Thursday, November 30, 2017

How Can I Support My Child in Math??

Measurement and Geometry 

These are links to videos and activities that will help you support your child at home as we begin our investigation of Measurement and Geometry in the middle of December and through all of January. 

angles and degrees

measuring with protractors

December Happenings

This month in reading we are focusing on the comprehension strategy of making inferences.  The focus of the modeled lesson is on how we can take our background knowledge on a topic, merge that “BK” with text clues, and then make an inference.  The inference may pertain to the meaning of an unknown word and result in an inferred meaning.  It may be an inference based on photographs, artifacts, or text features in nonfiction text.  Additionally, students will be inferring to interpret the deeper meaning of language, as well as the big ideas and themes of nonfiction and fiction text. I will be looking for the kids to apply the strategies modeled as they work independently in Reading Workshop.  They will use graphic organizers, sticky notes, and entries in their Reader’s Journal to demonstrate their application of and understanding of the strategy of making inferences.  Lastly, the kiddos with be crafting written responses to their reading in which they will construct a well organized and detailed paragraph sharing what they learned from their reading.

The month of December finds the kids diving deeper into the process of persuasive essay writing.  Throughout this two month unit the kids have learned how to use transition words and phrases to articulate and organize their thoughts, they have learned how to elaborate on the reasons they planned to support their theses, and how to support those reasons with detailed examples.  As we round out this writing unit, the kids will learn how to write a counterclaim to make their argument more persuasive as well as how to finalize their essay with a call to action for the reader.

This month we find ourselves deep in the heart of Unit 3, Multiple Towers and Cluster Problems.  As we complete our investigation of this unit, the students will examine the mathematical relationship that underlies the pattern they see when a number is multiplied by a multiple of 10.  Additionally, they will develop strategies for solving multiplication problems with larger 2-digit numbers by breaking the problems apart in order to use number relationships that they know.  

Some of you have expressed interest in supporting your child at home with the strategies we are using to multiply and divide.  Prior to the week of Thanksgiving Break I sent an email home with links to videos and examples that you may use to support with this task.  I also posted the links on the blog.  I hope you find these helpful.

Social Studies
As we continue our study of Colorado History, the students will learn about various groups of people who have lived in or helped develop Colorado; the Native Americans, the European Explorers, the Fur Traders, Gold Rushers, and the early European Settlers.  Our study of these groups will involve the analysis of the positive and negative impact each group made on the other group and how each group influenced our current culture.  Ultimately, the kids will select which group of people they feel had the most influence on CO, and they will then construct a persuasive essay using the skills they learned in our current writing unit to persuade their classmates why they believe their selected group was the most influential.

Sustainable Traditions Project
With the spirit of giving in mind, this month we will learn about sustainable traditions.  A sustainable tradition is a tradition that can be done each year.  We will focus on sustainable traditions that “give back”.  As we build background knowledge on this subject matter,  we will read various texts with real life examples.  For instance, one article is about a 15 year old boy who started a group that gives new shoes to homeless children.  Another is about an 11 year old boy from Utah whose lemonade stand profits purchase wheelchairs for people in developing countries.  

The kids will explore how they can create holiday traditions with their family that can incorporate this spirit of giving back.  For instance, the kids may choose to create a sustainable tradition in which each year they bake and decorate cookies with their family and they bring the cookies to a local nursing home to spread holiday cheer to the residents.  Another example might be to gather their gently used and no longer played with toys and books, wrap them, and bring them to a local women’s shelter to share with the children there.

The kids will create a digital presentation for the class which you will be able to view at home through their gmail account.  Each year I am amazed at the creativity the kids exhibit with this project.  I have received a good deal of feedback over the years as many parents and kids  have chosen to follow the plan created in school and have made it a tradition for their family.  I hope you find it to be a good talking point for you and your family, regardless of whether or not you choose to partake in the tradition.

Friday, November 17, 2017

How Can I Support My Child in Math??

Please click on the following links for instructional videos that will model the strategies your child is learning in class.  These links were taken from the Pearson Realize website.  Your child can access this site from school and home.  The following links pertain to solving multiplication and division problems.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Honoring our Veterans

Today we had the opportunity to meet Brendan Egan, Luke's father and a Major in the Marine Corps.  He spoke to the kids about the significance of and history behind Veterans Day.  The kids were inquisitive and reflective, as usual.  Thank you to Major Egan!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

We are learning about the genre of opinion writing. The kids are learning how to create a strong thesis statement (claim), support that statement with powerful reasons and a multitude of examples, and provide a strong concluding paragraph. Thus far, we have practiced our skills by writing opinion essays about important topics relating to us (for example, favorite type of ice cream, favorite genres of music, favorite restaurants, favorite type of animal, etc.). The kids have tried to be persuasive in their writing and convince others to believe in their thesis statement. As we further develop our skills in opinion writing, we will broaden our topics and begin to craft thesis statements based on bigger ideas that impact larger groups such as our community, country, and our world.  With the approach of Thanksgiving, the kids will also be writing an essay about the three aspects in their lives for which they are most thankful.  (This is great to share at the table on Thanksgiving!)

