Lauren is returning to The Cooper School as the 4th grade teacher. She is originally from Spartanburg, SC and has been living in Charleston for 6 years. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies from Sewanee: The University of the South in 2012 and her M.A.T. in Elementary Education from College of Charleston. Lauren enjoys integrating the arts into all subjects as well as meaningful fun learning experiences for students. She is so excited to be back at The Cooper School this year full-time! During her spare time, Lauren enjoys cooking, going to the beach and walking her dog, Brie.
Final Africa Project!
This week, 4th Graders shared their powerful creations for our final Africa project. Their presentations included iMovies, posters and dioramas. Our scholars were given a wide range of freedom to produce meaningful pieces to showcase for 3rd and 5th Graders. Projects ranged from Cheetahs, Elephants and Mount Kilimanjaro to the war in Chad. Please ask your child about this amazing experience.
Our creators jumped into creating innovative pieces from the tinkering cart. The cart holds a multitude of materials for building and materials that foster the imagination. 4th Graders designed unique pieces such as marble runs, airplanes, cars and so much more. This activity allows students to think outside the box! Please ask your child about their cool creation.
Wrapping Up the Year!
It is hard to believe that the year has come to an end. Scholars talked about all the growth that occurred through achievements and challenges. They shared some of their proudest moments and their accomplishments. Each student chose one or two words that they thought summed up their year. Then looking ahead, they shared the things they looked forward to in Fifth Grade. Please ask your child about their favorite memory this year!
Enjoy your summer!
Testing, Testing, 1,2,3
Students did a wonderful job with testing this week. Students took two ERB tests a day in order to display the knowledge they have learned all year. With only 4 more school days until Field Day, the countdown is on! Please ask your child how they felt about their testing experience.
Celebrating the Arts!
Fourth Graders created dynamic African masks for display outside of the TCS Library! Artists had to use color and not just pencil outlines to enhance the end result. Each student folded their masks in half to create clean lines and spectacular symmetry. Our historians also learned about the individuals who originally created these masks and how they had limited resources. They resorted to incorporating natural dyes like Indigo into their creations. The masks were used as entertainment pieces in certain countries in Africa. Please ask your child about the process of making these remarkable masks.
Centers this week revolved around mystery story writing. Students were tasked with creating their mystery story including detectives, suspects, witnesses, and a crime. Students shared their mysteries with the class and it was riveting. Ask your child to share their mystery with you!
Conjunction junction what’s your function? Combining words, phrases and clauses. Students worked on using conjunctions in their sentences this week to combine words and phrases, to contrast and to show options. 4th Graders are using grammar tools to enhance their writing skills. Ask your child to sing the conjunction song!
As we entered the month of May, our Fourth Grade students created a priceless bucket list to close out the year. The class chose different activities to add to the list and we have been checking them off day by day. Each student has a voice and a wish, which we try to fulfill before the school year comes to a close. One favorite list wish was challenging the Third Graders to a relay race, and the race was an epic event on the TCS playground. Another popular bucket list wish was writing a mystery story. Please ask your child about a bucket list item they have chosen.
Students were thrilled to start their letters to their pen pals in Ghana. Students worked to describe their families, friends and the activities they enjoy. The letters were decorated and signed and sealed. The focal point of composing these letters was to engage our students in an activity that would brighten another person’s life. Ask your child what they wrote in their letters!
Traveling to Africa with Jessica!
This week, our adventurous Fourth Graders took a fantastic tour through Morocco, Ghana, and Tanzania with Mrs. Jessica Manno! She brought rugs, artifacts and sweet mint tea from their family trips to Africa. Jessica showed a montage of videos and pictures to bring the trips to life. In Morocco, they engaged with the indigenous Berber people who live in the mountains. They ventured to the famous bazaar markets and learned about the Berber lifestyle. Mrs. Manno revealed to the class that Tanzania was all about exploring the amazing wildlife. She saw cheetahs, lions, hippos and giraffes, which were so close to their jeep, that they could almost touch them! Ghana was full of creative outlets for the Manno family and they frequently visited local schools to teach young students how to sew and bead! Please ask your child what they learned from this memorable presentation.
Last Round of Kayaking & SUP!
Our water enthusiasts were ready for the last field trip to the James Island County Park for kayaking and SUP! Each student has grown from this experience in numerous ways. They have learned to work effectively in groups, follow directions, persist through being vulnerable in a new setting and truly appreciating being immersed in nature. Fourth Graders have learned new skills and will have fond memories of sharing this experience with 5th Grade. Their positive growth mindset shined through! Please ask your child what they remember most from the field trip.
