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Simple Sunrise: Inquiry

Today, we watched this commercial. Students wrote down questions they had about the commercial. What questions come to your mind after watching it?

Some of the questions they generated were:

1. Why only 25000 mornings?
2. What does ‘some’ mean?
3. How many days is 25000 mornings?
4. How many years is 25000 mornings?
5. How many hours/minutes is 25000 mornings?
6. What are they advertising?

As a class, we discussed how we could answer each question, and if more information was needed in order to do so.

1. Why only 25000 mornings?
* we would have to interview someone who created the commercial to find this out

2. What does ‘some’ mean?
* we could estimate: students used fractions and percentages for this: 1/3 of the mornings, 1/4 of the mornings, 25% of the mornings, 50% of the mornings
* we realized that we couldn’t answer this without interviewing someone who created the commercial

3. How many days is 25000 mornings?
* students realized that the answer is in the question – each day has one morning, so one morning represented one day, so there were 25000 days

5. How many hours/minutes is 25000 mornings?
* we discovered that the term ‘morning’ needed to be more defined, so we looked it up here, but decided to move on because in the definition, we noticed that it said: Originally, the term referred to sunrise (5:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.), and we weren’t sure if that had changed — something for further inquiry!

6. What are they advertising?
* We watched the commercial again with the purpose of figuring out what was being advertised, and with this focus, it was easy to use the information in the media to answer it.

4.  How many years is 25000 mornings?
* students started talking about how they could figure this one out, so I gave them their “1 question math assignment”: How old is someone who is 25000 mornings old?
* independent discovery ensued

So many wonderful strategies emerged from this one question. Students shared their answers, and the thinking that led them to their answers. Because they know that there is value in ‘wrong’ answers and strategies, it appeared that everyone felt comfortable sharing their findings.

Here are some of their answers:

365 X 25000 = 9125000
I know this doesn’t make sense because nobody could live that long!

His thinking regarding using 365 was accurate, and he used common sense about the answer.

365 x 80 = 29200
I used 80 because I figured that’s how long most people live, so I guessed. I realized that it was too high, so then I tried 70 years.
365 x 70 = 25550
That’s pretty close, so then I thought maybe I should try 69, and instead of multiplying, I thought I could just subtract 365 from 25550, which is 25185. It’s not exact, but in the commercial it said “give or take”, so I thought it was close enough.



I added 365 + 365 on my calculator 6 times and got 2555 (which works out to 365 x 7). Then I multiplied by 10 to make it 25550, because it would take too long to get to that number, but that was still too much. Then I subtracted 1 year, which is 365 days and got 25185, and then I subtracted 28 days 6 times, because there are 28 days in a month, and got 25017, and then subtracted 17 days to get to 25000. You would be 60 years, 6 months and 17 days old.


I divided 25000 by 365 on my calculator and got 68.49315, but that didn’t make any sense.

As a class, we reviewed how to round to tenths, and figured out that it was 68.5, which means that you would be about 68 and a half years old.


What great thinkers we have!

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In math, we have been exploring the measurement of time. Students will continue to refine their skills on estimating and determining elapsed time, given the durations of events expressed in 5-minute intervals, hours, days, weeks, months, or years.

Many students require extra practice on reading an analogue clock. We have student clocks that can be signed out for home practice.


Today we are heading down to teach the students in Mrs. DiDonato’s and Mrs. Groves’ classes how to tell time. Our focus will be on the minute hand, the hour hand, counting by 5s, o clock, half past, quarter after and quarter to.

Teaching is always a great way to increase our own knowledge and understanding.


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Miss Mete

A big congratulations to Miss Mete, our student teacher from Brock University, who was with us for the last six weeks. Today is her last day, and she will be missed.



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Click on this link and then scroll down to the “Lessons” to practice your skills on Reflection Symmetry.

Click on each of these links and complete each lesson!

Link One

Link Two (be sure to do each of the questions after you’ve read the information)

Link Three

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Math Update – Note to Families

Dear Family,

Yesterday, you should have received a blue paper titled “Math Skills Update”, giving you an outline of areas of strength and need for your child in the realm of math. Attached to the blue paper was an information page for geometry. I’ve made the mistake of saying that this page was for students to use. It was, in fact, an information page for parents. Kid friendly language and layout, this page was not! Many apologies.

