Pablo the Penguin!

Hello All.  I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!  As many of you know, Yellow Group was working on helping the Arctic by adopting a penguin.  We have named him Pablo and he was adopted today!  Please check back to see pictures of Pablo and follow along to enjoy his adventures.  Have a wonderful summer!

Please see below for a message from Dr. Mike Bingham about Pablo!

Dear 4W
You have been enrolled under our penguin adoption programme, and your
penguin has been given the name Pablo.
Your adopted penguin is a Magellanic penguin of about 5 years old.
Magellanic penguins are only found around southern South America in Chile,
Argentina and the Falkland Islands. Each year we monitor population changes
at selected breeding sites throughout their breeding range, and the money
raised through our penguin adoption programme pays for this work.
Take a look at to see where we work.
Click on each link for more information on each of our study sites.
At the beginning of each breeding season we visit our selected study sites
and examine each and every nest to see how many breeding pairs are in the
colony. This allows us to record any population changes, since Magellanic
penguins return to the same colony to breed each year. This work has
revealed a 90% population decline over the last 20 years in the Falkland
Islands, whilst populations in nearby Chile and Argentina have increased.
As well as population studies, we also visit and monitor all our adopted
penguins on a regular basis throughout the season to follow their individual
progress. By monitoring penguins over a number of years we are able to spot
differences in breeding success, and find the causes of population decline.
Our studies have shown that in the Falkland Islands, breeding success is
much lower than in nearby Chile and Argentina, due to chick starvation in
the Falklands. Chick survival in the Falklands is less than one third of
that of Chile and Argentina because commercial fishing around the Falklands
makes it hard for penguins to find food for their chicks.
In Chile and Argentina, where commercial fishing is banned close to penguin
colonies, chicks are fed every 12 to 14 hours. In the Falklands, where there
is no such protection from commercial fishing, chicks are fed every 34
hours. The lower abundance of food resulting from commercial fishing means
that adult penguins must spend over twice as long finding food to feed their
chicks in the Falklands. As a result, chicks in the Falklands receive less
than half the amount of food, so few chicks survive, leading to population
In September 2000, members of the International Penguin Conservation Work
Group passed a resolution calling for no-fishing zones around penguin
breeding sites in the Falkland Islands, as has been done in Chile and
Argentina. Unfortunately the Falkland Islands Government have refused to
honour this, despite the decline in penguin numbers.
Another potential threat to penguins is tourism, however our studies into
the effects of tourism show no differences in breeding success for sites
visited by tourists and those which are not. This is good news for anyone
wishing to visit their penguin. They can be confident that their visit will
not cause disturbance, and that we are monitoring the affects of tourism on
Some more information about Pablo and the Magellanic Penguins at this link: PenguinBook

A Final Farewell

Dear Wire’s Wonders,

Be the changeIt has been a pleasure having you in class this year.  We have had a blast, worked hard, been creative, and learned a million new things together.  You have been kind to each other and created a safe place for each other to have fun and take risks.

As we come to the end of our year together, I wanted to leave you with some thoughts, some encouragement, and a charge as you move forward with your life, go out into the world and make a change.

Each one of you is an incredible individual with gifts.  While those gifts are all different and you might not even know what they are yet, play to your strengths.  By enjoying and emphasizing what you do well, you free up brain space to work on things that are much trickier for you.  You are all full of many talents, use them and use them well!

Each and every one of you is capable and has the responsibility to change the world.  Whether that means doing something small like being kind to a classmate or helping a friend, or something big like writing letters to an oil company, you have the power to make a change.  Don’t forget that you have this power and that it is your job to use it not waste it.

As you move into fifth grade, a position of leadership in Penn Valley, next year, I want you to remember these things.  Remember that others will be looking up to you.  You are the coolest kids at school, and what is considered cool depends on what you do.  You have a responsibility to make sure that being kind and courteous, working hard, being responsible and thinking of others before yourselves is what is cool.  So my loves I look forward to watching you grow into amazing you men and women next year, and expect you to remain always and forever Wire’s Wonders.  You have entered 4W to learn now go forth to serve.


Ms. Wire

P.S. Keep an eye on the blog this summer to see what crazy adventures Oakley, Mr. Ike and I have with our family, friends, and garden. 🙂

May the Best Art Win!

As I looked around my room this past week, I thought there was one thing solely missing from my walls, beautiful student work.  To solve this problem, I decided to give my students a chance to help me fix this issue.



Today I introduced an optional assignment: create a beautiful piece of art that connects to one of our science or social studies concepts from this year.  This could be an in-depth scientific drawing or painting such as Audubon’s, or a photograph of local flora, fauna or historical landmarks.  Their photo or drawing can be submitted electronically or as a hard copy.  It must also be submitted with an artist’s thesis or statement about the work.  The thesis should follow the following format:


Artist’s Name           Medium, Location of Subject/Place of Art’s Origin.

