Spotlight on Specials

2nd Quarter Fourth Grade

The Exploratory Team

The teachers of these exploratory classes are committed to inspire the creative genius in all students through art, technology, library media, music, counselor and physical education.


During the second quarter, fourth grade students worked very hard to complete the following art projects:

Perspective Landscape: During this lesson, students discussed how landscape paintings can convey different emotions depending on the season, weather, and time of day. Students also learned how landscape artists use atmospheric and one-point perspective drawing techniques to make a space look real. After this discussion, student drew a road and trees in one point perspective. Students conveyed an emotion in their work by the paper, color, and weather choices they made for their drawing.

Arcimboldo Still Life Face: Next, students learned about a Renaissance artist named Acrimboldo. Acrimboldo was a court painter for emperor Maximillian II. His job was to paint still life drawings for the emperor. However, one day he decided to arrange his still life compositions to look like a face. These fruit & veggie faces are visual illusions that represent the emperor as ruler of the land. Later, Philip Haas was inspired by these painting and created a series of sculptures that represent Acrimboldo’s paintings of the Four Seasons. These sculptures are currently on display outside of the Nelson. After discussing his work, student created a still life drawings of fruits and vegetables and then arranged them to make a face!

Physical Education

Second quarter was filled with a lot of exercise and fun! We began the quarter with a multitude of aerobic activities. Aerobic activities are activities that keep the students moving and gets their heart pumping. Fourth graders usually do the same activities as third grade, but they get to do them at a more intense level because their techniques and knowledge of skills have improved greatly. They learned about their heart rate and how they can find their own pulse. We got to play games such as Hula-hoop Relay, Capture the Flag, Gladiators, Clock Warm-Up, and many more. Students were very active and had a lot of fun while doing so! We then jumped into our throwing and catching unit. I wanted the students to really perfect their throwing technique and practice the three cues they learned, 1) step with opposite foot, 2) aim at target, and 3) follow through. After we practiced our technique, we were able to play games such as Mat Ball, Star Wars 2, Perfect Pass, and Save the Statues. The students also completed their second pacer test of the year and did absolutely fantastic! Our words for each week were energy, pulse, endurance, nutrition, aerobic, power and accountable. I look forward to the rest of the year!


In our library classes this quarter we reviewed the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Students worked in small groups to put fiction and nonfiction call numbers in order. We reviewed the ten categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification System and the impact Melvil Dewey had on libraries around the world. We discussed whole numbers and decimal points and how they are used in the Nonfiction section. Students browsed our Destiny electronic catalog using laptops and iPads. Students can also look up books from home with this link: . Students watched a video previewing some of the exciting books that were coming to the Scholastic Book Fair. The William Allen White program is in full swing, and students are busy reading the nominees. If the reading log that was sent home earlier this year has been misplaced, a copy can be found on my website at


Obviously, a huge part of the beginning of second quarter was spent on our Veterans' Day program! I was extremely proud of how our students presented such a powerful and poignant program. After watching and evaluating their performance with “3 Stars and a Wish”, students had some great thoughts and insight into next year’s program preparation. After working so hard and seriously, we had some fun with Thanksgiving-themed drumming to learn about playing a round and a canon. Students also sang using solfege syllables (do, re, mi, etc) to learn a song and transfer the melody to barred instruments (xylophones and glockenspiels). To finish off this quarter, we spent some fun time learning Winter Holiday songs for the school-wide sing-a-long! Looking into the 3rd quarter, we’ll be playing recorders again! Winter break is a great time for your 4th grader to locate and clean (dishwasher, top rack) these instruments from last year. If your student needs a new recorder, look for information in Monday folders in January.


Fourth graders finished up their group digital footprint project. We discussed internet safety and what that could mean to them in the future as well as now. Students are encouraged to talk to parents or a trusted adult if they feel uncomfortable about anything anyone sends them or asks them to do online. Believe it or not, they are at the age where they start to feel confidence in "friending" strangers on Xbox, Playstation etc.... Some fourth graders have social apps like Instagram and SnapChat. Parents may or may not know that they have accounts. Please begin to have those talks with your children about their online presence and being overly trusting of those people you haven't met in person. As a parent, you need to know who your children are online with. Don't know where to start? Checkout the following resources:

Towards the end of the quarter we were able to get a quick introduction in computer coding through a series of interactive tutorials. Students participated in The Hour of Code a program sponsored by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and many other technology innovators to get kids excited about programming.


The second quarter of school has flown by and we have been busy learning about The Zones of Regulation. The Zones of Regulation is a cognitive behavior approach that teaches students self-regulation. The Zones of Regulation incorporates Social Thinking concepts and visuals to teach students how to identify their feelings and understand how their behavior impacts those around them, and learn what tools they can use to manage their feelings. We spent several weeks reviewing and learning about feelings and what events produce certain feelings. We learned that there are four zones; Blue, Green, Yellow and Red. The Blue zone describes when one feels sad, tired, sick or bored. The Green zones describes a person feeling happy, focused, and ready to learn. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs. In the Yellow zone a person may be feeling frustration, stress, anxiety, excitement, or even the wiggles. The Red zone describes a person who is experiencing anger and explosive behavior. We learned several tools to help us move and maintain in the green zone. The strategies we learned were lazy eight breathing, six sides of breathing and a calming visual chart. The students were given a copy of these strategies to use if needed throughout the school day. When we return we will be learning how to identify a problem and individual triggers we have that can impact our day.

Big image