Thursday, April 17, 2014

Week of April 21

Happy Spring!  We're at the end of April and approaching May!  May is always a busy month for us in 4th grade so I'll try to keep you updated on all the new things going on.  Here's the plan for the next couple of weeks....

Math:  We have been multiplication masters around here lately!!  I'm sure you have noticed the timed timed tests coming home in purple folders.  In order to pass onto the next fact, kids need to earn a score of 38 out of 40 in 2 minutes or less.  This has been motivating for us and kids have been really studying those facts at home!  We've been working on 3 digit by 2 digit multiplication problems and having those facts mastered have been very handy for the kids.  During transitions, I've been hearing them quiz each other on the facts.  Please continue to encourage your child to practice these.  Their fifth grade teacher will be thrilled when they walk in having them committed to memory!  I promise. :)  We'll be finishing up our Multiplication unit this week and will be testing Friday.  I have a couple more strategies I would like to share with them next week and then we'll begin the review Wednesday.  Our next unit of study is Fractions and Decimals. 

Language Arts: In Reading, we're continuing to move through our Nonfiction unit.  We have been examining short passages and pulling out things such as the topic, topic sentences, main idea and supporting details.  We'll continue to work through these short passages next week and continue practicing our reading strategies.  In Writing, we're in the midst of our research project.  Each student has chosen an animal and we've spent the last week researching it.  Next week, we'll begin taking our notes and put them together into organized paragraphs.  This is the hard part and what we're doing in Reading will really help this process. This is a BIG unit and will most likely take a good 6 weeks.  After we're done writing, we'll put it together in a book including many text features we encounter when we read. 

Social Studies: We're continuing our study of US Economics.  There are many vocabulary words tied to this unit so we've been doing some fun activities involving money to solidify those concepts.  Next week, we'll be doing a fun Specialization activity I know the kids will love! 

Science: The Sun, Moon, and Stars is our last unit of the year. We've been learning about the sun and shadows and the kids are really enjoying it.  We will be incorporating some research into this unit as well. 


Friday, March 28, 2014

Week of March 31

Here's the plan for the next couple of weeks...

Math: We tested on our Geometry unit on Monday.  Corrected tests were sent home in purple folders.  We've moved into our new unit...Multiplication with larger numbers.  In this unit, we delve deeper into the Multiplication concept.  The pre-test gives me a lot of good information because some students already have a strong grasp of these concepts and others will need more practice with the skills.  Remind your child to keep practicing those facts! 

Language Arts:  In Reading, we're continuing to work through our informational unit.  We've been spending time reading short articles and discussing the main idea, supporting details, and inferences.  We've also spent a good deal of time pulling out important details to help us summarize articles.  Next week, we'll begin looking at the layout of a non-fiction piece and talking about how the text features help us to understand the article. Reading and writing will begin to go hand in hand as we work through our informational unit.  In Writing, I've been getting the kids geared up for our research papers.  As you know, there is so much involved in a research paper so we have started small by focusing on paraphrasing.  Next week, we'll begin picking topics and beginning the research process. 

Social Studies:  We've just started our Economics unit and will tie in real-life situations as we move through it.  Some of the concepts we'll begin with are goods & services, opportunity cost, supply & demand, needs & wants and scarcity.   Our classroom auctions will also be helpful as we learn about these economic concepts. 

Science:  Our next unit is Moon, Sun and Stars.  We'll be doing a little research along the way and tie in some fun activities as well. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Week of March 10th

Thanks for stopping by!!  March is always such a busy month because we have so many different things going on....one of which is assessments!  There's not many new things to report because we're nearing the end of our units in many subject areas.  I will try my best to spread out the tests so kids aren't too bogged down.  As always, I'll provide an in-depth study guide.  Here goes...

Math:  We're progressing through our Geometry unit at a pretty good speed.  Ask your child about some of the silly songs we sing in Math.  If you have any fun songs, please feel free to share them with me.  Music is not my strong suit but I'm trying. :)  The biggest difficulty for students in this unit is the vocabulary that goes along with the concepts.  I've been assigning about 4 vocabulary words a day in our Geometry Log.  As kids write down the definitions and some examples, I also ask them to make sure they understand this and can explain it to a friend.  Some of our last few concepts before test time include rotational symmetry, pattern block symmetry, shape properties and surface area.  We'll be ready for a test during the week of March 17th.

