Friday, January 29, 2016

Week of February 1st

Important Dates to Remember:
Monday, February 1st:  WIG Test
Monday, February 1st:  3rd Grade Post Office begins
Monday, February 1st:  Reading Logs due
Friday, February 12th: Lunch With a Loved One (1:00)
Friday, February 12th: Valentine's Day Party 1-2
February 15th-16th:  Winter Break
Tuesday, February 23rd:  Delayed Start

WIG:  56% of room 12 students have their basic facts mastered!! Congratulations to Isabelle and Robert for recently earning a score of 95% or above!!  We have 11 more students to go!  If  your child is one of these 11 students, please remind them to continue to study their facts everyday.  I will be working with a small of group of kids during recess so they can study their facts.  Once students have consistently scored 95% or above 5 times, they don't have to take timed tests anymore! Unless they choose to, that is.  They are very excited about this privilege!

Math: We have been doing a great job working through our multi-digit multiplication unit!  I just finished teaching my last concept and we will be testing on Tuesday of next week.  Students received a review sheet today and their goal over the weekend is to finish it so they are prepared for the test Tuesday.  We'll correct the review together on Monday and do a little more review before Tuesday's test.  Our next unit of study is Division!!

Language Arts: In Reading, we will continue working with our book clubs.  Some groups finished this week and received a new book.  We'll be doing two rounds of book clubs before we start our informational unit towards the end of February.  In book clubs, the kiddos have done an amazing job discussing their books, making connections, and digging deeper when something doesn't quite fit.  In addition to this, we've worked more with our character unit and have been inferring a lot!!  The kids have been taking their responsibility very seriously and have been coming to school prepared for their group! Thanks for your help with this, :)

In Writing, we're just finishing up our Persuasive unit.  While we're waiting for the class to finish up their final pieces, we'll write some letters and begin supporting the third grade post office.  Our next writing unit is Literary Essay.  In this unit, we will be looking at many reading texts and look for a common theme. We'll learn how to support our theme with details and examples from the reading selection. This is a great unit to follow persuasive writing because the kids have gotten really good at supporting their opinions!

Social Studies: We have finished up relative location, absolute location, parts of a map and have moved into our study of special purpose maps.  We've been creating a vocabulary sheet that we've been adding to as we go so we'll be utilizing this early next week to start preparing for our quiz.  I'll let the kids know the exact date next week. I've been reminding them to continue studying to make sure they're prepared when it's time.

Science:  We had a science quiz earlier in the week and I should have corrected tests for you next Friday.  They have been having a blast building vehicles and testing them to see how they perform!  We have some future engineers in our room!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Week of January 18th

Important Dates to Remember
Monday, January 18th:  No School - MLK Day
Tuesday, January 19th:  Delayed Start and WIG test
Thursday, January 21: NWEA - Reading
Monday, February 2nd:  Reading Logs Due

Homework: I'm sure you have noticed that your child has more homework than they have had in the past. Once January rolls around, our workload increases a bit as I get them ready to be 5th graders next year.  I've been reminding students about the importance of circling homework, placing papers in folders (not desks) and packing up all of their materials so they have them at home.

Valentine's Day Party: The Valentine's Day party is fast approaching!  It will take place on Friday, February 12th at 2:00.  I will be putting together a sign-up genius in the next week or two so keep your eyes peeled for this.

Spelling: Spelling will continue to operate the way it has in the past but I've changed just a few things.  Every week, the students will receive their list focusing on a pattern.  They are responsible for copying them twice and into their agenda and working with their words throughout the week.  I also do a few lessons associated with the pattern.  When they receive their corrected test, they will note the words they spelled wrong and transfer them to their "review week" words.  Every 6 weeks, I will not provide them with a spelling list. Instead, they will study their words they spelled incorrectly previous tests.  The students who consistently spell their words correct will receive a 5th grade spelling list with more challenging words.  This went very well when I introduced it and the kids and they loved taking charge of their own learning.  If you have any challenging words you would like to add to their review week, write them down on a post-it note and they can add them to their words.  They already have this started in their agenda.  Our goal is to not just memorize the words for the test but to ultimately spell them correctly in our everyday writing.  Working with patterns will help them apply the pattern to other words so we can continue to see correct words in our writing. Thanks for your support with this!

