St. James Family

Our school is very fortunate to have a family atmosphere.  We are able to pull in some of that family, from time to time, to enrich our classes.  This month we invited the mother of one of our teachers, who is also the grandmother of a current and a former student, and the aunt or great aunt of both current and former students.  With those outstanding credentials, Mrs. Mayo did a presentation on some of her travels.  

This was a great introduction for our fourth graders, who are beginning to research a foreign country.  We intertwine social studies ( the immigration to Texas /America), our computer (research skills and word processing), and our language arts ( writing good paragraphs and sentences, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, topic sentences, detail sentences, etc.) for our major class project.  The reports will be used in an international fair that we present to the rest of the school and our families in January.

This project is also a great way to introduce plagiarism and how to select words that you understand when writing a report.  

Mrs. Mayo’s presentation gave us some ideas for topics that would be interesting for our audience in January.   She is a very knowledgeable and animated person, so her style of presentation was also a great model for our students.  After she told us about the countries she had selected, the fourth graders sat down and discussed what we learned  that would help us with our project.  I was impressed with all that the fourth graders garnered from the presentation.

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Early November Activities

The 6th grade went to Mo Ranch for a week, and the 5th graders went for an over night at the 4H Camp in Arkansas, so the 4th graders raised the flags on two mornings.  We also practiced our civic duty by going around and collecting Box Tops from all the classrooms this month.

We are doing some science activities with the selaginella lepidophylla this month.  It is also called the dinosaur plant or the resurrection plant because it is a prehistoric plant that can stay dormant for years and then come back to life.  One student mentioned that it was also known as a tumbleweed.  I looked that up, and it is one form of tumbleweed.  There must be other similar plants.

We observed the ball, while making some scientific notations about it.  No opinions were allowed, so we were able to incorporate the difference between fact and opinion in the activity.  Then we added water and waited a day to make notes on the changes.  After that we added various food colors (our variables) and made further observations, each student was assigned the task of coming up with an experiment to try with their plant.  They are not allowed to get an idea from the internet or another source, because then it would be a demonstration, not an experiment.  

 

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Pat Wagy