Monday, November 28, 2011

December Calender

Some Exciting Happenings in 4th Grade 

Thursday, December 1
12:30-1:45 Rehearsal for Winter Band and Strings Concert at First United Methodist Church
*We will stop at Imaginon on our way back from the rehearsal

Tuesday, December 6

Wednesday, December 7
Old Salem field trip (more information to come)
We will depart from school on the charter bus at 8:15 and return to Trinity for a 5:30 pickup

Wednesday, December 14
Math Test

Thursday, December 15
Camp Read-a-lot (details to come on this exciting day!)

Friday, December 16
School Spelling Bee
Lessons and Carols
Last day of school before the holiday break! (3:20 dismissal time)

Word Sort Words -- Week of November 28




Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ben's Guacamole

During Wellness class, Mrs. Pursley is encouraging the students to try new foods. They have a "Food Passport" that they can write down all the unusual foods they taste. A particular emphasis has been placed on vegetables. Ben wanted to make sure his classmates had tasted avocados. He made guacamole for our class by peeling and mashing the avocados, adding homemade salsa, and letting everyone taste. What a yummy and healthy snack!

Thomas R's Birthday Book

We enjoyed celebrating Thomas's birthday with a visit from his mother who shared the first two chapter from The Hardy Boys: The Missing Mitt.

Sophie's Book Talk

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snickett is all about Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. Their mom and dad died in a fire at their home. They were rich so they left a fortune to them. Violet would get it when she came of age. Now the orphans have to go live with Count Olaf.  He is so horrible, and he really wants their fortune.

William's Book Talk

William's Review of Niagara Falls, or Does It?

My book is called Niagara Falls, or Does It? by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver. It is about a boy named Hank Zipzer, who has to do a five-page report about his summer, but decides to do a sculpture instead. He also enters a contest at a bowling alley, but is grounded the day he has to be there. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes some suspense and a little bit of a silly story. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bella's Book Talk

Bella's Review of Savvy

Savvy is by Ingrid Law. Savvy is about a girl named Mibs who is waiting for her 13th birthday when she will get her very own savvy. A savvy is a special power that you get when you turn 13. Not everyone has a savvy, only a few people, and they keep it a secret--at least they try. What will Mibs's savvy be? This is a very exciting book. It will always keep you with questions! The second book in the series is called Scumble. The second book is just as good as the first!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lattice Multiplication

Greetings 4th Grade Friends!

The students are making a great start on our newest math unit: Multiple Towers and Division Stories. An important part of this unit is two-digit multiplication (for example, 56 x 24). We will talk about many strategies for solving these problems. One neat method that students are learning and that may be new to parents is called lattice multiplication. The following videos from Khan Academy offer a very good explanation of lattice multiplication and how it works.

I would also encourage you to spend some time exploring the Khan Academy website. There are excellent explanations of many topics in mathematics, the sciences, the arts, and the humanities. If your student would like to learn new concepts, or practice old ones, there are a myriad of resources on this website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Fair

The 4th and 5th Graders will have the opportunity to hear AJ Hartley speak about his newly released book Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact. Mr. Harley will speak at 11:00 in the TED Room on Wednesday, November 16th. Parents are invited!

Our class will head to the Book Fair on Friday morning after chapel. Feel free to join us during this time if you wish. You will also have an opportunity to visit the book fair on Monday and Tuesday during Fall Conferences.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Word Sort - Week of November 14th

Sort 15: Syllable Juncture in VCCCCV and VV Patterns
(Ask your 4th Grader to explain this rule to you!)



V / V

Saturday, November 12, 2011

North Carolina State Toast

Did you know we had a state toast? Well, we do, and our class intends to memorize it. We will work on this predominantly in class. The students are very excited about it and love recognizing the various symbols they learned about while researching the regions.

Here's to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State!

Here's to the land of the cotton bloom white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
'Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!

Here's to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron's rosette glows,
Where soars Mount Mitchell's summit great,
In the "Land of the Sky," in the Old North State!

Here's to the land where maidens are fair,
Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
The near land, the dear land, whatever fate,
The blest land, the best land, the Old North State!

NC Region Project Update

The students have been very engaged in learning about the regions of North Carolina. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we have been immersed in the NC Region Projects where each of the three groups was hired by the NC Tourism Agency to advertise a specific region of our state. In each group, a manager was elected to oversee the efforts of the group members. Students took the list of the expectations for the project and divided them among the seven members of their group. Along with the NC textbooks we have in our classroom, we shared 3 websites with the students that they were to use for their research,. Mr. Merritt and I loved helping the students as they learned to navigate online and explore these sites looking for specific information.

