Another week is coming to an end, and these students haven't slowed down one bit. The learning that is being achieved in this classroom can be seen in the students' books and journals, and in how the walls are being filled up with anchor charts, student work and student goals.
This week in math, the students have continued learning about prime and composite numbers, and have been creating quick sketches to represent the arrays that they have been creating with tiles. On those sketches, the students have represented the factors and products of the equations. The students have also collaborated with partners through Work Places to play "Cover Up" and "Arrays to 100".
During our Literacy block, the students have been working on the i-Ready assessments for reading, and learning about Major and Minor Characters, Protagonist and Antagonist. Students have also learned about how character traits can be inferred from the dialogues, feelings, thoughts and actions of the characters. During independent reading, students have been practicing their words of the week if their choice was "Word Work", playing Pop with a partner to practice this week and last week's vocabulary, using those words in sentences to add to our Graffiti Wall, Reading to Someone and practicing check for understanding, Reading to Self and finding the protagonist and antagonist of their stories, Working on adding more ideas for their personal writing, or listening to some assigned articles on the Readworks platform.
This week we have added one more mindfulness practice to our thinking journal, the one called "heartfulness", where we think kind thoughts towards others, and they have been writing about moments or objects that they treasure, and places they are thankful for.
During science, the students have continued working and investigating using the eye models they created, and learning about how nocturnal animals can see in the dark.
We have also launched the Writing Workshop with lessons generating ideas for personal writing, zooming in just one moment, and making a plan for the first draft.
Have a fantastic weekend!
This week our students have been building up their math, reading, writing and science skills, as well as their POL superpowers while working on the following tasks:
During Math, the students have been creating posters with all the possible arrays for numbers 1 to 36, and noticing patterns in the arrays. Students have found that some numbers only have one type of array, while others have a few more. Students have been introduced to the words prime and composite numbers, and have practiced the previously learned vocabulary words, such as factor, factor pairs, dimensions, and product. While playing POP for math vocabulary, the students have been collaborating effectively, being patient with each other, finding strategies to give each other time to learn the spelling and definition of the words, and supporting each other with positive feedback.
During Daily 5, the students have been using their Mindful Learner superpowers to set, adjust, accomplish and reflect on personal goals for reading. Students have set goals like "read 3 chapters a day", "finish my book", or "read 5 pages a day". Other students have set goals related to sustaining focused attention during their independent reading, or practicing check for understanding during read to someone. We have added two more optional activities to our Word Work choice: Write a postcard to the teacher, with specific directions and models on what and how to do that, and our Graffiti Wall where students will use the new vocabulary words in sentences. Today we have been organizing some of the finished papers in our Literacy Folder.
During writing, the students have been writing letters to all of you for Open House, as a way to welcome you in our classroom.
For science, the students have been learning about how the human eye works, the different parts of the eye, and have created a model of the human eye using a lens as a model for a cornea lens, and one index card as a model for the retina. Students have observed that when the light enters the lens and touches the retina, the images that appear on the index card are upside down.
Our Mindfulness practice this week has been "Mindful Listening". The students have practiced sitting in their mindful bodies, breathing slowly in and out to send oxygen to their brains and to relax, and paying attention to the sounds of birds and a bell.
So much learning packed in just 5 days!
The first full week has come to an end, and our fourth graders have been really busy learning.
This week, during math, the students have been practicing multiplication and division strategies, while collaborating with partners and sharing with the whole classroom. The students have been solving word problems showing their understanding while using skip counting on the number line, and ratio tables, area models and tile arrays. The students have followed the guidelines that we agreed on to keep a safe and welcoming environment as a community of learners, using math vocabulary, negotiating disagreements, supporting each other and staying focused on the task at hand. The students have also practiced math vocabulary with our Math Pop game, and worked on addition, subtraction and multiplication during morning practice.
During Daily 5, this week we have introduced the choice called "Work on Writing" as independent practice, but connected to our Writing Workshop and our Thinking Journal routine. Students have been able to choose what to work on every round, either read to self, read to someone or work on writing. Setting weekly goals for reading has kept my students laser focused and committed to their reading, as they get to know themselves as learners. With guidance, some students are challenging themselves to read chapter books on topics of interest. We have also practiced a couple of strategies when reading with a partner, like "I read, you read", and "Coaching or time". Students are also tracking their Daily 5 choices on a chart.
