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Journey of a Million Miles

 Did you know that a tarsier can rotate its head 180 degrees? Or that dolphins use echolocation to navigate and hunt? Well, the fourth graders here at Marshville Elementary do! If you have a chance, pull up a chair and chat with one of them. They will astound and intrigue you with the many amazing things they learned during our most recent adventures! Fourth grade took a journey of a million miles …. To the Artic, the Philippines, and Africa! We even swam with the dolphins in oceans across the world! “What?” you might be thinking. Let me explain!
Fourth graders recently completed a reading and writing informational unit. This unit of study allowed students to explore science and social studies topics of their choice. During our reading unit, the students read voraciously on their chosen topics using a variety of print resources including books, magazines and internet resources. To expand upon the knowledge they gained while reading, they watched video clips on kid friendly websites such as national geographic for kids! As students read, they were taught and then applied a variety of note taking skills to help them become life-long researchers of exciting non-fiction topics. Their research was guided by their own natural curiosity, which made for an amazing adventure.
The buzz of excitement bubbled over into our writing block each and every day! The students explored the process of informational writing using the notes they took during reading. The students learned how to write paragraphs that had clearly stated topic sentences and details that would engage the reader of their completed product. Students also learned how to be their own best critic as they revised and edited their research paper using a fourth grade checklist. They even went so far as to take a glimpse at examples of fifth grade writing samples to see how this year’s work would be expanded on next year. They took note of the differences and even applied some fifth grade strategies to their own writing! The students then typed their final draft on google drive using their assigned laptop computers!
The informational units ended with a culminating project. The students were allowed to pick either the social studies or science topic they studied and create a visual aid that represented their topic. Students spent a week creating posters, brochures, models, dioramas and slide shows! At the end of the week, students shared their projects and their new knowledge with their classmates! The students were excited to share and learn from each other.
It is our hope that they share the same sentiment as Orville Wright……“We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity.”

Written by: Noelle Dunn, 4th grade teacher
Posted: Apr 28, 2014 by Kerri Edwards

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