4th Grade Learns About Communication and Systems

We did some fun activities from Psychology for Kids today, during which the kids learned more about themselves and shared this with their partners. From choosing their own superpowers to analyzing their handwriting, the students were able to work on their Intrapersonal Intelligence.

The last activity we did from the book was one that required the students to divide into two teams. Each team was assigned a different way they could communicate, and then given a problem to solve. The problem was hard! The students were very persistent, though. You can see the finished product of the winning team in the pictures below. Can you figure out how to make that with one piece of paper, one fold, and three cuts?

We tied that communication activity to systems in organizations and systems thinking, and began to read Billibonk and the Big Itch, which is a book that helps young people to learn more about systems thinking.

4th Grade Learns the Art of Commenting

One of the benefits of having a class blog is that the students can “publish” their work for others to see.  This can be a powerful motivator to create quality work – but only if they have evidence that other people will be viewing it.  That is why commenting is so important.  When the students support each other by giving specific, encouraging comments, it can be very motivational.  So the 4th graders practiced this in class today, and they did an excellent job.

In addition, the students interviewed their partners to get some ideas for their “Faberge Surprises”.  They will have the next two weeks to complete their gift for their partner, and will score each other on: how surprising it is, how meaningful it is, and if it took thought and effort to prepare.  Parents, if you have any questions about the project, please feel free to e-mail me.

The kids practiced some creative thinking by using the “Put to Another Use” tool from SCAMPER.  They thought of different ways an umbrella could be used, and I’ve put three of their drawings here:  as an anti-gravity parachute, an “air balloon”, and a waterproof computer.

4th Grade Fabricates Some Faberges

4th grade GT began today with a game on our interactive white board designed to encourage discussion about the novel we just finished, Chasing Vermeer.  In teams, the students had to think of answers to questions like, “What is one feature of Chasing Vermeer that could have been eliminated without changing the story?”  They submitted their answers to me anonymously, and I chose the best response to each question.

They also worked on completing their “Faberge” eggs.  In doing this, they were creating Intrapersonal Masterpieces that reflect their personalities.  I was happy to see that there was as much variety in the egg designs as there is in our class!

4th Grade Works Together

Today, the 4th graders began the day by synergizing to make marks in rectangles on a sheet of paper on the floor.  The trick was they had to use a marker that they controlled with strings, and, in groups of 4, had to work together to accomplish the task.

Then, they watched a movie about the Faberge eggs and the Romanov family of Russia.  We talked about how Faberge showed interpersonal intelligence (empathy) by creating these magnificent works of art that reflected the things that were important to the Romanov family, while Nicolas Romanov showed apathy by ignoring the needs of the people he led.

After discussing the movie, the students began to paint their own Faberge eggs, which they will continue decorating next week.  Each egg will be designed to show the owner’s personality, which exhibits the intrapersonal intelligence.

4th Grade Crash Lands on the Moon

Today, the 4th graders did an activity where they imagined they had crash-landed on a distant moon, and had to rank the materials that they would like to have with them in order of importance.  Once they ranked them individually, they met in groups to try to come up with a consensus for each material’s ranking.  This was an important lesson in interpersonal skills, and we discussed the results in a Socratic Dialogue afterward.  The students felt that they could have done better in listening and communicating, They will have another opportunity for working in teams next week.

The 4th graders also viewed the “Pep Talk” video by Kid President, and discussed synergy, being unique, and creating “something awesome”!

4th Graders Examine their “Essential Selves”

As we continue learning about interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, the students participated in an activity today that they really seemed to enjoy.  They were given a key that described different personality traits, and they had to create a design based on the traits that they felt best described them.  We put up “offices” at the tables, so each student could create his or her design privately.  They put codes at the bottom of their designs instead of their names.  Then, I mixed up all of the designs and set them back out on the tables.  The students then went around and tried to guess who drew each picture based on the traits represented.

We found out some interesting things about the class.  Most of them seem to know each other pretty well, but there were one or two mysterious designs in the batch.  Almost all of the students described themselves as “happy-go-lucky”, but one student out of the 10 is “serious minded”.  One student who many said they would have described as “serious minded” described himself as “happy-go-lucky”.

We are certainly getting to know each other better!

4th Grade Interpersonal Skills

4th graders are learning about both interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.  They are also learning more about each other.  This week, they used the iPods and an app called “Socrative” to answer some open-ended questions I gave them.  One example was, “What is your biggest fear?”  Their responses showed up on our white screen, and we then voted on which response was a particular student’s.  They also took notes on what they learned about their classmates, and paired up to learn more about their likes and dislikes.  We will continue to do more of these type of activities in the upcoming weeks.

Upcoming Contests and Events

Here are a few community events that might interest your students:

Doodle 4 Google (This year’s theme – “My Best Day Ever”)

Texas Cavaliers’ Art Contest (This year’s theme – “Stars on the River”)

Upcoming Events at the Witte Museum (thanks to Mr. Bonugli for pointing these out) – take a look, especially, at the “Build It” activity in February!

4th Grade Learns About Picasso

Following our theme of “Masterpieces” for this year, we studied Picasso this week in 4th grade – specifically his “Guernica” mural.  Before watching a video about “Guernica”, the students used the iPads to fill out some graphic organizers relating what they already knew about Picasso, and what they would like to learn.  After the video, we talked about empathy and the interpersonal intelligence.  The kids used an app called SpaceTeam to work on their listening and communications skills.  Ask them about their confusion during that activity!