Classroom Blog

Read All About It! Part 1: The Little Library

posted Nov 15, 2015, 4:42 PM by Angie Kelsall

Come visit the new Little Library! Thanks to our generous PTO, we were able to install the library at Bison Park. Not only is it a gift to our community, but our fourth graders will be completing projects that will be shared in the library. 

Field Trip!

posted Sep 24, 2015, 8:01 AM by Angie Kelsall   [ updated Sep 24, 2015, 10:00 AM ]

We had a great time on our field trip yesterday! I am so proud of my students for both their knowledge of ecosystems, but also their communication skills. They were polite, confident, and spoke clearly about their ecosystems. It is hard to speak public, especially to people you don't know, and they did fantastic! 

Students were able to talk to firemen, police, business owners, a Douglas County commissioner, and other Castle Rock citizens enjoying the beautiful weather. 

After speaking we went for a walk where students picked up trash. We teamed up with Mrs. Schneider's class and they quickly filled many trash bags. 

As I said before, I am so proud of my students! Also, a huge thank you to my chaperones! We could not have done it without you! 

Below are pictures from our day. 

Slideshow maker (using Google Slides)

PBL Project: The Circle of Life (Ecosystems)

posted Sep 9, 2015, 1:24 PM by Angie Kelsall   [ updated Sep 9, 2015, 1:25 PM ]

We are starting off our year with a PBL on Colorado ecosystems! 

Project Idea: Students will create a presentation to educate Castle Rock citizens and a plan to take action to help a local ecosystem. 

Driving Question: How can we, as Castle Rock citizens, make a plan to positively impact a local ecosystem through education and action? 

World Class Outcome: Analyze the interaction within and between two systems. 

Students have been studying Colorado ecosystems in a variety of ways. We have examined posters about each ecosystem, researched online, read books, and have even listened to Mrs. Sanderson talk about our local ecosystems! 

Creating a Class T-Shirt

posted Aug 31, 2015, 7:27 AM by Angie Kelsall   [ updated Aug 31, 2015, 10:20 AM ]

This year, 4th grade decided to make class t-shirts! Each student was given a square to design that together would form a "4." The square had to represent Clear Sky, 4th grade, or something they planned to learn about in 4th grade, such as Colorado History! 

Each class has the same design, but their "4" is unique due to each square being different. 

Here are the individual squares....

...And here they are put together: 

Haven't ordered a shirt yet? Follow this link: 


Gotta Keep Reading

posted Aug 24, 2015, 3:43 PM by Angie Kelsall

"The more you read, the more things you will know!
The more you learn, the more places you'll go!" 
Dr. Seuss

Part of building our classroom community has been building our reading community. Instilling a love of reading and learning in students and creating opportunities to share about what we have read. As we start to build up our reading community, students are working on their reading stamina. This means they are working on just sitting down and reading. They are not allowed to get up and move or pick out a new book. Not only are students working on reading independently, but also reading with someone else. They are required to check for understanding and when their partner is struggling with a word, they ask whether they need coaching or time (do they need help figuring out the word or do they just need more time). Students also put together a board of hashtags about reading. It is currently being displayed outside of our room. 

photo 3 (11).JPG



Creating a Classroom Community

posted Aug 23, 2015, 7:02 PM by Angie Kelsall   [ updated Aug 23, 2015, 8:00 PM ]

The first few weeks of school are spent learning procedures, getting to know one another, and taking beginning of the year assessments. They are also for creating a classroom community. As I tell my students, our class is a second family. We spend countless hours together learning, failing, and growing. In order to be the most successful we can be, we have to trust one another and feel safe to make mistakes. 

To help build this trust, I gave students a series of challenges over those first two weeks. We had wonderful discussions after the completion of each challenge and how they required the use of the 4C's (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity) along with how hard it would have been if we had tried to complete the challenge on our own. Below, you can catch a glimpse of these challenges. 

Challenge #1: Saving Sam - Help! Sam's boat has capsized and he can't swim! His life saver is stuck under his boat and he only has one oar left. With only the help of the one oar and some paper clips, students had to turn the boat over, put the life saver on Sam, and then put both him and his oar in the boat. They were not allowed to use their hands! 

This was the first challenge I gave my class and it sure was fun to watch! It took them all a little time to realize that no, they couldn't use their hands, and yes, it could be done! Soon, they were working together and figuring it out! 

Challenge #2: The Spaghetti & Marshmallow Challenge - Students are given 20 pieces of spaghetti, 2 marshmallows, a yard of string, and a yard of tape to create the tallest structure possible. The tallest structure was a little over 2 feet tall! 

Challenge #3: Back to Back - Students had to sit back to back. Student #1 would draw a picture then have to explain it to student #2. They would compare photos and see how well they were able to communicate to one another! 

Challenge #4: The Paper Challenge - 

10 pieces of paper
And some tape
12 minutes to create
Something great! 

Here is what each group created: 

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