In reading workshop, students have been continuing their work with the comprehension strategy of questioning. For instance, while reading articles, leveled texts, chapter books, technology resources, etc., they have been asking questions (thick vs. thin) and connecting their new learning to their newly gained knowledge as they read a variety of texts. Students are using sticky notes to annotate their text and questioning graphic organizers. Students are asking questions, activating schema, recognizing unfamiliar/unknown vocabulary, inferring, and identifying new learning.  Students have been working on developing written responses to higher level questions.  They are being asked to respond to the questions, explain their thinking, and reference the text using page numbers and examples.  I am proud of students' effort and work completed so far. These strategies are used cross curricular.

Our current math unit is on two-digit by one-digit multiplication and division.  The kids are learning how to decompose larger multiplication problems and use simpler, known problems to help them solve the larger problem.  Additionally, they are creating multiplication stories to help them take abstract multiplication problems and put them in context; they are creating a real-world situation to help them make meaning of the abstract problem.  With regard to division, we are learning how to use multiplication to help us solve division problems. Again, these division problems are embedded in division stories.  Some result in remainders.  The kids are learning how to interpret these remainders.  For instance, instead of stating 4 R1, the kids are interpreting the quotient and saying each student gets four dollars and the remaining dollar can be broken into quarters.  Each student can then get a $1.25. 

Social Studies:
After the end of our Science unit on ecosystems, we began our first Social Studies unit for the year, Colorado History.  Thus far, we have studied the geography of Colorado and how the geography of where we live helps shape how we live.  In addition, we studied the early Native Americans who lived in Colorado and how they influenced how we live today.  As we continue our study of Colorado history, we will learn about fur traders, explorers and gold rushers. Our main focus in the study of these individuals is analyzing how these groups positively and negatively impacted Colorado and how they influenced the way we live today. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

October Blog

What's Happening in 4th Grade for October! 


We finished our study of arrays, factors, and multiplicative comparisons in Unit 1.  We are currently working on our second unit pertaining to data and measurement.  Our investigation of measurement began by gathering data on the height of fourth graders and first graders.  The students then learn how to represent and compare the data they collected using bar graphs and line plots (high, low, range, median, mode, outliers, and is the data clumped or spread out).  Finally, they worked on drawing conclusions based on the data collected. They analyzed what was typical and what the data truly tells us regarding the information collected.  Within the next couple weeks we will begin Unit 3 (multiple towers and cluster problems).  This involves multi-digit multiplication and division.

Students are currently researching their chosen endangered animal, how human behavior impacts their ecosystems, and the animals and plants that live there.  Their research includes the animal's habitat, diet, adaptations, its place in the food chain, and the reasons it is endangered. Students are expected to include a call to action with ideas on how to save the species and what others can do to help with animal conservation.  The end product will be a brochure that the kids create and share with one another.

We have started implementing the comprehension strategy of questioning.  As a group, we have discussed the purpose behind questioning and why having a purpose is important.  Students are evaluating what types of questions are surface questions vs. deep questions. I am using non-fiction text as I model for students.  In doing so I demonstrate how asking questions helps my understanding of the text as I work to find answers for my questions and form new learning.  The students will continue to use a variety of nonfiction/fiction texts while activating their background knowledge, connecting their new learning to their background knowledge, and creating new thinking on the subject matter.  They are gradually released to apply the strategy learned on their own with leveled text.  Often times, the text selected connects to our scientific study of ecosystems.  They will either use a selected think sheet, sticky notes, or graphic organizers to keep track of their thinking.  As always, as the kids are reading and applying the strategy, I will be conferring with them individually and/or in a small group setting.
Writing                                                                                                                                         During Writer's Workshop in October, the students will continue drafting and eventually finish their narrative.  The lessons modeled will include: how to write a reflective ending, editing/revising, using dialogue, and incorporating figurative language. Once the lesson is taught and modeled, students are released to practice that each skill on their own.  Conferencing takes place daily.  During this time each student's individual needs are addressed.

Technology                                                                                                                                 Our next technology rotation will take place October 24th, 26th, and 27th.  We will focus on digital literacy using Discovery Education. 
Upcoming Dates
October 5th: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Field Trip AND Parent Teacher Conferences
October 9th-13th: Fall Break
October 16th: Return to School
October 31st: Halloween (more information to come)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Spelling Homework

Words Their Way Spelling Homework

Each Friday, your child will bring home a collection of spelling works that have been introduced in class. Throughout the week, your child is expected to complete a different activity daily to ensure that theses words and the spelling patterns they represent are mastered.  These activities have been modeled and practiced in school so your child can demonstrate how they work at home.

Monday:  Cut and Sort Words
Remind your child to cut and then sort the words and then sort the words into spelling patterns as practiced at school.  Your child should read each word aloud during this activity.  Ask your child to explain why the words are sorted in a particular way and what the sort reveals about spelling in general.  Encourage your child to sort their words a second time as quickly as possible.  You may time the activity for fun. Your child will prepare an answer key that will go home each Friday.

Tuesday:  Sort
Have your child sort the words and record them on the Sort and Record Form.

Wednesday:  Star Sort
Write one header in the center of each star.  Write each word that matches the header on the inside line of every star.  If there is not enough space to write on the inside of the star, the outside can also be used.

Thursday: Written Sort
In preparation for Friday’s spelling test, complete a writing sort by having your child first write each header on the form.  Call out all of the words one by one from your child’s word sort in random order.  Each word should be written under the correct header without seeing the words.  Call out any words your child misspells a second or even a third time.  If your child places the word in the wrong category, discuss why it does not belong and help him/her move it to the correct category.  Discuss any spelling patterns or “rules.”

Thank you for your support!

The Fourth Grade Team