: 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!
Hello! My name is Esther Willinski, and I am a fourth grade teacher in Massachusetts. Join us in our journey through 4th grade!