Subhadra has been working at The Cooper School since 2009. She is originally from Florida and received her Bachelors degree in Early Education and Special Education followed by her Masters in Early Childhood Education from the University of Florida. Subhadra has taught Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grades, and is excited to begin teaching Fourth this year.
The human body is an endless source of questions and discoveries for Fourth Graders. The more they learn about how bones, veins, and joints work the more questions they have. The focus on joints has the students exploring three types of joints: hinge joints, ball and socket, and gliding joints. And what better way to pay attention to how we use the joints in our body than to have them taken away? This week, Fourth Graders attempted to do a series of activities while having specific joints immobilized. First, we noticed how our thumb moves and is used and then did the same with our first two fingers. These immobilization activities really highlighted how much we bend and use our fingers for simple tasks.
There is a bittersweet feeling to finishing a good book. Fourth Graders experienced that this week as they finished reading The BFG by Roald Dahl. The books unique characters with a magical twist set in the real world is such an appealing idea and is painted so clearly in the minds of readers that it is sad when that book comes to an end. This year, Fourth Graders had the special treat of being able to watch those characters come to life in the new BFG movie! Students loved watching the movie and noticing the similarities and differences between the book and movie.
Our social emotional focus this month has been on leadership. Fourth Graders have been looking at and talking about the different qualities of leaders, different ways to be a leader, and how they can take on the role of leadership. This week, Fourth Graders took on this leadership role as expert helpers to the Second Graders working on their Bird Study Presentations. The Fourth Graders had previously helped them do research on their birds, passing on their knowledge of how to search, read for information, and take notes. Then they helped to edit and finish the final product, their PowerPoints. Second Graders had completed their work but needed help revising and editing. Fourth Graders showed their leadership skills as they jumped in to help, applying their technology skills and grammar abilities to help prepare the Second Graders for their presentation on Friday. Fourth Graders were rewarded for their work by attending the presentation and seeing the final product.
Fourth and fifth graders were excited, and a little nervous, to cut into the pig hearts today! Working together, each partnership got to follow the flow of blood as it enters the heart un-oxygenated, flows through to the lungs, comes back in and back to the body, fully oxygenated. They got to cut, poke, and peer at the heart with the help from class parents and our guess expert, Dr. Quinn. Students noticed that the hear looks very different in reality than it does in diagrams and that it was often hard to tell things apart. They also expressed how the blood flow process made more sense now that they were able to get their hands on it.
This week we began our Roald Dahl author study with a new read aloud and independent reading book. Our new read aloud is “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and the class began reading “The BFG”. Students are enjoying Dahl’s witty sense of humor, and intricate character development. They especially enjoyed hearing his descriptions of Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Mike Teavee, and Violet Beauregarde, the wretched golden ticket winners in the famous “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.
Our final unit of study for writing this year is Literary Essays. During this study students are reading closely to develop ideas and thesis statements about books. They are working with a partner to dive deep into a beloved picture book to really get to know it and find evidence to support their thesis statement. These skills not only help them to become better writers, it also teaches them to become more alert readers.
Movement Study Trip
We got back on the water this week and boy was it hot! Students could not resist the lure of the water and practiced safe ways to get in and out of their boats while on the water. We purposely capsized ourselves, going all the way over and learned how to empty our boats of water. The heat had everyone going for a dip and putting their safety practices into action. Races and games ensued and we all had a blast. Can’t wait to switch next week!
Human Body Special Guest
This week we were delighted to welcome resident expert, Dr. Curtis Quinn, to our classroom. Dr. Quinn is a cardiac surgeon and came in to talk to Fourth and Fifth Graders about the heart. He presented a PowerPoint to show us all about the four chambers of the heart, the differences between veins and arteries, and the importance of staying healthy. Students had lots of questions and got even more excited to get their hands on some hearts. Dr. Quinn will be joining us again next week to help with dissecting hearts!
This week students put their test taking skills to the test! We spent some time each day completing the ERB Standardized Test. Much of the focus leading up to theses test has been on good test taking skills, strategies, and habits. Students have learned to pre-read, reread, and manage their time. Taking this type of test is a skill that students will have to utilize throughout their school careers. TCS believes that students need to become familiar and comfortable with the test taking environment and process, however we do not place a lot of emphasis upon the test itself. Fourth Graders’ favorite part was filling in the bubbles.
Movement Study Trip
This week we completed our first field trip to James Island County Park for kayaking and paddle boarding lessons. We are had a blast! This week students learned the proper way to get in and out of their boat and on and off their boards, both in and out of the water! Then, they practiced trying to steer and learn the proper paddle techniques. Safety First: when standing up on the SUPs you must be a full board length away from others and if you capsize your kayak remember not to panic. We had beautiful weather and a lovely day on the water!
