Friday, December 23, 2016

Hello Families and Happy Holidays,

This week, the students in 4W worked so hard to focus their excited energy onto productive activities in the classroom.  We made GREAT progress in our expository writing, and aim to have these pieces completed when we return from break.  Yesterday, we had our classroom party and made incredible snow globes thanks to our room parents who organized the crafts and snacks.  To go along with this craft, students worked on a creative writing piece about what would happen if they were stuck in a snow globe.  I'm sure they were excited to share this fun time with you!  Talk about a great way to end the week, thank you again 4W parents!  Today, the whole fourth grade class performed in the buzz assembly and sang a new rendition to the frozen song let it go.  It was called, School is Closed and they did a FANTASTIC job! Wishing you all a relaxing and enjoyable break with  your family and friends and we'll see you in the New Year.
Ms. Wentworth :)
Look at our crafts!

We wrote about this amazing snow globe!

Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16th

Students playing "Multiplication Wrestling"
Hello Families,

Today, our students began their day enjoying the holiday concert that was performed by the 4th grade strings and the fifth grade band and chorus.  We were so proud of the 4W students who played the strings beautifully, well done!

As the Holidays are approaching, our students are working extra hard to focus all of their energy into their learning. This week in writing, students worked on “hooking” their readers with leads.  This could be done with a question, a statistic, or a fact! We also learned three different ways to revise our main ideas and details.  Students rotated through a writing workshop model in class where they focused on prewriting, drafting, and revising.  I am very impressed with the way students implemented their new knowledge of revising their work and all altered their writing in some way.  We are looking forward to continuing with these pieces into next week. 

Two Methods of Multiplication
 In ELA, we are continuing our novel study on The Great Gilly Hopkins as we pull evidence from the text to support our comprehension.  We are working in reading groups as well as a whole class to generate questions and respond to reading in a RACE form.  In math, we have three more lessons to complete in unit 4 on Multi-digit Multiplication.   In this unit, students were introduced to the basic principles of multi-digit multiplication by focusing on extending multiplication skills and exploring the partial product method.  They used their knowledge of multiplication to find the areas of rectangles and to convert units of measurement!  We also learned a new algorithm for multiplication known as Partitioning Rectangles.  This was a favored method for many and it provided students with a great visual that will eventually help them to understand the process of traditional multiplication. We will have an in class review next week and students will complete an online study guide in class to prepare.  Our test will be on Wednesday, Dec 21. Finally, our most enjoyed area of the week has been Science. Students have had the opportunity to work on their electric houses with their teammates and boy have these projects really developed over the past couple of days.  I LOVE the creativity these students are using to construct these rooms and wire their homes with electricity.  We have many potential architects in this class as well as interior designers, and Box City presentation on Tuesday will be fantastic.  If you cannot attend (busy time of year) be sure to check our blog next week for photographs of everyone’s homes!

As a friendly reminder, next Wednesday, December 23rd will be our last full day before vacation.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend as your prepare for the holidays, and thank you for reading our notes! Below are some questions for conversation :)

Ms. Wentworth  

1.       How can I revise my topic and details to make it more interesting to the reader?
2.       Name 5 parts of an expository piece.
3.       How did cranberries impact the northeast economy?
4.       What is your preferred method of multiplication? Partial products, or partitioning a rectangle?
An Example of a Box City Home.  WOW!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Hello Families,
An example of a "home" 

This week in 4W, we have fully started to design our electric homes in preparation for Box City!  Students are working in groups to create a city which will eventually have electricity running through the homes.  Each day, students anticipate the time where they can creatively work hands-on. You will see an example of a home that was constructed as a “basketball court.”  We will continue to work on these up until the end of next week in order to welcome parents into the gym on December 20th 9:15-10:15 to view our final product!
Over the past few days, we found ourselves very busy in many areas, however spent a large focus of ELA on our expository pieces!  In writing, students learned to classify details under specific main ideas.  In expository, we are informing the reader with information, and therefor include facts pertaining to a topic.  Students were also introduced to their newest topic of writing, which was Holiday Writing. Choosing a holiday they are well educated in, students will construct a 5 paragraph piece.  Today, some of our class will be coming home with the final draft of their narratives.  This draft has been “formatted” and partially edited by myself as well as your child, however some spelling was left for parents to see specific areas to work on.  The rough draft with your child’s original work will be kept in their classroom portfolio so I can track progress as the year goes on.  This rough draft will also show how your child edits and structures their writing.  If you wish to see this draft that is in school, please let me know!  In ELA, we are continuing our novel study on The Great Gilly Hopkins as we pull evidence from the text to support our comprehension. Her spunky character continues to spark our interest!  

