Thursday, May 26, 2016

Week of May 31st

Important Dates to Remember:

Monday, May 30th:  No School - Memorial Day
Tuesday, May 31st:  Delayed Start
Tuesday, May 31st: Last day to test for Read Everyday in May
Wednesday, June 1st and Thursday June 2nd: FLE 12:00-1:00
Tuesday, June 7th:  4th Grade Safety Field Trip (Service Squad and Safeties Only)
Wednesday, June 8th:  Market Day Sale - All products due today!!
Friday, June 10th:  Field Day (AM)
Wednesday, June 15th:  End of Year Celebration (Doug Sheer Laughter Assembly)
Friday, June 17th:  Last day of school (Dismissal at 11:30)

Our last day of testing for Read Everyday in May is this Tuesday!  The kids did an amazing job pushing themselves!!  One student already read all 13 books!!!  Thank you to my 5 parents who helped tremendously with the testing!  I could not have done it without them!!

Math: Corrected Decimals tests were placed in the Friday folders today.  Today we took our Area and Perimeter test and will begin our Measurement unit on Tuesday.  In this unit, we'll focus on converting larger units to smaller units of measurement.  We'll also be doing a lot of work with Data and Graphs. This is always a fun unit because kids get to create their own graphs!

Language Arts: Our research books are coming along nicely!!  We're getting very good at using the Google docs!!  I forgot to mention a few weeks ago that I sent home their flash drives because we no longer need them with our Google accounts.  It's working out nicely because kids can just logon their account at home and finish their writing if they need to.  We'll be finishing up the books within the next couple of weeks so I have enough time to get them graded and handed back by the end of the year. I'm pretty impressed with how they are turning out!!

In Reading, we'll be spending some time on finding the main idea and supporting details in some some short reading selections.  We'll also spend more time working on different text structures.  I'll be doing a little assessing along the way too.

Social Studies: We're having so many neat discussions in Social Studies about our products and the Economic vocabulary.  I was pretty impressed with the creativity of their prototypes!!  Thanks for helping us pull this off!!

Science: Corrected Science quizzes are in the Friday folders today.  Our last unit of study is the Stars.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Week of May 17th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Tuesday, May 17th:  Safety application due (for those who wish to apply)
  • Tuesday, May 17th:  M-Step ELA
  • Thursday, May 19th:  M-Step Science part 1
  • Tuesday, May 24th:  M-Step Science part 2
  • Friday, May 27th:  1/2 Day (Elementary Only)
  • Tuesday, May 31:  Last day of Read Everyday in May AND Delayed Start 
NWEA and M-Step:
There are a few changes in the M-Step schedule.  There's actually only one ELA test and two Science parts. Also, I needed to change one of the M-Step dates because I have a meeting scheduled for one of the mornings and I can't have a substitute administer the assessment.  We will also be taking the NWEA towards the beginning of June.  We will have NWEA progress reports at the end of the year so your can see your child's growth.

Read Everyday in May:  The kids are doing an outstanding job in the Read Everyday in May program!!  At this point, your child should have at least 2 books they have tested on.  If they are behind, please spend some time at home getting them caught up.

Spring Pictures:  If you haven't sent back the spring pictures, please do so as soon as possible.  Lifetouch will be around shortly to begin collecting pictures and payments.  Thanks!!

Math: I'm in the midst of grading the Fractions test and it's taking a longer time than usual because we had so many sicknesses last week.  I'll have them ready Monday morning for the kids and they will be in next week's Friday folders.  Sorry!  We're at the end of our Decimals unit and we're testing on Tuesday!  I know, it was a really short unit!  Decimal review packets were sent home today and I'll look for those on Monday.

