Shredderman: Secret Identity

Over the next two weeks, you will be participating in an at-home reading project, reading the book Shredderman:

  Secret Identity.  By  TUESDAY MAY 31ST, you should be done reading the book in its entirety.  In addition, over the next two weeks, you will be responding to posts about this book.  As well as answering my questions, you will also be required to respond to two of your classmates’s answers as well.

You will be able to just post on this site.  However, you will still have to type it up before hand to check your work for grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

When we are done with this book, we will be having more in-depth discussions in person, but make your on-line discussions thoughtful so we can use your thoughts as springboards for our class discussion.


Cloud Catchers

Take a look outside — what’s the sky look like today?  Clouds can help us predict what type of weather we will be experiencing.  On a hot summer day, you might to start to see big puffy clouds extending high up into the sky.  If you see those, you might need to keep an eye on the sky as they are cumulonimbus clouds, that often mean a thunderstorm is developing.   Or maybe, you see wispy looking clouds, like the swish of a paint brush high in the sky.   These cirrus clouds usually indicate nice weather.

For this blog post, you are to dig deeper into what are clouds. how are clouds grouped according to heights that they are found at and special types of clouds.  Use the following websites to do some exploring. (these are also posted on our Curriculum Links page)

Weather Wiz for Kids

Web Weather for Kids (some cool cloud games here)

After you have explored these sites, you are to select five of the 14 different types of clouds listed on the Weather Wiz site and write a fantasy story about your trip to the clouds.  Make sure you use great descriptive words (adjectives and power verbs) to describe what you see at each stop.  You need to make sure you use the name of the cloud, at what height it is found,  a description of the cloud and what type of weather that it indicates.  Please check your spelling, grammar, capitialization and punctuation.  Coach is looking for great writers and editors in this piece!

This post is due on Thursday.

My Life as a Water Drop

This week, your job is to become a water drop and travel throughout the Water Cycle.

Your first job is to go on the following three websites and explore.

1.  USGS Water Drop Through the Water Cycle

2.  EPA Interactive Water Cycle

3.  Scholastic Water Cycle:  watch the video and do the vocabulary section

Take a look at this diagram: (you can click on it to make it larger).

For Thursday, you need to write a creative story about your life as a water drop.  You need to include the following terms in your story:  evaporation, condensation, precipitation, groundwater storage, transpiration.  Make sure you accurately describe what each of these terms are.  Be creative and have fun!  On Thursday in school, you will have an opportunity to create either a picture book or some other type of product about your “life as a water drop.”

A Confucian School

“Study hard and never feel contented, and never be tired of teaching others.”

“I was not born with knowledge, but being fond of studying about history, I was eager to seek it through diligence.”

“To be fond of knowledge is better than to merely acquire it; to take delight in it is still better than merely to be fond of it.”

“If others succeed by making one ounce of effort, I will make 100 times as much effort.”

“Young people have great potential for achievements.  Who can say that they will not be our equals in the future?”

Imagine that you have the opportunity to create a school based on the words of Confucius.  Based on his words, answer the following questions about your school: (make sure you use complete sentences!)

  1. What is the relationship between between students and teachers, teachers and principal?  What do the students wear to school?
  2. What is the school’s mission?  Design a logo to hand in on Friday and a statement signifying the school’s core values.
  3. What are the 6 most important rules?  Tell why you chose each rule.
  4. How will the school be designed physically?   Please draw a floor plan and bring that to school on Friday as well.  What subjects will be offered and why?

This blog entry will be due on Friday, January 28th.

A Writer’s Retreat


Room 305b's Retreat Spot on the Banks of the Assabet River

We are lucky to have our own retreat down at the River’s Edge.   On the banks of the Assabet River, you have created beautiful journal entries and some great poetry.  Henry David Thoreau, certainly had his own “retreat” in his little cabin at Walden Pond.  There, he created one of the most famous pieces of writing, “Walden”.   Later this week, we will be traveling to the Peabody Essex Museum to visit the Yin Yu Tang house as well as the new exhibit “The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City.”  We will learn that the Emperor Qingalong created this incredible Tranquility and Longevity Palace Garden as a spot for him in his retirement to entertain, write, and think.  Over his life time, he wrote over 40,000 poems.

