: Back to full speed after a week of half days and fun play, the students have been learning a few new things.
In math, we have continued working with double digit multiplications, story problems, and area models. We have also been practicing elapsed time during our Number Corner time, collecting cups of water to fill quarts and gallons, and using the number line to add. In language arts, we have been diving into the world of literary themes. Last week with the story "A Bad Case of Stripes", by David Shannon, we explored the themes of self-concept, bullying, being true to oneself and accepting each other's differences, and this week with the beautiful anthem of "Change Sings" by poet laureate Amanda Gorman, we are discussing the themes of hope for the future, creating positive change, and standing up for justice and equality. This week I have also introduced the assignment of the reading response journal, where students are expected to write two weekly entries about their independent chapter book reading, choosing a different focus each time from the ones we have already practiced in class: main idea and details, character change, theme, prediction, connection. Students have guiding questions and charts in their notebooks to write their entries. In Social Studies, we have worked with the second major theory of the origin of the first people of North America, the "Kelp Highway Theory", that states that the first people migrated from Asia to America by boat, following the rich oceanic life provided by the kelp forests of the Pacific coastline, deeply connected with the lives of many tribal nations of North America. Students also learned about the counter theory based on new evidence of foot prints found in New Mexico (link here), that the first people might have been already here before what the Clovis First Theory explains. A lot of food for thought, and high interest topics four our students to discuss and learn about. After this lesson, I have asked my students to create a Google document that will be their final assignment for this topic. If you get a chance, please ask your child about the theories learned in the classroom.
Take a look at this week's slide show!
This week in our classroom, the students have been learning all about how to use quick sketches of arrays to solve multiplication equations of two digit factors, finding partial products and adding them up at the end. We started by working with base ten pieces and linear pieces, then making sketches of mats of 100, lines of 10 and dots of 1, to finally creating area drawings with labeled dimensions and products. We have also tried to focus on understanding the story problems without jumping to conclusions about the numbers that show up in those problems, reasoning about what the problems are really asking, and figuring out the best way to solve them. During Number Corner time, we have started a new month, calculating the elapsed time of the cards that show different clock hours. And we have been playing a division game and practiced adding larger numbers using the number line and splitting one of the addends to make our addition effective and accurate. In reading, we have continued working with analyzing character change, and the event in the plot that turns things around for the character. We have been using Janell Cannon's beloved books "Crickwing", "Stellaluna", and "Verdi". Students have continued using richer vocabulary for emotions, and finding evidence in the story to support their thinking. During group work, students have continued working on their assignments with the stories "The Ghost of Specter Elementary", and "Clean Start" in Story Works. And finally, fourth graders have been introduced to the Lending Library, created by our Curriculum Coach, Mrs. Desruisseaux, and our Reading Specialist, Mrs. Zalusky. They have been able to borrow more books for their independent reading time. During Social Studies, this week we have started the unit on The Early People of North America, in order to evaluate competing theories about the origins of the first people of North America. Students have learned and taken notes on the meaning of certain vocabulary words, like "scientific theory", "artifact", "archeological site", "carbon dating" and "ancient migrations", and we have started generating questions using the Project Zero thinking strategy called "Creative Question Starts", while looking at a map of North America during the Ice Age, and using the brief entry to our first theory to investigate, the "Clovis-First Theory", that states that the first people migrated from Asia to America through a land bridge. We have used primary sources like the Smithsonian Magazine. The topic has generated lively discussion and curiosity in the students.
Last but not least, the students could enjoy a fantastic Halloween Day on Monday, filled with activities and fun. In the morning, students collaborated in the engineering of a structure that could hold a candy corn cauldron. They designed, built, demolished and built again, always trying to improve their models and persevering through setbacks. After that, we played the matching game with the pumpkin vocabulary and the fun pumpkin drawings. In the afternoon we had super fun activities thanks to the creativity of Mrs. Bodio and Mrs. Halnon, with Halloween Bingo, unwrapping candy and feeding the box monster. Students had a blast! We finished the day with the fun parade where students showed fantastic costumes. It was a day to remember.
Take a look at this week's slide show!
Here are the highlights for the week:
In math we have been creating the Great Wall of Base Ten with square centimeter pieces, from 1 to 10,000, finding the area of rectangular arrays and practicing multiplication facts. In Language Arts, we have completely focused our attention on how characters' feelings change throughout the story, and how there is usually a specific event in the story that turns things around for the main character. Students have been learning and practiced identifying feelings other than "happy" or "sad". What about "discouraged", "delighted", "furious" or "annoyed"?, And what are the evidence in the story that show that the characters are having those feelings? Students have been learning the process of close reading the stories, identifying the feelings and finding the evidence. Additionally, the students have started writing their own letters to me about the books they are reading independently, so that eventually they can get a real pen-pal from another class. During Science the students have been learning all about the nervous system and how the brain receives information a creates a response or reaction to an event. We have practiced some interesting activities in the classroom to measure the speed of our responses to stimuli, like the reaction to a falling ruler between our fingers, or the speed to read color words that have different colors than what the words say.
Take a look at this week's slide show!