Language Arts: We started book clubs this week and it's going well. The kids are having great conversations about their books!  In addition to nightly reading, kids are currently responding in their Character Study books.  I've stressed the importance of quality work and deep thinking when they complete their books. They should be taking their time and showing me how well they know the character in the book.  We're combining all of our knowledge of reading strategies and what we know about characters when responding.  I'll continue to push their thinking more throughout the next couple of weeks as we work through our books.  We typically do 2 rounds of book clubs so after they are finished their current book, I will provide their group with another book as well.  We will have book club homework Monday through Thursday.  So, as always, I'll try not to assign homework over the weekends so your child can use this time to catch up on their multiplication facts, reading and fine-tuning their Character Study books.

In Writing, we're nearing the end of our Persuasive unit.  We have analyzed persuasive texts, discussed the audience, issues and the importance of having convincing evidence.  Your child brought home their latest writing piece last week and asked you for some feedback.  Thank you so much for helping out with this and giving such great feedback to your child.  Next week, we'll publish one of our pieces and it will give me an opportunity to work more one on one with students. We will write our writing piece the following week. Our next writing unit is Literary Essays!

Math: In Math, we're continuing our Race to the Finish.  We currently have 48% of our class that has their facts mastered.  Congratulations to Easton for his latest victory!  Next Tuesday, we'll test and I'm sure we'll have at least 3 or 4 more.  So many kids are SUPER close!!  Keep reminding your child to work on their facts because it will make our Multiplication unit so much more manageable.

We're continuing our work with Multiplying Multi-Digit Numbers.  The purpose of this unit is to explore a variety of methods to solve multiplication problems. We've explored how to build arrays with larger multiplication problems as well as make skeleton arrays.  We have also multiplied using partial products and I have introduced the standard algorithm this week.  The standard algorithm has been tricky for a handful of the students.  Having knowledge of our facts is essential here and can really hold us up if  we're still using our fingers to figure out problems.  If you notice your child is having difficulty with any of these strategies, please use the longer weekend to do some practice problems.  Next week, I'll introduce the Lattice method (which is always a favorite) and we'll also do some story problems as well.

Science: We're in the midst of our Motion and Design unit.  This is an engaging unit where students work in design teams to create vehicles according to a given set of criteria.  They modify their vehicles each week based on the scientific principles introduced.  Students have to work together cooperatively in order to solve the problems at hand.  There are so many wonderful things going on in science and it's definitely a favorite for most!

Social Studies:  In social studies, we're continuing to move through our Geography unit.  This unit also has many vocabulary words the students will be responsible for.  We've started a vocabulary sheet and we'll keep adding important words to this as we progress through the unit.  As we move through this unit, we will focus on absolute and relative location, landforms, special purpose maps and regions.  We have a lot to cover but we're up for a challenge!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Week of January 4th

Important Dates to Remember

Monday, January 4th - Return to School and turn in reading logs dated 12/14-12/27
Monday, January 18th - MLK Day: No School
Tuesday, January 19th - Delayed Start

Language Arts: In Writing, we're continuing our work with our Persuasive unit.  We have analyzed persuasive texts, discussed the audience, issues and the importance of having convincing evidence.  We're just wrapping up our first persuasive writing piece.  We've had a difficult time making sure our reasons are persuasive.  This has been difficult and takes a lot of practice.  The more we write these letters, the easier it will get to come up with persuasive reasons.  Another important thing I've focused on is the audience.  Our persuasive language needs to match the audience.  We've talked about the importance of having a letter sound "professional" if our audience is the principal or the mayor, perhaps.  If our audience is a fellow fourth grader, then our language would sound a bit different.  They are definitely impressing me with not only their supporting details, but their convincing arguments!  After we return from break, your child will bring a persuasive letter home to share with you as well.  You can take a look at their writing and have these conversations with them as well. 

In Reading, we'll continue moving through our character unit.  We'll continue working on strategies such as inferring, questioning, predicting, and visualizing as we connect and empathize with our characters.  We'll apply all of our reading strategies to our book club books.  Book clubs will begin the week of January 11th.  They will have nightly reading as well as a packet they will need to complete for their book club the following day.  If they are not prepared for their book club, they will not be able to work with their group and will miss the valuable discussions their group is having.  I'll be stressing the importance of making sure they set aside time every night during the week to get their reading done. 

Math: Over the last two weeks, we have focused on patterns and addition/subtraction.  The Patterns quiz is in Friday folders this week.  The addition/subtraction test will be corrected and handed back after break. After break, we'll focus on multiplying multi-digit numbers.  We'll start off with reviewing arrays and we'll continue building on that as we work with larger multiplication problems.  We'll build skeleton arrays and learn different strategies to solve larger multiplication problems.  As the concepts get more difficult, I'll be grouping the kids so we can move some forward and spend some time with others concentrating on this skill. 