The third annual Cooper School Grandparent’s and Special Friends Day was a huge success! Fourth graders were delighted to welcome their friends and family in to the classroom and to share our routine of Morning Meeting with them. Students worked on an interview with their visitor and learned a lot about each other and even got some insight into what their mom or dad was like as a child. After finishing our morning meeting routines, fourth graders were proud to show off and explain their Poet Muse projects. Grandparents were then given a tour of the room that was full of information on what we are working on now.
Pass It On
After months of preparation your poets are finally ready to share their creative writing with everyone at the annual Pass It On celebration. Now that their poems have been refined and published, your writers turned their focus toward performing this week. We practiced reading our poems in big and small groups. Your poets analyzed the tone of their poem and discussed how that might change the way they read it. They practiced pacing their reading, speaking loud and clear, and presenting with emotion. We can’t wait to share all of our hard work with you at this special event!
The day started off with a morning spent inside a Portable Planetarium! Mr. Andy Cohen, from Dome Education lead the students through an explanation of the reason for the seasons, the moon’s relationship to high and low tide, constellations and the phases of the moon. Students were thrilled to see concepts they had read, talked about, and acted out in such clear ways. We also learned about the upcoming solar eclipse in August and how to safely view this once-in-a-lifetime event. Ask your student all about blood moon!
This week students were excited to begin our study of the human body. This study focuses on having healthy bodies as well as the systems that help us move. The first investigation is all about BONES. Students began by observing their bodies at work while jumping rope and thinking about what parts of the body are used. They then predicted how many bones are in a typical human body. Their guesses were way too high! We then tried to break down the parts of the body and count our bones. Then they guessed how many bones. Those guesses were way too low! Finally, they used multiple resources to such as books and x-rays to count the bones again and were then able to come up with a closer guess. Ask your student how many bones are in a typical human body.
Fourth Graders began their final unit in writing this week, combining their reading and writing skills to write literary essays. This unit requires students to do close reading of shorter books to really notice the details. Students will learn to notice the details in their books, and think about why an author made the decision for the setting, characters, metaphors, and word choice. Readers are taught to ask, “Why did the author make this decision?” We will begin by writing essays to defend basic ideas about the text with a focus on the structure of an effective literary essay. Students will learn to write opinion pieces that focus on specific text, not just on a topic. This will include learning the difference between paraphrasing and quoting and how to correctly cite text.
On Thursday, Fourth Graders delighted their parents during our Poet Muse Presentation. During this time, students not only recited poetry but also presented their iMovie’s that were filled with research about their Poet muse. We were excited to welcome Marcus Amaker, the first Charleston Poet Laureate, who came to watch because he was selected as a muse. After the presentation, parents were able to read the poems that the 4th Graders wrote that were inspired by their muse!
This week during Reading Workshop, students selected an endangered animal to focus on during our Animal Adaptations study. Students will use their nonfiction reading abilities to find the main idea, pick out important details, and make inferences based on word choice within the articles and information about their animal. By the end of this unit, students will have a clear example of animal adaptations as it relates to a specific animal and the ability to relate it across species around the world.
The weather is beautiful and spring has sprung in our backyard! Students returned to our earlier study of bees and decided to plant flowers again in our planter box to help attract and feed the bees we have in our hive. Fourth Graders worked together to churn the soil, dig the holes, plant, and water the beautiful flowers. Many students shared personal experiences and tips they have learned from gardening at home.
Fourth Graders have been working hard on their Poet Muse projects. During this project, each student chooses and poet they are inspired by and learn about their lives and poetry. The culminating project includes a slideshow about their poets’ lives, a memorized recitation of one of their poet’s poems, and a poem they write that was inspired by their poet. Students are getting ready to present this to their parents and peers.
We began a new reading unit this week all about animal adaptations. This is a nonfiction unit focused on reading for information and answering complex questions about the text. The big idea of this unit is to learn more about the connection between animals and their environments, especially how internal and external structures, including senses, work to support animal species’ survival in their specific habitat. The essential question that all of the articles relate to is: “How are animals’ physical characteristics and behaviors reflections of their environment?” This week, students have explored the differences between physical characteristics and behavior as they relate to adaptations. They have also looked at how adaptations are a result of evolution that happens over long periods of time.
