Monday, April 22, 2013

Artist in Residence

This week the West School is so lucky to have an artist in residence.  Bren Bataclan will be at our school all week!  On his website you can see lots of examples of his paintings.  You can also watch a news video about his wonderful mission to spread smiles around the world.

Not only does Mr. Bataclan sell is paintings, but he also leaves them in random places for people to find for free, just to cheer them up.  He has left paintings in over 30 states and almost 50 countries around the world!  All he asks for in return is that the person who finds it smile at a few strangers to brighten their day.

To kick off his week with us, Mr. Bataclan presented an assembly to the school where he showed us some of his artwork, but he also taught us the steps to make some of his favorite characters.  He uses pretty simple shapes to make drawings that have a lot of personality!  The fourth graders in Room 13 were incredibly proud of their drawings and continued to try out different techniques when they had a spare minute today in class.  Here are some of their masterpieces:

Mr. Bataclan will be at our school all week painting a mural in the front entrance to our school.  He will be using drawing made by the fifth graders to inspire his work.  I can't wait to show you how it turns out!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Community Reader Day

Last Friday the West celebrated Community Reader Day.  Each classroom was visited by a special guest from the community who read a wonderful book called Clever-sticks.  Our guest was Mrs. Schwarz, the ELL coordinator at the West!  

We were particularly lucky because Mrs. Schwarz is fluent in Portuguese.  She took the time to translate the entire story and read it to us in both languages!  All the students enjoyed this.  We have several students who understood both languages, but everyone heard something they found interesting.  Some students heard words that sounded like languages they know - Spanish and Polish were both mentioned.  Other students heard words that were very similar to words in English.  We had just learned the word scholar and in portuguese, the word for school is schola.  Did you know that the word for snake is cobra?  
Here is a video of a portion of her reading:

Room 13 has green thumbs!

This week we are wrapping up our science unit about plants, and boy is Room 13 green! We started by sprouting bean and corn seeds in plastic bags way back in February.  We did this so that we could see the germination process as it was happening.  We put in a wet paper towel to keep the seeds damp and then we hung them on the window to make sure they could get some sunlight as they started to sprout.  The kids studied their seeds and drew diagrams every few days.

Once we could see the roots and stems begin to grow, we transfered them from the bags into pots of soil.  The students watched anxiously to see when they would first sprout above the soil.  Some predicted it would take a few hours, while others thought it might take months!  It actually took about a week for most of the pots to have some little green leaves showing.

The fourth graders have been taking good care of their plants and observing them closely.  Look how much they've grown!

It appears that Room 13 has some future gardeners!