What the drawing or photograph is of.  What is significant about the subject. How the subject relates to our social studies/science curriculum.  Why it was chosen as the subject of the artwork. How the artist composed the piece.  Why the artist made the decisions he/she made.

I will be choosing the piece that best relates to the curriculum, has the most excellent craftsmanship and has the clearest, best-written artist’s thesis.  This is not for a grade and completely optional.  The winner will have their piece scanned and placed on canvas, their thesis framed and will have an honored place in my classroom.  Parents and older siblings can help with emailing, downloading, etc., but the art must be original to the student.  All submissions are due to me by next Thursday, 6/16/16.  Good luck and happy working to all!


Springing into Election Season

As spring has sprung, we have sprung into political action in 4th grade.  The students 4W have been working hard on their campaigns, researchingcampaign historical figures to run for office as either a democrat or republican.
Most recently, the students have used the rhetorical device (ethos, pathos and logos) to write their introduction speeches.  They did an amazing job using historical facts about this characters to provide a strong political figure and platform for that figure.  Yesterday, we began campaigning to the rest of the fourth grade team.  In our beautiful courtyard, the fourth graders gathered under the treed canopy.  Each of our four candidates took the stage Lincoln-style to introduce themselves and their political ideologies in front of over 100 of their peers.  Their speeches were well thought-through and delivered with conviction.  We look forward to continuing this campaign with fundraising, debates, advertisements and a primary election to narrow down our candidates in the race for office!

Mindful Minutes in the Mad Muddle

This is one of those bizarre times of year.  We’ve tested until we can test no more.  The end

is near and yet so far.
To save our souls and sanity, we’ve turned to mindfulness.  “Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment” (Greater Good Science Center, Berkeley University).  Mindfulness has been proven to create schools and classrooms with students and teachers who are less stressed, more focused, have better relationships, and brains with more gray matter.

This week we have been discussing mindfulness in depth and practicing mindfulness daily.  The students have been doing an incredible job of slowing down, stopping, and thinking about their own thoughts and feelings.  Despite the crazy time of year, and amazingly fun projects we’ve been working on, students have been focused and fantastic!  Included below are a few links that can help you practice mindfulness at home with your student!


8 Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids

Overfishing, Undericing, Should We be on the Endangered List?

Last week, as you most likely read in Mila’s post, we celebrated Earth Week!  A few of my favorite highlights are included in this post.

Chalk Murals – Students focused on researching one of the seven cateED Chalk Muralsgories of environmental health as per the EPA.  They did a fantastic job performing some quick research.  We then went outside to share our ideas with the pick-up crowd by creating some really amazing chalk murals!  The students were incredible at focusing on one aspect of their issue in a poignant piece of art.

PSAs – Students went on one of my favorite sites for informational texts  Students were tasked with finding a current environmental event that interested them and creating a PSA for it.  The variety was amazing!  We had everything from news segments, to commercials (both TV and radio), to visual ads.  These were well-constructed and powerful.  ED SculpturesI was so proud to see how far we’ve come this year and how we really are incredible readers and writers.

Recycling Sculptures – One of my favorite projects of Earth Week is the recycling sculptures.  Collecting clean, recycled materials from home and from the class during the week, we use these to turn trash into treasure.  I’m always amazed at the creativity the students bring to the table.  This year we had everything from conceptual art to robots.  Each group also wrote a short thesis statement including the title of their piece and their message and method behind it.

Earth Week

Last week was Earth week. Since Friday was Earth Day, each day last week Mrs. Wire has chosen to do a special activity in 4Wimages. On Monday we split up into small groups and chose a topic about a problem on Earth to focus on. Then we went outside and drew murals with chalk that were related to the topic your group had.   After everyone was finished, we shared our murals.

On Tuesday, we got to do things on the computers with our partners.   Our choices were: do a quiz on how much of the earth you take up, watch a “Brian Pop” video on “Our Healthy Environment”, or play a game called “Dump Town”. 4W learned quite a few things!

Next came in Wednesday. We played a game called “Oh Deer”. Only a few people were deer. The rest of the class was the things that the deer needed to survive. Everyone turned around and made a sign. The signs were food, water, and shelter. Then everyone would turn around when Mrs. Wire said “oh deer” and only the deer would run and find a person with the thing they needed to survive and that person would then become a deer. If you didn’t get what you needed to survive then you would die and become one of the people who gave the deer what they needed to live.

