It’s that time of year- Parent Teacher Conferences! Please sign up for a 15 minute time slot either Thursday November 7th from 1pm-8pm or Friday November 8th from 8am-3pm with your students’ ELA teacher.
With our blogs up and running I wanted to give you a little more information about the platform we use, the safety of the blogs, and how we will be using them to extend our classroom learning.
First, we, as well as all Elanco classes who use blogs, use a blogging platform called EduBlogs. This is a blogging platform created specifically for students. Using this platform allows me the teacher to control anything that is posted or commented on any of the students blogs. It also allows for easy access to many other class blogs across the country and even the world! Although it is easy access for other EduBlog users, anyone else cannot access the blogs unless they have the exact URL of the blog. This allows for a great experience interacting with many other students from around the world, but ensures it is done in a safe environment.
Students enjoy blogs because it gives meaning to their writing. They now have an audience for what they write more than just their teacher and whoever reads it at home. It allows people from all over the world to read and give feedback on their work. As the year goes on we will learn of other ways to communicate our messages on our blogs. We will also take part in a Edublogs worldwide “Blog Challenge” that allows for constant interaction with students across the world!
I strongly believe in blogging for students because it allows them to “show off” their writing, learn important internet safety skills, and promote creativity and problem solving all through a safe environment. The school district, EduBlogs, and I make sure this is a completely safe learning experience for students on the internet.
If you ever have any questions about our blogging please do not hesitate to email me at email@example.com or call the school and ask for me.
It is hard to believe we are already done with a full month of school! In 4th grade we have been having a lot of fun getting to know each other and working hard learning new 4th grade skills! As the weather turns to fall (hopefully!) we will continue to learn many new things, but here is a recap of what we did in September:
Math: In math we have been working on place value skills. Those skills have included; recognizing different place values, understanding the relationships between different values, rounding, estimating, and addition and subtraction. We have been using the online resource Zearn to help teach and practice those skills.
When we are not on Zearn working we have done things like play place value games, create place value books, and practice our skills through other collaborative activities.
ELA: We have spent a lot of our time in ELA talking about main ideas and key details of different readings we have read or videos that we have watched. We have read a lot about our government and natural resources and found the main idea of those articles we have read.
In writing learners have been writing informative writing pieces and learning how to share facts in their writing. We have reviewed what makes a good paragraph and how to organize it.
We have also had the opportunity to create our own blogs! Learners will be working on these blogs throughout the year and publish different work for the whole world to see! Ask your child about their blog!
Inquiry: During our inquiry time we have focused a lot on learning different science skills and practicing those skills through hands on experiments. Learners started the year learning a lot about the scientific process and how that can help use answer questions and solve problems. We did many hands on experiments so far and are excited to continue to explore science!
If you ever have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact me!
The 4th grade year is amazingly coming to an end shortly as we reach the end of April. April has been a very busy month for 4th grade as we prepared and took the PSSA’s. All students worked so hard during our testing and I know they gave their best effort which made me proud!
In ELA we have focused a lot of our reading and studying on science topics. Students created a project where they researched about the spotted lantern fly, found out why they are bad for our ecosystem, and came up with a solution to control their population. Students have done a lot of research about animals of their choice and are learning about things like adaptations animals have and the life cycle they go through. In the next week, students will begin a project where they will be making their own TED Talk video about a science topic that interests them. They will be sharing an opinion and researching about the topic for their video.
Students continue to do amazing things with their blogs! Many students have visitors from all over the world coming to see their work. I have loved seeing the creativity in the students as they make blog posts with video, pictures, slide shows, and even music! Keep on the lookout for new posts over the next few weeks.
In Math class we have spent a lot of time working with angles and shapes the last few weeks. We discussed the different types of angles and how to recognize them and even learned how to draw angles to exact degrees with protractors. We also reviewed the differences between lines, and line segments, and rays.
We are excited for a fun and productive end of the 4th grade year as we get ready for our summer break and becoming 5th graders!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to reach out!
Gabby wrote an excellent piece about celebrations that included multiple pictures and some fun polls.
Task 3: Holiday Craft
Some people enjoy making craft for special holidays and seasons.
This task involves creating something and then adding a photo of it to a blog post with a description. Or you could even make a video tutorial for your readers!
If you find inspiration from a website, be sure to include the link in your post.
Origami Club has a list of origami (paper folding) objects you can make for a variety of holidays.
DLTK has lots of ideas sorted into different holidays.
PBS Parents shares a range of craft ideas for different celebrations.
Easy Peasy and Fun have lots of holiday craft ideas. For example, there are many Easter ideas. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the site to explore other holidays or adapt the ideas for your own holidays!
Rhiann made a fantastic video to share a craft idea.
Kaylie made a candle and explained how she did it. She also including the link to the site she used.
There are so many different types of music enjoyed around the world.
