Saturday, January 25, 2014

January Update

Please read this when you have a few minutes. It is a lengthy update with lots of information and photos of all that is going on in the 4th grade!

Also, your child brought home his/her report card on Friday afternoon. Please let us know if you have any questions. We hope that we painted a clear picture of your child's strengths and the goals we have for him/her in the coming months. As always, thank you for trusting us with your precious children. We are thankful to be partnering with you in their development this year.


We are so excited for the students to get started with their biography projects! First step, each student needs to find a biography on his or her selected historical figure that is at an appropriate reading level. We are headed to the Imaginon library on Wednesday, but it is very possible that they will not have the book your child needs. What can you do?

1) Go online to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library website (link below).

2) If there is a biography available at the Imaginon Branch, put it on hold for your student to pick up on Wednesday.

3) If there is a copy available in the library system, put in a request to have it delivered to your home library. This is such a great service that our public library offers!

4) If you prefer to buy one, either head to the bookstore this weekend or get shopping on your favorite online website.

Your child will need his/her biography by this Thursday! We will be modeling note-taking skills and have asked the students to not begin reading the biographies until we give them the green light.


Our class finally finished reading Wonder! I would encourage each of you to read this powerful book. I promised the class I would post the R.J. Polacio and Choose Kindness websites on our blog. Hopefully each student can have some time to explore the sites and enjoy learning more about the author, book, and children who face similar challenges as Auggie. Finally, there is a place on the website that you can take sign a pledge to CHOOSE KIND. I bet lots of your children will want to do this!

R.J. Palacio's Webiste (click below!)

Special Olympics

We had such a great experience going to the Special Olympics with our Metro friends. First, we helped walk with the students from Metro School to the Sheraton Hotel, conveniently located only 1 block away. Students partnered up with our Metro friends and helped them bowl when it was their turn or took them to do special activities such a blowing bubbles or playing with balls. We really learned that our presence is a gift to these children. This was such a big day in their lives and we felt blessed to be a part of it. Enjoy these photos!



Mr. Merritt's Birthday Celebration

Thanks for helping to make Mr. Merritt's birthday extra special. Our room parents extraordinaire brought in banana pudding from his favorite restaurant for the birthday boy to enjoy and 12 grapes for each student. It is a tradition in Spain and Latin America to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year's day. Two very personal ways to honor the dedicated, amazing, inspiring Mr. Merritt! Also, Mrs. Weiss and Ms. Adams came to read him a birthday book.

Geometry Update

We have moved from a focus on 2-D measurement (including perimeter and area) to looking at polygons and angles. Ask your student to explain the above chart to you! It might make your head spin, but they are working each day to learn the various characteristics of quadrilaterals. We are also focused on learning to recognize landmark angles (30, 45, 60, 90, and 180 degrees) and using these to build larger angles. Our Unit 4 assessment will be on Thursday, January 30.

Chicken Wing Dissection

We have talked about the skeletal and muscular systems of the human body. Friday afternoon we dissected chicken wings to put our knowledge to the test. Students examined the skin, muscle tissue, tendons, bones, joints, ligaments, blood vessels, cartilage, and bone marrow. Ask your student about this learning experience! 




Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day will be here before we know it! We will have time during our day on February 14th  to exchange Valentines with our classmates. Students are encouraged to make homemade valentines for their friends. Be sure your "sweetheart" brings a card for each of the students in our class.  A class list can be found in the directory.

Recommended Website

I wanted to share this fantastic website that I think the students will love looking at during their free time.  While I think the students will enjoy exploring the entire website, I hope they will take special time to explore the "Human Biology" section. Once on the website, you'll find the link on the left sidebar.

Don't Tell Me I Can't Fly: Children's Theatre

We are headed to Imaginon on Wednesday for the Children's Theatre performance of Don't Tell Me I Can't Fy.  This following summary is from CT's website:

The whimsical world of a child's imagination comes to life in this play, inspired by the life and work of acclaimed folk artist Della Wells. The gentle, beautifully written story gives a glimpse into the sometimes challenging lives of an African-American family in the 1960s, where Tonia’s parents initially encourage their daughter to blend in with the crowd. With humor and sensitivity, Tonia’s family begins to learn the value of creativity and the need to allow -- and encourage -- children to reach for their dreams. 

Geo Bee

Congratulations to Alexandra for winning our class Geo Bee! We were so proud of her performance in the school wide spelling bee with 4th through 8th graders. Great work, Alexandra! Kudos, also, to Campbell for being our class runner-up.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Word Study Update

In word study, we are doing word sorts over the next few weeks with words that are influenced by the letter "r." Students already have a working knowledge of the seven parts of speech, but we are looking at each one in more depth. This weeks focus is on verbs, specifically the distinction between action verbs and linking verbs.

Social Studies Update

We are diving headfirst into our unit on Colonial America!

We began last week by discussing the sources of history, and how historians classify their sources into primary and secondary sources. After some practice on identifying the different types of sources, we have small discussions each social studies period when students discuss the different types of sources we are using.

Because our focus is on British Colonial America, we started the official study of history with an overview of the Lost Colony, perhaps the most famous and mysterious event in North Carolina history.

We watched the following videos to look at some sources and to watch a narrated re-enactment of the Lost Colony:

After exploring the Lost Colony, we moved on to Jamestown, which will be the focus for the next few social studies sessions. On Friday afternoon, we played a fun National Geographic for Kids game that simulates the settling of Jamestown called On the Trail of Captain John Smith. Ask your child to tell you what they learned about the Jamestown settlement from playing the game! In the coming days, some text reading and a simulation will give us a better idea of the types of people who began settling the Jamestown colony, and what motivated them to depart Britain.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

While the Christmas break was wonderful, we are genuinely happy to be back at school with your children. The rest of this year brings continued learning and growth, and we are excited for all that is to come. Hope that each of you had a restful and joyful holiday!

Math: 2-D Geometry and Measurement

This week we started Unit 4, our first geometry unit of the year. Our classroom has been covered with rulers and yard sticks and meter sticks as the students have been busy measuring things around our classroom.

This week we have been working to:
  • Review the lengths of units of measure
  • Use U.S. standard and metric units to accurately measure length
  • Estimate lengths based on common units
  • Determine when estimates or exact measurements are needed
  • Find perimeter using standard units
  • Recognize and explain possible sources of measurement error

Science: Human Body

I don't know who is more excited about our new science unit...the students or me! Our focus this week has been to understand that our bodies are made up of many systems. Throughout our study we will learn about each system and how it is essential to human life. Students learned that the organs in all systems are made up of tissues, and tissues are made up of cells.

We are focusing first on the skeletal system. Our work back in the fall learning many of the bones in the body has given us a leg up, no pun intended, on this system. Ask your child about the various parts of the bone; the periosteum, haversian canals, and spongy bone. Quiz your child on the various types of joints: hinge, ball-and-socket, pivot, gliding, and fixed. Later this week we will put a bone in vinegar and will observe how the bone reacts to the mild acid in the vinegar. We'll keep you posted!

Reminder to order books!

We have sent home flyers from Scholastic which might help with the book shopping. Please help your child to log in and order 2 books up to a $5 value each by this Wednesday night! We will then place the order and the student's Christmas gift books will be delivered to our classroom. The free book code is on the coupons we gave to them in their Christmas card. Let me know if you have any questions.

The class activation code is MK4MW    

Click here to order!