Thursday, November 12, 2015

Week of November 16th

Monday, November 16: WIG test and Reading Logs are due
Tuesday, November 17:  Delayed start
November 25 - 27:  No School - Thanksgiving break

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

Math:  I've corrected both the Multiplication and WIG test and both can be found in Friday folders this week.  We're making great progress on our classroom goal to master our multiplication facts!!  We have a few more students who met their goal this week. Congratulations  to Mateusz, Brooklyn, Mitchell, and Truan for mastering their facts!!  Currently, 32% our class has their facts mastered!!  Next week, we'll add more students to that list!!  Please look over your child's timed test and goal sheet and set a realistic goal for next week's WIG test.

We're well into our Geometry unit and the kids are doing awesome!  Many of the Geometry concepts are a review from previous grades so we'll be building on that as we progress through some concepts such as angles, lines, and 2 dimensional geometric shapes.  This unit is full of vocabulary words so we've been utilizing our math journal and jotting down vocabulary and pictures to help us when it comes closer to test time.

Language Arts:  In Reading, we've been working on inferring character traits and emotions by using evidence from the books we're reading.  We have done a lot of whole group work on this but soon, kids will start doing this independently in reading groups.  When we infer, we look at character actions and dialogue to infer how they are feeling or traits they might have.  When you are reading at home with your child, practice inferring with them.  This will help as I move them forward in their reading groups.  Next week, I'll also be sending home short reading selections as well as questions that your child will be expected to complete and return the next day.  Their reading homework can also be recorded on their reading logs as well.  At the end of the night, they can add all of the time they spent reading and record that number.  I'll continue collecting reading logs every other Monday.  If your child has forgotten their reading book at school, Raz Kids is always a good option.  There is also a Raz-Kids app that you can download on your IPad so you can read anywhere. :)

In Writing, we're wrapping our Personal Narratives unit.  I passed back their pre-assessments this week so they could see what areas they fell down on and what they could do improve their score on their final write.  Once everyone has completed their final drafts, I'll collect them and hand them back.  I will have them graded and ready to pass back in the next two weeks.  Our next unit of study is persuasive writing which is always an exciting unit for the kids!  Be prepared to hear some pretty convincing arguments from your kids!

Social Studies:  We are at the end of our Government unit and we'll be spending next week getting ready for the test.  I'll hand out a review sheet on Tuesday and we'll be taking the test the following Tuesday...right before Thanksgiving break.

Science: We're in the midst of our Electricity unit in Science.  The students have learned to create electrical circuits using D-cell batteries, wires, light bulbs, and small motors.  They even know how to add in a switch which opens and closes the circuit turning the power on and off!  Next week, we will be wrapping up this investigation and will be testing soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Week of November 2nd

Friday, October 30: Halloween Party (2:00-3:00)  Everyone welcome!! 
Tuesday, November 3: No School - Election Day
Tuesday, November 17:  Delayed Start
November 25-27:  Thanksgiving Break

Thank you so much for coming to conferences last week!  It was so wonderful to sit down with each of you and discuss your child's growth!  Thank you for sharing your children with me.  They are an amazing group of students! 

Our WIG  (Wildly Important Goal)

Fourth graders are rocking out our 4th grade goal!  Since our goal in 4th grade is to have our multiplication facts mastered, we're having a friendly competition between our classes.  Each medal represents a student.  In order to sign a medal, students must earn 95% on our timed WIG tests that we take every week.

What should 4th grade students do to help them achieve this goal?
  • Study their facts!  Students should be studying their multiplication facts just about every night for about 20 minutes. Please encourage your child to study their facts...this will help them achieve their goal more quickly. 
When will students be tested? 
  • Every other Monday.  Our next test is this Monday, November 2nd. 
  • Look for corrected timed tests in Friday folders and look for growth.  If your child is showing growth, celebrate!  Slow and steady wins the race.  So as long as they are making growth, they are right where they are supposed to be and they will achieve their goal if they keep working at it.  If your child is not showing growth, help them set a realistic goal they can achieve. 
  • We already have 4 students who met their goal.  Congratulations to Joy, Ryan, Aidan, and Shuto for meeting their goal! 
  • Some students have been borrowing my flash cards and have been practicing them at home.  It's really been helping! I've also been sending home timed test practice sheets for kids to practice at home.  If you would like me to send home some sheets for you, just email me.  I'm happy to help!  Thanks so much for all your support!  Having these facts mastered will make everything we do this year in Math so much more manageable. 
Math:  We have finished up the first part of our multiplication unit and will be testing on Monday, November 2nd.  Students received a review sheet that will be helpful as they prepare for this test.  We'll be getting back to Multiplying with larger numbers but will do that after our next unit in probably about 6 weeks.  By that time, most students should have their multiplication facts mastered and it will make the multiplication unit a lot easier to handle. 

