Friday, March 24, 2017

Week of March 27th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, March 31st - Reading Logs Due
  • Spring Break - April 1st through April 9th!  Enjoy the time off!! :)
  • Monday, April 10th - Return to School 
  • Wednesday, April 12th - Spring Pictures 
  • Friday, April 14th - No School (Good Friday)
The book report projects are officially finished and they were amazing!!  Thank you for all of your hard work and support on these projects. I know they took a lot of time out of your evenings and weekends.  Corrected rubrics will be going home in Friday folders today.

Math:  We're rolling right along with our fractions unit.  Our Math groups are back in action and this way, we can either speed things up or slow things down.  If you notice your child is having difficulty on the Math homework, please spend some time working with them to develop these skills. The groundwork we're laying now is so very important for our next unit on Fractions/Decimals and also next year in 5th grade!  We'll be wrapping up unit 6 next week so expect a review sheet early next week.  After break, we'll continue building on these skills as we begin unit 7.  In this unit, we'll explore equivalent fractions and decimals.  It's hard to believe we have just a few units left this year!!

Language Arts:  We're officially finished with our Persuasive unit!  I should have graded persuasive papers next week.  I'm still working on getting them finished up and back to the kiddos.  Our next writing unit is informational writing.  Kids will become experts in this unit as they pick a topic and develop it into 5-6 chapters.  We'll be spending a lot of time looking through informational books to see how authors write so we can use some of their techniques.

I finished reading assessments last week and I'll be noting instructional levels on the report cards.  In reading, we're moving into informational reading next week. We'll start by looking at the layout of non-fiction pieces and discussing how text features help us understand what we're reading.  We'll also 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.

Social Studies: We've finished up our Geography unit and will be starting our Human Geography unit next week. 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 move to different places and we'll discuss factors that push us out of our countries and pull us into different ones.  I have a few fun simulations that I'll do with the kids that will help us learn more about these concepts as well.

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 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 3, 2017

Week of March 6th

Field Trip: The field trip is fast approaching and will take place on Wednesday, March 15th!  Thank you to all the parent chaperones who volunteered!  We had 11 volunteers so unfortunately, I had to do a drawing and decide who would be able to go on the trip. We will be having lunch at the Rouge Factory that day so your child will need to bring a lunch with disposable containers.  It should be a fun trip and we're all looking forward to it!

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Wednesday, March 15 - Field Trip to the Factory Rouge
  • Friday, March 17 - 1/2 Day: End of Trimester
  • Monday, March 20 - Book Report presentations begin.  Check with your child about what day they were assigned.
  • Friday, March 31 - Spring Break begins at the end of the day :) 
Math: We tested this week on our Measurement unit and I should have those scores for you next week.  The students were allowed to use the conversion notes we took to help them convert larger units to smaller units.  We will be pretesting our Fractions unit Monday and will begin our groups again on Tuesday!  We spend a lot of time on our Fractions unit because the groundwork we lay this year will be very helpful as they move into more difficult concepts in 5th grade.  If there's anything you can do at home to help make fractions more meaningful, please do so!  Cutting up food, talking about what each fraction means and also discussing equivalent fractions will really help a lot!
Language Arts:  In Reading, we'll be doing a little more work with perspective and point of view. We'll be examining some more texts and dig deeper into different perspectives and talk about how the story changes depending on what point of view it's written from. I'll be also beginning F and P assessments and doing some more reading assessments to see how we're progressing.

In Writing, we're finishing up our Persuasive unit.  We'll be working on our Informational unit next.  Kids will be choosing a topic they are experts on and writing an informational piece using all the strategies they learn in class.  As we make our way through this unit, we'll focus on using text features and headings to organize our writing effectively.  We will be taking the final drafts to the publishing center to have them bound in hard cover books.  So, we have a lot of hard work ahead of us but we're up for the challenge!

Social Studies: We're just finishing up our lap books in Geography.  We'll be doing some work with latitude/longitude next and then moving into regions of the United States!

Science:  We are "cruising" along in our Motion and Design unit.  The past few lessons have focused on potential and kinetic energy, as well as friction.  The second quiz for this unit was given today. The quiz was similar to the last one because it included matching vocabulary words to the definitions and applying those vocabulary words to different vehicle scenarios. We'll be doing a little more with this unit and then wrapping up in a few weeks.  The field trip will support what we're learning in Science.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Week of February 13th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Tuesday, February 14th:  Valentine's Day Party 2-3:  Everyone is welcome!  
  • Friday, February 17th:  1/2 Day - Dismissal at 11:40
  • February 20-21:  No School - February Break
  • Wednesday, March 1st:  Reading Logs Due
Book Report:  Book report requirements were handed out on Wednesday and all students should have already selected their books.  Please take a look at the packet that was sent home and send back the contract on Monday.  I've gone over the rubric with the class and the project is worth 100 points. Kids also received their presentation date and have it recorded on their packet and in their agenda. If you have any questions about the project, feel free to email me.  Thanks!

