Friday, January 13, 2017

Week of January 16th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, January 13th:  1/2 Day - Dismissal at 11:40
  • Monday, January 16th:  No School - Martin Luther King Day
  • Friday, January 27th:  1/2 Day - Dismissal at 11:40 
  • Wednesday, February 1st:  Reading Logs Due
Math: The Division tests looked great!!  I was very impressed with the hard work and dedication that went into this unit!  It's definitely one of our "trickier" skills so I'm happy that we all pushed ourselves and tried our best.  We're in the midst of our equations and word problems unit and so far, so good.  This unit is comprised mainly of Algebra and because it's a new skill, it can be confusing.  If you notice your child is having difficulty at home, feel free to email me and I can offer some extra help during math time.  Later in the unit, we'll get into multi-step word problems and patterns.  We'll stretch this unit out a bit and add in some additional practice until the kiddos master the skill.  Remind your child to keep studying their multiplication facts.  I'll continue testing every other week or so.  We already have quite a few students who have mastered their facts so they've moved up to the "coach" status.

Language Arts: The reading logs are looking great!!  I'm very impressed with all the reading the kids are doing outside of school! They are doing a great job turning in the logs on time too!!  We've started a little incentive for kids that they're pretty excited about.  The class has teamed up in groups of 4 and their job is to encourage each other regularly to read more.  At the end of the month, we'll tally up all of the minutes and I'll be awarding the top group with a deposit in their checking account,  The goal should be at least 600 minutes a month.  Many are reading much more than this but this should be the minimum amount you try to aim for each month.  We'll be doing a variety of different things in reading over the next few weeks.  First and foremost, we'll be kicking off book clubs on Tuesday.  Kids will be placed into groups and will have a nightly assignment to read and be prepared for their book club the following day.  They will be meeting with me everyday as well to ensure they are understand the book and I'll be doing some reading lessons within the groups as well. They will also have a reading packet that will be done mainly in class but if they don't finish, they will be expected to complete this at home for homework.  Just a heads up...I will be assigning a Historical Fiction book report sometime in February.  This will be a presentation report as well and I'll be giving them a packet as well as going over all the expectations of the project.  Stay tuned!

In Writing, we're rolling right along in our persuasive unit.  We have analyzed persuasive texts, discussed the audience, issues and the importance of  having convincing evidence. We're just about ready to write our first piece and we have been working hard to come up with three pieces of supportive evidence. When they are finished with their first piece, they'll bring it home for you to review.  You can decide if their evidence was convincing enough.  They are really having a great time with the unit!

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're planning to complete a Lapbook as we learn different concepts in this unit.  Some of the things we'll cover over the next couple of weeks are latitude/longitude, cardinal/intermediate directions, and we'll do some more work with relative location.

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!!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Week of December 12th

Important Dates to Remember:

Wednesday, December 21: Winter vacation begins (close of day)
Wednesday, January 4: Return to school
Wednesday, January 4: Reading logs are due
Friday, January 13: 1/2 Day - Professional Development
Monday, January 16:  No School - MLK Day

Language Arts: 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.  In our Tiger Rising book, we're talking about different character traits that the characters have as well as supporting them with details and examples from the text. Next week, we'll also be working on some close reading strategies.

We're continuing to meet in our IST groups 3 days a week.  We currently have 4 groups going and the student are working on skills such as fluency, comprehension skills, figurative language and book clubs. They are going quite well and the kids seem to be really enjoying the time with their group.

In Writing, we've just started rolling along with our Persuasive writing unit.  This is a fun unit because kids get to pick a topic that they are passionate about and persuade someone to see their point of view.  Over the next few weeks, we'll take a look at many different persuasive letters and decide if the writer has included convincing evidence to persuade their reader.  Be prepared...their first persuasive letter is often to their parents so they will get their chance to convince you to see their point of view!  It's an excellent unit because it reinforces everything that we try to teach in writing - support your topic with details and evidence!

Math: We're making progress with our Division groups.  Our goal with division is to ensure students can solve division problems, interpret the remainder and be able to solve long division problems with 1 divisor and a 4 digit dividend.  We've been taking very small steps with these skills and we're making progress!  I've reminded the kiddos about the importance of making sure their facts are committed to memory because this will make learning long division so much easier.  It is so important that the basic facts are in place because with long division, we divide, multiply and subtract!  We have been trying to correct math assignments quickly and give frequent check-ins so you can see how your child is progressing with this very important concept.  I'm not sure about the timeline yet but I'll keep you updated as to when we'll finish up the unit and test.

Social Studies:  I should have the government tests graded by next week.  In Social Studies, we're moving on to our Geography unit.  We'll start by focusing on continents and oceans and looking at where the United States is in relation to other areas of the country.

