Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Week of May 20th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, May 24th - Half Day: Dismissal at 11:40 
  • Monday, May 27th - No School: Memorial Day
  • Friday, June 7th - Field Day 
  • Wednesday, June 12th - Mini Society Market Day 
  • Friday, June 14th - Half Day (Last Day of School) 
FLE lessons will be taking place next week.  I'm missing several permission slips from students. Please remember that if I do not have a signed permission slip on file, your child will not be able to participate in the lessons.

NWEA:  We're working on the Reading NWEA today and I'll have those results for you in Friday folders this week.  The kiddos worked really hard this year and made so much growth!  I'm so proud of them!

Mini Society Update: We're full steam ahead with our Economics unit.  All students have turned in a plan to me stating what product they are planning to produce and what types of materials they need.  The Prototype Design is due this Thursday so please make sure your child is prepared to bring in ONE type of each product they are planning to produce as well as a completed prototype sheet.   If your child asks you or a member of the family for help with the production of their products, please remember that you do not work for free.  You need to negotiate some sort of payment with them whether it would be helping out our around the house, helping out with dinner, etc.  I have offered to help kids laminate products and make copies but they are paying me with the money they are earning in the classroom. Over the next few weeks, we're going to be learning about goods, services, wants, needs, scarcity and more!  This will be an exciting month of learning for us!

Math: We just finished up Unit 7 in Math. This unit focused very heavily on word problems and problem solving strategies.  We have made so much progress in this area this year!  I'm very impressed with how the students tackle these types of problems and set up their problems using a number model!  I'm currently correcting unit 7 math tests and they will be placed in Friday folders this week.  We have just started our last unit of the year!  In this unit, we'll be doing a review of number stories, fractions, decimals, and measurement concepts.

Language Arts: In Writing, we're finally wrapping our research papers and we have a few things to accomplish in writing over the next few weeks.  We'll be putting this information into a Google slide show and sharing it orally with the class. Then, we'll be doing some work with Literary Essays to round out the year.

In Reading, we have been having great conversations about our books!  In addition to talking about the events of the chapter, we have been working on skills such as making connections, making inferences, digging deeper into the text, and theme.

We're also continuing to work on nonfiction reading skills as well.  We'll continue to work on skills such as analyzing informational text, finding information to support our answers, and finding the main idea.  Over the next few weeks, we'll also continue working on text features and text structures.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Week of May 6th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Monday, May 6th: ACES Walk
  • Tuesday, May 7th: M-Step (Math)
  • Thursday, May 9th: Field Trip to Nature Center (We will be eating at the park - please bring disposable lunches)  
  • Wednesday, May 15th: NWEA (Reading) 
  • Friday, May 17th: Half Day - Dismissal at 11:40
  • Tuesday, May 21st: NWEA (Math) 
  • Friday, May 24th: Half Day - Dismissal at 11:40
  • Monday, May 27th: No School - Memorial Day 
  • Wednesday, June 12th: Mini Society Market Day 
  • Friday, June 14th: Half Day - Dismissal at 11:40 
FLE Letters are coming home with your child today.  We need a signed permission slip on file for every child.  Please read the information and send it back to school by May 17th.  

Math: The Division tests we took last week are in your child's Friday folder this week.  We are well into unit 7 which focuses on Multiplication of a Fraction by a whole number and Measurement.  This unit focuses heavily on multiplying fractions and mixed numbers with whole numbers. We're getting really good at converting improper fractions to mixed numbers and vice versa.  I'm noticing a lot of improvement in our fractions skills!  We're using these concepts so much and students are really getting comfortable with them.  This unit will help lay the groundwork for 5th grade math next year. 

Language Arts: In reading and writing, we're continuing to work through our informational unit. Our research papers are coming along quite nicely and will look great once they are finished!  In reading, we'll continue working with main idea, supporting details and we'll be examining many short informational pieces as we do this.  

We're also starting a round of book clubs.  The kids are having great conversations about their books!  They will be given periodic nightly homework and will be asked to respond to a question that I have given them.  