Math:  The algebra tests were placed in Friday folders this week.  We're well into our Measurement unit and it's going well.  We've decided not to switch for Math groups for this unit because it's a shorter unit and we thought it might be easier to keep our own groups with us.  We've been pulling out our math tools to help us understand the Metric System a little better and they seem to help.  Our Think Central logins have some math tools to help with converting some of these units.  I've been using them at home with my third grader and it's really helping!!  Feel free to use this at home as much as needed.  Unfortunately, we don't have much time to use this resource during Math class because we have too much content to cover.

Language Arts:  We're just finishing up book clubs with the class.  In book clubs, the kiddos have done an amazing job discussing their books, making connections, and digging deeper when something doesn't quite fit.  I've loved sitting back and listening to them ask questions and work really hard to answer other questions.  We've been really working hard to find evidence in the text when answering questions.  They amaze me with their great conversations!!  Next week, we'll be getting into Point of View and Theme a bit and then possibly working in another round of book clubs. I'm not sure if I can squeeze it in before our Informational unit, but I'll try!

In Writing, we're chugging right along with our Persuasive unit.  We're currently working on our second piece and others are beginning their third and fourth piece.  Thank you for helping out with this at home as well.  The students are getting much better at supporting their topic sentences and I'm thrilled!  In the next week or so, I'll have them bring home a completed piece for you to take a look at.  Having many sets of eyes on our writing is so important!  During writing time, I'm only able to confer with a handful of students so your feedback is very helpful. :)

Social Studies: In Social Studies, we're continuing to work through our Geography unit.  Our next topics of study are landforms.  This is a review from previous grades so the kids always do really well with this topic.

Science:  Corrected science quizzes are in Friday folders this week.  The kids are loving the Motion and Design unit and picking up so many great skills while testing their vehicles!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Week of January 30

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, January 26th:  1/2 Day - Dismissal at 11:40
  • Wednesday, February 1st:  Reading Logs Due
  • Thursday, February 2nd:  Math Test - Unit 4
  • Wednesday, February 8th:  Lunch With a Loved One
  • Tuesday, February 14th:  Valentine's Day Party - 2:00
  • Friday, February 17th:  1/2 Day - Dismissal at 11:40
  • February 20 and 21: Mid-Winter Break 
Book Reports:  In the next week or so, I'll be going over the expectations for our upcoming book report.  The kids will be selecting a Historical Fiction book and will be responsible for creating a story map, visual and will be presenting it to the class.  They will have a little over a month to work on their project.

Valentine's Day Party: The Valentine's Day Party is fast approaching and will take place on Valentine's Day at 2:00.  Mrs. Erickson has been busy preparing all sorts of amazing activities for the students.  There are still a few more slots to fill up on the Sign Up Genius so if you haven't had a chance to sign up for an item, please consider doing so.  Thanks for all your support with the parties! The kids are already looking forward to it!  I will be sending home a class list in Friday folders this weekend so your child can begin working on their Valentine's Day cards.  We'll be doing the card exchange earlier in the day. It should be a fun filled day for everyone!

IST Groups:  Students are continuing to work in their IST groups on a variety of skills to enhance their reading.  Below, are the highlights of each group: 

Dew: Using non-fiction books and articles to learn main idea and supporting details. 
Holland: Using informational books to conduct research on a topic and prepare a presentation. 
Lindenberg: Using Word Masters to reinforce vocabulary and analogies.
Wright: Using picture books and short fiction stories to analyze characters and infer meaning. 

Math:  Our work with Equations and Word Problems is coming to an end.  The test will take place next week on Thursday, February 2nd.  We will be handing out a study guide to your child study to help your child prepare for the test.  We'll be spending next week reviewing and fine tuning our strategies to make sure we're prepared for the test.  The next unit is on Measurement.  Students will be receiving their next math book and homework book sometime next week.

Language Arts:  We started our book clubs this week and it's going well. The kids are having great conversations about their books!  In addition to nightly reading, kids are currently responding to reading in a packet I have prepared for them.  They are given plenty of time in class to work on their reading response questions and in the evening, they will be reading for their book club that will take place the next day.  We will have book club homework Monday through Thursday.  So, as always, I'll try not to assign homework over the weekends so your child can use their time to catch up on their multiplication facts, reading, and fine tuning their response to reading packet.

In writing, we're plugging right along in our Persuasive unit.  We're nearing the end of our first persuasive piece and will begin our second piece next week. Thank you for giving your child great feedback last week on their persuasive evidence.  It definitely helped! They are definitely getting the hang of the process! In the next few weeks ahead, we'll be writing another piece and soon we'll have one to share with you!  

Social Studies:  We're continuing with our Geography unit in Social Studies.  We just finished an activity titled Where in the World where we talked about where the United States is located in respect to the rest of the world.  Next, we'll review hemispheres, bodies of water, and we'll be also be learning more about land forms.  

Science:  In Science, students continue to work in teams as design engineers.  They are having fun simulating real-work situations and are given design challenges and problem solving opportunities where they use many skills such as I messages, taking turns, and leadership.  There will be a short quiz on Monday, January 30th.  The students  are responsible for knowing 6 vocabulary words as well as applying them to different scenarios.  

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.