On our 20 minute block between specials and recess, the students have learned one mindfulness practice called "mindful bodies", where they become aware of their body posture with straight but relaxed spine, relaxed shoulders, feet on the floor, and hands on their laps or heart or bellies. In that posture, students practice slow breathing exercises to check in with themselves, and help their nervous system to calm down. Just a few minutes helps us reset and get back to work. Students learn to be more in tune with their bodies. Throughout the week, we have also used this time to write on our Thinking Journal about the pets that we have or we would like to have, a skill that we would like to improve this year, and one person that we are thankful for and why.
During Science, the students have been exploring their engineering skills through the construction of a robotic hand. Students have learned about bones, tendons and muscles and have followed a step by step process of inquiry and hands on activities. I am sure that you have seen this project already. It was so much fun to see their enthusiasm, and to hear the many questions that came up with this project. We have quite a group of scientists in this class!
Finally, the whole class has been able to enjoy an extra 20 minute recess because they earned 20 points through collaboration and excellent behavior in the hall and in transitions.
Great job, class!
Welcome to our classroom blog!
This is the first post of our classroom adventures in learning. Every Friday (except for short weeks), I will be posting a few notes on what the students have been learning throughout the week, and about other activities and events happening in our school. Eventually, my students will be the ones posting! I really hope that this weekly newsletter serves you as a way of starting conversations about school with your child.
What a fantastic beginning of the school year we've had. In just six days of school your children have already shown tremendous hard working skills and resilience. From the very beginning they have been engaged and collaborative, they have adapted quickly to the learning schedule, and have worked through hard conditions like the extreme heat we have experienced. They are fantastic listeners, and skillful collaborators. Here are some of the few things that we have learned this week:
In Math we kickstarted the week with a couple of activities to get our math muscles ready, and to understand that to learn math, our brains also work spatially and make connections. We have created a "community of learners" chart to talk about the things that we should see and hear in the classroom when we are working on math, with items like "students are encouraging each other with positive feedback", "students are using math vocabulary", "students help each other". We have also solved some multiplication story problems, using different strategies like repeated addition, skip counting on the number line, area models, and ratio tables. Students have shared the strategies with the whole class, and participation has been very high! Additionally, at arrival, students have been working independently on writing about math, using some problem strings and questions to guide their thinking.
For Language Arts, we have been launching our Reading Workshop routine called Daily 5, a model in which we gather at the assembly area, I teach a mini-lesson, we model and practice, and then students practice independently for a few minutes. After that, we gather again, check-in and start with another mini-lesson. This week, we have started with the first Daily 5 choice called "Read To Self", where students learn the behaviors that they have to show when they are reading by themselves. We have practiced transitioning to our reading spots, ways of reading a book, and checking for understanding. To make sure that they have a clear understanding of the expected behaviors, students also got a chance to play some charades, showing what not to do when reading independently, and then showing the right way again. We had a lot of fun with our little theater! The Daily 5 model, when developed fully, will allow me to work with small groups and individual students and that way get a more targeted instruction for each of my students. In the meantime, students that are working independently or with a partner, will be able to practice the skills that they have learned in the mini lesson or during group work. Your children were so amazing during their "read to self" independent practice, showing all the right behaviors and making perfect transitions, that during that time, I was able to confer with a few of my students to learn about their individual reading habits and likes.
During the 20 minutes that we have between specials and recess, we work on our "Thinking Journal". This writing activity is aimed at working with Social Emotional skills, with the purpose of helping your children appreciate and foster happy feelings throughout the week. We have a theme for each day, and I give them a prompt and model for them. This is like a personal journal where students are encouraged to write as little as one sentence, and more if they like. If they wish, students can share with the class what they wrote. These are the themes that we've been working on so far: Tickle Tuesday: write about a happy memory or something that made you feel happy lately; Wonder Wednesday: write about what you wonder about; Thankful Thursday: write about something that you are thankful for and why (this week we wrote about an object that we were thankful for- it was so cute to have a few students share about their gratitude for their favorite blankie!), and today Friday the theme will be Freedom/Friendship Friday, where students will write about weekend plans or their friends.
In the afternoon we have launched our Science block, were we are learning about the Human Machine, how the muscles control their bones to move their bodies.
Students have also been working on ST Math at dismissal, and we have been trying to stay cool at the end of the day by going to the library or siting in the hall.
As you can see, your children have been really busy learning!
Join us next Friday to read more about our learning adventures!
Have a fantastic weekend!
Hello! My name is Esther Willinski, and I am a fourth grade teacher in Massachusetts. Join us in our journey through 4th grade!