Learning by experimentation. That could be the summary of this week. This week the students have rolled up their sleeves and used a bunch of tools to learn about units of measurement. We have been going every day to the science room to find the mass, weight and liquid capacity of different objects, using a pan balance, platform scale, and several measuring cups. The students have tried and many times succeeded in finding the accurate measurement of a gram, a kilogram, an ounce and a pound of playdough and beans, to find measurement benchmarks, and to understand the different scales of the metric system and the standard units. For liquid capacity, the students have been calculating how many times 250 mL fit in a 1 L container. They have followed up with measurement work in their math books, and with ratio tables in their notebooks. For reading, the students have finished their first assignment on finding the main idea and important details in the story of The Hindenberg, a famous and luxurious zeppelin that went down in flames in the 1930s, and have started working on the same skill in a similar story about a war ship during WWII. The students have been fantastic managing their independent reading time to work on the assignment and also read their own choice of books. The guided reading work has been filled with interesting conversations about the story at hand. This week we have also finished a book by Patricia Polacco titled "Thank you, Mr. Falker", that has given us the opportunity to talk about character change and the different stages of the problem of the story. We have also been exchanging letters between Mrs. Keenan's and Mrs. Rutkowski's class about books. During Science, the students have continued learning all about human and animal eyes, how nocturnal animals can see in the dark, and why when we take pictures of animals in the dark, their eyes glow in different colors.
Take a look at this week's slide show! If you don't see your child's photo in this show, it is because I had to crop the photo as the school still hasn't received your permission to publish photos of your child. If you wish to take a peek at what your child is doing in the class, make sure your fill out the form that was sent online at the beginning of the school year.
Have a great weekend!
This week the students have been working hard, and showing responsibility and ownership in completing several assignments. In math, we have been wrapping up the unit on multiplication and division strategies, practicing related vocabulary like factors, multiples, product, factor pairs, multiplicative comparisons and other, playing multiplication games during our work places time, and completing a checkpoint and an end of unit assessment (results for these will be coming home next week). During reading, we have been working on finding the main idea and supporting details of a story, and rereading for deeper understanding, and we have started a letter exchange about books with the other two fourth grade classes. Additionally, we have started reading our next chapter book, titled "Restart", by Gordon Korman, where the main character wakes up from a coma with his memories wiped off and a new chance to clear his past as a bully.
During writing, students have been creating a story inspired by the book Tuesday, by David Wiesner, asking questions about the magical event of flying frogs. Finally, during science the students have been learning about the process of seeing, the parts of the human eye, and have created a model of the eye using a lens.
Two special events that have also happened this week have been the school wide walk, and the presentation on washing hands by BVT students.
As a final note, a million thanks to those of you who bought the special prizes for my students. My Amazon wish list was emptied quickly and I received all the new rewards. The kids are excited about them!
Take a look at this week's short slide show.
Have a great weekend!
This week in our classroom:
Students have been learning about different multiplication strategies that they can use whenever they encounter factors difficult to remember. They have practiced strategies such as double-doubles to multiply by 4, and half-tens plus one to multiply by 6. Students have also played several games involving multiplication facts, like Arrays to 100, and Multiple Wheel. To become better mathematicians, students have been trying to use more math vocabulary like factors, product, factor pairs, dimensions, and arrays when explaining their thinking. Students have been participating more and more this week.
For about an hour each day, students have been taking the i-Ready diagnostic assessment for reading and math, that will help narrow down the skills that they need to work on to become proficient readers and mathematicians.
In the afternoon, students have been creating their North America map books, using transparencies and generously donated Sharpies. Thank you to those of you who purchased those markers for us, we deeply appreciate it!. Students have been learning about the countries that form the continent of North America, are learning to outline its shape, find the most important rivers, mountain ranges, deserts and other bodies of water. We will continue with this unit next week, and students will have to complete a questionnaire upon finishing their maps. Students have also reviewed the most important features in a map, such us the compass rose, scale, cardinal directions, key or legend, and title.
Take a look at this week's slide show!
What a fun filled week we've had!
This week we have successfully launched a new math structure called "Math Rotations", where the students work together in a small group, partner work, or work with me in different math related activities. When a small group of students works with me, I explain a Bridges Math lesson, review math concepts, and students feel less intimidated to participate than with the whole group. When I worked with small groups yesterday, there were many aha moments for students when concepts like prime and composite numbers were finally understood. Small group interactions work better for many students. In the meantime, other students were working on Work Places (games), Math pages, quizzing each other on vocabulary, practicing math facts on XTra Math, or other skills on STMath. Even though some adjustments need to be made to our structure, I was very impressed with my students, that showed amazing problem solving skills, collaboration and independence.
During Daily 5, this week we have been working on setting the purpose for reading, and tuning in to interesting words. We have added more words to our Word Collectors, and depending on their choices, students have been able to work on their drafts for writing, read with a partner, or practice vocabulary.
Yesterday for our Read Aloud, our very own Principal, Mrs. Garden, came to our class to read a beautiful book to our students, titled "My First Day", by Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien, a story about a Vietnamese child's first day of school. And Principal Garden impressed all of us, but learning the names of all the students right away!
