The 4th Grade students were asked to create and design advertisements using Google Drawing which is a precursor to Google Docs during Technology class. First, they were asked to name their product, place, and business. After that, they wrote and designed a brochure and print advertisement. They were asked to incorporate adjectives with clear and concise text. Enjoy this fantastic example of some of the wonderful work we received!
Thoughts on Teaching from Mr. Todd
The teacher cast a stern look at his class. All of the students were to be quiet, sitting up straight in their seats, and working by themselves. Creative? No. Engaging for the students? Hardly. A memorable and lasting way to learn? Not in 1989, and certainly not in 2017.
The teacher mentioned above was me. That was the way I was taught. That was also the way I learned to teach having graduated from college almost thirty years ago. The fifth and sixth grade students in my classes and I are exploring new ways to (dare I say it?) have fun while learning.
Hardly an English, Math, or Reading class passes without the students out of their seats, talking with each other about our topics, assisting each other with problems and exercises, or sharing their knowledge. The onus for learning has moved from teacher to student giving the students many and varied opportunities to show what they know.
One of the activities that students enjoy the most is when they use their individual dry-erase boards. After a concept is taught, I check for understanding by asking the students a series of questions that they answer on their boards. The students show their responses to me and their classmates, and are encouraged to talk to each other if different answers are noticed. The students are also in charge of explaining how they acquired their answers.
Another favorite activity involves showing knowledge more and more through projects rather than traditional pencil and paper. Students recently designed movie posters for the novels they read in class, and have worked on a building project with recycled materials that demonstrates their understanding of capacity.
I never thought back in 1989 that in 2017 I would be comfortable with students talking during class, out of their seats, building, drawing, and creating. I saw that as chaos. Today I see it as essential for both the students and me. It is freeing, memorable, and the kind of classroom environment I want to create for many years to come.
5th Grade Parade
Earlier this trimester, Ms. Abi’s 5th Grade History class utilized the Internet to research and gather information and facts for their state reports. This project will culminate in a state float parade later this week, along with a verbal presentation from each child. The students can’t wait to share their hard with their family and friends!
4th Grade Trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano
HSH 4th Graders thoroughly enjoyed their recent trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano! The children were able to experience California history by touring this historic landmark. After their tour, students were able to recreate the task of making adobe bricks, the materials that the Native Americans used to build the missions in Alta California. This experience brought the Mission History Reports each child is currently working on to life. We look forward to their presentations very soon!
5th and 6th Graders Visit Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple
On Friday, January 20th, 5th and 6th Graders will visit the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in Hacienda Heights. The 6th Graders are currently studying about Buddhism in their Ancient History class with Mr Narbé. They learned that Buddhism originated in India, before spreading out to countries like China. The Hsi Lai Temple is a replica from ancient Chinese architecture. It encompasses 15 acres and a floor area of 102,432 square feet. The students will have a lot of fun, and will learn a lot from asking the docents and guides insightful questions. In fact, they already have a questionnaire prepared for their visit!
4th Grade Scientists Dissect Flowers
Recently, in Science Lab, the 4th Grade class dissected flowers. Dissecting flowers was a perfect hands-on finale to learning about the different parts of a flower. Our unit on plants has taken us from root to leaf, and from the science lab to the garden. Flowers are a focus of ours as they are the reproductive element of the plant. How they attract different pollinators with nectar scents and color was fascinating to the students. Seeing how the fertilized flower can grow into a fruit, and being able to recognize the spent flower remains on some common fruits captivated the 4th grade scientists. Overall, the students have gained a greater appreciation for what odds plants have to overcome in general, and the complex beauty they embody.
The International Poetry Guild
In our continued effort to learn outside the four walls of the classroom, Mr. Todd and Ms. Abi's 6th Grade Language Arts classes have teamed up for the second year to participate in the International Poetry Guild.
The students began this journey by submitting a brief introduction about themselves online to their mentors at the University of Michigan. They shared such information as their location, what poets and/or types of poetry they enjoyed, outside interests, and what they hoped to gain from this experience.
Both classes discussed and wrote free-response poems that were submitted to their mentors. This began a back-and-forth dialogue between elementary students and college students about what the poems meant and how technique could be improved.
Mr. Todd led a second session that focused on haiku. The students learned that haiku is a traditional Japanese poem that is often written about nature. They also learned that haiku is written in three lines with a specific 5-7-5 syllabic structure to each of the lines. The classes then submitted a three verse (nine line) haiku that focused on the holidays.
Ms. Abi led the most recent class on concrete or shape poems. This type of poetry can be about any topic, and does not have to rhyme. Students were encouraged to write a free-response poem as practice, and to then fit the words into a certain shape that represented the words that were written. The classes then sent two more concrete poems to their mentors. We look forward to their responses.
Both classes have been enthusiastic about this project. Not only does it expose them to different genres of poetry, it gives them a chance to share their work with an unbiased source in the form of their mentors.
As new genres of poetry are introduced students write new samples for their mentors at the University of Michigan to critique. Recently, 6th Graders incorporated one of these International Poetry Guild projects with Ms. Lisa’s Technology class. Each student was to choose an emotion to elaborate on through the five senses, and then design a visual representation to accompany that poem on a poster. The project was a huge success! See samples below.
4th Grade Studies Native Californian Tribes
All of 4th Grade has been intensely working on their studies of California native tribes. The children were asked to research a specific tribe in small groups. Their research was directed to find information regarding the region in which their tribe lived, the land forms near their tribe, tools or weapons that were used, food that their tribe prepared, and religious celebrations and traditions. After all their research was complete, they created a mural to depict each part of their research. This activity helped their research come alive, as they were able to apply what they had learned to create a beautiful work of art.
