Week of September 10th - We launched our fourth grade reading group for the year and it was a great morning! We started off reviewing Socratic Circles - purpose, structure, questioning techniques and more. Then, we jumped right into a discussion around the lyrics to the song "Lights" by Ellie Goulding. It was fun - lots of great introspection around what lights could mean in both literal and figurative ways.
Week of September 17th - This week's song was "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" by Simon and Garfunkel. Our group has a few "classic rock aficionados" in it so this was a fun week. Kiddos were really curious around the lines "sail on, silver girl" and "when darkness comes and pain is all around" - so insightful and great use of text evidence!
Week of September 24th - This week's song was "Go The Distance" written by Michael Bolton and included in the Disney movie soundtrack from Hercules. Great great conversation around the imagery and metaphor within the song lyrics. One of the kiddos pulled in some fabulous scientific background knowledge on shooting stars and used it to help support both his thinking and the text! Fabulous!
Week of October 1st - This week, we switched gears and read a poem about October...
"I have come to a still, but not a deep center,
A point outside the glittering current;
My eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
At the irregular stones, iridescent sand grains,
My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land, half-water.
I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air."
- Theodore Roethke, The Far Field
...discussion focused on the details and feelings within poem quite a bit. We had great involvement and feedback this week as well!
Week of October 8th - This week, we changed it up a bit...we talked about symbolism - what it is in writing, how it is used and examples to talk through as a group. Then, we used that support to revisit the October poem from last week. Fantastic!
Week of October 15th - We continued our conversation around symbols and imagery with a poem by Robert Frost called "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening"....great conversation around woods and how that background knowledge/visualization/inference allows us to dig deeper with our questions.
Week of November 5th - Students had a game day break this week...back to song lyrics and discussion next week!
Week of November 12th - Using inspiration from Veterans Day, we read and discussed the song "Ragged Old Flag" by Johnny Cash! Great conversation and connection around theme, perspective and imagery. No one was familiar with Johnny Cash so at the end, we listened to and watched a video with him singing the song. FUN!
Week of November 27th - We did not meet this week due to no school on Monday! Next week, we will be back on track!
Week of December 3rd - We are finishing out the calendar year with a "winter" focus - not snowmen and reindeer and holidays - but more figurative thinking around what winter my symbolize or represent. This week's song was "A Winter's Song" by Queen. This song was written right before Freddie Mercury passed away and has great imagery around seasonal objects and emotion. The group had a really great discussion, given by their high level questioning, with focus along the lines of where the song could have taken place, how was the person feeling during the song and what's the song's theme or message. A great morning!
Week of December 10th - This week's song was "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" by Stevie Wonder. The group had a nice discussion around change and shifting perspectives. We finished up with the Stevie version of the audio as well as the Tori Kelly version from SING.
Week of January 7th - Thanks to student feedback, our Socratic Circles are now stemming from a variety of sources with the week's on a nonfiction piece about the Earth, seasons and axis. They had a very lively discussion full of wonder, curiosity and background knowledge!
Week of January 14th - This week, our "reading" involved watching a Ted Talk by Bill Nye on sundials in space! Great curiosity and inferring based on information provided as well as feedback for more "meat" in the Ted Talk for next time.
Week of January 22nd - No group this week due to MLK holiday.
Week of January 28th - Our reading group ran two Socratic Circle discussions around the Robert Frost poem titled "An Old Man's Winter Night." A great challenge but interesting and thought-provoking questions and ideas heard around the groups.
Week of February 4th - In honor of African American History Month, we will be reading and having Socratic Circle discussions around various texts involving African American speakers, authors, poets and songwriters! This week, we read and discussed a speech by Fannie Lou Hamer involving slavery, civil rights and voting. The students were very curious, engaged and had a great discussion!
Week of February 27th - We wrapped up our focus on African American text through the Socratic Circle discussion of the song Glory by Common and John Legend (from the 2014 movie Selma). We started off watching the video and listening to the mood and musicality involved in the song as well as a brief background knowledge build of the time period. Then, the group used the lyrics from the song to talk through the meaning of the song. Many were struck by the sadness and difficulty from the time period, using JUST the tone and word choice. A great discussion, wrapping up with a second showing of the music video!
Week of March 5th - No group due to teacher work day.
Week of March 18th - Game day this week!
Week of April 15th - This week, in support of vocabulary and communication, we played a game called Last Word. Students worked together in teams in order to brainstorm categorical ideas with just a broad category and letter as a guide. For example, the category was "things you find in your bedroom" and the letter R - they had to brainstorm as many ideas as possible using just this information. This particular game is not only great for vocabulary building but also for creative problem solving - can you make a round peg fit in a square hole?! Sometimes! :)
Week of April 22nd - In honor of Earth Day, we created small teams and learned a LOT about Earth Day history, data and information through a Kahoot! The kiddos had multiple ah-ha moments around the information provided and really enjoyed the connections and teamwork!