Our Race to the Finish board looks great!!  Congratulations to Adam, Joy, Truan, Brooklynn, Kendall, Ryan, Alexis, Aidan, Shuto, Mitchell, and Mateusz!  They have all mastered their facts and have signed their medal!  Currently, 44% of our class has their facts mastered.  We'll be taking a timed test when we get back from break so I hope to add more names to our list!  Keep up the good work at home!  I think I will probably give the WIG test on Tuesday of that week instead of Monday.  Coming back from a break is hard for all of us (including me) so we'll ease in slowly that day. :) 

Social Studies: In social studies, we'll continue working through our Geography unit.  This is rich with many vocabulary words as well so we'll be doing some fun things along the way to learn them!  We started the unit by completing a map with continents, oceans, Prime Meridian and Equator.  We then used the map to talk about where the United States in located in relation to other areas of the world. This is Relative Location.  Next, we'll move into Absolute Location as we learn about latitude and longitude. 

Science: We just started our next science unit, which is called Motion and Design.  In this unit, students explore concepts related to the physics of motion.  Students work in teams to design vehicles using K'Nex rods and connectors that meet certain requirement.  This unit is a lot of fun and the kids LOVE it!!! 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Week of December 7th

Important Dates to Remember:
Monday, December 14th:  Reading logs due
Friday, December 18th:  Winter vacation begins (close of day)
Monday, January 4th: Return to school

Here's the plan for the next two weeks....

Language Arts: In Reading, we'll be spending a little more time on inferring and then digging a little deeper with theme. We'll be reading short stories and practicing many strategies to prepare us for the book clubs that will start in January.  We will spend the next few weeks before break working trough our character unit.  Inferring has been pretty tricky for some of us, so we will continue our work on character actions and dialogue. Earlier this week, we watched a short clip of Britain's Got Talent.  Our goal was to watch the audience's facial expressions to help us infer how they thought the singer would perform.  The kids loved it and are now understanding inferring better!!  Take a look at the clip here  How can you help at home?  When you're reading with your child, point out places where they can make inferences.  Next week, we'll also have some reading homework.  We'll focus on the same concept we did before...Close Reading. Each day they will read the same piece but will focus on different parts of it. 

Thank you for taking the time this week to look over your child's writing and help them set goals.  It's always amazing to see how much their writing improves over just a few months.  I was very impressed with their hard work and dedication to this unit.  We've started our Persuasive unit and we're moving right along.  This is a fun unit because kids get to pick a topic that they're passionate about and persuade someone to see their point of view.  We've taken a look at different persuasive letters and thought about whether or not the writer has included enough persuasive evidence to persuade their reader.  Next week, they'll begin thinking about different persuasive topics they would like to write about in this unit.

Math:  We just tested on our Geometry unit in Math so we'll spend the next two weeks working on two smaller units...patterns and addition/subtraction.  We've been doing some subtraction practice for our morning work and I've noticed that kids are still having difficulty borrowing across the middle zero.  When those numbers get bigger, it tends to throw us off a little as well.  We'll spend some time working on it in school, but if you notice your child is still having difficulty, do some spot checks on the skill and reteach it.  A little bit goes a long way.  After winter break, we'll begin the second part of our Multiplication unit which is multiplying multi-digit numbers.

I also handed back our latest WIG tests in Friday folders.  The last two WIG tests have shown little or no growth with many students so I addressed it with the class today.  I let them know that in order for us to get better at something, we need to practice the skill.  Some kids are studying their facts the night before a test and realizing it's just not enough.  They need to practice their facts everyday in order to see improvement.  They met with their math buddies and everyone has a plan to help them improve their scores on the next test.  The next WIG test will be Monday, December 14th.

Social Studies:  This year in 4th grade, we focus on the geography of the United States.  We'll start by focusing on continents and oceans and looking at where the United States is in relation to other parts of the world.

Science:  Corrected science quizzes are in Friday folders today.  We'll be doing a little more work with Electricity and Magnetism before our next science kit arrives.  Our next unit of study is Motion and Design.  Kids love this unit because they get to work together to build some pretty cool vehicles!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Week of November 16th

Monday, November 16: WIG test and Reading Logs are due
Tuesday, November 17:  Delayed start
November 25 - 27:  No School - Thanksgiving break

Here's the plan for the next few weeks...

Math:  I've corrected both the Multiplication and WIG test and both can be found in Friday folders this week.  We're making great progress on our classroom goal to master our multiplication facts!!  We have a few more students who met their goal this week. Congratulations  to Mateusz, Brooklyn, Mitchell, and Truan for mastering their facts!!  Currently, 32% our class has their facts mastered!!  Next week, we'll add more students to that list!!  Please look over your child's timed test and goal sheet and set a realistic goal for next week's WIG test.