On Thursday 4W read articles and did either a commercial or poster on what you read.   There were also classmates that did songs. Most were on animals but some were on different things. After Spanish that day, each group got to present there commercial or poster. A lot of the commercials were funny.

Friday is Earth day, and 4W is ending with a fun day. First we went out to the Principal’s Garden.   Our class and Mr. Vaccaro’s class were doing it this year. Also Mr. Davis’ class is doing the plants that will keep away pests and attract good bugs that will help our plants grow. We figured out how much space everyone and their partner needed. When we got back into the classroom we did research on the plants we would be planting. After some of the day went on we started building recycle sculptures. You chose your group and built a recycle sculpture out of recycling. Then you wrote a thesis on your sculpture.

Well that was Earth Week in 4W!

– Written By Mila L.

Taking Tests Seriously…But not too Seriously

With our PSSAclass this year, I’ve found that a crazy high stress level accompanies these standardized tests.  They feel so much pressure to do well that they overthink everything, and have completely gotten themselves so worked up they can’t relax and do their best. Each and every one of my students is completely capable and I want nothing more than for them to prove it and feel that success. Below are some tips that we’ve talked about.  Feel free to give your student a pep talk in the morning before PSSAs!

  1.  Take care of yourself – Get great rest, sleep 8 hours! Eat a balanced breakfast, protein is super important.  Relax at night.  You’ve worked hard all day, and will do it again tomorrow, so take it easy at home.
  2. Relax and Manage your Anxiety – Do a Yoga Pretzel, Go to a happy place or memory.  Think positive thoughts.
  3. Remember this is your paycheck – You’ve been working hard all year, it’s time to show it.  Cash in your amazing knowledge and skills.
  4. Focus on your strengths.  These kids are amazing.  We need to make sure they remember that!
  5. Think about strategies that can help you be successful – Take your time.  Check your work.  Plan before you write.  Some students need concrete strategies to feel armed and ready.

The Field Trip

We still haven’t recovered from the field trip. It was cold, socks got all wet and stinky, but we got over it. When we got off of the bus, there was no guide so we had to go to the top of the Rolling Hill Park. Then there was good news they didn’t forget us we just had to go to a specific place. We extended our field trip so didn’t actually matter, because our guide gave us the entire trip even though we were late. To help us out, there were some chaperones. We got to study chemicals in Mill Creek and compare the data to the usual for the creek.  It was ok/healthy.  Then we got to look for creatures under the rocks.  We found a big fish and a lot of larva. It was fun, because of Mr. Mudd we had picnic when we got back.  In the afternoon we got to look at the larva under the microscope that attaches to the SmartBoard, one of the larva was throwing up!  It was so gross. – Shashank K. (4W staff writer) and Ms. Wire (Editor)IMG_4154IMG_4156IMG_4162IMG_4160

Pictures courtesy of Ms. Jen Miller

Dave Gets Saved


Our new mascot Carlos.

Today is a bittersweet day for class 4W. Today our beloved squishy monster mascot, Dave that Ms. Wire had bought for us has gone to retire in a hospital to comfort one of our classmates, Sam. We have made very cute cards such as pop-ups and fun things like that. Two of our classmates, Grace H. and Zion P. decided to donate Dave after Grace won him in the prize box after he retired from our classroom.

Our new “vet”, Livia K. nursed Dave back to health after Dave choked on a piece of paper. Livia saved him by giving him the Heimlich. So, we thank you, Livia K. Dave was a very squishy but a tad bit sticky with a accent that’s sound slightly like a British accent. Some people like me think that Dave is the most descriptive mascot; there are many, many descriptive things to say about Dave.

Some good news is that since giving Dave to Sam W. we got a “new Dave” named Carlos in honor of our former art teacher Carlos Nunez. We think that Carlos is related to Dave in some way by blood but we are not sure about it yet so we will have to do a blood test to see, and we will look back on that and tell you the definite answer next week some time. But on a much higher note we think that as a class together that we are going to take better care of our squishy monster friends such as Dave and Carlos.

Hey. You know something? (Then you say what) Well, I have been thinking that maybe since we were talking about how descriptive Dave is and the fact that Ms. Wire had us start personal descriptive narratives that maybe I will give you a little taste of what we’re working on in 4W. So here I go.

“Hot buttermilk pancakes with butter, yummy. Hot pancakes with melting homemade butter seeming to talk to you saying, ‘Eat me, eat me!’ So tempting, you just want to take a bite of hot steaming pancakes with liquid butter looking as good as gold. You take a bite! Mmmmm! So good.”

Wasn’t that descriptive? Well, I am done so; good-bye and I hope you enjoyed just a slice of 4W’s writing.

Written by Zion P.