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4th-5th Grades

Geography introduction

posted Apr 7, 2017, 12:45 PM by Amy Bebell

Have you ever thought about how difficult it is to make a flat map to represent a round Earth? The 4th and 5th graders discovered it is even harder than you might think today. They turned oranges into globes and then tried to make a map out of the flattened peel.

Chemistry wrap-up

posted Apr 6, 2017, 9:52 AM by Amy Bebell

After exploring the different states of matter by making and playing with different slimes, last week 4th and 5th graders concluded their chemistry unit by showing what they learned about solids, liquids, and gases.


posted Mar 19, 2017, 8:18 PM by Amy Bebell

Last week, all of Mrs. Bebell's students participated in Slime Week, where each class makes a new slime each time they meet for science class! All of our slimes have explored different aspects of the states of matter.

Unfortunately, with a snowstorm in the middle of the week, 4/5 missed some slime time, but they will extend their Slime Week into next week. A video on their final slime will be posted here once it is ready.

The 4/5 class stared off their Slime Week with Oobleck, everyone's favorite non-newtonian fluid.

YouTube Video

We made kinetic sand using leftover Oobleck. 

YouTube Video

We'll make our only edible slime of the week--Jello!

Using games in math

posted Mar 19, 2017, 1:27 PM by Rebecca Tapley

Practicing math skills can be so much fun with games! One game we've played only involves a deck of cards. We call it "Product War" and it is pretty simple. Use the basic concept of war, but instead of putting down one card at a time, put down two. Say the multiplication fact aloud, and whoever has the higher product wins that hand.
Another game students love is an app called Slice It! Students may not realize that they are learning geometry, fractions, and percentages, all at once.
We also continue to connect Art and Math in SMArt time. We began making 3D diamonds, and identified all of the 2D shapes that were involved. 

Using data to drive instruction

posted Mar 3, 2017, 1:10 PM by Amy Bebell

February break is an excellent opportunity for us teachers to catch up on understanding the assessment data we have collected in our classes. Last week, I used part of my vacation week to dig into the NWEA scores from the fall and winter and look for growth trends to help inform my instruction. Overall, 4th and 5th graders made gains in math and reading, which tells me and Mrs. Tapley that the work that we are doing with our classes is on the right track. But on average, the students’ progress on the language NWEA test has stalled. This tells me that I need to put more effort into helping students to increase their time and focus on writing, spelling, and vocabulary.

Going into the spring, some strategies I plan to use in class include:

  • Spending more instructional time on writing conventions and and giving students time for focused practice while working on writing pieces and on iXL. Specifically, I plan on setting aside at least 10 minutes each day to practice targeted skills and then helping students apply those skills in their other assignments.
  • Meeting weekly to collaborate with Mrs. Tapley and Ms. Nawrot. We will pull our individual strengths as language arts teachers together so that we may best meet the needs of all writers in grades 4-8.
  • Increasing expectations on students’ individual progress in the vocabulary program by setting goals for students to meet each vocabulary week (they alternate with spelling weeks) and sharing progress with parents.
  • Continuing to individualize spelling practice to meet the needs of each student. Currently, almost every student in the class is studying spelling words that are at least one year above grade level.
  • Giving students more time to write a variety of writing pieces, including narrative writing, opinion and persuasive pieces, and informational writing.

As always, please contact me if you have any questions about my classes or your children’s progress. I am generally available to talk before or after school or between 11-12:00.

Mrs. Bebell


posted Feb 27, 2017, 10:04 AM by Amy Bebell

The 4th and 5th graders will be starting their chemistry unit this week. To begin, they will learn about the states of matter and physical and chemical properties. Help your child look for examples of solids, liquids, and gases around the house.

Language Arts update

posted Feb 27, 2017, 9:57 AM by Amy Bebell

After many weather disruptions, we finally have a date set for Poetry Night. Please join the 4th and 5th graders on Wednesday, March 1 at 6:00 for their event. There will be snacks and hot beverages to enjoy during the performance.

Once we wrap up our poetry studies, we will begin reading a new novel as a class. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill is this year's Newbery medal winner.

We'll also be starting some new writing projects in the coming weeks, so be sure to ask your child what they have been writing about in class.

S-M-Art activities are happening!

posted Feb 11, 2017, 3:20 PM by Rebecca Tapley

Each Friday, Ms. Doremus and Mrs. Tapley are joining forces for what are called S-M-Art activities. Each one will be a creation that isn't just Math, and isn't just Art - it'S-M-Art! (Get it?)
The first sMArt activity is a massive multiplication table, inspired by artist Paul Klee and his ability to play with color. Each student is working through one number and their pieces are beautiful, both mathematically and artistically. We'll post a picture of the final piece when it is completed.

Fraction fun has begun!

posted Feb 11, 2017, 3:12 PM by Rebecca Tapley

There's nothing as fun as fractions. (Okay, maybe that's debatable, but really - fractions are great!) We began our study of fractions this past week, making fraction strips to cement our understanding of equivalent fractions. The process of creating the fractions from a whole brought about understandings of how various fractions are connected. For students who were ready for a challenge, we calculated the decimal and percentage equivalents. Good times!

A Day In the Life of a 4th or 5th Grader

posted Jan 31, 2017, 1:59 PM by Amy Bebell

Monday marked the halfway point of the school year! The routine has evolved a bit since September, so this is a great time to share what a typical day looks like.

7:50 Morning meeting

After putting their things away from recess and signing in for lunch and snack, everyone gathered in the classroom library, where we settled in on the giant purple beanbag and pillows. It was Jessie, Eben, and Mrs. Bebell’s day to share, and we ended up talking about eyeglasses and video games for a little while!

8:15 Spelling

Everyone came back to their seats and had a spelling test and a pretest to find words for each student’s personalized list for next time.

8:50 Poetry

The class read “The New Colossus” with Mrs. Bebell and discussed the history and symbolism of the ancient Greek sculpture known as the Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Liberty.

9:20 Snack

Once we wrapped up a lively poetry discussion, everyone had a break while they ate their snack. Kids were offered Goldfish crackers as the day’s free snack from the kitchen. Some days we like to play hangman while eating snack.

9:30 Art

In art class with Ms. Sarah, students started a new project. They brainstormed ideas for their kinetic sculptures, in which they will use gears and cranks to make their sculptures move.

10:15 Spanish

The class has been learning about Mayan art with Mrs. Richardson and finished the paper masks they have been working on.

11:00 Lunch and recess

After a lunch of chicken burgers and potato wedges, the fourth and fifth graders went outside for recess.

12:00 Math

The students are working on division with Mrs. Tapley. They practiced with worksheets and online using Front Row. One trick they use to remember the steps of long division is to sing this song:

12:50 Science

The class finally finished filming their videos about recycling. There were three groups were scattered around the building, where they found different quiet spaces to film in. Watch for the edited versions online soon! 

2:00 Story

Usually Mrs. Bebell makes time to read aloud to the class as an afternoon break before they head to Social Studies. But on this day, we had a surprise visit from a friend earlier in the afternoon, so everyone took a break then to spend a bit of time with her. Currently, we are reading Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, which is a delightfully fun pirate adventure that imagines how Peter Pan became magical.

2:15 Social Studies

Mr. Moss has been teaching the students how to use Adobe InDesign to edit graphics, and the students researched ancient Roman water systems to find content to focus their projects on.

2:55 Pack up

Everyone came back to the classroom to pack up and get ready for dismissal. Two 4/5 students got dressed for their last home basketball game with the A team, and everyone else got ready to go home.

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