Language Arts: I'm sending home our and pre and post Literary Essays in Friday folders today.  The kiddos noticed a lot of growth with this particular unit!!  In writing, we're continuing to work on our research papers. We have been taking notes on our state and are in the process of organizing our notes logically so we can write at least two paragraphs on each chapter of our book.  I'm doing mini lessons demonstrating how we do this so our words and ideas flow together well.  This is a lot of work and will take a lot of practice before we get good at it. There might be some evenings where they have to finish a section at home so I've let the kids know to be prepared for that.  In Reading, we'll continue working through our informational unit.  We'll soon be focusing on different text structures and analyzing texts to how they organized.  I'll be getting back to reading rotations soon as well.

Social Studies:  We're having a blast in Social Studies!  I've never seen so much enthusiasm!! Kids are presenting prototypes today and they will have until June 8th to complete the rest of their products. During that time, I'll be teaching Economic concepts to them.

Science:  We're onto the moon!!  We'll be focusing on different phases of the moon and learning the necessary vocabulary that goes along with it.  Quizzes are in Friday folders today.  Some kids received their quizzes last week so if your child's quiz isn't in their folder, then please ask them for it.  Mrs. Dew mentioned that the results of this quiz were not typical.  Some kids relied on the fact that they had the book and the notes and didn't prepare like they should have.  We've been having many conversations lately about not letting the quality of our work slip.  I've definitely noticed a dip lately so this wasn't a surprise to me.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Week of May 2nd

Important Dates to Remember:
Friday, April 29: Read Everyday in May begins!!  Read, Read, Read!!
Tuesday, May 3rd: Delayed Start
Wednesday, May 4th:  ACES Walk - 10:00 (wear tennis shoes)
May 4th and 5th:  Scholastic BOGO book fair
Wednesday, May 11th:  M-Step Math - part 1
Thursday, May 12th:  M-Step Math - part 2
Tuesday, May 17th:  M-Step ELA Part 1
Wednesday, May 18th: M-Step ELA Part 2
Tuesday, May 24th: M-Step Science
Friday, May 27th:  Half Day - Elementary Only

Field Trip: Thank you to Mr. Kelley, Mrs. Samuel and Mrs. Conrad for your help on the field trip! It was a wonderful trip and I think the kids really got a lot out of it!!  They said they had a blast!  We were able to make a donation of $140 from Kenbrook and they were very appreciative of our generosity!  Thanks so much!

Read Everyday in May: Our reading program is officially kicked off!!  The kiddos are excited!  I went over the expectations of the program and we'll be placing those in Friday folders for you to take a look.  Thank you to Mrs. Roth, Sensoli, Laser, Conrad and Kuhnhenn for helping out with testing! We appreciate you!!

Math: We just finished up our Fractions unit today.  Corrected quizzes will be in Friday folders today and I'll have the Fractions test graded and placed in next week's Friday folders.  Our next unit is Decimals. We'll be begin by talking about the the place values of decimals, then we'll convert decimals into fractions, and we'll also be ordering them on a number line. Our Decimals unit should take a couple weeks and then we'll have another shorter unit on Area and Perimeter.

Language Arts: In Reading and Writing, we'll continue working through our informational unit.  We've reviewed the importance of text features and how they help us understand what we read.  We'll continue perusing through informational books to see how authors write because we'll need all these strategies in our back pocket once we begin writing our research books.  Reading and Writing will go hand in hand as we dig deeper with our writing unit. We've officially started research reports. This is a bigger unit!! Students have all picked a state and we'll begin researching that next week.  They will be developing about 5-6 chapters with all sorts of information on their state. We'll be typing the chapters on our Google docs, printing, cutting, and then placing them into hard cover books.  All of the research will be done here at school and I will be guiding them through the process of how to take important ideas and turning them into organized paragraphs.  There may be days where your child will have homework in Writing but it will be merely finishing up what we did in school that day.  There's a lot of work ahead of us but we're up for the challenge!!