Please forward any questions or concerns to my new email address:


K. Dunford

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Quick Write: Optical Illusion #1

Take a look at the picture below.

What do you notice? How could you create a similar shot? What might you include in your picture? Include as many details as you can.

Post your writing in the comments section.


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Quick Write: Optical Illusions #2

Write about this picture. Try to use some of your geometry vocabulary! Be sure to write in complete sentences.

Post your writing in the comments section please.


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Geometry Centre

Big Ideas:

1.     Quadrilaterals have specific geometric properties that make them  unique.

2.     Three-dimensional figures have height, width, and depth.

3.     Benchmark angles help us to make estimations about other angles.

Name the prisms and pyramids.

 Name the 3D shapes.

2D and 3D naming

Lines of symmetry on 2D shapes

Sort polygons

Guess the 2D shape!

Guess the 3D solid!

Guess the angle!

Parallel, perpendicular, intersecting!

Similar or congruent??

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The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot

Please post your answers in the comments section.

1. From whose point of view is the story written?

How do you know? (Use evidence from the text in your answer) (5-6 really good sentences, using connecting words to explain your answer)


2. Whose point of view is missing?


3. Explain how the story might be different if it was told from the point of                         view of a different character? (you can briefly retell the story)


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Measurement: Mass, Capacity and Volume

Click here to review mass.

Click here to review volume and capacity.

**Volume will be explored in the next few weeks.


Check out this article to help with the difference between volume and capacity.

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Rocks and Minerals — Getting Ready to Show What You Know

Here are a few online multiple choice and short answer quizzes to test your knowledge:

Another quiz

Kind of a hard quiz

This is a review task. Be sure to do the oral responses out loud!

Quick Quiz


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Rocks and Minerals Inquiry Projects — Rocking the Process

It has really come to light that the ‘during‘ is the most exciting part of these projects. Following our previous post, we needed to revisit our statements to ensure that they were, in fact, statements and not questions. We created a system for changing questions or one word (e.g., Iron) into statements. Students revised and moved through “self-check”, “peer-check” and then “teacher-check”. Once confirmed, statements were recorded on a google chart.

Download (PDF, 17KB)

Students created collaborative thinking webs on googledraw. Each stem of their web will be a sub-heading on their collaborative document and will contain all of their research.

Students divided up the research tasks based on what they were interested in and the seek and find began, which consisted of a lot of copy-and-paste, images and a video here and there to support their sub-headings.

The final phase of their projects was to assess their own findings, ensuring that they could fully read and understand the information, and to rewrite the majority of their research in their own words. This was a really powerful language lesson opportunity as students applied many skills at once to recreate their categorical information.

A very special thank you to “Mr. C” for coming in to speak to all of the grade 4s about his area of expertise as a Geoscientist. He had loads of interesting information to share about our local resources and gave students a variety of hands-on tasks. Engagement was high! We should have booked him for a full day.

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As we were rounding the final corner of our investigations, it seemed like the perfect time to conduct a knowledge building circle. We pushed our desks out of the way, sat on the floor in a circle (teacher too) and began sharing our learning. Students took turns sharing a concept that had been taught, investigated or discovered and others prompted for more information. I recorded many of their ideas as they came and they were projected on our screen. This was a fun and valuable way to consolidate learning and to clarify misconceptions as they arose, in a student directed format.

Here’s an example of a knowledge-building circle from “Natural Curiosity”, (we didn’t video tape ours):

Gr. 4 Knowledge Building Circle from Natural Curiosity- Video Series on Vimeo.


As it turns out, EVERY group decided to use google presentations for their final sharing platform. IMG_20140303_122453We decided to include our online presentations on our physical interactive flip books that we’ve been putting together little by little. How, you ask? Why, QR Codes, of course! What a fun and fast application. A few of my students arrived early, learned the process, and taught a couple of students who then taught a couple of students, until every student had created and printed a QR Code (which is a code that can be scanned by a device to take you directly to their presentation).

