Sunday, December 2, 2018

December Happenings

Reading
This month is reading workshop we will be continuing our nonfiction unit. The kids have learned different strategies to read nonfiction texts by identifying text structures, overcoming tough words, tackling the hard parts, and making connections to the topic.

Soon we will begin working in research groups and applying our non-fiction reading strategies as we read about extreme weather (blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc). The kids will use what they know about text structures to synthesize within and across multiple texts. They will take what they have researched and learned and teach it to their peers.

Writing
We are learning about the genre of opinion writing. The kids are learning 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. Thus far, we have practiced our skills by writing opinion essays about important topics relating to us (for example, favorite type of ice cream, favorite genre of music, favorite restaurants, favorite type of animal, etc.). The kids have tried 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.

The month of December will find the kids diving deeper into the process of persuasive essay writing.  Throughout this two month unit the kids have learned how to use transition words and phrases to articulate and organize their thoughts, they have learned how to elaborate on the reasons they planned to support their theses, and how to support those reasons with detailed examples.  As we round out this writing unit, the kids will learn how to write a counterclaim to make their argument more persuasive as well as how to finalize their essay with a call to action for the reader.

Math
This month we find ourselves deep in the heart of Unit 3, Multiple Towers and Cluster Problems.  As we complete our investigation of this unit, the students will examine the mathematical relationship that underlies the pattern they see when a number is multiplied by a multiple of 10.  Additionally, they will develop strategies for solving multiplication problems with larger 2-digit numbers by breaking the problems apart in order to use number relationships that they know.  Students will also be looking at division, division with remainders, division stories, division strategies, related multiplication and division problems, and writing/solving a division problem.

You can help your child with multiplication and division facts at home using flashcards.  Below are math resources that you and your child may use at home for Unit 3.

Math – Unit 3
Multiplication Problems and Cluster Problems
Multiple Towers
Multiples
Multiplication Cluster Problems
Multiplicative Comparisons
Multiplying by Groups of Tens
Multiplication with Arrays
Strategies for Solving Multiplication Problems
Unmarked Arrays
Multi-Step Problems
Division and Multiplication
Learning Multiplication Facts
Division Situations
Division Strategies
Remainders:  What to do with the extras?
Social Studies
As we continue our study of Colorado History, the students will learn about various groups of people who have lived in or helped develop Colorado; the Native Americans, the European Explorers, the Fur Traders, Gold Rushers, and the early European Settlers.  Our study of these groups will involve the analysis of the positive and negative impact each group made on the other group and how each group influenced our current culture. Ultimately, the kids will select which group of people they feel had the most influence on CO, and they will then construct a persuasive essay using the skills they learned in our current writing unit to persuade their classmates why they believe their selected group was the most influential.

Sustainable Traditions Project
With the spirit of giving in mind, this month we will learn about sustainable traditions.  A sustainable tradition is a tradition that can be done each year. We will focus on sustainable traditions that “give back”.  As we build background knowledge on this subject matter, we will read various texts with real life examples. For instance, one article is about a 15 year old boy who started a group that gives new shoes to homeless children.  Another is about an 11 year old boy from Utah whose lemonade stand profits purchase wheelchairs for people in developing countries.
The kids will explore how they can create holiday traditions with their family that can incorporate this spirit of giving back.  For instance, the kids may choose to create a sustainable tradition in which each year they bake and decorate cookies with their family and they bring the cookies to a local nursing home to spread holiday cheer to the residents.  Another example might be to gather their gently used and no longer played with toys and books, wrap them, and bring them to a local women’s shelter to share with the children there.

The kids will create a digital presentation for the class which you will be able to view at home through their gmail account.  Each year I am amazed at the creativity the kids exhibit with this project. I have received a good deal of feedback over the years as many parents and kids have chosen to follow the plan created in school and have made it a tradition for their family.  I hope you find it to be a good talking point for you and your family, regardless of whether or not you choose to partake in the tradition.

Upcoming Dates:
December 18th-Gingerbread House (Financial Literacy)
· More information to come
December 20th - Winter Celebration (Hot Chocolate Bar)
· More information to come
December 21st - No School (Winter Break)



Saturday, November 17, 2018

November Blog



Writing:
We are learning about the genre of opinion writing. The students are learning 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. So far, we are practicing our skills by writing opinion essays about important topics relating to us (for example, favorite type of ice cream, favorite genres of music, favorite restaurants, favorite type of animal, etc.). Students will be learning 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.  With the approach of Thanksgiving, students will be writing an essay about the three aspects in their lives for which they are most thankful.  



Reading:

This month, your child will focus on reading about different types of weather. We will begin learning new strategies for reading informational texts. Strategies include: note taking, analyze text features, author's craft, identify main idea and supporting details, and comparing information from different sources. Meanwhile, students will continue to practice their narrative reading strategies.

As always, I could really use your support at home….please
encourage your child to read.  Volume matters!!

Math:
We have started Unit 2 pertaining to data and measurement. Our investigation of measurement data commenced by gathering data on the number of raisins in a box and the height of fourth graders and first graders.  The students will then learn how to represent and compare the data they collected using bar graphs and line plots. They will determine range, mode, median, outliers, and whether the data is concentrated in one area or spread out.  Additionally, they will learn how to draw conclusions based on the data collected. Students will have the opportunity to create their own survey question, survey their classmates, organize, represent, and analyze their data.

You can support your child at home by continuing to practice multiplication math facts so he/she knows them “in a snap!”  Below are the links for Unit 2.

Unit 2
Generating and Representing Measurement Data

Data Collection


Organizing and Representing Data


Comparing Two Sets of Data


Describing and Summarizing Data


Working with Data

Social Studies:
Fourth grade wrapped up our Science unit on ecosystems.  We have started our Social Studies unit, Colorado History.  Students have begun to learn about the geography of Colorado and how the geography of where we live helps shape how we live.  In addition, we will study the early Native Americans who lived in Colorado and how they influenced how we live today.  Students will also learn about fur traders, explorers, and gold rushers. Our main focus in the study of these individuals is analyzing how these groups positively and negatively impacted Colorado and how they influenced the way we live today. 

Upcoming Dates

October 26th - Foam Board Due (salt dough)
October 31st: Halloween Celebration
October 31st - Salt Dough due
November 6th - No School
November 19th-23rd - Thanksgiving Break