We're well into our Geometry unit and the kids are doing awesome!  Many of the Geometry concepts are a review from previous grades so we'll be building on that as we progress through some concepts such as angles, lines, and 2 dimensional geometric shapes.  This unit is full of vocabulary words so we've been utilizing our math journal and jotting down vocabulary and pictures to help us when it comes closer to test time.

Language Arts:  In Reading, we've been working on inferring character traits and emotions by using evidence from the books we're reading.  We have done a lot of whole group work on this but soon, kids will start doing this independently in reading groups.  When we infer, we look at character actions and dialogue to infer how they are feeling or traits they might have.  When you are reading at home with your child, practice inferring with them.  This will help as I move them forward in their reading groups.  Next week, I'll also be sending home short reading selections as well as questions that your child will be expected to complete and return the next day.  Their reading homework can also be recorded on their reading logs as well.  At the end of the night, they can add all of the time they spent reading and record that number.  I'll continue collecting reading logs every other Monday.  If your child has forgotten their reading book at school, Raz Kids is always a good option.  There is also a Raz-Kids app that you can download on your IPad so you can read anywhere. :)

In Writing, we're wrapping our Personal Narratives unit.  I passed back their pre-assessments this week so they could see what areas they fell down on and what they could do improve their score on their final write.  Once everyone has completed their final drafts, I'll collect them and hand them back.  I will have them graded and ready to pass back in the next two weeks.  Our next unit of study is persuasive writing which is always an exciting unit for the kids!  Be prepared to hear some pretty convincing arguments from your kids!

Social Studies:  We are at the end of our Government unit and we'll be spending next week getting ready for the test.  I'll hand out a review sheet on Tuesday and we'll be taking the test the following Tuesday...right before Thanksgiving break.

Science: We're in the midst of our Electricity unit in Science.  The students have learned to create electrical circuits using D-cell batteries, wires, light bulbs, and small motors.  They even know how to add in a switch which opens and closes the circuit turning the power on and off!  Next week, we will be wrapping up this investigation and will be testing soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Week of November 2nd

Friday, October 30: Halloween Party (2:00-3:00)  Everyone welcome!! 
Tuesday, November 3: No School - Election Day
Tuesday, November 17:  Delayed Start
November 25-27:  Thanksgiving Break

Thank you so much for coming to conferences last week!  It was so wonderful to sit down with each of you and discuss your child's growth!  Thank you for sharing your children with me.  They are an amazing group of students! 

Our WIG  (Wildly Important Goal)

Fourth graders are rocking out our 4th grade goal!  Since our goal in 4th grade is to have our multiplication facts mastered, we're having a friendly competition between our classes.  Each medal represents a student.  In order to sign a medal, students must earn 95% on our timed WIG tests that we take every week.

What should 4th grade students do to help them achieve this goal?
  • Study their facts!  Students should be studying their multiplication facts just about every night for about 20 minutes. Please encourage your child to study their facts...this will help them achieve their goal more quickly. 
When will students be tested? 
  • Every other Monday.  Our next test is this Monday, November 2nd. 
  • Look for corrected timed tests in Friday folders and look for growth.  If your child is showing growth, celebrate!  Slow and steady wins the race.  So as long as they are making growth, they are right where they are supposed to be and they will achieve their goal if they keep working at it.  If your child is not showing growth, help them set a realistic goal they can achieve. 
  • We already have 4 students who met their goal.  Congratulations to Joy, Ryan, Aidan, and Shuto for meeting their goal! 
  • Some students have been borrowing my flash cards and have been practicing them at home.  It's really been helping! I've also been sending home timed test practice sheets for kids to practice at home.  If you would like me to send home some sheets for you, just email me.  I'm happy to help!  Thanks so much for all your support!  Having these facts mastered will make everything we do this year in Math so much more manageable. 
Math:  We have finished up the first part of our multiplication unit and will be testing on Monday, November 2nd.  Students received a review sheet that will be helpful as they prepare for this test.  We'll be getting back to Multiplying with larger numbers but will do that after our next unit in probably about 6 weeks.  By that time, most students should have their multiplication facts mastered and it will make the multiplication unit a lot easier to handle. 

Language Arts: In Reading this week, we'll continue to focus more on types of inferences which focus on small ones like meaning of words to larger ones like inferring theme and character emotions.  We have been working together on the rug and I've showed the class how to look for "clues" so they can make a proper inference.  Over the next few weeks, we'll have a couple of graded reading assignments that will assess their ability to infer on their own.  Next, we'll move into our character unit and continue inferring traits, emotions, and theme using action and dialogue. 

