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!
If I had to pick my all time favorite comments from students, those would be "this is fun", and it makes me really happy that at least on a few occasions these past two weeks I've heard those words. Interestingly enough, students have said those words during or after a collaborative activity. Of those, we've had quite a few: collaborating during science projects on energy, like creating a "bumper coaster" with paper and marbles, where the students had to make sure that the last marble was not swallowed by the alligators. The students first work in groups of three or four students creating their group tracks, and after that, I challenged them to put the tracks together for a super long and fun bumper coaster. With a lot of tinkering, collaboration, readjusting, and shared responsibility, the students finally got it to work, and oh, what a cheerful scream we all did!It was fantastic to witness. The students also collaborated during reading, switching the roles of moderator, summarizer, vocabulary searcher, and character finder to read and discuss a book in Spanish. They also collaborated during their learning about the Early European Explorers and started presenting on them. And finally they also collaborated by debating on a couple of topics as an introduction to the final written piece that they will have to produce on argumentative writing. The topics we chose were "Should kids be payed to do chores?" and "Should your recess go longer?". I divided the classroom in two groups and we placed the desks and chairs in two lines facing each other. I gave each group an "in favor" or "against" direction, and they had to come up with reasons to support their point of view. For the purpose of the activity, their real opinion might have been different that what they had to defend, so that proved very eye opening for the kids regarding listening to others' points of view. The children thoroughly enjoyed the activity. We practiced respectfully listening and kindly or strongly disagreeing, taking turns speaking, and drawing on the other's arguments to support our reasons. Yes, it has been fun!
Take a look at these two week's pictures.
Two weeks have gone by and a lot of things have happened. The students have been working hard on measurement conversion, and addition and subtraction using the standard algorithm. During reading, we have started working on team building activities through literacy circles, where each student has a specific role to fulfill. Students choose a book from a curated collection on Epic, and then each of the four members works on either asking questions, summarizing, describing the characters or finding interesting vocabulary and definitions. The group monitor makes sure each member reads the book, stays on task and does his/her work properly. After all the members have completed their paper, they all take turns sharing and then the whole group rotates the roles and starts over with a new book. The kids have been fantastic and they seem to enjoy the process. They have been very responsible with their tasks and have practiced their Spanish skills all the way.
During writing the students have continued working on their poems, adding "list poems" to their notebooks. The classroom anthology currently has about 85 poems and will be soon published for your view. Finally during science, we have kept on exploring how sound waves travel, using a balloon to perceive the vibrations of the human voice. And in Social Studies, students have been working on a book on Primary Sources, again working in a group and with each group presenting on a chapter to the rest of the class. I would say collaboration is a word that could define these two weeks.
On another note, we had to say farewell to our Spanish Cultural Assistant, Elba, as she worked with us last week for the last time. We have been so lucky to have her here during this school year. We are going to miss her very much, but we will stay in touch for sure.
Take a look at these two weeks slide show!
This week the students have been working on subtraction strategies and practicing subtraction with the standard algorithm. Additionally, we have worked with figuring out the perimeter of some polygons, and adding decimeters to our charts. Finally today, the students have put all their math skills to work, when they had so solve some math puzzles for a fun escape room. During reading, the students have been working on a couple of books, asking and answering questions, summarizing and practicing new vocabulary. During writing, the students have been working on creating their own funny poems, backward poems and tongue twisters. And in science, the students have been learning all about what is sound, and making a fun experiment with the old fashion method of attaching a string to two paper cups. And for a little quiet reading time, we are now in the library enjoying some interesting books, and relaxing in the comfortable chairs. Take a look!
For the past two weeks we have been working on understanding and practicing different strategies for addition and subtraction, especially the traditional algorithms. The students have become very proficient and love to solve complicated equations. You can almost see the numbers floating around their heads! During reading, we have continued reading books on Epic connected to the science standards, asking and answering questions, looking for evidence in the stories, describing photographs, and learning new and interesting vocabulary. Ask your child what "laderas", "cañones" or "agua dulce" mean. For writing, we had continued our adventure through poetry, learning about similes and metaphors and trying our hand at our own poems. The students have created poems using metaphors, comparing a color to a thing, an event, an action and a feeling. We have also started using Kenn Nesbitt's website "Poetry for Kids" that has a rhyming dictionary, along with interesting lessons to learn to write funny poems. Stay tuned for future publications. During Science, we have continued learning more about the birth of rocks, with the lesson titled "Erosion, Natural Hazards and Engineering", where students had to come up with ideas about how to protect their house from a landslide. After learning about the reasons and consequences of landslides, the students brainstormed ideas on how to protect their house situated at the base of a mountain. All ideas were accepted, and after all the brainstorming, the students chose one of those to design their solution. In the pictures below you can see the students presenting their engineering design to the class. Finally, during Social Studies, we have continued learning about the work of archaeologists, and the importance of learning about the history of our ancestors through the artifacts they left behind.
On a side note, some students have been going to first grade classes to read with a couple of students during our growth mindset time.
Take a look at this week's slideshow!
This week during math, we have found different numbers on a mat of 10,000 squares. Something that might seem pretty daunting, has become so easy for our students. Together we have also created a bigger mat of 1,000,000 squares, that we will use to chart bigger numbers. Yes, we are working on saying larger numbers, rounding them to the nearest ten, hundred and thousand, adding and subtracting them. During Work Places, our students have had lots of fun playing a couple of games, "Target to 1,000", and "Add, Round and Compare". Ask your child about these fun games.
During reading, students have been working independently, reading a book about "Los Pueblos Indígenas", commenting on what they see in the pictures, and summarizing the contents of the story. We have also started a book titled "Introducción a los Accidentes Geográficos", connecting with the science lesson on Erosion and Deposition. During writing, we have continued learning about the different literary devices for poetry, such as rhyme, rhythm, repetition, alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia, making a bookmark to use as a handy tool during our partner read of poetry books. During science, we have completed the lesson on "Will a mountain last forever?", anchoring with the first activity on the fossils. And finally, during Social Studies, we have continued reviewing the theories about the first inhabitants of North America.
There will be no pictures this week, I guess we have been so busy that I have completely forgot to snap a few pictures :(
Have a great weekend!
Hello! My name is Esther Willinski, and I am a fourth grade teacher in Massachusetts. Join us in our journey through 4th grade!