Language Arts: In Reading this week, we'll continue to focus more on types of inferences which focus on small ones like 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.  Next, we'll move into our character unit and continue inferring traits, emotions, and theme using action and dialogue. 

In writing, we have been working hard on our personal 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, they will be publishing their favorite piece on the computer and we'll be nearing the end of this 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:  We've been working our way through Government and we are nearing the end.  I have a few more concepts I'll be tying up in the next two weeks. Over the next two weeks, we'll focus on rights and responsibilities for U.S. citizens and state, federal, and local government. 

Science:  We concluded our study of magnets this week with a unit quiz on Monday. Quizzes are corrected and in Friday folders this week.  We've moved into the next phase of the unit and will be studying electricity.  The students will be having fun making circuit boards! 


Friday, October 16, 2015

Week of October 19th

Hello Again!

Here's some upcoming event for the next few weeks: 

October 19-23: Book Fair
October 19-23:  Conference week.  I have everyone scheduled for conferences next week.  I attached the schedule to my email just in case you've forgotten your time.  Looking forward to meeting with everyone to discuss your child's progress!!
October 23:  Enchanted Hike
October 30:  Halloween Party 2:00-3:00.  Thank you for all of the food donations on sign-up genius!  Everyone is welcome to join the party.  It should be fun!!
November 3: No school - Professional Development Day

Fun Run:  Thank you for your generous donations to the Fun Run!  We raised over $700 in room 12 alone!  Wonderful!!

Positive Behavior:  I wanted to let you know about a few updates in regards to our behavior plan in room 12.  This week, we decided to pick a classroom goal that would help improve learning in room 12.  Our classroom goal is to be more responsible during whole group instruction and independent working time.  We brainstormed what it looks like/sounds like to be responsible during this time.  Just like everything else we do, we're planning to track that goal as well.  Each day, the class is going to color a green, yellow or purple square into their calendar.  The behavior plan will look the same...the only difference is that we're have the kids chart their behavior each day on their calendar.  It will be kept in their homework folder and you can view it at anytime and talk about their behavior.  In addition to this, I will also be picking a student who is "as good as gold" each week.  If your child is selected for the week, know that this is a special honor and they are consistently demonstrating positive behavior throughout the school day.  Celebrate at home.  I'll be depositing $50 into the recipient's bank account when they receive their "good as gold" honor. 

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

Language Arts: The kiddos have been doing a great job keeping track of their reading in their reading logs!  Instead of collecting reading logs every week, I'll start collecting them every two weeks.  I'll collect their present reading log on Monday and hand out a log that they will use to log their reading for 2 weeks, instead of just one.  They are making great choices during DEAR time as well. We have some readers in room 12!  Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be focusing on making connections, inferring, and theme.  In the next week or so, I'll begin pulling reading groups so we can dig a little deeper into books and short stories. 

In writing, we'll continue working on personal narratives.  We have been focusing on introductions, hooks, transitions and we've just started talking about conclusions.  Next week, I'll do a few more lessons on Show, Not tell.  When we show the writer how we're feeling and what we're doing, it makes our writing a lot more interesting to read.  As I'm grading papers, I've noticed some students are having difficulty with run-on sentences so I will be doing a few lessons on grammar and conventions as well. 

Math: We will have a timed WIG test on Monday.  We're all showing growth so thank you for your hard work at home!  This week, we focused on multiplication comparisons, factors, and prime and composite numbers.  Now that we're moving deeper into the unit, we're really understanding why it's so important to have our facts mastered.  Without knowing those basic facts, this unit could be very difficult.  Keep reminding your child to study at home. 

Social Studies:  We are well on our way in our government unit.  Our lapbooks look great and it is a great way to showcase our learning.  We'll actually be using the lapbooks to study for our government test once we've finished them.  As we continue moving through the unit, we'll focus on state, local, and national government, branches of government, and checks and balances. 

Science:  We are wrapping up the first investigation on magnetism.  The students will complete a review sheet on Monday that they should bring home in their science folders.  On Wednesday, we will review the concepts further through a game of Magnetism Jeopardy.  The quiz on magnetism will be on Monday, October 26th.  The students should use their reviews to study for the quiz.  They will be allowed to use notes and papers they've completed throughout the investigation on the quiz, if they need them.  However, they may not use the review sheet to help them. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Week of October 5th

Picture day is Tuesday, October 6th
If you haven't signed up for a conference time, please email me so I can pencil you in. 

Here's our plan for the week....

Math:  We're wrapping up our Place Value unit and will be testing Monday, October 5th.  Our next unit focuses on Multiplication and Division models.  Some of this will be a review from last year and we'll continue building on that foundation.  We'll also be spending some time in class practicing these facts but due to time constraints, kids need to practice these at home.  If you don't have flash cards at home, you can either buy them for pretty cheap or make them with index cards.  I'm more than willing to help make flash cards for kids if they study them at home.  Let me know...I have lots of little helpers that can help with this task.  I will also be introducing some multiplication strategies this month. This will help learning them a little easier. 

