Term II has ended and grade 4 students will return in September as grade 5 students. I wish to thank my amazing students for a very good year. 4E and 4F, you have been a pleasure to teach. All through the year I witnessed so much growth in my students. Your confidence has risen. Students can reflect back on September and October 2017, when so many struggled with learning how to open combination locks and had to adapt to new ways of doing things. Despite those challenges you advanced and adapted. There were different expectations for you in middle school and it likely felt quite daunting to you at first, yet you have come such a long way since those beginnings. Through the year your parents and teachers have supported you and have looked out for you. We came to know you through your triumphs and during the bumps along the road. Please know that myself and Mrs. Ross were always there for you throughout the year and that even as you move forward into grade 5 and 6 and beyond, you'll always be our students and we will never stop caring about how you are faring. I look forward to seeing you once again in the halls of Nose Creek School in September 2018, rejuvenated and read to learn. Do not hesitate to say 'hello' or drop by the grade 4 wing. We will continue to take an interest in your academic and social success at school. Good luck!
Sincerely, Mr. Brewer
This year in grade 4 humanities we have followed the history of Alberta from ancient prehistory until the present. At the beginning of this term, we studied the different types of dinosaurs that roamed the land now known as Alberta. Students did research about a dinosaur that fascinated them. Later in the term, we began to explore the influence of the diverse First Nations peoples in Alberta. Students cooperated together to research, make posters and present information about a designated First Nation group. Through the course of the term we learned about Europeans who came to Alberta. Voyageurs were primarily Francophones who paddled along waterways in birchbark canoes and traded manufactured goods for furs with First Nations people. We learned about the Métis people whose ancestry is both First Nations and European. We later learned how British institutions and peoples were an integral parts of Alberta’s heritage. The Canadian government began to encourage homesteading on the Prairies in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was during this time that newcomers began coming from other places in Europe like Ukraine, Poland, Germany and elsewhere. As part of our study we made Easter eggs to celebrate Alberta's Ukrainian heritage. In June, we continued to follow the story of Alberta as we recognized how the diversity of immigrants from Europe and other continents has enriched Alberta’s rural and urban communities. Each student chose to work either on his/her own or in a pair to research about a country in the world. People have come from across the earth to live here in Alberta. Grade four students researched about countries from all continents. A student in 4E told me on Thursday that Multi-cultural fair was one of her most favourite activities in grade four. On Thursday, students displayed their work for others to see. Teachers and students got to ask students about their research projects. Each group or individual had a unique artifact and had learned different facts about the country they had chosen to study. Students chose to bring unique objects from the country they studied. In many cases their unique artifact was a food that is unique to the country they studied. A great time was had by all. Many students said how proud they were of what they had created for this activity. Below is a gallery of pictures showing many of projects students made for this activity:
This week students of grade 4 visited Canada Heritage Park. Canada Heritage Park is a is living history museum. I was very impressed by the many excellent and insightful questions the student group I travelled with asked in a Kainai teepee and when they visited the Hudson Bay Company trading post. The atmosphere and the genuine interactions with the staff at the park made many of the lessons we have learned in class come alive. One of my students told me that the highlight of his visit was the Caterpillar (a ride at the park). Then he asked me about my highlight. I told him my highlight was simply listening to the many questions my students asked. When students got answers they asked follow up questions too. This impressed upon me the fact that so many students were actively listening in Social Studies class when we talked about the voyageurs, First Nations culture and early settlement of the prairies.
The visit really gave our students an opportunity to learn more about the lifestyles of early settlers to Alberta and how this experience has contributed to and enriched Alberta’s history. In class we learned that soddies were made by early settlers from natural resources found in Alberta and that they were warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Students saw a real soddy at Canada Heritage Park.
Now that students have shared their opinion pieces on the oil sands and legendary stories we are moving into doing two final projects for the end of the academic year. Students have started their Y.E.P (Year End Project). This project is titled "The ABCs of Grade Four" or simply "Grade Four". It is an overall review of the year. Students use the first letters of words in the alphabet to guide them in this. For each word they must find a link to subject areas they studied this year in grade 4. As an example, in Humanities we studied about pemmican. This word came up when we visited Heritage Park where we were told that pemmican and bannock were important foods during the fur trade. Pemmican could be the 'p' word that a child chooses for his/her ABCs of Grade Four project.
Another ongoing project is our Multi-cultural Fair. This project work is meant to familiarize students with many of the diverse groups of people who have arrived in Alberta during this century and the last century. Students have chosen a country to study about. They will be presenting about this country on June 21st. Parents have received a home communication about this project work.
Parents/guardians please sign the Social Studies unit test on Regions and Resources and return to school by Fri. June 1.
