End of Year Activities

4th Grade End of the Year Comments    We do some fun things during the year, but the fourth grade tries to concentrate on curriculum, until we get to the end of the school year.  Then, if we have accomplished most of our goals, we add some extras.  These are some of this year’s end of the year features, and reasons why I love teaching at St. James.

Red Nose Day Activities   The class discussed the mission of the Red Nose Day, and then came up with some ways that they, as fourth graders, could help make people aware of the disadvantages some children face.   

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One of our activities was to place rocks around the campus and in our community.  The rocks are painted bright red on one side to resemble the red noses.  The other side is white and has a small message.  

Our administration gave us permission to put red tape on the door handles around campus with signs that explain why the handles are red.  We discussed ways to keep the tape from coming in direct contact with the handles, so that the handles won’t be sticky when the tape is removed.  This helped us with learning to problem solve.  We also brainstormed of ideas that don’t involve parents or money, and the problem solving activities, have been beneficial. 

A Capybara for a Guest    One of our parents said that she knew someone with a pet capybara.  When the students saw a picture, they wanted to know if we could have the capybara come to the school.  It was arranged for the next Friday.

We researched capybaras and found that they are very friendly, large rodents.  Each student found ten facts, and then we shared our information.  

The following Friday, the capybara came to visit.  Baby Jinxx’s  owner told us more about capybaras and some very cute stories about the ones she has owned.  Baby Jinxx has his own webpage and followers.  

We discovered that our preconceived idea that a large rodent would be frightening was wrong.  Capybaras are very large rodents, and they are very friendly.  

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Less Stress Tests   St. James doesn’t give the high stress minimum skills tests that appear to put everyone at risk.  We do the Stanford Achievement, which lets us know where we are, measures progress, indicates if intervention might be needed, and helps us plan for what we want to achieve next year.  

With this type of testing we are able to put less stress on the students and hopefully, reduce test anxiety.  Most of our middle school students look forward to testing week.  More recess, more fun activities, less homework, more special treats.  They seem to understand that to receive all the benefits of testing week, they have to do their very best and concentrate on the tests during the morning hours.  This isn’t real difficult for them, since they do the same on their regular assignments all year.  But, this week, they are rewarded during the afternoons.  

A Trip to Mayo Brothers Manufacturing    We learned about running a company, designing and manufacturing furniture, and assembly lines.  It was educational and a lot of fun.  We were treated like VIPs.  Did I mention the owners are St. James graduates?

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A Trip to Micah’s Jewelry  The owner and his staff enriched our rocks and mineral unit by sharing with us information about precious metals and gemstones.  I can’t afford to have samples of these in our collection of rocks and minerals at school.  This is a great extension of our science program and a way to utilize local businesses for a in-town field trip.  It also rewarded our fourth graders for working so hard during testing week.

Pat Wagy