Park Specialists' Newsletter

Fourth Grade Edition - Second Trimester

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Second Trimester Recap

All of Park's Certified Teaching Specialists have compiled a summary of what students have learned, enjoyed, and mastered in their respective classes for the past twelve weeks. Please scroll down, read, and watch what students have been up to at Park Elementary.
For your viewing pleasure, a short video montage of the school-wide Reading Celebration lyceum is available below. This event took a lot of planning and preparation on behalf of some of our Specialists. Watch and enjoy!

From Park's Art Instructor - Ms. Kirchoff

Time Flies! Second Trimester is complete! This trimester in art we talked about drawing in one-point perspective. Students created cities; the drawings turned out fabulous. I was amazed by the talent of these young students! Once the cities were drawn, we completed a quick two-day snowflake watercolor and crayon resist drawing/painting. In January we discussed Impressionism, highlighting its most famous artist, Vincent Van Gogh. It is no secret that Van Gogh had a troublesome life, but today he is one of the most famous artists that ever lived! Van Gogh painted a still-life of sunflowers, among many other wonderful things. I had the students study sunflowers and then draw a close-up of a sunflower in oil pastel. Afterwards, students created his/her own painted vase of sunflowers by using tints, shades, and different values of yellow. I am very happy with the vast variety of sunflower vases that were created! Bravo! Our final trimester project consisted of creating Picasso Heads with the use of construction paper. Look out, these cubism collages may make you think a bit! The Picasso Heads will be put on the Art SmArt Wall of Fame shortly.

Lastly, I am beginning to choose artwork for the Elementary Art Show in May. Look out for more information in the months to come! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email me!

320-587-2837 x1014 //

If I Ran the Circus -Excerpts from the staff student play

From Park's Librarian - Ms. Shadis

Search strategies

Fourth grade spent most of second trimester interacting with print and online reference sources, including Kids InfoBits and almanacs. To benefit from these costly databases, FREE to you, please visit

Maud Hart Lovelace,

Students who have read at least three of the Maud Hart Lovelace titles will be able to vote for their favorite book at the end of March. The votes from Park Elementary will be tallied and sent into the state headquarters for compilation with all of the other student votes around the state. The student choice book award recipient will be announced on April 25 Division I (grades 3-5). Below is a list of the contenders:

Aliens on Vacation by Clete Smith

As Simple As It Seems by Sarah Weeks

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

Benjamin Franklinstein Lives! by Matthew McElligott

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Ghost Dog Secrets by Peg Kehret

Guinea Dog by Patrick Jennings

Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian

Sylvia & Aki by Winifred Conkling

Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan

Click here to view a playlist that features all of the Minnesota Book Choice award nominees.

Have an iPod, iPad, tablet, Kindle or Nook at your house?

Our school recently added another 100 titles, bringing the selection to 250! Visit to select and download e-books and e-audiobooks. To access materials, students’ barcode number is their lunch number. Can’t find the book you’re looking for there? Our local public library uses the same service and has an even greater selection:

Through the generosity of the PTO, the school has seven color Nooks students can borrow by completing a permission form.

Read Across America

Park culminated its I Love to Read/Read Across America celebration with a special parent guest reader during library time. Click here to see the photo album of students posing with the guest and book! Students also participated in other festivities such as: Guess the Seuss Silhouette, daily dress-up days, and attending the grand finale of a special lyceum presented by staff of If I Ran the Circus. Preceding the performance was a special appearance by the Cat-in-the-Hat to announce the favorite book award winners. Here are the books that garnered the most votes from fourth grade students:

My Weird School series

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Out of My Mind by Sharon Drawper

Sports books

I Survived! series

Percy Jackson"series

Genius Files series

Wonder by RJ Polacio

For Suess-fun you can enjoy at home, check out

Have you read a book to your child lately?