Help us Find the Arc in the Story!
Fourth Grade scholars put on their literary detective hats to find the story arc in their Mystery novels. Their main objective, after reading in depth, was to create a story arc to help bring the mystery together. Students began drawing the arc and labeling the main components, which included the main character & problem, rising action, climax, falling action and finally the solution. The process allowed our class to use similar writing techniques and apply them to their developing story arc. Please ask your child to draw a story arc for you.
It’s Lizl Time!
In honor of our Africa unit, Mrs. Lizl Kotz came in to speak to our 4th Grade scholars about her experience growing up in South Africa. She brought in artifacts that represented the culture and history of her upbringing. Students were curious and excited to learn all about Lizl’s childhood. Please ask your child about a highlight from Lizl’s presentation!
Fourth Grade students have been focused on creating culture cards for our Social Studies unit, Africa! A culture card is a card that has a fact about the culture of the Tuareg on one side and an image to match that fact on the other side. Each student selected 5 facts from their ongoing research. They were asked to include a fact about food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and culture. Please ask your child about the special significance of the culture cards!
Centers for Everyone!
Fourth Grade students got a kick out of the themes for our Centers this week! One center hosted mad lib sheets, which were designed to be a part of the mystery unit. Students practiced using adjectives, nouns, and verbs. Another center was set up for students to play the game Mancala, which is a count-and-capture board game with an ancient heritage. There are hundreds of variants found around the world. Our final center was dedicated to analogies. Please ask your child what they liked about each center!
Poetry Muse Presentation!
This week, Fourth Graders got into the poetry groove as they put on a fantastic Poetry Muse presentation for their families. Our scholars hand selected a famous poet with whom they connected and then picked one of their poems to recite for the big day! Students researched their poets in depth and created a video montage to give the audience a full picture of each poet’s life. Students rehearsed with eagerness and it was great to witness their efforts. This was a special moment for our class, as this marks the end of our presentations for the year. Please ask your child about how they felt about this remarkable presentation.
Mentor Poems & Art Blurbs!
Fourth Graders created poems inspired by their Poet Muse to add to their presentations! The poems incorporated poetic elements in theme or style and allowed students to tap into their own imagination. The process of writing poetry in this fashion fostered emotional expression and deepened their sense of ownership over their work. Students continued to fuel their creative minds by painting a piece in honor of their mentor poems. Their artwork put an exclamation mark on the hard work that went into the presentation. Please ask your child about their painting.
This week, to launch our Mystery Unit in Reading, our Fourth Grade detectives were put on a spectacular case! OJ, our beloved pet Gecko, went missing and pandemonium ensued in the classroom as students couldn’t believe their eyes…OJ had disappeared from his biome! Where did OJ go? Questions and concerns started to mount and the search for OJ began. Our scholars had to crack the code to solve the mystery. Students were given mathematical puzzles throughout the trial, to solve in pairs and were granted the next clue to gain momentum in the case. Five clues were given and then our detectives searched the classroom, the library, the Bee Garden, the Silent Zone and finally, the First Grade classroom. After an exhaustive search, they found OJ eating his delicious mealworms in First Grade! OJ was safe and sound. Please ask your child about this exciting mystery.
Who’s up for paddle boarding & kayaking in the Lowcountry?
Fourth Grade joined Fifth Grade for our first field trip to James Island County Park for SUP and kayaking lessons. We had a blast! We started with paddle boarding and students learned the proper way to sit, stand and kneel on their boards and how to do a pivot turn. We had beautiful weather and a lovely day on the water! Please ask your child about this wonderful adventure on the water.
Gearing up for Poet Muse!
Fourth Graders have been working diligently on their upcoming Poet Muse projects. During this project, each student chooses a 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 inspired by their poet. Students are getting ready to present this to their parents. Please ask your child one fact they’ve learned about their poet muse.
Prepping for Prepositions!
This week, Fourth Graders learned all about prepositions! We started out by having students listen to the famous song, “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Once the song ended, students pointed out the prepositions, which were present throughout the song. Scholars were able to identify prepositions in new key phrases and loved sharing how prepositions enhance writing skills. We love prepositions! Please ask your child if they can easily identify a preposition.
This week, our Fourth Grade scholars leaped into a new social studies unit! Students have begun studying the 2nd largest continent, Africa, and its 54 countries. They labeled each country on a blank map with the assistance of a world atlas and color coded each country. They were fascinated by the length of the Nile River, the height of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the severe conditions of the Sahara Desert. Finally, students studied Biomes of Africa and of course, labeled each Biome from Africa’s deserts to its tropical rainforest. Please ask your child to identify a country in Africa.