On Science, students have explored what makes our hands and fingers move, learning about muscles, tendons, joints, and bones, and creating their own robotic fingers and hands.
Finally, the students have completed a 5 Love Languages questionnaire, so that I can make sure that I "speak" their love language in every interaction.
Take a look at this week's slide show :)
The first full week is coming to an end. The students have been busy working on several projects and reading for longer periods of time. Here are some of the highlights:
During Math, we have been working on practicing four different strategies to explain multiplication problems: number lines, ratio tables, tiled arrays and area models. Students have taken on the challenge of learning to use models that are a little out of their comfort zone, and then using the ones that work for them. We have used the same models to review division problems, and have been working on finding factor pairs of different numbers and create array posters.
During Literacy, this week we have continued adding lessons to our Work on Writing Daily 5, and we have also introduced Listen to Reading, bringing our choices for Daily 5 to four. Students are starting to master the mini-lesson and independent practice model of work, and are up to 11 minutes of independence. When called their name, the students are able to verbalize their Daily 5 and literacy strategy choices, and move to their chosen spots. This has given me a chance to confer on reading with all my students one-on-one and to start a round of writing conferences. The strategies that the students are able to practice during reading are "check for understanding", "three ways to read a book", "coaching or time", "generating tiny thoughts for writing", "generating bigger ideas", and what to do when they encounter a word that they don't know how to spell when writing.
This week we have also celebrated "International Dot Day", based on the book "The Dot", by our local author Peter Reynolds, a book that celebrates creativity and courage. Also, during Social Studies, we have rolled up our sleeves and created three dimensional world maps using continents cutouts and balloons.
Take a look at this week's slide show:)
Welcome to the classroom blog!
Every week (or every other week) I will post a summary of the week's events in our classroom, along with some pictures, so that you can take a peek at what your children have been working on, and have a broader context for your conversations about school with your child :)
These first six days of school have started in high gear. Your children have been incredibly flexible in adjusting to the new schedule, agenda and routines for every day. Changing from a summer vacation mode to a 6 hour daily learning mode is not an easy task, and it takes some adjustment, but your children have shown me from day one that they are ready for the challenge.
This week we have already been working on the following topics:
During Math we started by introducing some community building activities, writing down on a chart what we like others to say and do when we are working on math, and what we don't like them to say and do. Some of the things your children said were that they like to be encouraged, but not to be told the answer, that they don't like to be rushed, that they don't like to be distracted, and that they like to receive positive feedback. Creating a community of learners that care about each other and respect each other's way of learning is extremely important. Our math time has been filled with independent thinking, partner sharing, and group work, as it will be throughout the year.
We have also talked about the learning zones circle, and that even when we are able to solve a math problem right away, we can challenge ourselves to figure out different ways to get to the answer, for example, how can they use (4 x 2) and (8 x 2) to solve 12 x 2? Is there more than one way?
During reading we have started practicing Read to Self, where students get their book bags, find a spot in the classroom where they feel comfortable, and start reading independently for a short amount of time. We are slowly building up our stamina to read for longer periods of time without any interruptions and distractions, staying in one spot, and reading all the time. Yesterday we also learned how to read with a partner in a way that both students practice the same skills as in read to self, but together, helping each other, reading the same book, and checking for understanding. Your children have been so fantastic during this reading time, that I have had the chance already to use their independent and partner reading time to confer with individual students and get to know them better as readers. As we start reading for longer periods of time, both Mrs. Parent and I will be able to create reading groups based on skill building, and practice more close reading activities that will help your child become a better reader. Students have also learned to pick the just right books for them, using the acronym I-PICK that stands for I- I (your child) choose the book, P - Purpose, I- Interest, C - Comprehension and K - Know the majority of the words. If you want to know a little more about the Daily 5 literacy structure, click here.
And finally, your children have also been working on the All About Me poster, and have been sharing their summer adventures with the rest of the class.
I hope your children have enjoyed getting back to school as much as I have! Please, don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
I am looking forward to the rest of the school year!
The end of the school year is here! I can tell that my students are excited about all the summer projects and adventures coming up, and ready to break the routine of coming to school every day. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all the support and collaboration to help your child grow academically and thrive through the different challenges. It has been an honor to work alongside with you in the education of your child. I have loved teaching your children this school year, and I will surely miss seeing their sweet faces every day, and interacting with their unique personalities. I'm very confident they will thrive in middle school. I apologize for not posting for a few weeks, the truth is that we have not stopped learning, but mostly, we've had a lot of fun with all the amazing events we've had going on: Memorial Day concert, trolley ride, Miscoe move up day, Senior Walk, Inspired Learning Day, 4th grade celebration, the chain reaction activities for science, the math game for geometry, the work with the kindergarteners yesterday, the debates, and the opinion writing. I don't have pictures for everything, but this next slide show is pretty lengthy. I hope you find plenty of opportunities this summer to have fun and enjoy time together with your families and friends. Have a fantastic summer!
Hello! My name is Esther Willinski, and I am a fourth grade teacher in Massachusetts. Join us in our journey through 4th grade!