Social Studies: We're wrapping up our Human Geography unit and we'll be testing on Monday, May 9th. We'll begin reviewing this Monday and then we're moving on to our Economics unit.  This unit has many vocabulary words that can be challenging for the kids.  To make this unit easier, we've decided to let the kids create a product and sell it.  Kids can either work in small groups or they can work by themselves.  I've told them to begin thinking about what product they would like to make (no food) and who they would like to work with.  It should be a fun, action packed month!!  More information about this will be sent home once we get the unit up and rolling.

Science:  The students just took their first quiz from the Sun, Moon, and Stars unit.  The first investigation focused on the sun and shadows.  The second investigation of this unit is all about the Moon.  Students will learn about the phases of the Moon.  They should begin going outside at night to observe the moon and how it changes.  If the moon is not visible, students can go online to look up what phase the moon is in that day.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Week of April 18th

M-Step Dates are in!!  4th graders will be taking the test in May.  The dates are as follows:

Wednesday, May 11 - Math Part 1
Thursday, May 12 - Math Part 2
Tuesday, May 17 - ELA Part 1
Wednesday, May 18 - ELA Part 2
Tuesday, May 24 - Science

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Monday, April 18th - Reading logs due 
  • Tuesday, April 26th - Field trip to the DIA
  • Tuesday, May 3rd - Delayed start
Read Everyday in May:  It's a go!  We have plenty of parent volunteers to help out with testing!  Thank you! Read Every Day in May is inspired by our Book Parade program we used for years before OSOB. We found in the past that Book Parade really encouraged kids to read, read, read so this is a perfect program to end our school year.  Here's how it will work:

The program will begin on May 2nd and will run until May 31st.  During that time, kids will be self-selecting books from my collection.  When they have read and understood their book, they will have a conference with one of our parent volunteers and will receive a sticker on their chart to show they passed the book. Each child must read four books during the month of May.  They will receive a reward for reading four books and students who read eight will receive an additional reward!  We're very excited to begin this program in May!

Math: We're plugging along with our Fractions unit and kiddos are doing an amazing job!!  They have a firm understanding of fractions and are very comfortable with how to make equivalent fractions.  The homework has looked a little different but we're adjusting well!  Next week, I'll be giving a short quiz to see how the students are working through the concepts. Within the next couple of weeks, we'll be wrapping up the unit and starting decimals!!  This should be easy now that we're so comfortable with fractions!! 

Language Arts: In Reading, we're continuing to work through our Informational unit and we've been focusing on main idea and supporting details.  After this, we will be working on how to paraphrase short pieces of text after we have read it.  This will be helpful when we begin our research papers!

In Writing, we're just wrapping up our literary essays.  I should have these graded in the next couple of weeks and I'll send home their pre and post assessments at that time.  Our next unit of study is informational writing.  We'll start out by writing summaries and then we'll dig a little deeper and begin our research reports.  Some of the big things we'll focus on during this unit are writing in paragraphs, topic sentences, supporting details and of course introductions and conclusions.  So, it will be very similar to what we've been working on all along, but I'll be adding in the research component with this.  

Social Studies: Human Geography is our umbrella topic with several concepts falling under it.  We have focused on learning how people have changed the Earth in positive and negative ways, push and pull factors tied to immigration and a brief touch on slavery.  In small groups, students are looking at picture books, writing summaries and presenting their findings to the rest of the class.  

Science: We just started our Sun, Moon and Stars unit. To begin the unit, we'll be focusing on lessons teach the students about the sun and their shadows.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Week of March 22nd

Important Dates to Remember:

  • Friday, March 25th:  No School 
  • Tuesday, March 29th:  Delayed Start 
  • Friday, April 1st:  Reading logs due 
  • April 4th-11th:  Spring Break 
  • Tuesday, April 26th:  DIA field trip - details coming after spring break 
Language Arts:  In reading, we have been rolling along with our Informational unit.  We have been looking at the layout of non-fiction pieces and discussing how text features help us understand what we're reading.  We have also been working hard to find the theme while reading.  Next week, we'll begin to dig deeper into Main Idea versus Theme.  Kids sometimes confuse the two so we'll be doing a few fun lessons to solidify those concepts.  In the next couple of weeks, we'll focus more on reading short articles and discussing the main idea.  From there, we'll be pulling out supporting details as well. This will help us when we move to our next writing unit...Informational writing!  

