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