Language Arts:  In reading, we have been working on Story Elements.  We started by watching a couple Disney movie trailers and talking about those important elements.  The kiddos are great at finding these elements in a story, but now we're thinking more deeply about them.  When we're reading stories, we're trying to infer many of these story elements.  This week, we read a great book called The Other Side. There were so many places in the book where we were able to infer how the characters are feeling and what they were thinking.  Next week, I have a few fun activities to do with the class as we work through our reading strategies. 

We're making good progress on those reading logs!!  Thanks for being so diligent about this!  We have a classroom of readers and feels really awesome!  Today, we made small goals on our last week's reading logs and will be charting our progress in our data notebooks.  Our classroom goal is 150 minutes per week. In addition to this, I have started working on our Fountas and Pinnell testing.  I typically get through one student each day so this will take a few more weeks at least!  I'll be able to share this data with you at conferences later this month. 

In Writing, we're continuing to work through our personal narrative unit.  Before each unit, we do a pre-assessment and ten once we're finished with the unit, we do a post-assessment.  All the students should see a lot of growth from their before piece to their after piece.  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 be continuing to work on "hooking" our reader with strong introductions.  We'll have time to practice these strategies and should be able to finish at least one writing piece next week.  Details, revising, and editing will also be implemented along the way.

Social Studies:  We're continuing our study of the U.S. Government.  This week, we'll be delving deeper into the constitution and the three branches of government. 

Science:  We're continuing to make our way through the Electricity and Magnetism unit.  Our focus right now is Magnetism and we're learning about these concepts through hands on lessons. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Week of September 21

Hello and thank you for visiting our classroom blog!  This will be a great resource so you can hear about the things we're learning in Room 12!  I typically update the blog every 2 weeks but I will always send out an email (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 web quest to help them learn how to navigate the blog.  I want this to be a useful tool for them too just in case they've forgotten to circle their homework in school. 

Next week at curriculum night, I will be going over many classroom procedures but since it's a little later this year, I want you to be aware of a few of them.  First, thank you for initialing your child's agenda each day.  In the morning, I go around and check to make sure the previous night's homework is finished.  If they have completed their homework from the previous night, I will stamp the agenda and that is an indication to you that your child is all caught up on their work.  If you notice that I've highlighted an assignment, this is to let you know that your child didn't have their homework that day.  I'll be going over more about this next week at curriculum night but I wanted you to be aware of this important morning procedure.  Also, I will be assigning homework everyday except Friday.  The weekends might be a chance for your child to do some extra reading or study their multiplication facts.

Here's what we'll be doing over the next 2 weeks...

Language Arts:  Next week, I will be handing out reading logs for the kids. I will hand out reading logs on Monday and I will collect them the following Monday.  We will also be tracking minutes in our data notebooks.  I will be stressing the importance of reading at home as well as in school and I will look for these logs every Monday. 

Over the next 2 weeks, I'll be incorporating several lessons and discussing things such as choosing "just right" books, setting reading goals, keeping our eyes and mind in the book, and we'll also set up a reading stamina chart.  Over the next few weeks, I will also be introducing a fun fluency activity for the kids called Fluency 1,000.  It's a great way to work on word accuracy while reading.  It only takes 5 minutes out of our Language Arts block too!  We get a lot of bang for our buck with this!  I will be doing more fluency lessons as weeks go on and incorporating that into my Reader's Workshop lessons every week.  Next week, I will also be starting F and P assessments with the class and discussing reading levels.  We are also starting our discussion of two important reading strategies...making connections and inferring.  We've talked about how making meaningful connections helps us understand how characters feel and ultimately understand the story better.  We'll be working more with inferences later next week as well. 

Math:  In Math, we've kicked off our Place Value unit and we're rolling right along.  In fourth grade, we get up through the millions in place value so those numbers have definitely grown since last year.  We're handling it though. :)  We've reviewed writing numbers in word form and expanded form.  Next week, we'll be building on what we've learned and will also be getting into rounding.  After that, we'll get back to multiplication comparisons. 

Social Studies:  Next week, we'll begin our study of the U.S. Government.  We'll be completing a fun lap book as we learn about the many government concepts.  There are many tricky vocabulary words in this unit so I'll be adding some fun activities to help the kids better understand all the lingo.    

Science:  We'll be starting Science next week as well.  We will be switching for Science and Social Studies and Mrs. Dew will be teaching science to the kids. Our first unit is Magnetism and Electricity which is always a favorite!  Our first investigation deals with exploring the properties of magnets and the students will be measuring the force of attraction between magnets.