From Park's Technology Integration Instructor - Mr. Durheim

Students have been busy learning, creating, and collaborating during Tech Time. Click here to learn more!
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From Park's Phy Ed Educators - Mrs. Hahn & Mrs. Mueller

A typical day in the Physical Education class begins with a fitness warm-up activity. These activities vary from cardiovascular, muscular strength/endurance, and/or flexibility. The purpose of these activities is to increase the students’ awareness and level of fitness. After the warm-up, students have a lesson that focuses on the skills that will help them to be successful in the games of a unit. The students will then participate in an age – appropriate game using the skill(s) practiced in that lesson.

Units covered during second trimester:

*Basketball *Cooperatives- large and small group activities

*Multicultural games * Jumping activities- ropes and Chinese jump ropes

*Table tennis * Juggling

Watch the video excerpt below of fourth graders as they work on their jumping skills.

Walk for Hunger

In December, our students participated in the “Walk for Hunger Food Shelf Drive”. This event combined wellness and community service for our students. We donated 2768 pounds of food to the food shelf. Thanks to all the families that donated and helped make this event a success!

Jump Rope for Heart

Thank you families and friends! As a part of the Jump Rope for Heart program, our students collected over $5,090 to give to the American Heart Association to help fight heart disease and strokes.

Healthy Living Steps

See below for simple steps that make a real difference in children’s lives by helping build healthy habits for life.

  1. Keep fresh fruit in a bowl within your child’s reach to grab as a quick snack.
  2. Take a walk with your family after dinner.
  3. Plan a menu for the week. Get children involved in the planning and cooking.
  4. Turn off the TV during meals and share some family time.

For more information, go to:

Jumping Skills with Fourth Grade

From Park's Music Teachers - Ms. Hauth & Mrs. Hoeft

We continued to work on our pitch matching abilities and reading music by singing melodies using the notes in the solfege scale, specifically Do Re Mi So La. The students would first echo and sign patterns using these pitches, then read patterns and songs on the music staff. They also worked on their note reading skills as they learned the letter names of the notes on the staff and played their recorders. So far, the students have learned to read the notes B, A, and G and have played several songs in their recorder book. We had a lot of fun composing and performing variations of Hot Cross Buns in small groups. To the tune of Rockin’ Robin, the students learned how to dance and play the melody on their recorder (check out the video below). After a great start, students will continue to read and play more songs on the recorder in the third trimester.

During the holiday season, we enjoyed watching The Nutcracker, a story by E.T.A. Hoffman, which was interpreted in music (composed by Peter Tchaikovsky) and in ballet (choreographed by Marius Petipa). We read the story, listened to the music, and watched scenes from the ballet on video. The students gained an understanding of how stories can be told without words through dance and music.

In January we sang about Martin Luther King. The following month, students had fun singing Don Gato for Valentine’s Day and learning the song for the Dr. Seuss play, If I Ran the Circus.

Students Singing & Playing Rockin' Robin

From Park's Science Specialists - Mrs. Kucera & Mrs. Mueller

In the Science Lab we have been learning all year about energy. We finished up our focus on energy with sound energy. Tuning forks, long gongs, boomwhackers, and 3-way telephone lines were some of the activities that kept us busy and excited about learning about sound. Check out the video below to hear a simple song that some of our fifth graders were able to play while exploring sound with the boomwhackers! Students also explored pitch by changing a variety of variables such as length, tension, and thickness.

After learning about sound energy, we switched gears and started learning about matter. The following questions were posed to students: What is matter? What 3 main states do we find matter on Earth? How can we change matter? How do we measure matter? Students started answering all of these questions while exploring matter in a variety of experiments. Students measured matter in many ways: mass in grams and kilograms, volume in liters and milliters, length in centimeters and meters, and temperature in degrees Celsius. Who knew how much matter, matters?!

Science Lab Boomwhackers

Park Elementary School

Park Elementary School serves approximately 875 students in second through fifth grade. Our purpose is to meet the needs of the whole child with an emphasis on basic academic skills. We are committed to providing as many hands-on-learning experiences as possible in all academic areas. We want our students to know, understand, and apply what we teach. We provide instruction and opportunities in all academic areas. As an elementary school, our focus is on language arts and mathematics.