Social Studies:  We're just finishing up our Human Geography unit.  Next week, we'll also be starting our Economics unit.  As I mentioned earlier, the students will be opening their own business and creating a product.  Designing a product definitely makes this unit easier and more fun!  I'll be sending home some more information on Monday and getting the ball rolling next week with this. Stay tuned...

Science: In Science, we have been focusing on different phases of the moon and learning the necessary vocabulary that goes along with it.  Our last unit of study is the stars! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Week of April 15th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, April 19th - No School: Good Friday
  • Wednesday, April 24th - Anderson Music will be here to fit students for instruments.
  • Tuesday, April 30th - MSTEP Testing (ELA Part 1)
  • Wednesday, May 1st - April Reading logs are due 
  • Wednesday, May 1st - ACES Walk 
  • Thursday, May 2nd - MSTEP Testing (ELA Part 2) 
  • Tuesday, May 7th - MSTEP Testing (Math)
  • Thursday, May 9th - Field Trip: Nature Center 
  • Friday, May 17th - Half Day: Dismissal at 11:40  
  • Tuesday, May 21st - NWEA Testing 
  • Thursday, May 23rd - NWEA Testing 
  • Friday, May 24th - Half Day: Elementary Only 
  • Monday, May 27th - No School: Memorial Day 
  • Friday, June 7th - Field Day 
  • Wednesday, June 12th - Mini Society Market Day 
  • Friday, June 14th - Last day of school: Dismissal at 11:40
The book reports are officially finished and they were great!  Thank you for all of your hard work and support on these projects!  Corrected rubrics will be going home in Friday folders. 

Math: We're just about at the end of our Division unit.  Our goal with division is to ensure students can solve division problems, interpret the remainder and be able to solve long division problems (including word problems) with 1 divisor and a 4 digit dividend.  We've been taking very small steps with these skills and we have made so much progress!  I have 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.  We will be reviewing and testing next week.  Keep your eyes peeled for a study guide coming home.

Language Arts: In Reading, we're continuing to work through our informational unit.  We have been focusing on main idea and supporting details.  After this, we'll be doing some fun activities to help us with our understanding of main idea and supporting details. We'll start pulling out our Scholastic News articles to help with this. The articles are so interesting and it's been learning about many things as we read them.  We'll also be using the magazines to help us with text features and understanding the importance of them.

In writing, we're chugging right along with our research unit.  Kids have picked a topic they are excited about and we just finished the research process.  Organizing our notes and turning them into paragraphs has taken a lot of practice but our writing is looking good!! We focus a lot on topic sentences.  These are important because they introduce our paragraph and the supporting details follow.  We have made so much growth with our editing and revising skills!  Checking each paragraph is essential before moving onto the next paragraph.  Our final writing will be organized, typed and will have a lot of the text features we've been learning about.  Stay tuned!

Social Studies:  In social studies, we're in the midst of our Human Geography unit. Human Geography is our umbrella topic with several concepts falling under it.  Over the next few weeks, we'll focus on learning how people have changed the earth in positive and negative ways, push and pull factors tied to immigration, and we'll touch briefly on westward migration and slavery.

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Week of April 8th

Hello Parents,

I thought I would put out the important dates to remember before my next curriculum update because we have our MSTEP dates on the calendar as well as many other important end of the year activities.  These dates are also found under my CALENDAR tab.

