Ms. Surber’s 1998-1999 Class
4th Grade, Barron Park School

1998-1999 Class Statistics


Pixies & Paintings

In the Pixie segment of this multimedia project pairs of students in our class created portraits of pixies and wrote descriptions of the pixies. Students in our partner class at Walter Hays attempted to re-create our pixies after reading our descriptions while we did the same for theirs. Then we compared the original pixie portraits with the recreations and evaluated our descriptions.

In the Paintings segment of this project pairs of students in our class wrote descriptions of modern art paintings. Students in our partner class at Walter Hays attempted to re-create our the original paintings after reading our descriptions while we did the same for theirs. Then we compared the original paintings with the recreations and evaluated our descriptions. This part was much harder than the Pixie part! Visit our Pixies & Paintings webpages to see our project.

Charlie Breitrose wrote about our project in an article published in the Palo Alto Weekly on 5/19/99 called "Opening New Windows: How Palo Alto Teachers Use Computers to Make Education Click."


The Arrival of Our Families in California

WhenWhoFrom WhereTransportationTrip
1894 Ryan Rivordo, Italy Boat & Train2 months
26 Years Later
1920 Sunol Norway Boat & Train10 years
6 Years Later
1926 Ms. Surber West Brook, Texas Truck3 years
5 Years Later
1931 Elizabeth Phoenix, Arizona Car6 days
11 Years Later
1942 Devin New York Car4 days
3 Years Later
1945 Blake Arkansas Train2 days
4 Years Later
1949 Brent New Brunswick, NJ Ship6 years
6 Years Later
1955 Brecon Boston, MA Car3 weeks
3 Years Later
1958 Jessica Puerto Rico Airplane9 hours
1959 Michelle Plainfield, NJ Airplane1 day
3 Years Later
1962 Anthony New Jersey Car5 days
3 Years Later
1965 Kala Clearwater, FL Car2 weeks
12 Years Later
1977 Kiyoshi Osaka, Japan Airplane12 hours
8 Years Later
1985 Reid Texas Car5 days
5 Years Later
1990 Jaspal England Airplane10 hours
3 Years Later
1993 John Scotland Airplane12 hours
3 Years Later
1996 Darrin
Tucson, AZ
Princeton, NJ
Minsk, Belarus
3 days
10 hours
20 hours
1997 Eucina
Houston, TX
12 hours
4 hours
1998 Charles
Taejun, Korea
Santiago, Chile
16 hours
8 hours
13 hours
10 hours
1999 Alexandra
Montreal, Canada
Seoul, Korea
St. Louis, Missouri
9 hours
11 hours
4 days


Investigating Artifacts

In the first section of this unit we walked to Bol Park to collect natural materials which we sorted and classified and then used for a math lesson on Venn Diagrams. Then we made masks. In the second section we listened to myths, wrote our own myths, created posters to illustrate the myths, and shared our myths around a "campfire" in the Library. In the final section of the unit we excavated "middens" by carefully sieving the soil and cleaning the artifacts, recording the spot where each artifact was discovered. The completed midden maps (another map) and museums (another museum) will help us draw inferences about the culture from the artifacts we found.


25 Really Rad & Creative Poems

Our HyperStudio poem collection was featured at the District Poetry Celebration and mentioned in an article by Charlie Breitrose in the Palo Alto Weekly called "Rhyme and Verse Fill District Office."


The Tulip Project

Tulip Map We joined classrooms all across North America in a telecommunication project to track the progress of spring by observing the emergence of tulips. Our class was selected as one of the 13 "Official" Journey North Tulip Gardens. The September 18th Tulip Garden Update mentions our school! Our first activity was predicting what order the 13 Official Tulip Gardens would bloom. Our class prediction:

  1. Palo Alto, California
  2. Franklin, Tennessee
  3. Houston, Texas
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Salt Lake City, Utah
  6. Pequot Lakes, Minnesota
  7. Hood River, Oregon
  8. Boston, Massachusetts
  9. Mississauga, Ontario
  10. Newport-on-Tay, Scotland
  11. Bad Kreuznach, Germany
  12. Utsjoki, Finland
  13. Anchorage, Alaska
We planted our tulip bulbs on December 7th with help from Naomi Fanwick and Ann Cole. We tracking the progress of spring by observing patterns in the emergence and blooming dates of the tulips. Our tulips emerged on February 8th and bloomed on March 20th. The final data from the Official Tulip Gardens was:
  1. Palo Alto, California (2/28 - 3/10)
  2. Hood River, Oregon (2/1 - 3/29) & Bad Kreuznach, Germany (2/10 - 3/29)
  3. Franklin, Tennessee (2/7 - 3/30)
  4. Washington, D.C. (3/4 - 4/1)
  5. Newport-on-Tay, Scotland (2/8 - 4/5)
  6. Boston, Massachusetts (3/1 - 4/13)
  7. Mississauga, Ontario (4/1 - 4/23)
  8. Salt Lake City, Utah (3/15 - 4/27)
  9. Pequot Lakes, Minnesota (4/1 - 5/1)
  10. Anchorage, Alaska (5/7 - not yet)
  11. Utsjoki, Finland (not yet - not yet)
  12. Houston, Texas (bulbs killed by drought)
Check out the online Tulip Reports.


Mystery Class

Another Journey north project involved tracking the sunrise and sunset data from 10 Mystery Classes and comparing the data to our own photoperiod. After recording the data for 10 weeks, we tried to figure out where in the world each class was. We used the Sun and Moon Data For One Day US Naval Observatory website to test our predictions. The final Mystery Class Report has links to our new friends around the world.


Journey North’s Webby Award

Journey North received the 1999 Webby Award in the Education Category. On Marth 19th, the Journey North Team visited our classroom and shared their Webby Award. We were also filmed by Internet Tonight trying to solve the Mystery Class puzzle and checking on the progress of our tulip bud, which finally bloomed on March 21st.


Cat Hat

Read Across America Day

March 2nd was Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss's Birthday. Room 9 celebrated the joy of reading by reading to ourselves, to each other, and by listening to guest readers. We had a great time talking with our guests about their favorite authors and their jobs.


Stuffed Animal Day (2/5/99)

After we introduced our Stuffed Animals, students collected data and created graphs to present it to the class. Then we discussed why results were different on some graphs (Are koalas bears or not? How big is "medium"?) and wrote news articles about the day. We also took pictures of our animals: Ms. Surber's Animals, Group One's Animals, Group Two's Animals, Group Three's Animals, Group Four's Animals, Group Five's Animals, Group Six's Animals.

It's Stuffed Animal Day in Room 9 at Barron Park School. It looks like the 17 bears were really popular. The 12 dogs came in second. It's amazing what exotic animals people brought: hedgehogs, kangaroos, and even people! It was interesting to watch the kids make animal graphs. We asked Kiyoshi how he liked Stuffed Animal Day and he said, "It was great!" --by Devin
On Friday, February 5th Room 9 at Barron Park School had a Stuffed Animal Day and made graphs. Mammals were the most popular type. There were 61 stuffed animals total, and 49 were mammals. The next most popular type was marsupials, then reptiles, and then insects. Out of all the mammals bears were the most popular. There were 16 bears; that's more than a quarter of all the mammals. The most popular size was medium; there were 23 medium sized stuffed animals. --by Dennis
My recommendation to a toy company would be to make more small, plastic eyed bears. On Friday, February 5th Room 9 had a Stuffed Animal Day. Only seven stuffed animals had non plastic eyes. Twenty-nine animals out of 61 were small, and 15 out of 61 were bears. --by Ryan


California Explorers

Each group chose an explorer who was important in the history of California. Students made timelines of California and placed their explorers in time, made maps to show where the explorers traveled, drew portraits of what the explorers might have looked like, and wrote essays about the goals and accomplishments of the explorers. Then each group created a poster and made a presentation to the rest of the class. Explorers we learned about:



Our first science unit was the study of water. We observed several properties of water: surface tension, rate of flow, and expansion/contraction with changes in temperature. We also investigated how location and surface area influence the rate of evaporation and explored condensation. We investigated what happens when water flows over different Earth materials and tested water from home. The final activity of our study of Water was a Water Taste Test comparing five different types of water.

On Friday, September 25th, Jennifer Kerr, an AP reporter from Sacramento, came to observe our class doing a water lesson to prepare for an article she is writing about the new California State Science Standards. We investigated the effect temperature has on the density of water and discovered that hot water rises and cold water sinks. We were thrilled to see the article and photographs in the Palo Alto Daily. You can read the text of the article at the Popular Science Magazine website.

On October 5th a Swedish TV crew for the Swedish news show "Hard Facts" came to film our class doing a water investigation. The show aired in Sweden in November.


Website for Ms. Surber's Current Class


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