An American Symbol Soars Into Our Learning

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We are always on the lookout for a good way to collaborate and learn new things.  Just sit back, get comfy, and listen to what we have been experiencing the last few days.  It’ll knock your red, white, and blue socks off!

Our class is very interested in all things involving our country. We are all wearing our patriotic colors to show our pride in the United States.

It all started with an email Miss Hall, our speech teacher, sent us because she knows how much we love technology and birds.  The email contained a site that provides live cameras on different animals.  This happened to contain a link to a live camera on a bald eagle nest in Tennessee!  So, we jumped on right away and were instantly caught up in the life of Franklin, Frank for short, and Indy (Independence).  Frank and Indy are non-release eagles who are currently caring for two baby eagles.  Franklin and Independence are in their 20’s and have been together since 2000.  They have had 29 eaglets together. 

Bet you are wanting to see them, huh?  In a little bit…

No, this isn’t Indy or Frank but it is a bald eagle who loves the USA!

We had so many questions!  Mrs. Fraher noticed a chat going on next to the live feed and she asked if we could jump in and ask questions.  The people in the chat were so nice to let us spend some time asking all about these two eagles.  We had to take turns asking the questions.  They sent us a whole bunch of links and pictures to use.  Here is what we learned:

So, you see how much we learned.  To learn more about the eagles and American Eagle Foundation click on the words.  We think it is so important to be aware that humans are the biggest threat to eagles and many other species.  Our carelessness and lack of information is harmful to the animals in which we share the earth.

After learning about the eagle and keeping it safe, what do you think you could do to help protect these majestic birds?

Why do you think the eagles were named Franklin and Independence?



Read Across America Week

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Read Across America 2013 was a blast!  The whole school joined together and celebrated Dr. Seuss in a big way!  Our class enjoyed all of the fun activities our school offered.  Take a look at some of the highlights.

What Dr. Seuss book is your favorite?

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Feelin’ the Love

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Valentine’s Day brought a carnival like no other.  What better time to fill your heart with fun and friendship than on Valentine’s Day.  The third grade team worked together to organize a Valentine’s Carnival for the third grade students.  Each classroom had fun games and challenges to do in their classroom and in the hallway.

Take a look at some of the things they did.

Tell us what you did for Valentine’s Day.

Bird, Bird…Bird is the Word!

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Our class is so excited to start our Project Feeder Watch program this year!  This is the third year in a row that Mrs. Fraher’s class has participated in this project through Cornell University.  Why not start it out with a bang?

Mrs. Goucher’s fourth grade class joined us one sunny Friday morning along with parents from both classes.  There was a great deal of excitement from both rooms.  Students had a great time participating in activities centered on birds.  Owl pellet dissection, making bird feeders, learning bird calls, going on a bird hunt, and creating bird art using different materials were just a few fun projects they were involved with.

Are you interested in seeing what we did?  Well, check this out:


Here some things our class likes about birds:

Trevor:  I like that there are so many different kinds of bird and that they are so colorful.

Avery:  I think it is cool that some birds can talk.

Tyler:  I like birds because they look so cute when they peek into our classroom window.

Brooke:  Birds puff up their feathers and it makes them look like a puffball.

Alexis:  That all species of birds make different sounds and you can tell the different birds by their sounds. 

Check out what these students think about birds.

Garrison:  It is interesting to look at all of the species of birds because they have different beaks, feet and feather colors.

Kyle:  I think it is cool that they can takes a bunch of sticks and with their beak they can make a nest.

Emma:  I like birds because you can have them as pets and feed them.

Trinity:  Some birds are nocturnal, like an owl and that you can’t hear their wings flap because of the special feathers they have.

Tyler:  I like birds because they help spread pollen to make flowers.

Skyler: I like birds because they are so different and some don’t even fly.  

Anne:  I like watching how their patterns change on their feathers and they get more beautiful as they grow.

What do you like about birds?

Oreo Project

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Oreos were the name of the game one week recently.  After getting the idea from Projects by Jen, our class dived in with eagerness.

Take a look at some of the many things we did.

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Here is the important question…

How do you eat your Oreo?

Spreading Christmas Cheer

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What did you do this holiday season to show a “giving” spirit instead of a “getting” spirit?

Our class had an excellent opportunity to live out the saying, “It is better to give than to receive.”  With the Christmas season, came the feeling that we wanted to make others happy.  Two groups of people came to mind:  the residents of the Aurora House Assisted Living Home and the staff members at our school, Peralta Trail Elementary.

So, with a donation of cookie dough by a parent and Mr. Blomgren, our principal, we set out to bake cookies and create our own Christmas cards to give out to the teacher’s on Friday.

