from Spain with four ships in 1499. He captained one of them. But the important thing about Vespucci is that mapmakers named America after him.
Heather Schutzer and Arielle Zaitchik
The important thing about Christopher Columbus is that he “discovered” the Caribbean Islands which are now known as the Bahamas. Yes, he was Italian, in fact he was born in Genoa, Italy. Although no one knows when he was born, most historians think he was born in 1451. His dad was a wool worker and his mom was a homemaker. He knew many languages. Yes, the ships he took to the New World were called The Niña, The Santa Maria, and the Pinta. But the important thing about Christopher Columbus is that he “discovered” the Caribbean Islands which are now known as the Bahamas!!
By Peter Lin, Cami Culang, Nico Brenner, and Lucy Glik
The important thing about Marco Polo was that he crossed and named the Pacific Ocean, Pacific for peaceful. He made routes through the Pacific Ocean that now help us explore new places. Marco Polo traveled throughout China and made peace with them. That was very important because war could have raged through China all the way to Italy and that could have made war throughout other countries also. We are thankful for him because he discovered new places! But the important thing about Marco Polo is that he named and crossed the Pacific Ocean!
By Meera, Caterina, Jalyn, Mia, and Chase
The important thing about Henry Hudson is that he was an explorer. He found a way to get to Asia through the Arctic Ocean. His first Voyage was in 1607 and he was hired by the Muscovy Company. He tried to make a passage from Europe to Asia and it took four voyages. He did this because Spain and Portugal had control over sea routes from Europe to the East. The coral reef blocked Henry Hudson from his first voyage. The Hudson River was named after him. He discovered the Hudson Bay. Henry Hudson was an excellent navigator. But the most important thing about Henry Hudson is that he was an explorer.
By Jake, Mei, Rebecca, Nathan, and Shea
School is only a week away! I am so excited for the start of the 2017-2018 school year! I can’t believe this is my 16th year at Fox Meadow and my 8th year in fourth grade! This is such a wonderful community and I have made lifelong friends. I love it when students come back to visit and we are able to catch up on all they have been achieving. I am so very proud of each and every one!
Our classroom is almost ready and I am excited for my new students to see it. I think it is fun and welcoming. I have to say, that meeting a new class on the first day can be overwhelming and even scary! Like the students, I feel anxious and worried that everything will go wrong. However, I keep reminding myself that I feel this way every year and it always works out. Walking into the classroom and not knowing anyone is hard. I always feel a little better when my previous students come by and say hello or when I recognize a family name and remember a sibling. It’s amazing how quickly we all become a community!
I read a LOT of books this summer, and can’t wait to share some of my favorites during read aloud time this year. I hope my new students enjoy them as much as I did and that they can share some of their favorites!
I also played around with math a little…Mr. Besancon has shared some great problems we can use in class to strengthen our problem-solving skills. Math used to be my least favorite subject in school, but I have since discovered it’s my favorite! I think I just lacked confidence when I was in 4th grade. I am also really bad at memorization, but I learned that math isn’t really about that at all! I am excited to work with my students to increase their confidence and sharpen my own skills.
I think learning with my students is my favorite part of teaching! Last year we had so much fun exploring new concepts, strategies and learning from each other. My number one goal is for my students to feel safe and brave! Safe to explore their own interests and to let me know when they are in need of something extra. Brave to share their ideas, try new things, and be comfortable saying, “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure.” I will try to do the same. We are all going to grow so much this year! I can’t wait!
It’s hard to describe the feeling at the end of a school year. Teachers and students often count down to the last day, excited for the summer. I am no exception, however I find that the last week leaves me blue. This year is worse than ever because I have spent most of this week in the hospital with a silly infection. Luckily, I will be able to attend the last day – or hour! I am looking forward to seeing the students who have not already left for summer camp and getting, and giving, a final hug.
I am so proud of my fourth graders this year. They have really shown tremendous academic growth and have matured into lovely young people. They are eager to learn – even when pretending they aren’t and have become valued members of our classroom community. They have shared ideas, taught each other skills, and supported each other, and me, in numerous ways. I am always touched when past students come back to visit and enjoy hearing about their trials and successes. I hope they will come back, too. I will truly miss them.
Commas are often introduced much earlier than fourth grade, but fourth grade tends to be the grade where it is expected to be mastered. We learn about using them before dialogue (I said, “Don’t forget to use commas to separate clauses!”), when using adverbs to introduce a sentence (like finally or on the other hand), in dates and numbers, and to separate items in a series, like this one.
This last one is the one that has provoked some controversy. It is sometimes referred to as the Oxford Comma, and I like it. I teach it. Every year, I get some pushback from students, and even other educators, who say that it is no longer necessary. I don’t care. I am probably passionate about using it because it’s what I learned in school some time during the middle ages.
Today I came across an article (https://thewritelife.com/is-the-oxford-comma-necessary/ by Kelly Gurnett) that gave me a name – a “diehard Oxford comma loyalist.” I like this, too. I know I am not a grammar perfectionist. I often make grammatical mistakes, usually caught by my waiting-to-pounce-on-every-mistake fourth-graders, but I will always use, and teach, the Oxford comma. What are your thoughts?
Last week the students in 4A decided to blog about their favorite restaurants. Each student chose their own place and gathered basic information such as the address, hours of operation, and they overall type of food they served. Then they were asked to include some specifics about the menu, pricing, and service. They also needed to include information about the overall atmosphere, the type of person who may find this place enjoyable, and their specific experience. This would include what they ordered, their favorite items, and even details they found enjoyable or were unhappy with. They added photos and hyperlinks in order to create useful and detailed posts. There really was a wide variety of food establishments and their reviews are very thorough. I hope you are able to take some time to look through and find some interesting new spots to try out. Don’t forget to leave a comment or ask a question. We bloggers love to interact with our readers and start conversations!