This week Fourth and Fifth Graders have been talking further about empathy. Previously, we discussed the difference between sympathy and empathy. Students were able to think through the steps of showing empathy towards others. We thought about what color we would assign to the emotion of empathy and they decided it should be blue hombre, bringing friends from darkness to light. This week’s focus has been on how to move toward empathy when you are involved and emotional about a situation. It is far easier to show empathy when it does not directly affect you. The ideas students came up with included taking deep breaths, taking a break from the situation, coming b
ack to the friend the next day to talk. This is big work, even for adults!
This week the Fourth Graders have been learning about and observing the moon. Through keeping a moon observation log and checking out the night sky each night, students are beginning to gather information to help them understand the lunar cycle. The first night was a puzzle because no one could see the moon! We discovered that this was because the moon was at the beginning of its cycle, in the new moon phase. Slowly, each night we could see a little more of the moon, which we learned is called the waxing crescent. We will continue to do this for one whole month, until it cycles back to the new moon again.
On Thursday, Fourth Graders were delighted to have lunch buddies with Kindergarten! Each student had a little buddy that they ate lunch with and then played with. We didn’t let the rainy day stop us! Students ate inside and were tasked with learning three new things about their buddies and one thing that they had in
common. When the rain let up, we got to go outside and play Buddy Blob tag! Ask your student who their buddy was and what they had in common.
Second Grade Buddies
On Friday, Fourth Graders got to buddy up with Second Grade! This time, the Fourth Graders were acting as writing partners to share their poetry expertise and help Second Graders revise. These expert poets could be found helping the Second Graders add luscious language, rhymes, repetition, alliteration, and many other poetry tools they knew to their buddy’s poems. They then worked with their buddy to write a poem for two voices. After choir, they got together again for lunch buddies and taught the Second Graders to play our new game, buddy tag! Fourth Graders noticed how mucfaster the Second Graders were than their Kindergarten Buddies.
Whole School Writer’s Workshop
Cooper School students got a special treat on Tuesday. A Whole-School Writing Workshop! This annual event is one that is eagerly awaited by students and teachers alike. In the library and 5th grade classroom, with the sliding doors open, the entire school engages in a poetry writing lesson led by Ms.
Franci. Our goal was to write Tribute Poems about our chosen Pass It On charity, The Charleston Animal Society. Students from all grades sat together and helped each other to create some excellent poems. It was a beautiful example of collaboration and love of learning!
The treats continued into Tuesday afternoon for your poets when Marcus Amaker, Charleston’s first Poet Laureate, visited 4th and 5th grade for a special poetry workshop. He kicked off the workshop by asking the students to write a collaborative poem. Each writer composed one line of a poem on a post-it that started with the words “I wish…”. When everyone was done, we had an 18 line poem full of wishes! The next collaborative poem required students to write 2 lines; the first line began with “I used to…” and the second line began with “But now I…”. It was so beautiful when it all came together! After he left, one of our students chose him to be their Poet Muse so we get to learn even more about him. We look forward to working with Marcus again as the Pass It On season continues.
Tuesday wasn’t over! Fourth Graders got to come back after school hours for a super special movie night and feast! The Fourth Grade class finished the whole class read aloud, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, this week and got to celebrate by watching the movie. Students came back to school dressed as Greek gods and goddesses bearing delicious plates of food for a Greek feast. Over these treats we got to watch the beloved characters (and scary demons!) come to life. At school the next day, students worked together to create a Venn diagram looking at the similarities and differences between the book and the movie.
St. Patrick’s Day
The Cooper School’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration includes a look at traditional Irish poetry (limericks) and a visit from the leprechauns. Students enjoy hearing some silly limericks from classic poets as well as new ones. They then got to go on a “hunt” to find the present that was left for them from the “leprechauns”. Each student gets a green necklace and a silly limerick to enjoy. This year we were privileged to enjoy a concert from our very own Hazel Ketchum and special guest, Tom Morley, playing traditional Irish music.
Fourth Grade recently began a new unit in science called The Sun, Moon and Stars. This week our focus was on the Sun. Students first used a compass to locate the East/West line in our backyard. Standing on this line and facing south we tracked the Sun’s movement throughout the school day. We also tracked their shadow’s movement with the help of a partner. Students traced their partner’s shadow at two different times during the day. They discovered that their shadow pointed Northwest at 10am and then Northeast at 2:00pm. Students also discovered that their shadow was longest when the sun was close to the horizon and shortest when it was high in the sky.
Over the past two weeks, Fourth Graders have been reading “Heartbeat” by Sharon Creech. This is a sophisticated narrative poem told from the point of view of an 11 year old girl. Students have learned about the elements of narrative poetry, made character inferences, and thought about extended metaphor and writer’s craft. Ask your child to explain the symbolism of the apple to you!