In Writing, we'll continue working through our Literary Essays unit. Each writing piece requires us to respond to the reading by finding the big idea and then supporting it with details and examples from the story.  We are currently working on our second writing piece. Each essay requires the students to become more independent with generating and organizing their ideas.  This is a great unit to help us reinforce organization while writing.  

Math:  Corrected Division tests are in Friday folders this week.  If you notice your child is still having difficulty with long division, please spend some time at home reinforcing this skill.  This will be very important for 5th grade next year.  We're rolling right along with our Fractions unit. We have been working with egg cartons to learn more about the fraction concept.  Next week, we'll be working with clocks and rulers to further reinforce concept and will also be learning about equivalent fractions.  We'll eventually make the connection that in order to make equivalent fractions, you'll multiply the numerator and denominator by the same number.   

Social Studies: Corrected Geography tests are in Friday folders today.  Our next unit of study is Human Geography.  In this unit, we spend a lot of time learning why people might migrate to different areas.  Next, we'll be talking about why families might choose to migrate to different places.  This will help us as we move into factors that push us out of our country and pull us to different ones.  

Science: In Science, we just finished our last part of this unit which focuses on propeller-driven vehicles.  Kids had an awesome time making their final designs and testing them!  Our next unit is Moon, Sun and Stars.  We'll be doing a little research along the way and will tie in some fun activities as well.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

Week of March 7th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Tuesday, March 8th:  No School - Staff Development 
  • Thursday, March 17th:  Field Trip to the Ford Rouge 
  • Friday, March 18th:  1/2 Day - Records Day 
  • Friday, March 25th:  No School - Good Friday 
  • Friday, April 1st:  Spring Breaks begins - close of day 
Fluency:  Thank you for doing such a fabulous job with the fluency at home! The kids seem to really enjoy it and it doesn't take too much time out of their evenings.  I can see that they have been working on it!  They seem much more conscientious about stopping at periods and using correct expression when reading. 

Language Arts:  I am utilizing part of our Language Arts block time to do our Fountas and Pinnell testing. As I finish each assessment, I'll be discussing levels with the kids as well as noting it on report cards later this month.  We've been doing some more work with theme over the last couple of weeks.  This has helped make our Literary Essay unit much more manageable!  This week, we read The Cat in the Hat and talked about many inferences and themes that run throughout the book.  It was pretty cool to see how much the kids were able to pull from this children's book!  They came up with some amazing themes and even did some work with renaming the book!  Next week, we'll do a little more with theme and then we'll start to get into our informational unit.  We will be focusing on main idea to begin the unit. 

In Writing, we're continuing to move through our Literary Essays unit.  We have read a few stories, talked about the big idea later which will later become our thesis.  From there, we brainstorm many details and examples from the book that support our thesis statement.  After that, we begin writing our piece which is typically 4 paragraphs.  My goal is to try to make the students as independent as possible while still modeling for them the correct way to write this type of paper.  This way, they'll have more confidence when it's time for them to write a paper independently.  Both of the stories we have read so far have to do with animals. We have a lot of animal lovers in this room (including me) so we have many great discussions on how animals impact the lives others.  Although this is definitely an in-depth unit, we're having a lot of fun!  

Math: We've wrapped up our Division unit.  This unit was tricky for some because we learned so many different strategies along the way.  They pushed through and worked very hard in this unit!  Mastery of our multiplication facts has made all the difference for us!  This unit could have been extremely difficult without knowledge of these facts.  Thanks for persevering at home with this!!  We'll begin Fractions on Monday. We'll start the fractions unit using Geoboards and rulers to help us learn more about this concept. After that, we'll use egg cartons to learn more about numerators, denominators, and equivalent fractions.  