A box city group collaborating
This week in math, students completed an open response and re-engagement lesson that extended over two days! This type of lesson occurs every unit and it requires students to solve a challenging problem.  On the second day of the lesson, students are asked to defend their answer and reasoning to make sense of their work.  The challenging problem this week was titled “The Million Dollar Question” and it was a tricky one.  To help students understand what is expected out of these types of questions, they were given three examples of other 4th grade answers.  With a critical eye, each student had to “grade” each response.   We will continue to work on problems with this format, which will help us feel better about answering these types of questions! In Science and Social Studies, we are wrapping up the Northeast Region and beginning the Southeast Region before our holiday break.  In each region, we will study the climate, culture, and the economy specific to that area. 
In final classroom news, 4W got new seats this month! Children who were sitting in the back, may have a new perspective on their day as they move to the front.  I reminded our class today how important the seating is, whether that relates to their location in the room, or who they are sitting near.  Every child learns differently and as a result, this new spot is extremely important for their success.  Thank you for taking the time to stay updated on our classroom news!  Below are some questions for conversation.
1. What will you need in order to light your bulb in your home?
2. What Holiday did you choose to write about for your expository piece?
3. How do I convert KG to G?
4. What does the prefix kilo stand for?
5. Where is your new seat, who is sitting around you?

Ms. Wentworth :)
Our narratives are up and published!

Main idea and details activity for expository writing

Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2

A student is explaining her thinking 

Hello Families,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!  Our students came back rested, and it was great seeing everyone again. As we begin the month of December, our class has been busy wrapping up our unit three in math on fractions and decimals.  This week, we began our unit on multi-digit multiplication.  Students will be learning to extend facts and will be taught methods on how to multiply using place value strategies.  We encourage students to spend time at home on xtra math reinforcing their basic facts which will facilitate larger problems throughout this unit.  If you need a username and password, I am happy to send you one!

Working with Expository Writing
In writing, we have "published" our narratives, and we began a new piece of writing, expository.  Today, students annotated an expository piece on inventions, and rebuilt this piece with a partner based on the structure of this type of writing. Students referred to the "pillar" which is our graphic organizer for Empowering Writers which helps writer's organizer their work.  You will see examples of this pillar on our blog, including visuals of students collaborating to organize information in a logical fashion based on this framework!  Over the next few weeks, our writing will focus on Holidays.  In reading, we have taken time to focus on novels.  As a result, we have changed our spelling work over the next few weeks and in its place will be a typing practice.  Students do not need to come up with a story, they will be supplied a piece of writing that they will copy and type.  This practice at home is meant to expose students to typing to build fluency on the computer.  We are continuing to type our writing in class, however the more practice, the more confident they will feel.

In social studies, students continued to wrap up their study on the Northeast Region.  We are working to complete our group posters, which will be presented to the class next week.  I was very impressed by the way students shared ideas, gathered information, and worked as a team!  This week in science with Ms. Natale, students were involved in a “hands on” activity to build a parallel circuit and a series circuit.  Directions were not given specifically on how to build this, students worked in pairs and used their knowledge of both circuits to construct these!  As you can imagine, there has been an exciting buzz over the start of the “Box City” project in class.  Your child has been asked to supply a shoe box that will soon be transformed into a home.  As a group, students are working together to design their homes, which will eventually be circuited with electricity! I love seeing their creativity.

Thank you as always for reading, and I wish you all a fantastic weekend.  Please let me know if you have any questions about what you have read, or about homework.  

Ms. Wentworth :)

Questions for Conversation
1. Describe how to multiply a number by a multiple of ten. 
2.  What is a "basic fact" when working with extended multiplication.
3.  Name the parts of the expository pillar.
4.  Who is in your group for Box City? What are your ideas?

Yoga in the classroom: Taking a movement break using the "star" card
The "shoe greeting" is a favorite in 4W

Friday, November 18, 2016

4W Friday Updates

Gobble Gobble and Happy Friday Families,

With the holidays around the corner, students in 4W spent time this week reflecting on the purpose of Thanksgiving and what we were thankful for.  The class completed a very thoughtful piece of writing where they reflected on their family, friends, school and other areas in their lives that they appreciated.   Earlier today, our school was fortunate to have a presentation by an inspirational speaker, Chris Waddell.  Chris spoke
about his experience as a paraplegic, and inspired all today with his phrase “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.”  This was a very meaningful lesson and reminded us all about the importance of perspective and believing that any challenge can be overcome with the right attitude.  Yesterday, South School enjoyed their yearly feast that was provided to us with the help of our 5th grade peers.  It’s always a fun tradition seeing students dressed in costume sitting down for a “family style meal.”  With book reports due this week, we have sprinkled some presentations into our schedule and as you can see, we have been busy bees.

