4th Grade Makes “Everlasting” Connections

Following an excellent presentation in the library about the Battle of the Alamo, the 4th graders pondered what it means to be “courageous.”  They came up with criteria, and discussed different scenarios.  This tied in well with our book discussion of Tuck Everlasting.  

After relating the book to what it means to be courageous, the students were given hexagons with different symbols, themes, and characters from the book.  They worked in partners to piece the hexagons together, making numerous connections about the details of the book.  Their discussions were complex, and so was their thinking!

4th and 5th Graders Analyze Literature

Both 4th and 5th grade GT classes finished their 1st semester novels: Tuck Everlasting and The Giver, respectively.  To think more deeply about the books, they each played “The Whatzit” game in their classes this week.  During the game, the students compete in teams to answer open-ended questions such as, “What was your favorite feature of the Whatzit, and Why?”  (Substitute the novel title for, “the Whatzit.”)  They submit anonymous responses and I choose the ones that I think are the most creative and meaningful.  I was very proud of how both grade levels worked hard to write “deep” answers!

In other news, both grade levels also did their report card self-assessments, and should return their signed report slips by next week.

4th Grade Works on “Wheel of Life”

The students spent a good amount of time working on their Genius Hour projects this week.  There are still some topics being refined as they learn that their research is leading them in different directions the more they investigate.

4th grade also spent time for Hour of Code in GT class on working on Scratch programming.  They easily created great programs in Scratch, which is a big difference than when Hour of Code began a few years ago and it was the first time many students had even been exposed to coding.  We also made some efforts to program a drone in the classroom, but got foiled by a quickly depleted battery.

As we continue to read Tuck Everlasting, the students are analyzing the characters quite a bit.  Today we used a graphic called, “The Wheel of Life” to visualize the traits of some of the characters.  It was interesting how the students could identify most of the characters by looking at their final graphs! You can see some examples below.photo-dec-07-2-28-13-pm photo-dec-07-2-28-24-pm photo-dec-07-2-28-34-pm photo-dec-07-2-28-46-pm

4th Grade Finishes up Revisions

Last week, the 4th graders chose a poetry/art piece they have done this semester that they would like to revise.  They finished their revisions this week, working on making sure their projects communicated deep, meaningful messages using figurative language.

The students used multiple perspectives to consider what the characters in Tuck Everlasting might be thankful for.  They also worked on a site called, CoSpaces, to try to depict an image of an important scene from the book.

For a holiday-related challenge, the students did Thanksgiving math perplexers.

4th Grade Chooses a Theme Song

After last week’s hexagonal learning activity during which the students had deep conversations about Tuck Everlasting, they were prepared to choose a theme song that best represented the book.  Despite some technical difficulties, they were able to listen to 5 different songs and to find lyrics that connected with the book.  Most of the students chose, “I Lived,” by One Republic, but we had one outlier who chose Natasha Bedingfield’s song, “Unwritten.”  Here are their thoughts about this activity, as well as our “Alice in Fractal Land” lesson:


Cristian I might think differently about songs when I listen to them because now I know what the surface and deeper meaning of the lyrics can be and I will be relating them more often to books, movies or other songs that I have heard or seen.
Connor A new word I learned today is fractal. This is a geometric shape that repeats itself over and over at smaller scales. Such as a snowflake,a triangle,and much more.
Max One pattern I noticed is Pascal’s triangle is endless like the Fibonacci numbers in it. There is a list of prime numbers that is also endless.
Luke One way my perspective of Tuck Everlasting seems to have changed over time is what I thought of Winnie. At the beginning of the book she wasn’t doing anything with her life but near the end of the book she was living a free life.
Jordan One question I still have after today’s learning is what does the lyrics mean in “I Lived” because I think my meaning could be a little deeper.
Keely I see a connection between Tuck Everlasting and “I Lived” by One Republic because “I Lived” says “I did it all”and Jesse wants to do it all

4th Grade Ponders the Meaning of Mandalas

Here are some of the reflections from this week’s 4th grade GT class:

Cristian Mae Tuck might think differently about the man on the yellow suit selling the magical spring water because the man is doing it for the money, which he thinks is ok, but Mae on the other hand thinks that if everyone knows about it, everyone will live forever and it would be chaos.
Luke Something I would like to go home and learn more about is the process of making a mandala. I want to know more about the measurements they make. I also want to know about what kind of prayers they make. Why do they dump the sand into a river and not the ocean? What kind of tools do they use?
Jordan I see a connection between the man in the yellow suit and the wasp,because they both only care about themselves and they both  worry about if they’re going to die or lose their wealth(the wasp’s wealth is his food or his friends.
Keely One question I still have about today’s learning is: What do the mandala’s symbols mean?

The students were all able to complete their mandala designs in Tinkercad.  We are just waiting on some new filament for our printer!

4th Grade Meets Jason Chin

The 4th graders had a somewhat shortened time in the GT classroom last week because they had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Jason Chin, author and illustrator, with the rest of their grade level.  The students really enjoyed the presentation about the Galapagos Islands and the interesting creatures who reside there.  They were quite impressed Mr. Chin’s amazing sketching skills, which he demonstrated in front of the crowd!

The students also used some depth and complexity questions to analyze Tuck Everlasting, making some very meaningful observations about the story.

4th Grade Considers All Factors

The 4th graders reviewed the CoRT Thinking tool that requires you to consider all factors before making a decision.  They brainstormed questions they would need answered before deciding whether or not they should drink from a fountain that would make them immortal.  Then we read some more of Tuck Everlasting to get more ideas.  They reviewed Hand On Equations by using videos in Google Classroom, and brainstormed problems at school they think they might be able to solve.  Here are their thoughts:


Cristian After today, I could prove algebra is like tessellations because they both need to balance and repeat without changing.
Connor Today’s lesson about C.A.F. makes me wonder what would happen if you applied that to everything in your life.
Max Learning about brainstorming problems the school has reminded me of our discussion about SSR time.
Luke Based on what I know about tessellations, I would recommend trying to make them because they are fun and unique.
Jordan From what I learned today about tessellations, I can infer that Escher created mathematical masterpieces.
Keely I think CAF is important because it is a good tool to use when you have to make a hard decision.

4th Grade Learns about Tessellations

The 4th graders explored tessellations this week, as well as doing their report card self-reflections, and reading and discussing Tuck Everlasting.  They also avidly watched our 3d printer hard at work!

Here are some of their reflections from today:


Cristian After today i can prove that a tessellation is like life with these facts, everything in life fits together perfectly and there are no gaps in life.
Connor Today’s lesson about Tuck Everlasting made me think about what it would be like if I could live forever without physical pain.
Luke I think tessellations are important because everything fits together. They leave no gaps and can be really unique. They can be used in art or on buildings.   
Jordan Learning about tessellations reminded me of a puzzle because every little piece fits together perfectly and there are no gaps.

4th Grade Finishes Tuck Playlists

Here is this week’s blog post from Elizabeth.  The students also reviewed Level 1 of Hands On Equations and worked on a Google Search lesson to prepare for their Genius Hour projects. Thanks to Trent, our student photographer for the week!

Today in fourth grade GT we worked some more on our Tuck Everlasting assignment. Each student chose a song from a playlist that was set up for us. that song was the one that we thought represented Tuck Everlasting. We then had to explain why we thought that song represented the book.

Two students had earned enough points in a great app called Class Dojo to play with two new robots called Dash and Dot. I honestly think that they are built more for younger kids, but for GT kids it is fun to experiment and get creative.

We had lots more fun, even to much to name it all. We do hope our sick classmates good luck getting better. We hope that everyone has a great week.

Thank you for reading!