Technology is pretty fun.

Here are some group presentations.



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Sugar Project…. Check.

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Tin Foil Figures

We had fun crunching tin foil into figures! We chose poses to reflect active living, and had a great discussion on the importance of an active lifestyle.

Here is our template:

Here are our results!

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2014-02-26 12.47.08

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Sugar Project Underway…

Students have been having some great conversations about how to solve the problem of determining the total sugar content for different food and beverage containers. We’ve discovered some of the relationships between grams, kilograms, millilitres, and litres, and have had to translate cups, 1/2 cup and 1/4 cups for our goal too! (We may have taken a liberty here or there and used our rounding skills).

Here is our progress so far:

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Our Sugar Project

Dear Family,

We are embarking on a “Sugar Project” for our next  study of measurement (mass and capacity). For our project, we will need to generate a number of empty drink containers and empty food packages. For some food items, students have suggested printing them on their colour printers at home (for students who have access to colour printers). Please note that this is totally optional, and should be limited to two or three pictures of common foods (burgers, pizza, croissants, etc.,).

When sending in empty containers, please ensure that the labels are fully intact so that we can read the sugar content.

Thank you for your cooperation! We look forward to measuring and sharing our findings.

Mrs. Dunford


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They smiled… and then they passed it on.




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Inquiry — Out of the fog!

Today we began our rocks and minerals group projects.

At first, the goal was vague, and we weren’t sure how to proceed. Students had already made their choices (Inquiry #1 or Inquiry #2– see previous post) based on the overall expectations from our ministry document, but where to go from:

Analyse the impact on society and the environment of extracting and refining rocks and minerals for human use, taking different perspectives into account.


 Use scientific inquiry/research skills to investigate how rocks and minerals are used, recycled and disposed of in everyday life.

…was a bit of a mystery.

In two groups, students were given sticky notes and the task of writing a theory or statement and a question in response to the overwhelming overall expectation assigned to their group.

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Little by little, through conversation, students began to generate ideas. Their ideas were placed on chart paper, which sparked more ideas. We then categorized like-ideas together, and came up with sub-groups. Students naturally grouped themselves.

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Rocks and Minerals Inquiry Thinking WebNext, students broke into their sub-groups and began to generate thinking-webs with their theory/statement as the centre, and information they will need to research as the stems. This process has provided a spring-board for their investigations. They now have ideas to either prove or disprove, and they can work with the end in sight (keeping in mind that the end, being the sharing of their learning, may evolve into something slightly different than what was originally planned, as questions may take them on a valuable tangent).

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The energy in the room moved from confusion to quiet contemplation to focused conversations and, finally, to excited questions like “Can we start our research now??”. It was such a pleasure to watch them work through this process!

**Special thanks to Mrs. Siwak for coaching us through this process.


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Birch Trees — Natural Beauty in Negative Space

Birch Trees — Negative Space on PhotoPeach

Birch Trees — Negative Space on PhotoPeach

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Rocks and Minerals Inquiry Groups

Scroll down to read the information on the options for your guided inquiry on rocks and minerals before choosing the one you are most interested in investigating. Then complete the form and submit your response. This is going to be fun!

Download (PDF, 69KB)

Open Pit Mining – Search

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Healthy Eating? Let’s Do The Math

We’ll do this in class!

What’s the first question that comes to mind? Write it down.

What information will you need in order to find out?

What other questions do you have?

What question do you now have?

What information will you need to figure it out?

You’d never eat __ sugar packets! How many would you drink?

Download (PDF, 92KB)

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Valentine’s Day

In grade 4, we still love the idea of handing out Valentine’s Day Cards to our friends. On Friday, we will spend the afternoon handing out our cards, socializing, creating a craft or two and munching on some Valentine’s Day treats. If you would like to send in a treat for us to share, please note our severe allergies to seeds, soy, legumes, peanuts and tree nuts, and it would be helpful if you included the ingredients wherever possible. **Healthy treats are always encouraged!

Thank you!

Here is a class list to help you with your Valentine’s Day Cards:


Mrs. Dunford

Grade 4 2013-2014


























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Rocks and Minerals

We’ve begun our study of Rocks and Minerals!