Then on Saturday, many of us met at Aurora House to share the cookies, some holiday cheer, and family traditions.  When we left, there was a feeling of well-being because we knew that we had put others first.

Take a look at what we did:

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Glowing Predators Invade!

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As the weather changes in our part of the world, we are noticing changes in the variety of species we see. One species that is more noticeable is the scorpion. There are many different types of scorpions living throughout the world. In the Sonoran Desert, we have several different species.

In the past couple of weeks, we have some close calls in our classroom.  We are lucky to have a space outside our classroom to use as some extended learning spots.  Mrs. Fraher has some bean bags and a couple of desks out there for us to use when we collaborate with others.  Unfortunately, scorpions (and other critters like geckos and spiders) love to hide under those bean bags.  Several times we have been buddy reading and find a scorpion sitting next to us.  Hmmm, maybe he was enjoying the story!

Here is a picture of the curious scorpion: (just a little one, but those are the scariest!)

Scorpion that was listening to our reading. He scurried away when he found out we were onto him.

Here is another scorpion that was crossing the road.  Why did the scorpion cross the road?  It was so big that Mrs. Fraher saw it from far away, stopped her car, and took some pictures with her phone.

This scorpion was six inches from stinger to pincher! Don’t you love the shadow it makes?

Some facts about scorpions:

They eat spiders, insects, and small animals.  There venom paralyzes the prey.

A cool fact is that when they are babies they hitch a ride on their mother’s back.

Their enemies are lizards, roadrunners, and hedgehogs.

They reproduce by laying eggs.

There are 45 species of scorpions found in Arizona and more than 2,000 in the world.

Check out this site for more information:  Scorpions 


Think about the scorpion that was crossing the road.  

Come up with a good joke and share it with us.



Deserts! Not Desserts!

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The Blog Post Authors

Who would have thought that one little “s” would make such a big difference to the meaning of a word!  By taking out an “s” in dessert, you go from sweet, fluffy goodnessOur research is about the desert.  One of the deserts are named Death Valley because this desert is so dry.

Creosote Bush

We also learned about locations of deserts.  A few of the deserts can be found in North America, Turkey, Iran, Africa, and Australia.

Cholla Cactus

A desert is a piece of land that receives a low amount of rain.  Less enough to help support most plants.

Prickly Pear Cactus

We learned that there are many different kinds of deserts.  There are Sand Deserts, Stony Deserts, Rock Deserts, Plateau Deserts, Mountain Deserts, and Trade Wind Deserts.

Saguaro Cactus

Next what we learned about is where the Sonoran Desert is.  It is in Mexico, California, and Arizona.

Palo Verde Tree

Finally we learned about the plants in the Sonoran desert.  Some of them are Barrel Cactus, Brittlebush, Desert Ironwood, and a Chain Fruit Cholla.

By the way…we took all of these pictures in the desert wash behind our class.  Cool, huh?

Mesquite Tree

Galapagos Island: Mysteries in the Ocean

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Our class is reading a story called “Wild Shots, They’re My Life” in reading this week.  

To help us build background we are watching these videos in class.

The story is about a woman who grew up on the Galapagos Island and became a photographer.  Through her pictures, we learn about some of the many species of animals found on the island.  Since she grew up on the island, it was easy for her to blend in and get good pictures because she was so familiar with the locations.

To extend our learning, we will also become photographers using the digital cameras in our class.  We won’t be taking photos of the Galapagos Islands, but we will take photos of the Sonoran Desert.  Since we are living in the Sonoran Desert, it will be a great opportunity to connect with the author, as well as learning more about the plant and animal species around us.  Stay tuned to see what we took photos of!

Predict what pictures we will be taking.

Do you think we will take photos of elephants?  

How about coyotes or bobcats?

Think about what lives in the Sonoran Desert and that will help you make your prediction.

Snowball Fun at Peralta Trail

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Our school is so lucky to have a group of parents who value education and want to help out in any way they can.  One important way the parents from our school showed their support was to become members of our PAWS parent group.  

To encourage participation, PAWS held a contest.  The top three classes with the highest number of parent/grandparent memberships would win some time having fun with snowballs.  Now in the Valley of the Sun, we don’t get to see this very often, so the kids were very excited to see that our class won!  We had 22 family members become PAWS members, which was the highest of all other classes.  

Take a look at some of the action…

Snowball Fun at Peralta Trail from GFraher on Vimeo.

Three classes from Peralta Trail won some snowball fun because they had the most parent members in their class.   Thank you, PAWS, for a wonderful time!

Have you ever played in the snow before?  

Have you ever lived in a place where it snowed in the winter?

Tell us about it.