October 15 Update
These two short weeks in our class have been packed with learning. In math the students have been taking some checkpoint assessments, played more multiplication games, have practiced some math fluency with number strings and math talks, and have started dipping their feet on fractions and decimals.
During reading workshop, our small group guided reading practice has taken off, as well as our partner reading practice, and the students have learned and practiced some strategies to improve their fluency and comprehension, like "help or time" and "check for understanding". With the "help or time" strategy, students help each other correct their reading miscues by following along the reading of the same book, side by side, and pointing at the word their friend has mispronounced, offering to help with reading the word, or asking if they need time to figure the word out by themselves and try again. This non judgmental practice of reading improves students awareness of their own reading, and prepares them for self-correction and accuracy. With the "check for understanding" strategy, students focus on the comprehension of the story by stopping after a paragraph or page, closing the book, and using the arrow bookmark as a guide to ask questions that start with "what", "who", "when", "where" and "why", while the other students respond to the questions asked. This strategy prompts summarizing, comprehending, predicting and inferencing. During group work reading we use the same strategy, and I encourage the practice of new words by asking my students to build sentences with them. Other lessons that we have started this week have to do with practicing prosody by producing the correct musicality when reading out loud questions and exclamations, and by doing the adequate pauses after periods or commas. And finally, students have been recommending books to their friends during some periods between the group and independent work, so that other students get excited about reading new and different books.
During writing workshop, we have started our "informational piece" journey by talking about the things we know how to do well, or know a lot about, and by creating subtopics for a few of them, that will later become the headings or sections in our final pieces.
During science, we extended the lesson on muscles and skeleton by building a robot hand, and we started the lesson on eyes, light and vision by exploring a dissection of a cow's eye, and creating our own model of a human eye using a magnifying glass as a "cornea", and an index card as a "retina". The students could see how the outside trees and clouds were reflected on the cornea when passing through the lens.
And finally, the students have been working on exploring their strengths with the Thrively platform of which you will know more about.
Take a look at these two week's slideshow to see the students in action!
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Hello! My name is Esther Willinski, and I am a fourth grade teacher in Massachusetts. Join us in our journey through 4th grade!