The sites were:

In each group the students were to create a map of their region, design a postage stamp representing their region, write a persuasive letter detailing why people should visit, and to include information about the climate and topography, famous people, tourist attractions, historical sites, and agricultural products. We used the laptops in our classroom each day for the past two weeks and students practiced their research skills, word processing skills, and imported pictures from websites into Word documents. I am so proud of their work and loved seeing them begin to post all of their hard work on their presentation boards on Friday. 

This project was a tremendous learning opportunity for the students. We talked about how they probably learned even more about responsibility and working with a group to accomplish a goal than they did about their region of NC. The majority of the students worked hard every day and completed tasks in a timely manner. A few did not use their time wisely and ended up in a bind at the end. All students learned a lot about what it means to be a good member of a team. Students will have time to reflect  about how they personally contributed to their group and if they used their class time wisely. 

I know you will be excited to see the finished projects when you come in for your Fall Conference in the next weeks!

Math Fact Practice

We continue to stress to the students how important it is to have mastery of the basic math facts. It will be very difficult to do muli-digit multiplication and division problems if you do not have a strong foundation with the basic math facts. We had a great discussion recently about how quickly you can improve your skills with a bit of determined focus. One classmate improved her time by 20 seconds in one week because she took time to practice her facts each night. That's great motiviation that a little work will yield great results.

I am going to repost the link to the incredible resources I found on another teacher's web page. I am in awe of all the great sites that this lady found and organized. Oh, the wonder of the world wide web!

Hope you and your student will find some of these links to be a fun way to practice math facts.

Click here for the 

Readers' Workshop: Story Quilts

In Readers' Workshop we have continued with our Character Study groups and Guided Reading Groups. As a group finishes their Guided Reading group experience, they are creating a story quilt. The story quilt squares represent each chapter of the book. On each square, there is a picture depicting the most important scene in the chapter along with a description of what is happening or a quote from the book. The edges and corners of the story quilt square have to use images or symbols that represent things that happened in that chapter. The first two story quilts are almost finished and are a beautiful representation of the stories.

Math Update

Your student will be bringing home his or her Unit 2 Math Assessment on Monday. Please take time to look over both this test and their Student Activity Book.

We have started Multiple Towers and Division Stories: Multiplication and Division. In this unit, students will develop strategies for solving multiplication problems with two-digit numbers and deepen their understanding of the operation of division by focusing on the relationship between multiplication and division. Using story contexts and multiple towers, students continue their investigation of the relationship between numbers and their factors. Students practice multiplying by 10 and multiples of 10, break problems into smaller parts that can be multiplied easily, and find the multiples of two-digit numbers. They gain fluency with all multiplication combinations to 12 x 12. Students solve, represent, and discuss division story problems, including some that have a remainder.

Your student will also be bringing home the parent letters that accompany our newest math unit. Reading these will help you have a deeper understanding of the work we are doing in class.

Thomas Y's Book Talk

Thomas Y's Review of How to Train Your Dragon

When Hiccup has to fight as a dragon who is the size of thirteen great white whales. He has to think of a plan and fast because the dragon threatened to kill the tribes and the island they live on.

Patrick's Book Talk

Patrick's Review of James and the Giant Peach

This book is about a boy named James, who is four years old when his mom and dad died. He was forced to move in with his two aunts. One day, he looks up into the peach tree and sees a peach the size of a house. So, he makes his way into it, and he opens a door that goes to the center of the peach. He finds insects, and he felt a tug, and all of a sudden, he is rolling down a hill in the peach. He ends up in the Atlantic Ocean. So, he started sailing and then creates a sail from silkworms and seagulls, and flies into the air all the way into New York City.

Louise Nevelson Recycling Day Project

In classic Trintiy fashion, all the students in our school have been working on a collaborative project to celebrate National Recycling Day on November 15th. Mrs. Pursley, resident Green Team advisor, and Ms. Rankey, art teacher extraordinaire, put their minds together and came up with the idea to use objects from our recycling bins to create a large piece of art work in the style of Louise Nevelson. She was an American sculptor known for her monumental, monochromatic, wooden wall pieces and outdoor sculptures. 

