To kick off our engineering challenges this year, we began with the classic tale of Rapunzel. After reading the story, students worked in STEM pairs/small groups to create the tallest, free-standing Rapunzel tower using ONLY dried spaghetti and marshmallows! See the process & their creations below!
In our first challenge, we took on the PERSPECTIVE of the wicked witch from the story of Rapunzel by helping her create a tower SO TALL that her hair could never reach the bottom...and therefore she could never escape. In our second challenge, we helped RAPUNZEL! Using our brand new, totally AWESOME engineering materials purchased with grant money from the 112 Foundation, students work together to create an ESCAPE DEVICE/CONTRAPTION to help Rapunzel escape, despite the extreme height of her tower. Check out the amazingly clever creations below!
Halloween is just around the corner, and we are SUPER EXCITED for our SPOOK-tacular celebration on 10.31.14! Mr. Keer just sent out information for the Fall Festival celebrations that day. You can see all of those details by CLICKING HERE to access the Trailblazer.
If you wish to help out with our MAD SCIENCE SPOOKTACULAR, CLICK HERE or on the image below to be taken directly to our online sign-up form for volunteers and donations. Any help and/or donations are greatly appreciated and will make our special event FRIGHTFULLY FUN!
Click on the image below to learn more about our first author visit of the year!
Special thanks to Mrs. Grost for arranging this special event for our classes! We can't wait to meet the author & find out about this cool new book!
Thanks to everyone for downloading and using the Remind app for quick messages and reminders! Remind has JUST introduced a cool new feature to make their messaging app 2-way responsive. You can "STAMP" any message from Mrs. Petlak to indicate that you received it, if you have a question, etc. This is really helpful for me, because then I receive feedback on the messages I send out, without you having to go to the trouble of writing an email.
You have the option of 4 different "STAMPS" for any message received:
1) STAR means you really LIKE something, it's important to you, or you need to remember that message/date.
2) CHECK means you RECEIVED the message. Please mark this ANY TIME you receive a message from me to indicate receipt. It could also mean YES if I send a message asking a question.
3) An "X" means NO to a question.
4) QUESTION MARK means you have a QUESTION about a message sent, or are UNSURE about a response (such as an RSVP). I will try to contact you to clarify if you mark "?" to a message.
See how it works by CLICKING HERE or on the image below. It's a snap...I PROMISE!!
Last Friday was an EXTRA SPECIAL day for the ENTIRE 4th grade at Indian Trail. Having just remembered the events of 9/11 the week before, we were incredibly fortunate to have a guest speaker who has been instrumental in the rebuilding and memorialization of Ground Zero.
Mickey Kupperman, a.k.a. Grandpa Chip, is the Chief Operating Officer at Silverstein Properties in New York City, the developer of the World Trade Center property. He visited our classes, giving his first-hand, very personal, and completely fascinating account of the events of 9/11, and perhaps even more importantly, the diligent process to preserve the memories and honor the fallen through the REBUILDING of Freedom Tower, the 9/11 Memorial, and additional 3 towers at the site of the tragedy.
Nearly 60 students (and 3 teachers) sat SILENTLY throughout the entire presentation, learning about the process of a project of this magnitude, the decisions and teamwork necessary to make it happen, and the sentimental value, honor, and pride the workers embody in order to complete this undertaking. Through a Powerpoint presentation, large, beautiful color printed photographs of the stages of rebuilding, and engaging conversation with Mr. Kupperman, students were exposed to a once-in-a-lifetime guest experience.
Not all of the session was serious and somber. Learning cool facts about the architectural design process and materials selection was fascinating. Watching the Annie movie trailer and spotting entire penthouse levels from the newly built tower was super exciting! In a culminating surprise, Mr. Kupperman busted out the most AWESOME souvenirs EVER! THANK YOU!
We are so grateful for this experience. Having real world professionals share their knowledge, history, and expertise is very important for students. Our classes are STILL buzzing about tidbits from the presentation, questions, and comments about how much they enjoyed the event. I think it sums it up best to say, that upon completion of the presentation, all three 4th grade classes erupted into a lively, repeated chanting of "GRANDPA CHIP!" We hope it expressed a small drop of our overflowing gratitude and that he enjoyed the experience even a fraction as much as we did.
Thank you, Grandpa Chip!
With great excitement and enthusiasm, we met our kindergarten buddy class last week! Specific buddies have not been assigned, but we greatly enjoyed meeting our new Kg. friends and taking on leadership roles with them. Already, we have had much fun together!
Miss Weinstein and I team up to make buddy time extra special, meaningful, and engage in STEM activities through a program we have created called: STEMagination Station. Each week, we start with a children's story, and then expand up on that story with STEM projects tied to the tale. Check out our buddies site, STEMagination Station, for all of the details and weekly updates with photos documenting our buddies adventures!
For example: When we read RAPUNZEL, one challenge was to build the tallest, free-standing tour using only dried spaghetti and marshmallows. Another involved creating the strongest Rapunzel hair using only Pull-n-Peel Twizzlers.
For our FIRST session together, we had fun using Legos which were purchased with the money given to us via our winning grant from Foundation 112. We kicked off our time together rocking out to the "Everything is AWESOME" Lego adventure song/video. Then, 4th graders were paired randomly with Kg. students. Together, they had to use Legos to create 3-D models of items beginning with specific letters the Kg. class is working on.
For example: One group constructed an IGLOO, because the Kinder class is working on the letter/i/. Another group built slides, since /s/ is another featured letter.
Check out snapshots from our first session below! We can't wait to meet again this week and in the weeks to come!
Snapshots of our first buddy session!
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We had a busy week, last week! See some snapshots and the standards we explored below.
In reading, we focused on continued practice with visualization, and also worked on making connections (text-to-text, self, and world). It's important for us to CITE EVIDENCE WITHIN TEXT for both reading strategies. Writing focused on satisfying endings and adding descriptive language to our narratives. In language, we are looking for and correcting basic conventions in our writing and adding juicy adjectives wherever possible.
Social studies was exceptionally interested last week, thanks to a special guest speaker! Watch for a separate blog post on that engaging presentation. We are still enjoying our "trip" to NYC, and will start learning more about other Northeastern states in the week to come.
In math, we continue to review basic place value, rounding, and number comparisons. Multi-digit addition and subtraction were also introduced and practiced, with application to word problems included. Next up...multiplication and division!
Snapshots from Our Week
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we hope to see you at Open House!
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I can't wait to see all of you on Thursday! Thanks!!
I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each and every one of your children over this first month of school! To help further that connection and my insight into your child and your thoughts, preferences, etc. for this year, please complete the online survey below PRIOR to Open House on Thursday.
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I have the incredible honor and privilege to be a Scholastic Top Teaching national blogger. From educators across the country, only 10 educators spanning Kg. through middle school are selected to be a part of their Top Teaching blogger panel. Last year was my first year as a Scholastic blogger, and it was a wonderful experience for both myself and my students. I have been asked to blog for Scholastic again this year, and cannot wait to share our classroom adventures with other teachers to connect with and inspire them. If you wish to see examples of previous blog posts, please check out my Scholastic Top Teaching blogger page (Click HERE).
All students photographed in the blog entries at the above link signed specific release forms in order to appear on the Scholastic blog. These forms are very similar to what you sign during registration for our district, but Scholastic uses their own for legal purposes and consistency in the release forms. If you are willing to let your child be photographed for Scholastic blog posts, please print and sign the attached media release form. I will also send home paper copies as back-ups or in case you are unable to print.
Thank you for your support, as your children help be examples for and inspiration to teachers and classrooms across the nation. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!
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