Social Studies: We are at the end of our Geography unit and we'll be spending next week tying up loose ends and reviewing concepts we'll see on the test.  Students will receive their review sheet on Tuesday of next week and I anticipate we'll either test on Friday or the following Monday.  I'll make sure kids note it in their agendas.  

Science:  Recently, the motion and design teams added a cardboard sail to their standard vehicles.  Once the teams tested the effects of air resistance on their vehicles with sails, they needed to change the design of the sail to make the vehicle more aerodynamic.  Students are expected to understand what features make a vehicle more aerodynamic and which features would cause a vehicle to have more air resistance.  Next, the teams will be using a diagram to build a propeller-driven vehicle.  They will be analyzing the motion and design of the propeller-driven vehicles. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Week of February 17th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Wednesday, February 17: Return to school
  • Wednesday, February 17:  WIG Test and Reading Logs due
  • Tuesday, February 23:  Delayed Start 
  • Monday, March 1:  WIG Test and Reading Logs due
Animoto:  We will begin production of our Animoto videos this week.  If your child doesn't have their pictures loaded onto their flash drive, they won't be able to participate in this very fun activity.  Please remind your child to have them ready to go for Wednesday, February 17th.  

Fluency: I'm going to be incorporating short fluency lessons into my reading instruction. Some things we'll focus on are  pace, phrasing, expression and punctuation.  We always work with fluency when we read  and I've been hitting it harder during reading groups over the last month.  I'm going to be assigning some homework at night for kids to do and parents will work to support this at home.  Beginning Monday, February 22nd, I will be assigning fluency homework. Your job at home will be to time your child while they read a short reading piece.  You'll set the timer for one minute, subtract the number of accuracy errors from the number and then write the number of words they read in the time allotted.  I'll train the kids on exactly what I expect so they can help you if you have any questions.  This will only take about 5 minutes a night because you will do this 3 times.  You will see a TON of fluency progress with your child.  This will help their comprehension as well so it's a win-win!  Thanks for your help with this!

WIG:  Congratulations to Evan, Marcus P. and Julia for mastering their facts!  68% of our class has their facts mastered!!  We're almost there!  Our next test is Wednesday when we get back from break  

Language Arts: In Reading, we're wrapping up book clubs the week we get back and will be working on some stories to work on a few more skills before starting our Informational unit.  We'll be using some of our reading time to work on our Animoto videos as well.

Our persuasive letters are finished and I'll have them graded for you by next Friday.  In Writing, we're continuing our work with Literary Essays.  This unit is different from any type of writing your child has been done so far.  I gave a pre-assessment before I started the unit and I'll also be giving a post-assessment at the end to see how much growth your child made.  This week, we'll be reading a few short stories, discussing how essays are organized, and then we'll tackle writing a few essays.  A strong essay has a thesis statement, topic sentences, and supporting details and examples from the story. I can't wait to get this unit rolling a bit more!  

Math: I'm sending home our latest unit test for Multiplication.  This was definitely a very in-depth test so please celebrate with your child if they did well.  If you noticed your child had some challenges, please do some work at home with multiplying multi-digit numbers.  5th grade teachers will build on this foundation next year so it's important that these skills are mastered.  We started our Division unit and are slowly making our way through this.  In this unit, I'll introduce different strategies to solve division problems.  This week, we estimated quotients and next week we'll continue the process by playing a few division games, working with arrays and fine tuning long division. 

Social Studies: We're just about at the end of our Geography unit.  We took a quiz earlier this week which I'll have graded for you next week.  We have a few more Landform lessons to do and then we'll be reviewing for our test.    

Science:  We're gearing up for another Motion and Design quiz.  Next week, we'll review and we'll take the quiz the following Monday.