Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12th

Dear 4th Grade Families,

Thank you so much for coming out on Back to School Night to learn about our curriculum, procedures, expectations, and activities for the year. It was a lot of information to share and a lot of information for you to listen to….whew!

Metro School
Sheila Abraham, our service learning coordinator at The Metro School, came to talk with the 4th grade classes on Friday morning. She told us about the students at Metro and the work we will do. Please know that she shared with the students that they will most likely be uncomfortable during the first weeks. We will have many conversations about our experiences and hope that you will with your child at home. Our first date is September 20. Many thanks to Sydney Burgess for organizing our volunteer calendar for the year. I look forward to sharing this experience with you and the children this year.

**In order to volunteer with us at Metro, you must complete the CMS Volunteer form online.  I completed the form last week and within a day or two, received a confirmation e-mail that I had the green flag to volunteer.

Please go to the following link and click on register to volunteer

The students will get to check out books at Imaginon tomorrow. Our visit two weeks ago was an overview of library skills from Mrs. McDonald, Imaginon librarian.

Our class has been learning about literary elements. We have talked in depth about the title, lead, setting (time and place), movement through time, suspense, and narration. This week we will focus on theme and character. We use our read aloud texts to discuss and enhance the students’ understanding of the literary elements. We are reading What’s Wrong with Timmy? by Maria Shriver which is a beautifully written story about a girl’s encounter, and subsequent friendship, with a boy with disabilities. This is an excellent story to discuss as we prepare for our service learning at The Metro School.

Writing and Word Study
We continue to talk about what writers include in their writing notebooks. Last week we worked on how an object can be connected with a specific memory. We read several picture books that illustrated this idea and worked in our writing notebooks to record our own object memories. The class surprised me with how much fun they had doing our first letter edit. They were near giddy as we corrected the many grammatical and spelling errors in the letter. Editing marks were introduced and the class will use them throughout the year both in these letter edits and in their own writing.

Last week we focused on addition using an expanded addition method and the US algorithm. This week will be all about subtraction. Students will use number lines and other methods to ensure they understand what is happening mathematically when we subtract. They will also have time to practice and perfect the US algorithm. We have been working with place value in numbers up to the hundred millions. The class loves to explore these large numbers in expanded form and written form. Ask your child about Factual Feud, a game we played for the first time last week. Also, please continue to encourage your child to practice his or her addition and subtraction facts. Times are improving! A little bit of practice goes a long way to ensure mathematical fluency.

Social Studies and Science
We are launching our geography unit this week. The students will be using atlases to learn about our great state of North Carolina, its cities and regions, the rivers and lakes. They will also learn about the flag, state symbols and emblem. This week in science class we will conclude our introductory unit of “What is a Scientist?”. Students will head upstairs to the lab for the first time on Wednesday as we conduct two experiments about hypothesizing and controlling variables.

As you can see, we are busy! Our days are filled with learning and laughter.

Mandy and Alex