To get us in the right mindset as we head to the Emperor’s Retreat on Thursday, for tonight’s entry, you will be traveling to deep inside China’s interior to a beautiful place that was completely unknown until the 1970s. Known as Fairyland Paradise, this area has

China's Fairyland Paradise

pristine lakes and streams, towering mountains, and forests left untouched by man.  It’s the perfect poet’s retreat.

Become open bowl.  After watching the BBC video clip Wild China: Fairyland Paradise, imagine that you are spending a day there.  Write a journal entry from a poet’s point of view and be sure to include a poem.  This entry should be done on a word processing document first and carefully edited before you post.  It will be due on Wednesday.


Under Pressure

This week, you will have the opportunity to learn all about air pressure.  At home, you will be doing some reading about air pressure as well as conducting some experiments.  Here’s the list of activities for you to do to learn all about pressure:

1.  Go on to the National Weather Service Jet Stream On-Line Weather for School site.  Read the entire site and then select two out of the first four “Learning Lessons” to do.  Keep notes on what you find out.

2.  Go onto and click on maps and a current weather map.  Take a look at the fronts and the high and low pressure areas.  What types of weather is currently taking place around those fronts?  Write down your thoughts on your notes sheet.

3.  Go onto Weatherbug Achieve.

  • Enter the classroom
  • Enter your zip code:  01742 (submit)
  • Select your school name Alcott (submit)
  • Select your grade:  4 (submit)
  • Click on Exploration Zone (in the left column)
  • Select Measuring and Forecasting Weather, Grades 4, 5
  • Select the Air Pressure interactive lesson.

4.  Now for some tasty fun!

You are receiving two marshmallows to take home to experiment with.  Please follow the below instructions:

1)  Cut one of the marshmallows in half and write observations on your note sheet about the inside of the marshmallow.

2)  Write a hypothesis for what you think will happen when you heat up the marshmallow in a microwave oven.  Remember that your hypothesis should include what you think will happen and why you think that.

3)  Place the whole marshmallow on a MICROWAVE SAFE PLATE.

4)  Place the plate in the microwave oven with ADULT SUPERVISION.

5) Heat at MEDIUM for 45 seconds, watching the marshmallow as it heats.

6)  Write down observations on your notes sheet.

7)  Now take the marshmallow out of the oven being very careful not to burn yourself, the marshmallow will be very hot.

8)  Discuss your results on your notes sheet.  Why do you think this happened to the marshmallow?

9)  Eat and enjoy both marshmallows!

5.  By Friday, you will need to respond to the following questions on the blog:

a.  What is air pressure?  Describe how air pressure works.  What did you specifically learn by doing some of the experiments?

b.  What are high and low pressure areas?  What types of weather are they associated with?

c.  How is air pressure measured?  What can you tell from these readings?

Turtles on the Move: Compare and Contrast Time

Sometimes as a parent, you don’t realize how much your children have grown because you see them every day.  Then you see a picture and you say “Wow — I can’t believe how much they have grown!”  The same can be said for Yertle and Bowser.  I had the privilege of watching some of the turtles hatch and then received Yertle and Bowser (along with Turtle 107 and 126) on August 30th.  So, they have been around for three months.  During Labor Day weekend, I took them home and took some pictures of them.  During this past weekend, I took a picture of them on the same rock.  For your assignment due on Wednesday, please look at the August picture and the November picture and compare how they are the same and how they are different.  You should comment on at least three different aspects.  Make sure you proofread your work carefully before you submit it.

Labor Day Weekend

Thanksgiving Weekend