Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week of November 3rd

Race to the Finish

What is Race to the Finish? 
  • All Kenbrook students have a goal to improve fact fluency.  Our goal in 4th Grade is Multiplication so we're having a friendly competition between 4th grade classes.  Each foot represents a student...so, in order to sign a foot, students must earn a 95% on a timed test (5 minutes) with 100 problems.
What should 4th grade students do to help them "Race to the Finish"? 
  • 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.  We just tested Monday, Oct 27th, so we'll be testing again on Monday, November 11th. 
  • Look for corrected timed tests in Friday folders and look for growth.  If your child is showing growth, encourage them to keep studying.  If your child is not showing growth, help them set a realistic goal they can achieve. 
*******We already have 2 students who signed their foot.  Congratulations to Michael and Kortney for earning a score of 95% or above in 5 minutes!  Now we need 18 more students to race to the finish.  Let me know what I can do to help support your child.  Let's do this! 


 
 
Here's our plan for the week....
 
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, character emotions and traits.  Up until now, students have been guided through inferences.  We've worked together on the rug and I've showed them how to look for "clues" so they can make a proper inference.  This week, 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 on the strategy, Show, Don't Tell.  Our goal is to write so our reader can infer our feelings and emotions just as we do when we read our books.  Some of the other things we've concentrated on are strong introductions, paragraphing, and how to make our sentences stronger using strong verbs and adjectives.  In the next few weeks, I will be passing back the writing pieces I shared with you at conferences so students can spend some time reflecting on their writing.  This will help them determine what kinds of writing goals to make for themselves over the next few months. 
 
Math: This week in Math, we'll be finishing up Unit 1 and testing.  Our big focus for the unit has been to build multiplication models, find factors and multiples of numbers, prime and composite numbers.  Early next week, we'll do a little problem solving where we solve multiplication problems and also write some.  I haven't set the date of the math test but I'll the kids know early next week.  Look for a review sheet sometime next week.  In Unit 2, the numbers get much larger as we multiply multi-digit numbers.  Thanks for all your hard work with the multiplication facts!  They are really coming along and there's a lot of enthusiasm in the air.  Keep the momentum going!!
 
Social Studies:  We finished up relative location and absolute location and have moved into our study of landforms.  We'll be doing some fun activities next week and we'll also be using the computer as we look closer at landforms.  Our next stop is regions and special purpose maps! 
 
Science: We're continuing our study of electricity 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.  The test on the Making Connections investigation will be on Thursday, November 13.  The students will have a review sheet to use to help them study.   
 
 


Friday, October 17, 2014

Week of October 20th

Here's our plan for the week...

Language Arts:  In Reading, well continue working on reading strategies such as making connections and inferring.  In reading groups, we have been reading small paragraphs and using the clues the author gives us to make an inference.  As we go, we've been underlining the words or phrases that helped us make the inference we did.  Eventually, we should get really good at thinking deeper and drawing conclusions on our own.  I've broken the class into 4 reading groups and during reading time, we rotate from one activity to the next.  Rotations include guided reading with me, responding to reading, independent reading, and practicing strategies on the computer. Reading rotations are going very well and everyone seems to really enjoy them.  Once we get good at our strategies, I will hand out novels that students will be required to read nightly and discuss the next day in their group.

In Writing, we'll continue working on our personal narratives.  We have talked a lot about watermelons vs. seeds and as we think about topics, we decide if it's a small moment (seed) or a topic that's too big to handle (watermelon).   So far, we have listed a variety of topics we would like to write about, made a plan for a small moment, brainstormed grabbers and have written an introduction.  A few of the mini-lessons over the next two weeks will include how to add feelings and emotions to our writing by using a strategy called, "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 writing papers, I'm noticing students are having difficulty with run-on sentences so I will be doing a few lessons on grammar and conventions as well.

Math: This week, we have been focusing on making Multiplication arrays and making the connection with Division.  This week, we worked on Multiplication and Division story problems.  This was challenging for some so we spent two days on it.  We focused on remembering to write an equation, draw a picture and restate the answer in a sentence.  Next week, we'll move ahead with factors, multiples and prime & composite numbers.  We'll also be doing some factor trees too.  Remember those from elementary school?  I know I do!!  Now that we are farther along in this unit, we're really understanding why it's so important to have our facts mastered.  Without knowing those basic facts, factor trees will be very difficult. Keep reminding your child to study at home.  I've noticed a HUGE improvement!!!  Keep up the good work! 

Social Studies:  We are well on our way in our geography unit.  Our lapbooks look amazing and it is a great way to showcase our learning.  We'll actually be using the lapbooks to study for our geography test once we've finished them.  As we move through this unit, we will focus on absolute versus relative location, landforms, physical and human characteristics, special purpose maps and regions.  We have a lot to cover but we're up for the challenge! 

Science: We have had a great start to our science unit and are concluding our work with magnets.  Students should have brought home their science quiz this week.  If they did not do as well as they hoped, reassure them that there will be more quizzes and plenty of opportunities to raise their grade.  Next, we'll begin looking at electrical currents.  Kids will love making circuit boards in the coming weeks.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Week of October 6th

Hello Everyone!

