Thursday, January 2, 2020

January Blog

Happy New Year, I hope you all enjoyed your break and time spent with family and friends! We are excited to get the new semester started, here is what is coming up this month...

Reading Workshop

In reading workshop, we will continue working on our non-fiction unit. Soon we will begin working in research groups and applying the many non-fiction reading strategies as we read about extreme weather (blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc.). The students will use what they know about finding the main idea and supporting details and be able to synthesize the information within and across multiple texts.  In addition, they will take what they have researched and learned and teach it to their peers. After completing the group research on extreme weather, students will get the chance to show off their non-fiction reading skills by focusing on a topic of their choosing.

Non-fiction texts can be found all over and we will continue to help students build the skills to read them well and with purpose. Some of these skills include, previewing a text, using text features to enhance their understanding of the text, using word solving strategies to help with tricky words related to the content, and how to read hybrid texts (texts that blend fiction and non-fiction).  Through this process, students will gain a deeper understanding how to synthesize a variety of texts and be able to read non-fiction text through a different lens.  

Writing Workshop
During writing workshop, we will be digging deeper into our persuasive essay unit. Students are working on understanding the structure of a five-paragraph essay and making sure their thesis statement (claim), reasons, and evidence are organized in a way that persuades the reader most effectively. This unit requires a good amount of planning and writing in more structured ways. We will take time this month to start planning persuasive essays on more difficult and broad topics. They will have the opportunities to learn argumentative writing skills in order to strengthen their opinions with stronger and more concise evidence. 

Math Workshop

Last month we began our division unit in math.  In the beginning, we took time to focus on the relationship between multiplication and division in order for students to apply their multiplication skills to this unit.  January will be a time in math workshop to really work on division skills.  Partial quotients and modeling with math will be some of the division strategies we will use in this unit. Our enVision math curriculum gives students many opportunities to think through hard problems, especially word problems. Students will work on using division, and even multiplication to solve word problems effectively using the strategies they have started to learn.

*** Basic facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are essential for math success. Before winter break, I sent home multiplication and division cards for your child to work on and practice.  You can support your child at home by taking some time each night, even 5 minutes, to practice basic facts. Using the multiplication and division flashcards would help greatly with this unit and with all future math.  Thank you for your continued support.  


Social Studies

It is almost time for Young AmeriTowne!  This month will be structured around the bulk of the curriculum in which students will continue to learn about the different ways’ money works and keeping track of the money in their account, fill out a job application, participate in interviews, train for jobs, and learn all about how Young AmeriTowne will work. We are extremely excited for our students to be able to participate in this real-world curriculum and understand what it is like to be an active member of society. The fourth grade will be attending Young AmeriTowne on Friday, January 31st.

Upcoming Dates:

Tuesday, January 7th: Return from break! 

Friday, January 31st: Young AmeriTowne field trip

Sunday, December 1, 2019

December Blog

What’s Happening in December?

Reading Workshop

In December, we will continue our study of non-fiction.   Your child will continue to learn how to effectively read non-fiction texts.  The reading content will center around extreme weather such as hurricanes, droughts, and tornadoes, to name just a few                   

However, we are not explicitly teaching about extreme weather.  We are teaching the kids how to become strong non-fiction readers by previewing a text before reading it, using text features to enhance their understanding of the text, using context clues to help with tricky words related to the content, how to read hybrid texts (texts that blend fiction and non-fiction), and how to summarize and synthesize the non-fiction information they are reading. These are only a few of the techniques the kids will learn as we embark on this journey into the world of non-fictionAt the end of this month, students will form collaborative teams and research an extreme weather form!

You can support your child at home by carving out time for reading as much as possible, and by providing your child with rich texts in both the fiction and non-fiction genres. 

Writing Workshop
Let the debates begin as we start opinion/persuasive writingWe are now about to begin a unit on the genre of opinion writing. The kids will learn how to create a strong thesis statement (claim), support that statement with powerful reasons and a multitude of examples, and provide a strong concluding paragraph. They will be writing five-paragraph essays in order to best state and strongly support their opinions. We will begin by writing opinion essays about important topics related to us that we know well -- favorite types of ice cream, favorite genres of music, favorite restaurants, favorite types of animals, etc. 

The kids will learn to be persuasive in their writing and convince others to believe in their thesis statement. As we further develop our skills in opinion writing, we will broaden our topics and begin to craft thesis statements based on bigger ideas that impact larger groups such as our community, country, and our world.  Students will craft five-paragraph essays that include a strong thesis statement (claim), powerful reasons that support that claim, and a conclusion. 

Math Workshop
After building a strong conceptual and practical base in multiplication strategies, we are ready to begin a study of how to divide one-digit numbers. We will begin with a focus on how multiplication and division are inverse operations, and their fact-families (if 9 x 7 = 63, and 7 x 9 = 63, then 7 = 63 divided by 9, and 63 divided by 7 = 9). From there, we’ll study remainders and the strategy of using partial quotients to solve division problems.

As math concepts become increasingly more difficult, your child may need support at home. As your child solves their math problems, they should show their work and explain (using words) when the problem asks.  I have encouraged your child to ask questions and work through problems with your support if they are having difficulty.  

Basic facts for addition, subtraction, and multiplication are essential for math success as the kid’s progress.  You can support your child at home by taking some time each night, even 5 minutes, to practice basic facts.  Multiplication and division flashcards would help greatly with this unit and with all future math.  Please let me know if there are any questions.  

Social Studies
December marks the start of a much-anticipated unit on Financial Literacy and Economics. Supply and demand, making wise financial choices and decisions, banking, writing a deposit slip/check, completing a job application, and how to interview will be some of the many topics we’ll discuss. On January 31, students will visit Young AmeriTowne. An e-mail with more information and volunteer opportunities will soon follow!

Upcoming Dates:
  • December 19th:  Winter Celebration (Hot Chocolate Bar...more information to come) 
  • December 20th -January 6th:  Winter Break