Science:  We've been doing a little more work with Electricity and Magnetism and now that our new science kits have arrived, we'll finally be starting 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 requirements.  This unit is a lot of fun and the kids LOVE it!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week of November 28th

Important Dates to Remember:

Thursday, December 1st: Reading logs due
Friday, December 2nd:  1/2 Day - End of Trimester
Monday, December 5th: Koality Reward - Electronics :)
Wednesday, December 21: Winter vacation begins (close of day)
Wednesday, January 4: Return to school

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

Language Arts: I've been spending some of our Reading time finishing up F and P assessments.  I'll be noting your child's instructional level on report cards in December.  We'll be spending a little more time on inferring and then digging into theme a bit.  Inferring is a higher level reading skill and has been easy when guided but can be difficult when kids read on their own.  How can you help at home!  When you're reading with your child at home, point out places where they can infer character emotions based on what they say or do.  Over the course of the next couple weeks, 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 through our character unit as we make our way through our read aloud Tiger Rising.  The kids are loving it and are doing an amazing job analyzing all the characters in the book.

In Writing, we'll be wrapping our Narrative unit this week and writing our final pieces.  Our next unit is Persuasive writing.  This is a fun unit because kids get to pick a topic that they're passionate about and persuade someone to see their pint of view.  We'll take a look at different persuasive letters and think about whether or not the author has included enough persuasive evidence to persuade the reader.

Math: Last week, I handed back our latest WIG tests.  Every student made growth on their timed test! I can tell they are practicing their facts at home!  We squeeze in a little time here and there to play multiplication games and practice our facts.  We'll be starting our Division unit this week.  In this unit, I'll be introducing a few division strategies to help us solve long division problems.

Social Studies: We're just about at the end of our Government unit and we'll be spending this week and part of next getting ready for the test.  I'll hand out a review sheet sometime within the next week and give the kids an idea as to when we'll be tested.

Science: We have our final Electricity quiz on Wednesday. Students received a study guide last week to help them prepare for the final concepts. 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.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Week of November 7th

Thank you to the many parents who donated items and helped out at our Halloween party earlier this week!  Charlene Erickson always puts on such a beautiful party so we thank her for her hard work and dedication as well!!  The kids had a wonderful party!

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Tuesday, November 8th:  No School - Voting Day 
  • Friday, November 18th:  1/2 Day - Professional Development 
  • Wednesday, November 23rd:  Beginning of Thanksgiving Break (end of day)
  • Friday, December 2nd:  1/2 Day - End of Trimester 
Math: Unit 2 is well underway and the kids are learning about multiplication.  The area models introduced in the first part of the unit will lay the groundwork for long multiplication in coming lessons.  Students are strongly encouraged to master their basic multiplication facts at home.  We are working in class with flashcards and partners to have quick recall and accuracy.  We will be testing on our multiplication facts every other week.

Reading: In Reading, we'll continue to focus more on types of inferences which focus on small ones likes 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.  We'll also be moving through our character unit and continue inferring traits, emotions, and theme using action and dialogue.  Please continue to encourage your child to read a home for a minimum of 30 minutes most nights.  I've tried to lighten up on homework so students have enough time to read their independent reading books.  As  you know, this really helps build those necessary reading skills!  Our IST groups began last week and will continue for the remainder of the year.  Students will have IST on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 2:40-3:25, where they will receive reading support, practice, or enrichment.

In Writing, we have been working hard on our 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, we'll finish publishing their favorite piece on the computer and we'll hit a few more strategies before we wrap up the 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: During the course of the next few weeks, we'll be revisiting the U.S. Constitution and we'll be gearing up for a short quiz on what we have covered so far. Our next major units of study are state, federal, local government, and rights and responsibilities.

Science:  Electricity is well underway in Science!  Students have been working on creating electrical circuits using D-cell batteries, wires, light bulbs, and small motors.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Week of October 24th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, October 28th:  Enchanted Hike 
  • Monday, October 31st:  Halloween Party: 2:00-3:15. Everyone is welcome to join the party!  
  • Tuesday, November 1st: Calendars are due showing how much reading they did over the month. 
  • Tuesday, November 8th: No School - Voting Day 
Websites:  Your child currently has 4 online websites available to them for extra practice.  I've already provided the login information to the kiddos but I thought I'd pass it along to you as well.

Moby Max -
  • Username - last name first inital 
  • Password - 5 digit code 
Think Central -
  • Username - last name first initial AND P (For example, mine would be wrighttp) 
  • Password - 5 digit code 
Raz Kids -
  • Teacher Username - tammywright1
  • Password - 5 digit code 
Compass Learning -
  • Username - 5 digit code
  • Password - 12345678
Language Arts: The kids are doing a great job keeping track of their reading minutes on their calendar!  We have readers in Room 12 and one of our favorite parts of the day is DEAR!  Thank you for being so diligent when returning the fluency homework I've been assigning.  It's such a quick activity but we get so much out of it!  The kids seem to be enjoying it as well.  In Reading, we'll continue focusing on inferring Story Elements, feelings and emotions in Reading.  In reading groups, I'll be modeling how we dig deeper into the text to find deeper meaning with what we're reading. Our next read aloud will be Tiger Rising which is an amazing book that will give us great practice with all of our reading strategies.