As Greek Philosopher Plato apparently said,
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.
Music and the Law
Remember back in week 3 we discussed how you can’t just use any image that you find online? Well, the same applies for music.
Most music is protected by copyright. So you can’t use it for your own digital projects without permission or paying for a special license.
Listening to music
Not so long ago, when people wanted to listen to their favourite song, they had to wait until it came on the radio or buy the CD/cassette/record.
Now there are choices but it’s important to know what you can and can’t do with music.
Using music in projects
Normally, you can’t just use any music you like in something you’re creating — like a video.
However, in most countries, you are allowed to copy music to add to a video if:
a) it’s for educational purposes and
b) you’re not sharing your video publicly (or selling it!)
So, if you have a public blog, you aren’t allowed to put a video on there that you made with copyright music. And you couldn’t show your video at a public event. However, it’s okay if you’re just showing the video to your teachers and parents.
Hopefully you do want to share your work with a public audience. That’s what this challenge is all about! Don’t worry. You can still use music. I’ll share some options below.
Note: This is the case in Australia and the US but if you live in another country you may need to check your own guidelines.
Paying for music
There are popular sites and apps where you can pay to download music legally — for example, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Spotify.
You can listen to your downloaded music yourself, but can’t upload it to your blog or to a video or other project you’re working on.
You also can’t use it publicly (e.g. at a school event, store, or public event).
It’s fine to stream music online on sites like YouTube (although remember, YouTube is 13+) but it’s not usually legal to download the audio from a YouTube video as explained in this article.
Also, streaming music in this way is meant for personal use — not for a public broadcast. As Spotify says,
…it’s not possible to use Spotify in public places (such as bars, restaurants, stores, schools, etc.). You may only make personal, non-commercial, entertainment use of the content.
Most streaming services are similar.
Embedding a video from a site like YouTube or Vimeo into your blog is usually allowed.
This week you can choose from a list of 8 ideas to create a post about music. Or you can come up with your own idea!
Because the topic of music is a new one for the Student Blogging Challenge, we don’t have many examples to share this week.
8 Prompts For Your Post About Music
Choose one or more of these ideas to create a post about music. Or, you might have your own idea!
1) Create a survey about music (opinions)
Create a poll to survey your readers (Google Forms is a good way to do this or you could use a tool like Crowd Signal).
Alternatively, you could write some questions that you’d like readers to answer in a comment.
Your survey questions could be about:
Your favourite music genre
Your favourite artists or groups
Would you rather? (e.g. Would you rather Ariana Grande or Billie Eilish? Would you rather classical music or rap?)
Idea: When your survey is completed, you could share a summary of your findings. I love a tool called Beam for making simple charts.
2) Create a quiz about music (facts)
Quiz your readers about anything music related. Perhaps your quiz could include questions like:
Facts about artists (year they were born, or first number one hit)
Facts about instruments
Questions about a certain genre or period of time (e.g. 1980s music)
Google Forms is great for making quizzes but please make sure it’s public. You could also make a Google Slides presentation. The question could be on one slide, and the answer on the next (or all the answers could be at the end of the presentation).
Remember to please make sure any Google Forms/Slides/Docs etc. are public.
3) Tell us about an instrument
Do you have a favourite instrument? Or perhaps there is an instrument that fascinates you and you might like to do some research and write a post about it.
You might include things like:
Construction or appearance
Technique or how to play it
Famous works or artists
Classification or family of instruments (e.g. strings, or percussion)
Don’t forget to include an image or embed a video.
Example: Ash wrote a post about the ukelele for her free choice post in week 4.
4) Research a famous artist or group
Find out more about a singer, songwriter, musician, or group. This might be someone who is popular now or performed long ago.
Share some interesting facts in a post.
Bring your research to life with an image or video.
5) Make a playlist
Music lovers have enjoyed making their own playlists for years. A playlist can celebrate a certain artist, genre, or mood.
Write a blog post that includes a playlist of your favourite songs. Don’t forget to explain why you like each song and why it’s part of your playlist.
Example: Principal Meredith Akers made a playlist by embedding YouTube videos into her blog post.
6) Discuss music and the law
Many people don’t realise that by using music illegally, you are putting artists at a disadvantage because they are not getting paid for their work.
Do some research and write an article about the downsides of using music illegally.
Alternatively, you might like to write a post about do’s and don’ts of using music legally. You might be able to teach others who aren’t aware that there are rules we need to abide by.
7) Guess the artist, song, or instrument
Guessing games are fun!
Give your readers some clues as they scroll down the page and have them guess the artist, song, or instrument.
You could put each clue on a slide of a Google Slides presentation if you prefer (just remember to make sure your Slides presentation is public).
Invite your readers to put their guesses in a comment.
8) Make some music
We don’t just have to talk about music or listen to others’ music. Why not make your own. There are lots of apps and websites where you can make music.