Our inquiries will be driven by our Big Ideas:

1.  Rocks and minerals have unique characteristics and properties that are a result of how they were formed.

2. The properties of rocks and minerals determine how we use them. 

3. Our use of rocks and minerals affects the environment.

This post will be updated frequently as we move through our investigations. We’ll have videos to watch, websites to explore and pictures to share.

 Check out this site to read about How Rocks are Formed

Rocks and Minerals Video — Bill Nye The Science Guy





The Rock Cycle

Interactive Rocks and Minerals Site

Three Main Rocks and The Rock Cycle – Great Video!

 Create a Rock Cycle Foldable

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Big Ideas

A fraction is not meaningful without knowing the size of the whole.
1/2 can look really big or really little—it is all about the relationship of the part to the whole.

The size of a fraction should be thought of as the relationship between its numerator and denominator.
At this level, we want students to realize 1/2 = 2/4 not because they take the same space in a pie, but because 2 is twice 1 just as 4 is twice 2.

Our Learning Goals

* represent fractions

* explain the meaning of the denominator as the total number of fractional parts of a whole or of a set and the numerator as the number of fractional parts being considered

* compare and order fractions by considering their size and fractional parts

* compare fractions to the benchmarks of 0, 1/2 or 1.

* show and explain the relationship between equivalent fractions

How are these Cuisenaire rod relationships the same?


Word problems.

Easy fraction matching game.

Matching equivalent fractions game.

Equivalent fractions target practice – game.

Ordering fractions balloon pop!

Ordering fractions – challenge.

Comparing fractions – challenge

More Word Problems – Math Playground

How is determining 2/3 of 12 like determining 2/3 of 27? How is it different?

Jake was comparing numbers. He said he had them in order from least to greatest. This is what he wrote: 1/10, 1/100, 1/1000. Was he correct? Explain.

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Opinion Writing #2

Do boys and girls learn better together or apart?

Think about it. What do you already know? What have your school and learning experiences been so far? What do you think? What’s your opinion?

Read the article. Make decisions along the way about things you agree with, disagree with, or don’t know about. Did your opinion change based on your reading?

Use information from the article, your own experiences and your own ideas to write a paragraph to support your opinion. Be sure to use the success criteria and sentence stems for help!


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Opinion Writing #3

Be sure to use the Success Criteria and Sentence Stems to help you organize your thinking and extend your ideas (scroll down on the pdf to see the sentence stems).

Read this article (vote too!) and then write YOUR opinion.

Should dodge ball be banned in schools?

Download (PDF, 29KB)

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What’s Your Opinion??

It’s time for us to be influential. We want our opinions to be strong, well supported and clear. Our first opportunity to voice our own beliefs/opinions is in response to the article on whether kids should be paid for chores (found on the link below). Be sure to click your Yes or No answer at the bottom of the article!

Read this article.

Have fun reading our responses in the comments section below!



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Bullying — We all have a role to play.

We’ve enjoyed reading the Weird! Series by Erin Frankel. In this set of three books, we were able to look at bullying situations from three different perspectives: The Target, The Bystander and The Bully. It’s been an interesting evolution of thought for our grade 4s, as students are so used to just thinking about The Bully.

We will continue to work on using strategies to put a stop to bullying, as far as our power will allow.

Here is a conversation between the author, Erin Frankel and the illustrator, Paula Heaphy. Our students enjoyed listening to the background for the book series, and to the process of creating the characters and the illustrations.

We’ve also been working on how unexpected, or unacceptable behaviours affect others and, after moving through social mapping exercises, ourselves. Below is a social map that students completed as a shared document.

Download (PDF, 32KB)

Here are some bitstrips students have created to illustrate unexpected behaviours. Have fun!

Please feel free to check out our shared document for social mapping by clicking this link! ** Please note that this is an ongoing document.

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Quick Write

Study the poster.

In the comments section below, write about what you see.

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Create a T-Chart for the following growing patterns.

What would the 5th term look like? Sketch it.

Add the numbers for terms 5, 6 and 10 on your T-Chart.  Good luck!