In writing, we have been working hard on our personal narrative strategies.  We've been working hard to add transitional phrases to help our writing flow better as we move from one part of the story to the next.  The kiddos are also working hard to add sensory details and dialogue to their writing pieces.  Next week, they will be publishing their favorite piece on the computer and we'll be nearing the end of this unit.  We'll conclude the unit by writing another personal narrative that I will grade.  We will compare the scores of this writing piece to the pre-write that I shared with you at conferences.

Social Studies:  We've been working our way through Government and we are nearing the end.  I have a few more concepts I'll be tying up in the next two weeks. Over the next two weeks, we'll focus on rights and responsibilities for U.S. citizens and state, federal, and local government. 

Science:  We concluded our study of magnets this week with a unit quiz on Monday. Quizzes are corrected and in Friday folders this week.  We've moved into the next phase of the unit and will be studying electricity.  The students will be having fun making circuit boards! 


Friday, October 16, 2015

Week of October 19th

Hello Again!

Here's some upcoming event for the next few weeks: 

October 19-23: Book Fair
October 19-23:  Conference week.  I have everyone scheduled for conferences next week.  I attached the schedule to my email just in case you've forgotten your time.  Looking forward to meeting with everyone to discuss your child's progress!!
October 23:  Enchanted Hike
October 30:  Halloween Party 2:00-3:00.  Thank you for all of the food donations on sign-up genius!  Everyone is welcome to join the party.  It should be fun!!
November 3: No school - Professional Development Day

Fun Run:  Thank you for your generous donations to the Fun Run!  We raised over $700 in room 12 alone!  Wonderful!!

Positive Behavior:  I wanted to let you know about a few updates in regards to our behavior plan in room 12.  This week, we decided to pick a classroom goal that would help improve learning in room 12.  Our classroom goal is to be more responsible during whole group instruction and independent working time.  We brainstormed what it looks like/sounds like to be responsible during this time.  Just like everything else we do, we're planning to track that goal as well.  Each day, the class is going to color a green, yellow or purple square into their calendar.  The behavior plan will look the same...the only difference is that we're have the kids chart their behavior each day on their calendar.  It will be kept in their homework folder and you can view it at anytime and talk about their behavior.  In addition to this, I will also be picking a student who is "as good as gold" each week.  If your child is selected for the week, know that this is a special honor and they are consistently demonstrating positive behavior throughout the school day.  Celebrate at home.  I'll be depositing $50 into the recipient's bank account when they receive their "good as gold" honor. 

Here's our plan for the next two weeks....

Language Arts: The kiddos have been doing a great job keeping track of their reading in their reading logs!  Instead of collecting reading logs every week, I'll start collecting them every two weeks.  I'll collect their present reading log on Monday and hand out a log that they will use to log their reading for 2 weeks, instead of just one.  They are making great choices during DEAR time as well. We have some readers in room 12!  Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be focusing on making connections, inferring, and theme.  In the next week or so, I'll begin pulling reading groups so we can dig a little deeper into books and short stories. 

In writing, we'll continue working on personal narratives.  We have been focusing on introductions, hooks, transitions and we've just started talking about conclusions.  Next week, I'll do a few more lessons on Show, Not tell.  When we show the writer how we're feeling and what we're doing, it makes our writing a lot more interesting to read.  As I'm grading papers, I've noticed some students are having difficulty with run-on sentences so I will be doing a few lessons on grammar and conventions as well. 

Math: We will have a timed WIG test on Monday.  We're all showing growth so thank you for your hard work at home!  This week, we focused on multiplication comparisons, factors, and prime and composite numbers.  Now that we're moving deeper into the unit, we're really understanding why it's so important to have our facts mastered.  Without knowing those basic facts, this unit could be very difficult.  Keep reminding your child to study at home. 

Social Studies:  We are well on our way in our government unit.  Our lapbooks look great and it is a great way to showcase our learning.  We'll actually be using the lapbooks to study for our government test once we've finished them.  As we continue moving through the unit, we'll focus on state, local, and national government, branches of government, and checks and balances. 

Science:  We are wrapping up the first investigation on magnetism.  The students will complete a review sheet on Monday that they should bring home in their science folders.  On Wednesday, we will review the concepts further through a game of Magnetism Jeopardy.  The quiz on magnetism will be on Monday, October 26th.  The students should use their reviews to study for the quiz.  They will be allowed to use notes and papers they've completed throughout the investigation on the quiz, if they need them.  However, they may not use the review sheet to help them.