In Writing, we'll continue working our way through our Narrative unit.  This week, we looked closer at reading books so we see what kinds of strategies authors use while writing. We have been focusing on introductions, hooks, transitions, and elaborating on our main events.  We'll also focus on writing strategies such as show, not tell.  When we show the writer how we're feeling and what we're doing, it makes our writing even more interesting to read.  I've also noticed that many students are struggling with run-on sentences so I will be doing a few lessons on grammar and conventions as well.

Math: We will be beginning routine multiplication timed tests next week. The goal is for students to complete 100 problems (0-12) in 5 minutes or less and earn a score of 95% or better.  We'll be having a friendly competition between the other two classes to give us some motivation to study our facts. When we have a few minutes during the day, we'll play some sort of multiplication game to keep our skills fresh but the kiddos should also be studying at home too.

Place Value tests are being sent home in Friday folders today.  We started new math groups today and we're well on our way into our multiplication unit.   We'll be reviewing the concept of arrays over the next few weeks and will even be using them to illustrate larger multiplication problems.  Using arrays helps understand the concept of multiplication by seeing the visual representation of it.  We'll be working with a variety of different strategies as we work through the unit.  Studying those multiplication facts at home will be very necessary to continue making growth in this area.

Social Studies: We've been working our way through the branches of government and are currently focusing on the Judicial branch.  Next week, we'll be doing some fun computer activities with these branches and will begin talking about the Presidential election a bit.  We're gearing up for a quiz and I'll make sure the kiddos have a good study guide to focus on the important concepts.  This unit is packed with many terms so we'll make try to make it fun and manageable.

Science: We just wrapped up our first investigation on magnetism and next, we'll be doing some fun experiments on electricity.  Electricity is always a fan favorite!!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Week of October 10th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, October 14th - Fun Run 10:05-10:55.  Feel free to come and cheer us on!  
  • October 18, 19, 20 - Parent-Teacher conferences.  Please sign up for a date if you haven't already done so.
  • Wednesday, October 19th - Half Day for conferences 
  • Monday, October 31st - Halloween Party 2:00-3:15.  Everyone is welcome to join the party!  Look for a sign-up genius soon. 
  • Tuesday, November 8th - No School: Voting Day
Halloween Party: Mrs. Erickson has agreed to be our party mom this year.  If you haven't paid the $5.00 to cover the cost of the parties this year, please send it in as soon as possible.  If you would like to help out with the Halloween party, please email Mrs. Erickson at

Computer Websites and Calendar: You may have noticed that your child has a calendar in their homework folder.  We will be using the calendar to track our nightly reading, facts practice, and the time on the computer websites introduced in class.  The students have logins with 4 different computer sites including Moby Max, Compass Learning, Raz Kids and Think Central.  When they spend time at home on these sites, they will record the amount of time on their calendar.  I will be collecting these at the end of the month.

Fun Run:  Our class has raised $320 for the Fun Run!  Thank you so much for your generous donations!  The PTA helps to support so many "extras" in the building and couldn't do it without your help. Keep up the great work!

Language Arts: In Reading, we've been working hard to make inferences while we read.  We started reading rotations so it gave me a lot of time to dig deeper with small groups of students.   This week, we spent time reading short paragraphs and tried to pull out as many inferences as we could.  During reading time, we also spent some time reading Stone Fox as well as a few mentor texts to identify inferences.  Next week, we'll review story elements and then begin to infer story elements as well as inferring character traits and emotions.  We'll also be doing some lessons on fluency including expression, phrasing, and pace.  I'll also be assigning students a week for them to share their favorite picture book with the class. This will give them great practice using these skills and also allow them to share a great book with their peers.  I'll put together the list and hand it out sometime late next week. In the meantime, talk to your child about what book they would like to share with the class.

In Writing, we're continuing our writing Realistic Stories unit.  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 continue working on "hooking" our reader with strong introductions.  Adding details, revising, and editing will also be implemented along the way.

Math: Math is rolling right along and the groups are working out well!  We will have WIN (What I Need) groups for the remainder of the first math unit and beyond.  Each group is essentially working on the same concepts, but in different ways.  We have completed a little over half of the lessons in the first unit on Place Value and Multi-digit Addition and Subtraction.  The first unit test will most likely be given next Friday or the following Monday.   We will pull together a review so the students know what kinds of problems to expect on the test.

Science:  The first investigation is all about magnetism.  So far, the students have discovered that magnets only stick to objects made from iron or steel.  After they explored how magnets interact with each other, they experimented with induced magnetism and temporary magnets.  We will be wrapping up the investigation next week.  Thee students will take the quiz on magnetism during the week of October 17th.  They will be allowed to use their response sheets and their word bank on the quiz.

Social Studies:  We're continuing our study of the U.S. Government.  Next week, we'll move onto the Legislative branch of government and will begin digging deeper into the importance of this branch of government.

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!