Here, you can practice extending number patterns.

Click here to complete some very cool geometric and picture patterns.

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Procedural Paragraph – How To Build A Snowman

We had fun watching this Disney clip and recording the narrator’s instructions on how to build a snowman. All we had to do was add an opening sentence, and our job was complete!

Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings: How to Build a Snowman on Disney Video

How To Build A Snowman

Here are easy steps on how to build a snowman. First, you have to construct your snowman’s face sphere, and ever so carefully, begin to roll it on the ground. As it rolls, your snowball will slowly increase in diameter. Next, proceed to form a second, smaller snowball sphere for your snowman’s torso. You’ve now graduated to your final sphere, for the head, as it were. Be sure that the expression reflects your snowman’s sunny disposition. When your three spheres are completed, gently stack one on top of another in descending size order. And, just like that, your snowman is complete.

Click on this link to see our paragraph with comments on a google doc.

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“…and we’re learning stuff?”

Groups had to do some serious problem solving when they were given the task of mapping out a shape with our classroom floor tiles (with masking tape) to have a specific perimeter and area. Some students even made the discovery that rearranging one square unit of their shape could create a different perimeter while maintaining the same area to meet the requirements of their challenge!

Block painting gave us an opportunity to measure the perimeters of a variety of different polygons. Students also had to determine the most accurate unit of measurement to use based on the lengths of each side — centimetres or millimetres?

In science, students have been demonstrating very impressive skills as they work together to investigate and construct pulley and gear systems.

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Of course, Lego is always a hit!


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Measurement: Length, Area and Perimeter

When we talk about how tall, deep, high, wide, far, long or thick something is, we’re referring to its linear measurement, or how ‘long’ it is.  In grade 4, we use millimetres, centimetres, decimetres, metres and kilometres  to estimate, measure and record linear measurements.

It is important to know which is the best unit of measurement to use in different situations. For example, it would take a really long time to measure the distance from Dundas to Toronto in centimetres! It would also be difficult to measure the length of an eyelash in metres.

Once the most appropriate unit of measurement is chosen, it’s also important to be able to understand its relationship to the other units of measurement. This concept will require much practice!

Our first focus is the relationship between mm, cm and m. See, class — this is one of the reasons why we needed to learn how to multiply a number by 10 and 100! 


 Here’s an online conversion calculator to confirm your answers when converting mm to cm, and cm to mm.

Click on this link to practice converting units of linear measurements (mm, cm, dm, m, km).

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Click here to practice your math facts while you race under water! Fun!

Play this holiday fun game to work on your math facts. Build a candy house!

Sketch’s World – help Sketch get around with your awesome multiplication skills!


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Our Christmas Assembly Performances

Here is the song our class performed under the direction of Mrs. Waller.

Here is our mini-musical performance of Moody Mood Joins Wonderland!


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Hot Chocolate

We continue to work on our paragraph writing skills. Here, we wrote descriptive paragraphs about hot chocolate! We used our success criteria to check that we were on track, and we’ve been working to use more interesting adjectives in our writing to keep our readers entertained.
Hot Chocolate on PhotoPeach

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Quick Write

In the comments section below, write about this picture.
How do you think the boy ended up hanging on the line?
What do you think will happen next?
Write as much as you can.

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Snowy Landscapes — One Point Perspective

One Point Perspective: Winter Walk on PhotoPeach

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Wayne Thiebaud Inspired Snowmen

We had fun working with shading and shadows when creating our colourful snowmen.
Wayne Thiebaud Inspired Snowmen on PhotoPeach

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Brace yourselves, parents. This isn’t how WE learned to multiply!
This method encourages number sense as students realize what the numbers in the 10s and 100s place actually represent.

We will use the standard algorithm once this method is mastered.

This site has many games for multiplication facts practice.

Drag and Drop Math – Great video included Click the “Click Here To Try This” tab to the top right of the screen to play!

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Moody Mood Joins Wonderland

Dear students,
Be sure to memorize your parts! We want to be able to perform our play without any scripts!
Oh yeah!
Also, please start thinking about your costumes!

Download (DOCX, 19KB)

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