This week in Humanities our primary focus was on editing and evaluating student writing. The editing process involves reviewing and correcting spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation. In evaluating, we reflect and asses what has been written. Mr. Brewer went through all legendary stories using proofreading symbols. Students edited written pieces using Google docs. Mr. Brewer gave a lecture on the some of the common issues faced by students. Below is a summary of the lecture:
Mr. Brewer was able to have many one-on-one check-ins with individual students to see how they could improve their stories overall. Most students understood that a good story must have a story problem, characters, a setting and a solution to the story problem. Much time was devoted in class to editing and revising stories. Students who completed this task also worked on their opinion pieces about the oil sands. Stories were due on Friday, though a student who is revising over the weekend may do so. All changes are saved on Google drive. Since all students have shared stories with Mr. Brewer revisions can be made and seen on Google drive.
On Thursday May 31 we began the YEP (Year End Project). It is entitled: The ABCs of Grade 4. In some instances students are doing their project only with the alphabet letters contained in the word: G R A D E F O U R. Mr. Brewer showed 4E an exemplar from a previous year. In this project work, students will make booklets using the letters of the alphabet from a ~ z. The first letters are used to name different things we covered during the year. As an example, f might be for 'fractions' (an area of study in math class) & b might be for 'bitumen' a word that we learned during our study of natural resources in Alberta in humanities class. The project is due on June 26. Students will have time to work on it during class. They also may work on the project at home. Please ask your son or daughter about this project work. Many students in 4E took the booklets home as homework this weekend.
This week in Humanities we had a test on natural resources and regions on Tuesday. The test covered the work we have done in class about how are natural resources are used by Albertans. For the test, students were asked to review and be able to identify the location of sources of renewable and nonrenewable resources. In class we discussed how some resources are nonrenewable such as oil, natural gas and minerals. These resources are limited in quantity. The prime example of this in our province is the oil sands in northern Alberta. Renewable resources, such as forests, water, agriculture, livestock and fisheries, can be regenerated and can last indefinitely if used carefully. The test was marked and sent home on Friday. Parents/guardians are asked to please review the test results, sign the test and return it to school. Mr. Brewer will check to see if there are signatures on tests.
On Friday, students received back their psyanky eggs. They were varnished over the past weekend. It was great that so many turned out well. On the right hand side you can see a picture of the egg that I made in class. I used three colours on my egg, though in hindsight I wish I'd used more. I never imagined my egg would look so nice!!
In grade 4 Social Studies one of our primary areas of focus is on developing an understanding of how Alberta’s various peoples contribute to our own sense of belonging and identity. Ukrainians began coming to Alberta in the late 19th through the early 20th century and even more recently. The making of Easter eggs is one of their most important traditions. The first wave of Ukrainian settlement on the prairies was largely comprised of people who came to farm the land. The vast plains of North America resembled the homeland in Europe that Ukrainians had left behind. In the 1890s and early 1900s the Canadian government encouraged settlement of agricultural workers in Alberta from Europe. Vegreville Alberta has a big Ukrainian community and is the site of the biggest psyanka (Ukrainian Easter egg) in the world. I think my egg sort of looks like this one:
In our study of Alberta we have learned about First Nations, Metis and Francophones in this province. In this week's lessons we also learned about Alberta's British cultural roots. British institutions provided the structure for the settlement of newcomers in Alberta. We learned that back in the mid-19th century Alberta was not yet a province. It was divided between the Northwest Territory and Rupert's Land. Only later did it in fact become the province of Alberta.
We finished reading the novel Stone Fox on Thursday. Students were clearly engaged in the story and many connected to the story through their own experiences. For most students the end of the story was moving. In class we identified and discussed the main characters, plots, and settings to show our understanding of the novel. One means of understanding is through a variety of oral, print and other media texts. As a follow up to reading this novel, students drew a picture of what they imagined a movie poster for the book would look like. Here are the instructions given in class for this assignment:
We will have some time to complete this in next week's classes. In the final week of May we will be doing a lot of writing: evaluating and publishing of various written assignments we have been working on in class.
Social Studies unit test: May 22, 2018. Study guide sent home on May 14, 2018. Students placed this study guide in the front plastic insert of the agenda:
This week 4F and 4E made Easter eggs. In Social Studies, we consider how the art, narratives and literature of various ethnic groups have contributed to the vitality of the culture, language and identity of diverse Alberta communities over time. We were very lucky to welcome Jean to our class. She explained to students the significance of making Easter eggs for the Ukrainian community here in Alberta. Students were very intrigued by her explanations. They watched her demonstration of how to design eggs and were able to use beeswax, candles and tools to create their own designs on eggs. We very much appreciated that grade 8 leadership students came to our classroom to assist grade 4s in making their eggs. Jean will varnish the eggs and we will likely be able to bring their eggs home next week as a unique and beautiful souvenir of Jean's visit and of the knowledge we have gained from this unique and worthwhile cultural activity.
