Friday, September 23, 2016

Week of September 27th

Hello and thank you for visiting our classroom blog!  This will be a great resource for you so you can hear about all the things we're learning in Room 12!  I typically update the blog every 2 weeks and I will always send out an email (typically on Friday) to let you know it's been updated with new curriculum.  Next week, I will be unveiling the blog to the students and they will be completing a webquest to help them learn how to navigate the blog.  I want this to be a useful tool for them too just in case they have forgotten to circle their homework in school.

Upcoming Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, September 23rd - 1/2 Day 
  • Tuesday, October 4th - Picture Day 
  • Friday, October 14th - Fun Run 
  • Wednesday, October 19th - 1/2 Day 
Homework:  Many students have really been struggling with their responsibility this week.  This week, I had 13 students who had a late or missing assignment.  Please help your child at home by signing the agenda and reminding them to place their homework back in their homework folder. At the end of everyday, I go over the homework and write it on the board.  Students will then circle what I'll be looking for the next day.  When students have missing assignments, I have to take the time out of our day to highlight their agenda and write down the missing assignment.  As you might imagine, our days are very busy and this takes precious time away from our learning.  Students who don't have late or missing assignments will have the privilege of going outside for TGIF on Friday.

Reading Logs: I will be sending home Reading Logs beginning next week.  Next week, I'm going to have kids jot down the number of minutes they read in their agendas but they will be receiving a formal Reading Log to begin the month of October.  I collect reading logs every other week and we keep track of our minutes in our reading logs.  Your child should be reading a minimum of 30 minutes most nights with a goal of 600 minutes a month.

Spelling Words: Spelling will begin next week!  Your child will receive their words on Monday and they will be copied into their agenda.  Throughout the week, we'll be working with our words and they should be reviewing at home.  We'll test on Fridays.

Language Arts:  Over the next two weeks, I'll be incorporating several lessons and discussing things such as choosing "just right" books, setting reading goals, and keeping our eyes and mind in the book. We'll be tracking our progress in our Data Notebooks as well.  During our reading time, we'll also continue working on fluency.  We've been working with a fun fluency activity called Fluency 1,000 which takes about 5 minutes but really helps with words accuracy skills.  I will be doing more fluency lessons as the weeks go on and incorporating that into my Reader's Workshop lessons every week.  We also started discussing two important reading strategies...making connections and inferring.  We've talked about how making meaningful connections helps understand characters feel and helps us to understand the story better. We'll be working more with inferences in the next few weeks.

In the area of writing, we have been working to identify fragments and run-on sentences.  This will help us as we get more into our writing units.  The first writing unit is called Launching with Realistic Fiction.  In the next few weeks, we'll be focusing on important parts of our narrative writing piece such as how to organize our writing piece, adding a catchy grabber, developing a strong introduction, and we'll also be using a story mountain to ensure we have included all parts of our story.  There will be a sharing component here as well on Fridays.  

Math: We completed the NWEA earlier in the week so we're rolling right along in the  Place Value unit in the Math Expression series.  We've reviewed writing numbers word form and expanded form. The students will continue having math homework every day of the week except Friday.  I try not to overload students with homework because I want them to time in their evening to read and study multiplication facts.  The math homework is necessary because it's an extension of what I taught that day in class. It's important for the students to have the time to independently practice the skill they learned that day.  I've noticed a few things regarding homework.  Students are racing through their homework and not reading directions.  They are also making silly mistakes as well.  I try to meet with students who had many incorrect responses on their homework so I can fine tune any issues they had.  I'm finding that they understand the skill but moved too quickly through the work.  They might need some reminders at home.  As a fourth grade team, we're recognizing there is a large gap in ability levels and prior knowledge. In order to meet the needs of all of our student this year, we will be placing them in flexible groups throughout the year.  Therefore, the students will be placed with either Mrs. Lindenberg, Mrs. Dew or myself depending on how they do on the pre-test.  We'll be starting this next Thursday.  

Social Studies: Our first unit in Social Studies will focus on U.S. Government. This will be an exciting unit because this is an election year!  We'll begin by talking about the purpose of government and the many services the government provides us with.  There will be many opportunities for to talk about the election so we'll be adding that in as well.  There are many tricky vocabulary words in this unit so I'll be adding some fun activities to help the kids understand it better.

Science:  We have already started switching for Science and the kiddos are thrilled!  Mrs. Dew will be teaching the Science curriculum and the first unit deals with Electricity and Magnetism.  They will actually be making electrical circuits using D-cell batteries. It's a very fun, interactive unit so we're all excited!