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4th Grade is a Leap Year!

On Happy Hatch Day, Sue Addy’s 4th graders release the Monarch butterflies they have carefully monitored from eggs to larvae, pupae to adults.  Off they fly.  It’s a perfect metaphor – 4th grade itself is all about transition and transformation.

4th grade is a leap year for individuality and friendships, academics and responsibility.  Teachers Sue Addy, Rob Bauman, and Marchell Burgess create unique learning experiences that tap into their students’ growing sense of the real world and their place in it.  See what we mean…

Marchell has a classroom of travel bugs! Their natural curiosity is at the heart of a unit called “Where in the World” that Marchell has tailor-made just for them.  Traveling parents anonymously submit geographic coordinates of their locations and students track them on a map.  Using Google Earth, the fourth graders “fly” anywhere in the world viewing satellite images, interactive maps, terrain and buildings.  Soon, the class will watch video clips of unidentified places submitted by a parent, and will work together to identify the locale.  Where will their travel interest take them next?

In Rob’s classroom, students journey into the past, exploring their personal family histories.  They research yesterday’s historical facts with today’s online genealogical tools, and plan and chronicle interviews with family members.  Their research sheds light on our interesting and diverse cultures, and underscores themes of migration.  The unit ends with awesome creative energy and distinct family pride – personal history albums, destined to be family “best sellers” for all time.

Sue has a passion for science and she’s passing it on!  Her classroom participates in Monarch Watch, a cooperative network of students, teachers, volunteers and researchers dedicated to the study of the Monarch butterfly.  It’s real world, hands-on learning.  Starting with eggs they’ve found in local milkweed, the students rear the Monarchs through their fascinating life stages, observing and recording.  After the hatch, they tag each butterfly’s hindwing with an encrypted message on a tiny sticker and send data to Monarch Watch.  Migration is tracked on a scaled map in the classroom.

In fourth grade, students begin to fly on their own.  Marchell, Rob and Sue are their creative guides and ardent supporters.