Weekly spelling list. There are 12 words this week. On next Monday's test students will need to write 6 sentences using words from this week versus the usual 5:
Spelling quiz - Monday May 14:
Weekly words in alphabetical order:
Monday May 14 - Hats on For Mental Health
Tuesday May 15 - Dance and Activity Afternoon: Dance tickets on sale for $2 in the front foyer of N.C.S.
Wednesday May 16 - Mindfulness in Flex
Thursday May 17 - Pajamas Day
Students discussed oil sands development and began writing a short opinion piece on this subject from either the point of view of:
This week in Humanities, students continued to develop reading comprehension strategies in class. During classroom discussions, students brought in information from what they already know & what they have read before about topics brought up in class. These discussions about the novel Stone Fox increase their understanding of the text and prompt them to remember what they have read. On a number of occasions during classroom discussions students raised their hands to say how they had connections between the text and their own experience. As students read, they were encouraged to listen and talk about the story. When reading books on their own, students are encouraged to think about how what they read reminds them of things they have done or read before. This can lead them to a deeper understanding of what they read.
Due to the swimming program this week the progress through Stone Fox varied with classes. 4F read up to chapter 6 in Stone Fox while 4E students read fewer chapters. Next week 4E will be doing some catch up.
Both 4E and 4F did get some time to in class to finish up legendary stories. Mr. Brewer encourages any student who has not finished their story to complete it by typing it in Google documents then sharing it with me at: email@example.com Luckily, most students now have already done so. I am currently editing student work and giving feedback on it. I have noticed that many students used the red flag words and phrases we studied in class and that most stories have essential story elements like main characters, story problems, settings, climax of action and solution to the story problem. The current crop of stories is among the best I have read in several years. Good work 4E and 4F!
I am also encouraged by the amount of improvement I am seeing in many bi-weekly spelling quizzes and word work exercises. Many students are writing longer, more complex sentences nowadays as compared with what they wrote in September 2017. Over the course of this week, I have been reading aloud with many students to gauge their reading levels. In these instances, students have likewise been showing improvement over where they were mere months ago. Keep up the good work grade 4s!!
Friday Challenge Day 2: docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdtkj-8JzWWPskGUo_11edTOdOqLL08GLVrO04xlEd3PGPfjg/viewform
Weekly spelling list: Social Studies and Science vocabulary: test: Mon. April 30, 2018
Field trip to the landfill and composting facility: Students of 4E and 4F had the opportunity this week to visit Shepard landfill and composting facility on Thursday. We saw the 'throw 'n go' where citizens bring old appliances, old furniture, old mattresses and building materials. These things are placed in the landfill. Bulldozers spread and compact these waste materials. Drywall, shingles, metal from old refrigerators, old bicycles and freon are all reused or recycled. Private citizens may bring fluids like used oil from doing an oil change to the dump where they can be treated or recycled. Old paint is made into new paint and metal is melted down and reused to make new items.
A landfill is layered. There is a layer of clay. It is difficult for leachate (waste liquid) to penetrate through a layer of clay to contaminate ground water. There is also a plastic liner deep beneath the garbage. Each layer of garbage is covered with soil and a landfill is built on an angle to allow for drainage. Students were shown yellow pipes that protrude from the landfill. These pipes are there to collect leachate (i.e. garbage juice). The leachate is pumped into trucks and is taken to a waste water treatment facility.
Calgary is a leader in taking organic waste and making it into usable compost which is re-sold to farmers and city dwellers. All the food waste, lawn clippings, branches, bones, shells and peelings can be placed in green bins. These bins are brought to the Shepard composting facility where their contents are treated and made into compost. In the following pictures we can see how our guide explained this process to 4E and 4F students:
Through our weekly word work using spelling words and while reading the novel Stone Fox we learned to tune into interesting new words and use new vocabulary when speaking, drawing and writing. We learned that when students have at least six multiple exposures to new words in a variety of contexts they develop better levels of comprehension. In the novel Stone Fox students heard words like: errands, twilight and city slickers. Some students knew the expression 'to run an errand' and many could imagine what city slickers might mean based on the passages from our novel. Students defined new words from the spelling list by writing definitions, drawing pictures, and alphabetizing them. They also wrote sentences using these words. Mr. Brewer showed a powerpoint presentation that illustrated all the words. Luckily, we now all have our own copies of Stone Fox courtesy of Ms. Bennet in the Learning Commons:
This week 4E students decorated our door with recycling materials. Our decorated door hanging was chosen from among many and is now on display in the main foyer of N.C.S. Grade 4E & 4F students, you did great work on this!!! It has been an exciting week at school. Over the weekend please study the spelling words from this week. They are challenging to use in sentences. Many of the words are new ones that are being used in both social studies and science.
Next week we begin Swim lessons: April 30 ~ May 4. An e-mail reminder and telephone message were sent out on Friday April 27.