Language Arts:  We continue to plug away in Literary Essays.  This tends to be a more difficult unit because there are so many skills involved.  Reading, finding a theme, summarizing, pulling out evidence, and then putting it all together!  I've created a few helpful sheets for the kids to make their lives easier.  We are currently writing our last Literary Essay before we begin our final write next week.  Our next unit of study is research!  I think the kids will have a lot of fun with this unit and I'm secretly excited too!

In Reading, we've been reading short informational articles and working on important skills such as summarizing and finding the main idea.  We'll begin digging a little deeper next week as we get into longer articles and short books.  I've also been using some of our reading time to assess kids.  I'm just about finished and will share the reading levels on report cards. 

Social Studies: This is another unit we're just about finished with.  Our Human Geography unit is coming to a close.  We'll finish the unit by tying up a few concepts such as how immigrants adapt to their new environment and Natural Resources.  I expect the Social Studies test will be Tuesday, March 18th but I'll know more next week. 


Friday, February 21, 2014

Week of February 24th

Wow, it's almost the end of February!  I can't believe it!  As you know, the end of the trimester was extended until March 21st because of the snow days.  That will give us a little more time to fit in a few more things before the end of the trimester. Here's our plan for the week....

Language Arts:  We have finished our first round of book clubs and will be taking a short break before beginning our second round.  Over the next few weeks, we'll be spending some time working on some non-fiction skills.  Some big concepts we'll tackle are finding the main idea and supporting details, summarizing, paraphrasing and quoting a text.  After we spend a little time on that, we'll get back to round 2 of our book clubs (the kids are super excited about them) and then finish up our Non Fiction unit.  In the next few months, we'll be combining our reading and writing skills as we research a topic.  It will be good practice for what's to come in later grades. :) 

We have officially completed three literary essays and the kids are getting a lot better at pulling out themes and supporting them with evidence from the book.  At this point, students have been completely guided through the process so now it's time for them to start writing independently.  We'll write one more essay on our own and then we'll begin our final essay before ending the unit.  In our next writing unit, we will be writing a research paper!  I'm excited! 

Math:  This week, we started our Geometry unit.  There is a lot of vocabulary that goes along with this unit so we typically keep a Geometry Log that we'll update everyday and refer to as we go along.  This week, we spent some time learning about line segments and angles.  We'll continue working with angles next week as we continue moving through the unit. 

Social Studies: We have been having fun learning about Immigration as we progress through our Human Geography unit.  We'll be finishing up Immigration this week and then we'll start wrapping up the unit.  In the next couple of weeks, we'll be ready for a review and a test! 

Science: We have a Motion and Design vocabulary quiz on Wednesday, February 25th.  The kids have a clear understanding and know what to expect for the quiz.  This is another unit that we'll be wrapping up soon. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Week of February 10

Wow, I can't believe Valentine's Day is almost upon us!  Just a reminder that we will be on winter break on Monday, February 17 and Tuesday, February 18.  It's probably a good thing our break is short because we have some catching up to do!  Here's our plan for the next couple of weeks.

Math: We finished up our Fractions/Division unit and we'll be moving into our Geometry unit.  It took the students a long time to finish up the math test because there are so many places where they needed to show their work.  In turn, it will take me a few hours to get these tests graded.  I'm hoping to have them finished to hand them back in purple folders next week.  Before we begin our Geometry unit, I have about 3-4 different lessons on Perimeter and Area.  We've dabbled with these concepts all year so this shouldn't be too difficult for most.  I hope to begin our Geometry unit either late next week or right after break. 

Language Arts:   In Reading this week, we'll continue working thorough our book clubs.  Some groups will be starting their second book while others are still working on their first.  There will be some activities that go along with the reading.  It's that time of year again where I'll need to begin F and P testing.  My goal is to finish 1-2 assessments each day so that data will be ready for student's report cards in a month. 

In Writing this week, we'll continue working on our Literary Essays unit. We have read a few stories, talked about the big idea which later becomes our thesis.  From there, we brainstorm many details and examples from the story that support our thesis statement.  Then we begin our writing 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.  That way, they'll have more confidence when it's time for them to write a paper independently. 

Science: Science quizzes are corrected and will be sent home in purple folders.  As we test our vehicles, we'll continue learning more concepts in our Motion and Design unit. 

Social Studies:  We're still in the midst of our study on Immigration and Migration.  This week, we created a graph showing different countries that came to America between 1850 and 1919.  We were surprised by how many groups of people came over!  We are also learning about the items immigrants brought with them as well discussing terms such as Melting Pot/Salad Bowl.  Later in the week, we'll be reading some fiction stories and talking more about push/pull factors. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Week of January 27

Hello Everyone!  Here's a sneak peek at the next couple of weeks!!