What’s for Lunch?
Students were thinking about healthy eating habits, that fuel the brain. We had an interactive group discussion about brainfood and how specific foods affect your mood and energy levels. Our nutritionists identified how their bodies feel when they eat too much, not enough or just the right amount. Our environmentally aware scholars have been actively composting in efforts to take care of their immediate surroundings. This conservation activity reminds students about reducing the impact of wasted food. Please ask your child about brainfood and how it is connected to a healthy growth mindset.
Finding Inspiration from a Mentor!
Fourth Graders designed a poem inspired by their favorite poet. Each student studied the poetry from a professional poet and drew inspiration from their special mentor. Our Fourth Grade poets were prompted to incorporate poetic elements into their pieces, which included metaphors, repetitive words and descriptive language. The process of creating a poem based on another persons poem, sparked a challenge in each student and they rose to the challenge. Please ask your child about the process of writing a poem and what motivates them to start a poem.
Optimism is the ultimate brain food for Growth Mindset!
Our scholars have been studying the science behind optimism and are currently taking this concept a step further! Fourth Graders learned how the brain works in relation to a positive growth mindset. They grasped the concept that their abilities and talents can be developed through positive talk, effort and persistence. Students broke into brain groups and shared a function of each part of the brain. For example: The Frontal Lobe group shared memories since memory is a key function of this part of the brain. Students inspected a diagram of the brain and then labeled the different lobes of the brain to conclude the activity. Please ask your child about their growth mindset motto!
Our mathematicians were busy creating line plots with ⅛ inch increments for their insect measuring activity. The insects, which were featured in their Math journals ranged from the Green Lacewing to the Short-Tailed Duck Darter Dragonfly. Students measured the insects bodies rather than wingspans. To round off the activity, students charted their findings and included a title and a label. The main objective was to encourage students to use a Line Plot to solve problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions. Please ask your child which insect was the most challenging to measure.
The Sun, Moon, and Stars Finale!
Our astronomers are winding down from a wonderful journey into the outer reaches of space! Fourth Graders have studied how the Sun impacts their daily lives, how shadows are created, the Lunar phases and the difference between a New Moon and a Waning Gibbous Moon. Scholars studied in depth about different constellations that are seen in the night sky during specific seasons. Our scholars read an online Charleston, Sun and Moon chart every class to track how many hours and minutes of daylight exist in South Carolina. They soared to new heights during this science unit and a few highlights included the virtual tour of the International Space Station (ISS) in 3-D, sitting inside the mobile Planetarium, recording the Moon phases and watching the Goddard Space Station video. Please ask your child about their most memorable moment of this unit.
The Road Not Taken!
This week, our poetry centers were a hit with Fourth Graders. This is a time for students to participate in hands-on enrichment activities related to the week’s curriculum. Students were offered several poetry centers. The “Illustrate a Line” center was a place for students to read a poem with strong imagery and illustrate what they saw in their mind. The Memorization Center was all about memorizing poems and reciting them aloud, from memory. At the Reading Center, students were able to read poetry independently or with a partner and pick a favorite poem to copy on a beautiful piece of paper. We are loving this time to explore poetry! Please ask your child about their poetic experiences thus far!
Fourth Graders got crafty at our Space Station Centers, this week. Our astronomers created sophisticated rockets out of legos, crafted handmade telescopes from construction paper and fine art materials, and embarked on a NASA mission through Seesaw. Students investigated the International Space Station, Hubble Telescope, the Curiosity Mars Rover and the Parker Solar Probe. After exploring a topic by reading, looking at images and watching videos, they were prompted to choose one photo they felt represented the topic, save the image to their camera roll and upload it to their Seesaw journal. Finally they included a caption describing the photo and its importance to the topic. Please ask your child about their experience in each space center.
Fourth Graders Feeling Optimistic!
This week, optimistic attitudes were on the forefront of our students minds! Our scholars expressed how they normally cope with challenges. Students tapped into their internal responses to difficult tasks and how they could use optimism as a tool to help them achieve certain goals. Our morning message included a note about specific phrases that students might say to themselves when facing hurdles. For example, “I give up” or “I can’t do it.” To turn these negative thoughts into positive thoughts, students shared optimistic phrases of encouragement, such as, “I’ll still try” and, “You might not be able to do this yet, but you will in the future.” We encouraged our scholars to keep these pockets of optimism with them throughout the week. Please ask your child about what it means to be optimistic.