2008-2009 Electronic Newsletter for Fourth Grade

The fourth grade students have been working on a variety of projects this year. I would like to share our work with you. As we work on the Internet, I have taught the students to find the links through a website called delicious. If your children would like to use the websites at home, they should be able to click on the All Tags link on the right side of the screen and navigate to the links we use in class.

Saint Michael Delicious account

There is a link saved to send your name to Mars on a computer chip. We did not do this in class. You may use the link with your child if it is of interest to you. My whole family is sending our names to Mars on the 2011 mission. As a parent, you may be interested in creating your own Delicious account. You can save bookmarks and open them on any computer.

As the year progresses, I work on many different projects with the fourth grade students. You may click here or click on the word Fourth on the left side of the screen to see my plan for the year.

We have used a variety of software this year. We see each other twice per week this year and have been able to complete more complex projects. We started the year learning about NASA mission patches. After viewing actual patches online, the students created a patch of their own and wrote a short description about the patch. They are stored on our wiki.

Here are the votes for favorite NASA mission patch:

Earlier in the year, the students had an opportunity to test our new tablet PCs. We listened to La Bamba through Discovery Streaming. The students practiced typing the lyrics using Open Office Writer. Open Office is a free suite of word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and drawing tools that is similar to Microsoft Office. The fourth grade students used Windows Journal to test writing with the stylus. These tools are now being used on the second floor thanks to the prize we won from CDWG and Discovery.

The fourth grade explored Excel earlier in the year. They learned how to move between cells and type basic information.

We worked with a program called Scratch. It can be downloaded free from MIT. This amazing program gives students the opportunity to learn a programming language. The students created dress up games.


In December, the students tried their hand at some tongue twisters students in California placed online.

After Christmas break, we began to work with PowerPoint. The students learned to create slides and use the drawing tools. This is a great experience for the fourth grade students. They all have an opportunity to present their work in front of the class. They have an opportunity to learn how to speak in a loud, clear voice as they show their work.

We have been working on collecting information about birds for our present project. The students used Yahooligans to find seven facts about birds. After organizing their information, they had to choose the most important fact of the seven. Next we learned how to cite the source of images through a website called Pics4Learning. It was a great lesson in selecting images, bringing them into PowerPoint, resizing the images, and citing the source. The work will be complete before Easter break as the students have their second opportunity to present their work to their classmates. Click here to see all the completed presentations. To see the notes from the presentation, you will have to click on the little closed caption (cc) icon on the slide window.

We will begin production on audio podcasts following the research PowerPoints. Before Christmas break, the students interviewed each other and created a script. They have already created music in Garageband for the start of the podcast. We now have microphones to record the interview. I will include links to the podcasts here once they are complete.

The school has a Flickr account to store photos taken throughout the school day. Please take some time to enjoy the photos. Click on a blue word (tag) to see that collection of images.