Thanks so much for all of your support over the past few weeks!  We're rolling right along with curriculum.  Here's a sneak peak into next week....

Math:  Now that we're finished with our Place Value unit, we'll be starting Unit 1 which focuses on Multiplication and Division models.  Some of this will be a review from last  year and we'll be building on those skills as well.  We have been spending some time practicing our multiplication facts in class but kids need to be spending time at home mastering them as well.  I'm sending home our latest corrected timed test so you can see your child's progress.  Once the facts are memorized, they are there for life so I'm trying to come up with some things that might motivate the kids.   We're planning to have some friendly competition between the other two fourth grades to hopefully motivate us to practice our facts more.  More about this to come as this is still in the planning stages.  If you don't have flash cards at home, you can either buy them for pretty cheap or make them with index cards.  I'm more than willing to help kids make flash cards if they'll study them at home.  Let me know.  Thanks!!

Language Arts:  I'm thrilled to have the F and P assessments finished because they give me so much useful information about your child's reading skills.  I've compiled the information and will start grouping the kids next week.  We have been reading some great mentor texts as we learn more about connections and how to find "strong" connections versus "weak" ones.  Next week in reading groups, we'll be working on making connections and I'll also reintroduce Visualizing. This is a strategy they have learned in past grades but I always want to remind them that good readers always have a movie playing in their head as they read.  I'll also be working more in Inferring.  Inferring is probably my favorite reading strategy to teach because we use it so much when we read.  When we infer, we "read between the lines" and draw conclusions to better understand what we are reading.  Now that your child is encountering more difficult books, they will be inferring a lot more.

In Writing, we'll continue working on our Personal Narrative unit.   Before each unit, we do a pre-assessment and then once we're finished with the unit, we do a post-assessment.  All students should see a lot of growth from the pre to their post test.  Next week, we'll start digging a little deeper as we work on organization.  We'll be thinking of the end in mind as we learn a beginning, middle and end strategy.  In addition to this, we'll be taking a look at how to "hook" our reader with strong introductions.  We'll have time to practice the strategies and should be able to finish at least one writing piece next week.  Details, revising, and editing will also be implemented along the way.

Social Studies:  In social studies, we'll continue working through our Geography unit.  We started a Geography lap book last week and we'll continue working on these as we learn new concepts.  Some of the concepts we'll focus on next week will be relative location, and latitude & longitude.

Science:  We continue making our way through the Electricity and Magnetism unit.  Our focus right now is Magnetism and we're learning about these concepts through hands on lessons.  We will have a quiz on Thursday.  Students received study guides already so they can use this to study from. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Week of September 22nd

Thanks for visiting our class blog!  This will be a great resource so you can hear about the things we're learning in Room 12!  I will always update curriculum on the blog so you don't have to hold onto old emails.  It can be quickly at your fingertips!  Every Friday (or every other), I'll put out a quick email letting you know that the blog is updated and give you any reminders, if need be.  Today, I unveiled the blog to the students and to learn a little more about how the blog works, they completed a Webquest.  They navigated around as they searched for answers to my questions! 

Language Arts:  This week, we focused on a few things in Language Arts.  First, I introduced a fun fluency activity called Fluency 1,000.  It's a neat way for kids to work on word accuracy while reading.   It only takes 5 minutes out of our day too!!  We get a lot of bang for our buck with this!  The kids love it!  I will be doing more fluency lessons as the weeks go on and incorporating that into my Reader's Workshop every week.  We also started working a bit with a few important reading strategies...inferring and making connections.  We're doing this with our new read aloud book, Rules.  Making meaningful connections are important because they help us understand the story better.  When we make connections to our own life, we're able to understand how characters feel and ultimately comprehend the story better.  We'll be working more with inferences later next week as well.  In the next week or so, I'll begin dividing the class into reading groups so I can work more closely on specific skills kids might need. 

In Writing, we have been working to add more ideas to our writing pieces.  A few weeks ago, I asked the students to write me a letter about themselves.  We talked about the importance of having introductions, paragraphs, conclusions, and good conventions.  This week, I gave them an editing and revising checklist and they used that while they went back through their piece.  We also met with partners to give us some feedback about our writing.  Next week, we'll publish and then move into our Personal Narratives unit. 

Math:   Addition/Subtraction tests were sent home in Friday folders this week.  Next week, we'll continue working through our Place Value unit.  The kids seem to have a solid grasp on the concept.  We've used the interactive board this week to work through some cool Place Value lessons.  Next week, we'll continue working through our Place Value unit and explore rounding numbers.  I'll also introduce a new multiplication strategy as well. 

Social Studies: In Social Studies, we're just getting our feet wet with Geography. We started by reviewing the Continents and Oceans but will getting a bit more in detail next week. 

Science:  In Science, we have been focusing on our first unit, Magnetism and Electricity.  We have been working on the first investigation called The Force.  There will be a lot of fun stuff to be learned in this unit!! 

That's it for now!  Let me know if  you have any questions!  Thanks for your support.  :)