Over the past week cardboard boxes, egg cartons, soda cans, and spaghetti sauce bottles have been migrating into our classroom awaiting their magical transformation. On Thursday the students divided into teams with the NC Region Project groups to create a "box" representing their region. See their great work below! Ms. Rankey is assembling the collective boxes from classrooms around the school and will paint them one color, just as our mentor artist did with her work. The grand reveal will be on National Recycling Day.  Ask your 4th grader about Louise Nevelson and their collaborative work on this project!

From Trash to Treasure

The Coastal Region: The Wright Brothers' First Flight

The Mountain Region: Majestic Mountains and Clouds

The Piedmont Region: Eagle from the Carolina Raptor Center

Friday, November 11, 2011

Note About Spelling and Word Study

Dear 4th Grade Families,

Mrs. Rencher and I have been impressed with the improvements our students have made in their grammar and spelling, but we have a long way to go! We thought it would be a good idea to share our weekly plan for Word Study this year.

On Mondays, we will have our weekly word sort. Each word sort teaches the students a spelling rule, and sorting the words allows the students to construct the rule and to discuss it as a class. The students will copy these sorted rules into their language spirals.

Throughout the week, we will do activities in class to apply the word sort rules. Through daily in-class oral language assignments, we will combine these rules with punctuation practice. We will also spend the year mastering the parts of speech and the parts of the sentence.

On Fridays, students will be assessed on their ability to spell some of the words correctly and to apply the rule to words they were not exposed to during the week. The spelling test will include 25 words: eight will be words from the word sort; eight will be words that test the knowledge of the week’s rules; the remaining nine will be Core Words and Personal Missed Spelling Words.

Students have glued a list of “Core Words” on the final page of their language spiral. The Core Words List has hundreds of words that they should know how to spell. We are working in class on identifying the core words individual students cannot spell. Students also created a Personal Missed Spelling Words List in the back of their language spiral. Students have begun a running list of the words that they misspell. They will place the word spelled correctly on the Personal Missed Words List.

Mrs. Rencher and I encourage you to work with your child on their Personal Missed Words List. Starting next week, we will post the week’s rules and words on the blog. The language spiral will come home on Thursday nights for the students to study.


Mr. Merritt

S'Khaja's Book Talk

S'Khaja's Review of Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl

Nikki's friends are Chloe and Zoey, her enemy is Mackenzie. Nikki likes this boy named Brandon. Brandon asked Nikki if they can be lab partners. Nikki thinks he's going to make a move on her, but he's not. Mackenzie really likes Brandon too, but she follows him around so Nikki barely has a chance to make her move. There is a big Halloween dance coming, and Nikki wants to ask Brandon. On the day of the dance Nikki has her hands tied because she has to be at two places at the same time. And she has to keep leaving the dance. Nikki's at the bottom of the dork chart.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Georgia's Book Talk

Georgia's Review of Welcome to the Bed and Breakfast

My book is called Welcome to the Bed and Breakfast by Joan Carris. It is about a pig named Ernest, a bird named Gabby, and a cat named Milly, all who live with Grampa Bender on an animal farm. When a plaid blanket made from Grampa Bender's old shirt goes missing, the animals set out to find it. Mysteriously, Milly has disappeared as well. Luckily, the brainiac pig knows exactly where a cat would be hiding. Do you think Ernest climbed the ladder? At the end of the book, Milly is home safe and they welcome a new family member. This is the first book in a trilogy. The next book is Wild Times at the Bed and Biscuit. If you like funny animal books, I recommend this series.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Metro Visit

We were so glad to head back to our service learning partnership at Metro this week. Enjoy these photos of the swimmers and the 4th-5th grade helpers.

Princeton's Footnotes

The Princeton Footnotes, a men's a cappella group, visited Trinity on Monday morning. We loved hearing their amazing talent! After the performance in the gym, we invited a group of the guys to visit our classroom. They shared about their love for singing and performing and taught us a bit about college life. Enjoy this song they performed for us.

Zac's Book Talk

Zac's review of The Red Pyramid

Carter and Saidie Kane and their dad go to the museum to just look at some stuff, but what they don't know is that their dad is a magician, and he is trying to summon the God of Dead to bring back the death of Carter and Sadie's mom. The reason he goes to the museum is because there is a special artifact that can summon gods. But while doing it, he accidentally brings back the three most powerful gods: the God of War, the God of Evil, and the God of Dead. While he dies, the God of Evil imprisons Carter and Sadie's dad. So it is up to Carter and Sadie to learn magic and defeat the God of Evil and bring back their dad and maybe their mom.