4th Grade Update

Note: This year I am blogging weekly reflections at my school site (weskids.com) in order to provide more transparency in my teaching for parents, students, and the community (local and global). I will be cross-posting most of the entries here at Bit By Bit as well. You can see the original posts at the “Reflections by Mr. S” blog.


4th graders have learned that creating even a small piece of visual media, can take a long time! Students are still putting the finishing touches on their “Many Ways to tell a Story” projects. They have been rewriting, reworking, and editing their pieces to get them to the very best products they can be.

Undoubtedly, this Unit is taking longer than I had anticipated, but we’re starting to “see the light at the end of the tunnel.” I’ve created a Website where you can start to see the work as it’s published, along with Teacher and Student Interviews explaining the integrated curriculum, as well as what went into the digital reflections that they’ve done with me.

I am still very glad that I was able to offer 3 different choices for students’ final reflection projects (Digital Image Manipulation with Poetry, Book Creator Creations to reflect on their Masks and their Movements, and iMovie Trailers to “zoom-in” on a very discreet aspect of the entire learning process). It has been extremely rewarding for students to start to see their final products take form, and it has been a wonderful opportunity for students to do authentic writing and revision, collaboration with peers, and publishing to a larger audience (all skills that are part of the National Standards that I teach). I will admit that I will take a long, hard look at whether I need to “tweak” the 3 choices in the future, due to their demands on time.

You can start to see the Website come together with the work and interviews at:



I still need to interview Ms. Brennan for Art and Ms. Westerberg for Library to finish the front page (which explains the Integrated Unit) and I will be constantly updating the student work as it comes in.

Things you can do at home with your scholar:

  • Even if your scholar is not in 4th grade, take him/her to the website and ask what they think of the project. Are they excited to do some of this when they get to 4th grade?
  • Ask as many questions of your 4th grader as you can about the project! They will tell you all about the hard work that went into their creations, how many times Mr. S asked them to go back and “tell more” in their writing, how long it took to come to agreement about topics and approaches in their groups, etc.
  • Ask your fourth grader what their favorite part of the project was.
  • Ask if they liked the prolonged reflection on a performance that happened way back in October. Did this make the experience more memorable, more meaningful?
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