Learning Through Leadership

Monthly Archives: January 2014

Today we started one of my favorite projects of the year. Each year we take the concepts we are learning about in geometry and use them to create four square quilt designs. Once each student completes their own square we put them together to create a classroom quilt. It is truly amazing.

Of course part of the fun is making the final quilt, but the important part of the lesson is learning and properly using the geometric terms. Today we had each student design one square and then write a paragraph describing their square using geometric terms. We asked them to be as detailed as possible and to use as many geometric terms as was appropriate. Here are a few examples:




We then had the kids pair up and sit back to back. Each partner had to read their description while their partner tried to draw what they were describing. It was a great way for the kids to see how accurate their mathematical descriptions were. (And to practice listening!) The plan was to then talk about how they needed to add more details to their writing in order to make it very clear, but one of our fourth grade friends beat me to the punch! After seeing that her partner didn’t quite get the right picture, Yasmin said “I think I needed to add more details and be more descriptive.” I was so impressed about how proactive she was being and how she took responsibility to do a better job next time!

Here are a few pictures of the partner work…










Wow were we happy to see all of our smiling kiddos today! It seems like forever since we had school, much less a full day of school! We had a really productive day today, your little ones may be exhausted!

We were joined today by Michael Ternauex, a visiting pre-service teacher from OU Lancaster. He will be with us for the next 5 weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays learning the ropes of teaching and working with the kids. He is a graduate of PHSC and went to Heritage when it was a middle school.

A few reminders:

Friday folders will come home tomorrow, there won’t be much (if any) graded work, but conference forms, father daughter dance reminders, mother son event forms and a few other items from the office will be included.

We will be holding a Valentine’s celebration on the 14th. Students may bring in valentines for classmates, but in order to adhere to the district no food policy we will not allow students to pass out candy or food of any sort. More details on this will come home ASAP.

We are working on Geometry in math this week and next. The students are doing well, ask them about their daily geometry exercises!

In reading/language arts we are reading class books and working on using our book and the author’s words to answer questions. We are also working on using context clues to help find the meaning of unknown words.

As always, let us know if you need anything!

Today we had the opportunity to visit with some second grade friends in Miss Stack’s and Mrs. Wlodarski’s classes. They have been reading Charlotte’s Web and talking about how friendship can be a bridge between unlikely pairs. In our Storyworks magazine last month we read a story called “Popsicle Stick Bridge” about students who built a real bridge in science class but ended up building a bridge of friendship as well. We thought this was a great opportunity to practice some fluent reading and asked if we could come over and read to the second graders. While we were there the 4th graders also asked the 2nd graders to do a retelling of the story and make a connection to the story. Those second graders are some smart cookies… And our fourth graders did a great job helping them with their reading skills.

It was a Win-Win and we hope to do it again soon!









Today we practiced using a compass to measure angles. I was soooo nervous about this lesson as it was the first time teaching it for me (new fourth grade standard). I had nothing to worry about- the kids rocked! These tips can help to continue making this a success:

1) Make sure you line up the vertex of the angle with the center of the protractor and your bottom ray with the 0 line.

2) Extend your top ray using your pencil and a straight edge if it doesn’t reach the edge of the protractor.

3) Check to see if your angle measure is “reasonable”. If it is an acute angle the measure should be less than 90 degrees, if it is obtuse than your measure should be greater than 90 degrees.

Lastly I promised the kids I would post these two games that we played today… They actually WANT extra math practice!



Here are a few pictures of our practice:




I came across this article this morning on a friends Facebook page and it really hit home. Not only because the article discusses helping our children become leaders- I think we all know how strongly I believe in that- but because I could see myself in some of the examples the article gives.

The article is about 7 parenting mistakes that we make that can prevent our kids from becoming leaders. It is a good quick read, and has a great message. One mistake the article references is not letting our kids fail. As parents we want our kids to be successful all the time…wouldn’t that be great? To never experience failure? However that isn’t reality and by preventing kids from experiencing failure now, we are setting them up for a disaster when they fail at something big later on. I find myself doing this with my kids all the time, not letting them fall, fixing Katie’s mistakes before thy happen, or swooping in to do something for her that she wants to do herself because I think it is too (hard, dangerous, messy, challenging).

Today I am going to commit to allow my kids to experience failure, to have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and to accept consequences of their actions. I’m not letting them fail, I’m giving them a gift.

Here is the link to the article:


Enjoy your day with your kids!

Mrs. B

This picture was included in Sebastian and Patrick’s slide show presentation today… So proud of the way these boys are living the habits!



I’m sure lots of people would think we were crazy today! We paired up the students for math, gave each pair and IPad and a list of geometric terms, gave a quick review of school, classroom and hallway expectations and set the kids free to roam the school and take pictures of different places in the building that they saw different geometric points, lines and angles. After they took their pictures they used the iPads to create a slide show that they will present to the class tomorrow.

Guess what? They were AMAZING! They moved through the building quietly, took their jobs very seriously and worked with their partners to complete their task! I heard 7 Habits Language several times as they worked:

“Let’s be proactive and make a plan about where to go in the building.”

“If you take half of the pictures then I can take the other half and that’s win-win.”

“We have to be done by 2:00, lets put first things first and start at the top of the list.”

We were so proud! The terms the students were looking for were:

Line Segment
Parallel Lines
Perpendicular Lines
Intersecting Lines
Right Angle
Acute Angle
Obtuse Angle

Talk about these with your kids tonight and see what they found! We had some students that were very creative! Here are some pictures of the kids at work.