Math:  We have been working our way through the second part of our Fractions/Division unit.  The kids are really getting the hang of division and this will be so helpful when we dive a bit deeper later in the year with long division.  We have spent a lot of time working through different division strategies and playing some math games to solidify the concept.  Next week, we'll be reviewing because we are once again at the end of our unit.  Be on the lookout for a review sheet in the next week or so.  Please remind your child to keep studying those facts!!  They have been extremely valuable during this unit!

Language Arts:   This week in Reading, we'll continue working in our Book Clubs.  The concepts in the packets go along with the lessons I'm teaching in the groups.  I meet with each group either every day or every other day.  Each day, they will either see me or meet with their book clubs.  Reading is divided into 3 sections.  They spend 20 minutes either working with me or their book club.  They spend 20 minutes reading their assigned book club reading for the day and the last 20 minutes is spent reading independently.  It really works in our favor when we can start reading a little earlier so we can have a longer chunk of time to work all this in!!  This week, we'll work on using what we know about our characters, the story, and our background knowledge to make predictions.  We will also begin working on visualizing.  I'm impressed that most students visualize while they read and do this without thinking.  It's wonderful that they're doing this naturally!! When you read with your child at home, practice this strategy by discussing the pictures they make in their head.  Compare their movies to yours.  This will help them practice this strategy and understand the story better.

In Writing this week, we'll continue working through our Literary Essays unit.  This unit is different from any type of writing your child has been exposed to.  I gave a pre-assessment before I started the unit and as always, I'll be giving a post-assessment at the end to see how much growth your child has made in this unit.  This week, we'll be reading a few more short stories, continue discussing how essays are put together, and then we'll be ready to tackle a few essays!  A strong essay has a thesis statement, topic sentences beginning each paragraph, supporting details and examples from the story they are reading.  The most important writing strategy we'll be focusing on here is Organization and Ideas. 

Social Studies:  In Social Studies, we're working on how we're connected to different parts of the world as we study Immigration and Migration.  We've started working on an Immigration Lap book which we'll be adding to frequently through the study of this unit.  Sometime during this week, your child will ask you a few questions about the story of your immigration or the immigration of your ancestors.  Please answer these the best you can.  If you don't know something, please don't worry about it. :)

Science:  We will continue having fun building vehicles and testing their ability to move.  We will be getting a lot of practice working together to accomplish this the goal of building the fastest vehicle with the most aerodynamic design.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Week of January 13

Welcome back to a new year!  I hope everyone is feeling rested and relaxed after our break!  We're ending a few units and beginning others and we have some catching up to do with the snow days.  We'll be busy for the next few weeks!  Here's the plan for the week...

Math: We have been working through our Fractions unit in Math.  Converting improper fractions to mixed numbers has been tricky for some so we spent a few extra days working through these concepts.  I'll also be giving a short quiz to assess how we're doing in Fractions.  This will allow me to challenge students who need it and spend extra time with students who aren't fully grasping the concept.  Next week, we'll be moving into the division portion of our fractions unit.  We will be making the connection between division and fractions as we do this.  We'll also be getting into remainders and what that means when we divide.  We'll play some games as well to reinforce the concept of division.  

Language Arts:  In Reading, we're continuing our work with our character unit.  We'll be working on strategies such as predicting, inferring, questioning, and visualizing as we connect and empathize with our characters.  In addition to this, we will be starting book clubs this week.  Everyday, students will either be meeting with me in guided reading groups or will be meeting with their group in book clubs.  Students will have nightly homework every night this week except Friday.  It's very important that they not only do their required reading, but they also complete their reading packet.  If they are not prepared for their book club the following day, they will not be able to work with their group and will miss the valuable discussion their group is having. 

In Writing, we will be publishing our final Persuasive piece. When these pieces are graded, I will be sending home the graded pre-assessment as well as the post-assessment so you can see the progress your child has made throughout the unit.  Our next unit of study is Literary Essays.  I will be giving the pre-assessment this week and then we'll begin working our way through the unit.  Hopefully we'll have some time next week to get the ball rolling with this unit.  It's a fun one! 

Social Studies:  In Social Studies, we're continuing our study of Human Geography as we learn about how people and places are connected to each other and ways people are connected to the earth.  We just finished reading a book that demonstrated the importance of taking care of the earth's natural resources.  From here, we'll do a bit more with natural resources and then we'll be moving into Immigration/Migration. 

Science:  In Science, we're having fun building vehicles and testing their ability to move.  We're getting a lot of practice working together cooperatively and the kids are having a blast!