Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lucia's Book Talk

Grace's Book Talk

Sarah Chason's Book Talk

Sophie's Book Talks!

Jack's Book Talk

Graham's Book Talk Book

Reader's Theater

The students have had so much fun working on their performances. In addition to being a whole lot of fun, Reader's Theater reinforces many important reading skills.
  • develops fluency through repeated exposure to text.
  • increases comprehension.
  • integrates reading, speaking, listening in an authentic context.
  • engages students.
  • increases reading motivation.
  • creates confidence and improve the self-image of students.
  • provides a real purpose for reading.
  • provides opportunities for cooperative learning.

Photos from Reader's Theater Performances

The class rocked the house today!! Wish you all could have been there to see the plays, hear their fluent reading, and hilarious accents. Enjoy these photos.

Grace's Birthday Book

Old Salem

The 4th grade trip to Old Salem is just around the corner. Mark your calendar for 12/11/13! We will depart from school at 8:15 on the chartered bus. Be sure to note that we will return to campus between 5:15-5:30. We will send a detailed e-mail next week with all the information you need to know about this learning adventure.

We will spend our Social Studies' time during December learning all about how the town of Salem was settled and about the Moravian religion and culture. We will be learning about the original settlements in Virginia and North Carolina. Your 4th grader will be learning:
  •  Why did the early Carolina farmers have to sell their goods to merchants in Virginia? 
  • What were the early relationships like with the Native Americans? 
  • What are imports, exports, cash crops, and surplus goods? 
  • Why did colonists move to Carolina? 
  • Who were the Moravians? 

Highlights of this study will include making Moravian sugar cake and having our very own Love Feast. Details to come!

Click here to learn more about Old Salem:

Portfolios and Student-led Conferences

I know you are looking forward to sitting down with your 4th grader and celebrating his or her academic accomplishments. The portfolios will be full of each student's evaluations and goal setting along with selected work from each subject area. Please have your 4th grader return the portfolio some time the week after Thanksgiving.  

Here are some tips that may prove helpful to you during this meeting with your child:
  1. Let your child be in charge, ask clarifying questions, and focus on the work and the student’s growth—think big picture.  
  1. Listen to your child’s self-report and reflections.  Ask supportive questions to gain clarity.
  2. By the end of the conference help your child have a clear and realistic assessment of themselves along with a shared plan for approaching the trimester ahead.
Talking Points:
  1. What I think I hear you saying is…
  2. You seem to really enjoy…Why do you think that is?
  3. You seem to be having a difficult time with….Why do you think that is?
  4. If you know why…is happening, what would be a possible solution?
  5. Tell me what is the most important thing that you learned in…
  6. What is your favorite time during the school day and why?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Many Thanks!

Dear 4th Grade Families,

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I had the most wonderful birthday. We had a great day at school finished off with a lovely birthday party. You spoiled me with the beautiful flowers, Trader Joe's party cookbook, and generous gift card to Trader Joe's. I plan to splurge on fun holiday treats with the gift card! The class loved the celebratory birthday oranges. 

I am truly thankful for each child and family in our class this year. We have enjoyed this first trimester and have so much more to look forward to. Old Salem and our Moravian Love feast are just around the corner.

Hope that each of your families has a fabulous Thanksgiving break!

With deep gratitude,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tate's Book Talk

Andrew's Birthday Book

Campbell's Book Talk

Andy's Book Talk

Solid as a Rock: Replicating an Artifact

In our materials engineering work, students have been busy examining granite, foam, wax, limestone, pumice, alabaster, and marble to determine how each is formed, its hardness, durability, and weight. Students are looking at these objects to determine which one best fits the following criteria necessary to reproduce the petroglyph.

  1. It needs to be as similar to the original artifact as possible.
  2. It needs to be made from a material that you can carve into.
  3. The carved lines must be durable.
  4. It must not cost too much to ship.
Ask your 4th grader about this work and to tell you which material they think will be the best to use.

More Photos from Metro

Word Study Update

In the spirit of writing descriptive paragraphs in Social Studies, we will begin working on editing full paragraphs each morning during D.O.L. We will familiarize the kids with these symbols of standard editing, and we will challenge the kids to edit and revise their own writing.

In our word sort work, we have been revisiting all of the patterns of the long vowels in general, and syllabication in particular. The kids this week will finish the work with long-u by sorting words with the long-u pattern into 1st and 2nd syllable categories.

North Carolina Projects

Our students have been hard at work on our North Carolina projects! It's always so fun for us as we walk around a sea of chromebooks, open textbooks, and Our State Magazines as the kids soak in all of the fascinating history, culture, and geography of our state. A major component of this project is learning to write a descriptive paragraph. We teach the kids that descriptive paragraphs have the following characteristics:

  • They are indented
  • They have a topic sentence
  • They have 2-3 descriptive sentences
  • They have ideas that build on each other
  • They have a conclusion sentence
I have revised and edited the first round of descriptive paragraphs. All of the kids have areas for growth in writing paragraphs. This week, homework will be one section per night to rewrite based on my edits and revisions. Parents, please help your children decipher my chicken scratch handwriting (I promise I tried to be neat!) if necessary, and if they ask for it, any guidance on writing great paragraphs. 

Math Update

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.

Parent Letter

Activities To Try at Home

Report Cards and Portfolios

Can you believe the first trimester is over? Your student will bring home his/her report card this Friday afternoon. Students will be busy over the next week preparing a portfolio of selected work from our first trimester. Additionally they will reflect on their strengths and accomplishments in each subject area as well as to set goals for the upcoming trimester. We will send home portfolios on Tuesday, November 26. Each family will find a spot of time to have a student led conference at home for your child to share his/her work. We will send home more specific guidelines closer to the time.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Reader's Workshop

We are so proud of the work our 4th graders are doing in their Reader's Notebooks. We are really pushing them to explain their reasoning for their theories about characters. Good literature students have to be able to effectively share what they think and then give evidence for why they think this. It has also been exciting to see how much more the class is paying attention to the words in their books. Being on the hunt for vocabulary words keeps their eyes and minds open to being sure they really understand what they are reading.

See the anchor chart below from our class work on "Growing Theories About Characters." This unit has us all looking at the characters in our personal books and our class read-aloud, The Tiger Rising, in new and interesting ways. Ask your students to explain some of these strategies to you.

Math Update: Graphing and Data

Who knew that October was the perfect month for teaching about data? With pumpkins and Halloween candy, we have been very busy making predictions; calculating mean, median, mode, and range; and creating bar graphs, data tables, circle graphs, and line plots!

During our work with Halloween candy, students created graphs based on how many of each color of Smarties were in their personal pack, collectively at their table of 4 students, and then by the full class. This photo shows some of the graphs we created.

Last week, we had pumpkin math. On day one, students made predictions and took actual measurements for circumference, diameter, and radius. We first used string that ended up being an inaccurate measuring device due to the stretch/ give in the material. We switched to masking tape for a more accurate measurement of the circumference. The following day, the students made predictions about the weight of the pumpkins and then found the actual weight using a scale. We graphed this data as a class. Finally, the grand finale and most exciting work of all was to make a predictions of how many seeds were in each pumpkin. Then, we gutted our pumpkins and counted the seeds. Once the messy work of counting seeds was underway the groups realized that they had greatly underestimated how many seeds were in each pumpkin. We took time to make a second prediction as any good mathematician or scientist would do. Lots of graphing and calculating is happening with all of this pumpkin data. Enjoy these photos of the students at work!