Important Dates to Remember:
  • April 8-11th - Book Report Presentations.  Check with your child to see what date they are scheduled.  
  • Wednesday, April 10th - Spring Pictures 
  • Friday, April 12th - Field Trip to the Festival of the Arts.  Permission slips were sent home last week in Friday folders. 
  • Friday, April 19th - No School - Good Friday
  • Tuesday, April 30th - MSTEP Testing (ELA Part 1)
  • Wednesday, May 1st - ACES Walk 
  • Thursday, May 2nd - MSTEP Testing (ELA Part 2)
  • Tuesday, May 7th - MSTEP Testing (Math)
  • Thursday, May 9th - Field Trip to Nature Center
  • Friday, May 17th - 1/2 Day: Dismissal at 11:40
  • Friday, May 24th - 1/2 Day: Elementary Only 
  • Tuesday, May 21th - NWEA Testing (Reading)
  • Thursday, May 23rd - NWEA Testing (Math)
  • Monday, May 27th - No School: Memorial Day 
  • Friday, June 7th - Field Day 
  • Wednesday, June 12th - Mini Society Market Day (Information about this will go home in early May)
  • Friday, June 14th - 1/2 Day: Last Day of School 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Week of March 18th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Wednesday, March 20th - Geography Test 
  • Friday, March 29th - Reading Logs are Due 
  • Spring Break - March 30 through April 7th!  Enjoy the time off!  
  • Monday, April 8th:  Book Report Presentations Begin - Your child has their presentation date written in their agenda. 
  • Friday, April 12th - Field Trip to Festival of the Arts.  4th Graders across the district are invited to the Costic Center to attend the Festival of the Arts.  Since this is a shorter field trip, we will not need any parent volunteers. Field trip slips will be going home next week. 
  • Friday, April 19th - No School (Good Friday)
Instrumental Music: Anderson Music will be here on Wednesday, April 24th to fit kids with instruments.  I imagine many kids are very excited about the opportunity to play a musical instrument next year!  In 5th grade, students will have the opportunity to participate in instrumental music twice a week before school.  More information will be coming home at a later date. 

Math: We're making a lot of progress with our Fractions unit!  We've been spending a lot of time building on the concepts we know so we can learn additional fraction concepts such as line plots, reducing fractions, and as always we're tackling a lot of word problems. Kiddos are doing great with the skills!  Mrs. Whisenhunt, our Math Interventionist is always an incredible support during this time.  We'll be finishing up unit 5 early next week and we'll be preparing a Math test probably late next week. Keep your eyes peeled for a math review to come home Tuesday or Wednesday.

English Language Arts: We're officially finished with our Persuasive unit!  I should have persuasive papers graded next week.  I'm still working on getting them finished up and back to the kiddos.  You will be very impressed with their final writing piece!  Their writing skills have come a long way and I'm proud of their hard work!  Our next writing unit is research.  This is a bigger unit! Students will be assigned an animal that they will be researching over the course of the next few weeks.  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 turn them into paragraphs.  There many 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 hard work ahead of us but we're up for the challenge!

Social Studies:  We're just wrapping up our Geography unit and we will be testing next week.  Your child has a vocabulary sheet that they have been keeping as we've worked through the unit. There are many vocabulary words associated with this unit so please remind your child to study for the test.

Science: In science, we just finished up our last part of this unit which focuses on propeller driven vehicles.  Kids had an awesome time making their vehicles and testing them!  Science quizzes will be sent home next week in Friday folders.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Week of March 4th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, March 15 - 1/2 Day: End of Trimester 
  • Friday, March 29 - Spring Break begins at the end of the day 
  • Friday, March 29 - Reading Logs are due 
  • Monday, April 8th - Book Report presentations begin.  Check with your child to see what day they were assigned. The date is written in their agendas. 
A big thank you to many parents who came to help out at our Valentine's Day party! We couldn't do it without your donations and help!  Thank you to Judy Kao, Wes O'Leary, Kristen Forster, Kimberly Kilgo, Elly Switzer and Kristianna's grandma! The many donations we received for the party were perfect and we had such a wonderful day because of your hard work!  

Book Reports:  Book report requirements were handed out on Wednesday and all students should have selected their books.  Please take a look at the packet that was sent home and send back the contract on Monday if you haven't already done so.  There were many great questions and I went over the packet in detail. Feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions. I emphasized to the class that there are many parts to this project and to use the book report guide that I sent home to guide them through all the parts.

Math: We finished up our Multiplication unit right before break and this week, we've been working through unit 5 as well as finishing up the tests.  We took 2 tests for unit 4 - a cumulative test that covered concepts from unit 1 to 3 and a unit 4 math test.  I'll be finishing up grading these tests over the weekend and I'll send them home next week in Friday folders.  In unit 5, we're digging deeper into Fractions and focusing more on mixed numbers, improper fractions, decimals, finding equivalent fractions and as always, word problems.  The groundwork we lay in this unit will be very important for what they are expected to next year in 5th grade math.

