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.  

Friday, January 29, 2016

Week of February 1st

Important Dates to Remember:
Monday, February 1st:  WIG Test
Monday, February 1st:  3rd Grade Post Office begins
Monday, February 1st:  Reading Logs due
Friday, February 12th: Lunch With a Loved One (1:00)
Friday, February 12th: Valentine's Day Party 1-2
February 15th-16th:  Winter Break
Tuesday, February 23rd:  Delayed Start

WIG:  56% of room 12 students have their basic facts mastered!! Congratulations to Isabelle and Robert for recently earning a score of 95% or above!!  We have 11 more students to go!  If  your child is one of these 11 students, please remind them to continue to study their facts everyday.  I will be working with a small of group of kids during recess so they can study their facts.  Once students have consistently scored 95% or above 5 times, they don't have to take timed tests anymore! Unless they choose to, that is.  They are very excited about this privilege!

Math: We have been doing a great job working through our multi-digit multiplication unit!  I just finished teaching my last concept and we will be testing on Tuesday of next week.  Students received a review sheet today and their goal over the weekend is to finish it so they are prepared for the test Tuesday.  We'll correct the review together on Monday and do a little more review before Tuesday's test.  Our next unit of study is Division!!

Language Arts: In Reading, we will continue working with our book clubs.  Some groups finished this week and received a new book.  We'll be doing two rounds of book clubs before we start our informational unit towards the end of February.  In book clubs, the kiddos have done an amazing job discussing their books, making connections, and digging deeper when something doesn't quite fit.  In addition to this, we've worked more with our character unit and have been inferring a lot!!  The kids have been taking their responsibility very seriously and have been coming to school prepared for their group! Thanks for your help with this, :)

In Writing, we're just finishing up our Persuasive unit.  While we're waiting for the class to finish up their final pieces, we'll write some letters and begin supporting the third grade post office.  Our next writing unit is Literary Essay.  In this unit, we will be looking at many reading texts and look for a common theme. We'll learn how to support our theme with details and examples from the reading selection. This is a great unit to follow persuasive writing because the kids have gotten really good at supporting their opinions!

Social Studies: We have finished up relative location, absolute location, parts of a map and have moved into our study of special purpose maps.  We've been creating a vocabulary sheet that we've been adding to as we go so we'll be utilizing this early next week to start preparing for our quiz.  I'll let the kids know the exact date next week. I've been reminding them to continue studying to make sure they're prepared when it's time.

Science:  We had a science quiz earlier in the week and I should have corrected tests for you next Friday.  They have been having a blast building vehicles and testing them to see how they perform!  We have some future engineers in our room!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Week of January 18th

Important Dates to Remember
Monday, January 18th:  No School - MLK Day
Tuesday, January 19th:  Delayed Start and WIG test
Thursday, January 21: NWEA - Reading
Monday, February 2nd:  Reading Logs Due

Homework: I'm sure you have noticed that your child has more homework than they have had in the past. Once January rolls around, our workload increases a bit as I get them ready to be 5th graders next year.  I've been reminding students about the importance of circling homework, placing papers in folders (not desks) and packing up all of their materials so they have them at home.

Valentine's Day Party: The Valentine's Day party is fast approaching!  It will take place on Friday, February 12th at 2:00.  I will be putting together a sign-up genius in the next week or two so keep your eyes peeled for this.

Spelling: Spelling will continue to operate the way it has in the past but I've changed just a few things.  Every week, the students will receive their list focusing on a pattern.  They are responsible for copying them twice and into their agenda and working with their words throughout the week.  I also do a few lessons associated with the pattern.  When they receive their corrected test, they will note the words they spelled wrong and transfer them to their "review week" words.  Every 6 weeks, I will not provide them with a spelling list. Instead, they will study their words they spelled incorrectly previous tests.  The students who consistently spell their words correct will receive a 5th grade spelling list with more challenging words.  This went very well when I introduced it and the kids and they loved taking charge of their own learning.  If you have any challenging words you would like to add to their review week, write them down on a post-it note and they can add them to their words.  They already have this started in their agenda.  Our goal is to not just memorize the words for the test but to ultimately spell them correctly in our everyday writing.  Working with patterns will help them apply the pattern to other words so we can continue to see correct words in our writing. Thanks for your support with this!

Language Arts: We started 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 in their Character Study books.  I've stressed the importance of quality work and deep thinking when they complete their books. They should be taking their time and showing me how well they know the character in the book.  We're combining all of our knowledge of reading strategies and what we know about characters when responding.  I'll continue to push their thinking more throughout the next couple of weeks as we work through our books.  We typically do 2 rounds of book clubs so after they are finished their current book, I will provide their group with another book as well.  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 this time to catch up on their multiplication facts, reading and fine-tuning their Character Study books.

In Writing, we're nearing the end of our Persuasive unit.  We have analyzed persuasive texts, discussed the audience, issues and the importance of having convincing evidence.  Your child brought home their latest writing piece last week and asked you for some feedback.  Thank you so much for helping out with this and giving such great feedback to your child.  Next week, we'll publish one of our pieces and it will give me an opportunity to work more one on one with students. We will write our writing piece the following week. Our next writing unit is Literary Essays!

Math: In Math, we're continuing our Race to the Finish.  We currently have 48% of our class that has their facts mastered.  Congratulations to Easton for his latest victory!  Next Tuesday, we'll test and I'm sure we'll have at least 3 or 4 more.  So many kids are SUPER close!!  Keep reminding your child to work on their facts because it will make our Multiplication unit so much more manageable.

We're continuing our work with Multiplying Multi-Digit Numbers.  The purpose of this unit is to explore a variety of methods to solve multiplication problems. We've explored how to build arrays with larger multiplication problems as well as make skeleton arrays.  We have also multiplied using partial products and I have introduced the standard algorithm this week.  The standard algorithm has been tricky for a handful of the students.  Having knowledge of our facts is essential here and can really hold us up if  we're still using our fingers to figure out problems.  If you notice your child is having difficulty with any of these strategies, please use the longer weekend to do some practice problems.  Next week, I'll introduce the Lattice method (which is always a favorite) and we'll also do some story problems as well.

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!

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've started a vocabulary sheet and we'll keep adding important words to this as we progress through the unit.  As we move through this unit, we will focus on absolute and relative location, landforms, special purpose maps and regions.  We have a lot to cover but we're up for a challenge!