Electoral College Math with Mr. Narbe
Mr. Narbe’s 5th and 6th Grade Current Events classes spent the last couple of weeks making predictions on which candidate for President would win each state and its Electoral College votes. Based on class conversations, study of electoral map results of past elections, and analysis of polls, the students learned to make educated guesses on who would become the next President. Students followed along with the actual results on Election Day, and compared their predictions to the actual outcomes per state. Accuracy aside, it was an engaging and informative lesson on an important part of our democratic process!
5th Grade Scientists Write about Inventors
In 5th Grade Science, students are writing biographies on a scientist or inventor of their choosing. The research for their five paragraph essay is done in Science class, while the actual writing portions are completed with their English teachers. Students are also creating a full title page that includes a portrait, as well as sketching an image of the inventor or scientist's notable work. This cross-curricular project teaches research and writing skills in the expository arena and allows them to explore scientific concepts and the type of dedication it takes to be an inventor. 5th Graders discovered that entire careers and lifetimes of work can be invested into a single idea - an idea that has no guarantees of success. In our society of instant gratification, it was special to see students develop an appreciation for how time consuming it can be to pursue their dreams to make the world a better place.
4th Grade Uses STEAM to Learn the Design Process
4th Graders have loved integrating STEAM activities into their curriculum this year. STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. In our first activity, students worked in pairs to create a structure using only marshmallows and toothpicks. Following specific parameters, the pairs familiarized themselves with the Design Process: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, and Improve. With teamwork, their structures came to life! Take a look at some of their creations below.
Mr. Todd’s 5th Grade Math Students Work With Simple Equations
To prepare his 5th Grade students for middle school Pre-Algebra, Mr. Todd recently spent class time working with simple equations. The class was introduced to what constitutes an equation (numbers, an operation sign, a variable, and an equal sign) and how to replace variables with numbers in order to solve equations. The students discovered that equations can be solved mentally, or by using the idea of opposites. Addition equations can be solved using subtraction and vice-versa, and multiplication equations can be solved using division and vice-versa.
These 5th Grader students did an excellent job, and were simultaneously excited and horrified when they heard that the more complex equations they will be asked to solve in middle and high school could take almost a whole piece of paper to solve. Good thing they have been exposed to equations early! As the school year progresses, Mr. Todd plans to introduce the class to more complex equations and has promised that they will even tackle one of the "page long" monsters!
As a concluding activity to this lesson, each student was asked to design a poster that illustrated what they knew about equations. Some students drew the items that are included in equations, some wrote their own equations and solved them, and still others showed the four types of operation signs that could be included in an equation.
Mr. Todd hopes that this introduction to Algebra will benefit the students as they progress through their math careers. We are sure it will!
6th Grade and The International Poetry Guild
Ms. Abi is excited to announce that this year, our 6th Grade class will again be participating in the University of Michigan’s International Poetry Guild! IPG is a program were young writers exchange their work and ideas with fellow writers from around the world. Poems are also read by a group of the universities student mentors, who write responses to the work of the poets and who will model how creative writers talk with one another about their work. The primary goal of this program is to help IPG participants see themselves as writers; writers with something important to say that is worthy of the attention of others. They look forward to sharing their work with you in the months to come!
Ms. Carrie’s 4th Grade, Emerging California Historians
Each year, and all over California, 4th Grade students learn about California History. The same is true for Ms. Carrie’s 4th Graders! Currently, they are focused on the four regions of our home-state, and facts about each region. To put their knowledge into action, students have learned how to create topographical maps using model magic. Each region is identified separately using an important element of all maps, legends. Next time you see a 4th Grade student, feel free to ask them about our state history – they are on their way to being experts!
Australopithecines, Persian-Arabic Numerals, and Mnemonics! Oh My!
Mr. Narbe’s 6th Grade History students completed their unit about early humans by making a beautiful (and giant) timeline of our evolution from Australopithecines to present day Homo Sapiens. They proudly presented their artwork at the Welcome Back Community Circle.
In Math, both 5th and 6th Grade classes studied and made posters for the history of Hindu-Arabic and modern Persian-Arabic numerals. They also had a blast making their own mnemonic of the Order of Operations. PEMDAS has never been so much fun!
Hidden Curriculum in the Community Garden
Mr. Dean’s 5th Grade already thinks of their visit to our community garden as one of the highlights of each week. At Hollywood Schoolhouse, we partner with a program called Enrich LA to maintain our very own community garden just off campus at Fountain and June. All students in Junior Kindergarten and above help harvest crops for our community. This past week, our 5th Graders planted pea seeds and performed garden maintenance with our new Garden Ranger. Soon, they will be planting and caring for an orange tree as an additional class project.
While gardening has obvious connections to the Science Mr. Dean teaches HSH 5th Graders, more than that it promotes a belonging to the community, stewardship, responsibility, and patience.
Mr. Dean's 5th Grade at the Garden
Kindergarten enjoys their weekly visits as well
3rd Grade students listen attentively to instructions from our Garden Ranger
Goal Setting with Mr. Braden’s 4th Grade
At the onset of the new school year, the 4th Graders were busy setting their goals for the upcoming year. In 4th Grade, self-knowledge, time-management, communication, and personal responsibility are skills that are taught and valued. With these areas in mind, the students took a self-inventory and answered questions about their mindset (thoughts/feelings/actions) to set personal and academic goals. We are looking forward to a fantastic year, with big but achievable goals ahead of us!