Language Arts: Most days, we do 2 blocks of reading.  In our first block, we have been focusing on summarizing nonfiction text within our IST groups.  We start by reading and analyzing the text, then pulling out the main idea as well as important ideas the author is trying to convey.  When we analyze the text, we decide what the important details are in the piece so we can make sure to include them in our summary.  This work will important as I begin sitting down with students and doing some F and P assessments.  In our second block of reading, we're reviewing character traits, point of view, theme, and summarizing the text. We'll be doing some book clubs after we get back from our spring break!

In writing, we're chugging right along with our persuasive essay unit.  We're currently working on our second piece and others are beginning their third piece. Our goal for next week is to finish typing our second essay so they can share it with me and their writing partner to get additional feedback.  We're nearing the end of this unit and we'll be working on a final write the following week.  Our next unit of study is our informational writing unit where we'll be researching a topic and writing an essay.

Social Studies: In Social Studies, we're continuing to work through our Geography unit.  Our next topic of study is landforms. This is a review from previous grades so the kiddos always do really well with this topic. After this, we'll be wrapping up the unit and preparing for a test.

Science:  The kids are loving the Motion and Design unit and they're picking up many great skills while testing their vehicles!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Week of January 28th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, January 25th:  Half Day - Dismissal at 11:40
  • Wednesday, February 6th: Music Instrument Demo for interested 4th graders - 4:00-5:00.  
  • February 12-14: Book Fair
  • Friday, February 15th: Half Day - Dismissal at 11:40
  • February 18-22nd: Winter Break 
  • Monday, February 25th: Return to School 
Valentine's Day Party:  The Valentine's Day Party is fast approaching and will take place on Valentine's Day at 10:00.  I think we have most of the activities planned but could use another 10 minute activity to fill the time. I'll be sending out the Sign Up Genius for food items and I'll use some of the money collected in the beginning of the year to purchase prizes for the games.  I kept the food pretty light because the party is right before lunch. Your child won't need a snack that day since we'll be snacking at the party.

Math: Our Multiplication unit is well underway and we're learning many multiplication strategies to solve problems.  Partitioned rectangles and partial products are introduced early and will lay the groundwork for longer multiplication problems coming in later units.  We are working in class with partners to have quick recall and accuracy and we'll continue testing on our basic facts once a week.  There are several places in this program where we work on word problems.  Many of these problems are multiple step problems so we start by circling the important information, underling what the problem is asking, making a number model, showing our work and restating the answer in a complete sentence. I know these problems can be very tricky but we're getting good at figuring out what operation to use and how to solve the problems.

Reading:  On most days, we do two reading blocks.  One block is focused on IST and the other block we're doing our read aloud and working on fiction strategies.  For IST, our main focus has been nonfiction summarizing.  This has not been an easy skill but the organizer we're using makes our work a little easier. Most of this work has been guided and soon, the kiddos will be completing a summary independently.  After we get really good at nonfiction summarizing, we'll move onto summarizing fiction pieces.  This will be a very helpful skill as I will beginning reading assessments again in late February.

In writing, we're rolling right along with our persuasive unit. We have analyzed persuasive texts, discussed the audience, topic, and the importance of having strong evidence and examples to back up our claim.  We just finished writing our first piece together and we're finally ready to tackle a piece independently.  When they are finished writing their first piece, they will bring it home for you to review.  You can decide if their evidence was convincing enough and if they had enough supporting evidence to back up their opinion. 

Social Studies: In Social Studies, we're continuing to move through our Geography unit.  This unit also has many vocabulary words the kids will be responsible for so we've started writing them down so they're easier to review.  Some of the things we'll cover in the next couple of weeks are latitude/longitude, relative location and landforms.  I have some fun hands on activities to help reinforce the concepts.

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.  This unit is definitely a favorite for most!