Chris Waddell
In math, 4W is continuing to work with fractions and learning to relate fractions to decimals.   Students learned the relationship between tenths and hundredths, and used money as well as place value blocks to have a concrete understanding of what each place represents.  This concept can be difficult and if you find your child has some extra time in the car, practicing these on paper or even a whiteboard will help reinforce this skill! In reading this week, we read a story titled Jose, Born to Dance!  This biography was about an inspirational character (which seems to be a common theme this week) who followed his dream to perform in the arts.  Students created their own questions based on the text, digging deeper into comprehension.   In writing, we have been able to access the computer lab multiple times to finish typing our narratives.  Our next piece of writing, which we will start next week will be Expository.  Similar to our narrative diamond, students will use the Expository Pillar to help them organize their writing and thoughts. This week during Social Studies, we began an in class project on the Northeastern Region of the United States.  Students were divided into 3 different focus groups that they will become “experts” in.  These groups consist of land, culture, and economy.  Students are studying these themes
Social Studies "Culture" Experts
though a variety of resources and presenting their information to the class.  Our next unit of study will be the Southeast region.  In Science, students are continuing to learn about electricity, and will be conducting a hands-on activity in class in the upcoming days where they build their own circuit! More exciting news about electricity to come!

As a friendly reminder, next week will be a short week with an early release on November 23rd due to Thanksgiving break.  In addition, our reading program will be taking a three week “pause” so students can focus on a novel study in class.  This means our spelling program will also be discontinued during these weeks and the homework will be altered a bit.  I will keep you updated throughout this time.  Thank you again for reading and enjoy your weekend!

Ms. Wentworth :)

Questions for Conversation:

1.       How would I represent 3/10 in decimal form?
2.       What type of base ten block stands for a “hundredth”
3.       What message did you take away from the presentation this morning?
4.       In Social Studies, what is your topic of study in the NE region and tell me two facts!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

November 10th

Hello Families, 

Comparing Fractions

As we end our week today, students reflected on the purpose of Veterans Day with our whole school BUZZ assembly.  Our school came together to honor the Veterans and kick off a long weekend with a respectful hour of appreciation.  This event is always a favorite at South School! We began our week by changing seats and experienced working with different students in our room.  It’s always nice to start off fresh in a new spot where you learn to collaborate with others.  On Tuesday, students also participated in mock voting after we researched/read information about the candidates.  With the use of a Scholastic News, students formed their own opinions after pulling details and evidence from our text.  There was an exciting buzz over this topic and it was an enjoyable way to incorporate current events into our day.
We are registered to vote! ;)
 In writing this week, we began typing our Spooky Narratives.  We are reminded that writing is a process and while we are in our final stages, we will continue to revisit our writing to focus on word choice and structure. In Reading, we are learning “fix up strategies” to help us monitor our comprehension in both fiction and non-fiction pieces.  This week, we read a story in our anthology called “Dear Mr. Winston”.  Students monitored their thinking by leaving “tracks” and made inferences within the text.  Students also worked to draw conclusions about our main character based on the text clues. We are continuing to work on our R.A.C.E forms and respond to reading by citing evidence and examples from the text. In Math, our mornings are busy with FRACTIONS! We are working on identifying equivalent fractions by using number lines and fraction pieces to model fractions of equal value.  Today, we built upon this skill and worked on comparing fractions in number stories.  Students learned 3 ways to compare, one being a popular approach which was cross multiplying.  In other content areas, we have begun our Region study in Social Studies. Beginning with the New England region, students will learn the abbreviations and capitals of each state.  By the end of the year, we will have toured each region in the United States!  Students will explore the economy, the land, and the culture in each area.  In Science, we are continuing to learn about circuits, their parts, and building our own working circuit. Eventually, this will end with a grade level project called “Box City”.  More information to come as our unit progresses! 
As the Thanksgiving Holiday approaches, we anticipate an enjoyable Feast here at South on November 17th.  As a friendly reminder, please hand in your yellow feast forms as soon as possible so our kitchen can prepare for our school wide meal next week! Thank you for taking the time to read about what is going on in our classroom. We are always busy learning, and working to make each day a positive one.  Wishing you all an enjoyable long weekend!
Ms. Wentworth

Questions For Conversation

Name one state in the New England Region as well as the capital and abbreviation.
What is one way to compare fractions?
Name an equivalent fraction to ½.
Name three students sitting at your “set”

Planting Garlic

Our friends at Holly Hill educating the class about planting

Thank you 5th grade for setting up the "polls"

Friday, November 4, 2016

RACE response

Hello Families,

Can you believe we're already in the month of November?  I always love this time in the school year because our classroom environment is established, we're working as a team, and we're progressing nicely through our 4th grade year.  The early release this past Wednesday allowed me to meet with some of you!  It was such a pleasure speaking with you all and I thank you for coming in.  Today, our class was able to re-take our whole class photo, which allowed myself and Ms. B to join in as well!  You can expect this pictures to arrive within the month.  As we look ahead in November, we have a short week next week due to Veterans day, and our Thanksgiving break begins with an early release 11/23.  Mark those calendars!

Finding Equivalent Fractions
In math this week, students worked with fractions and focused on finding equivalent fractions.  We used a hands on approach to this skill and had visuals to help model how fractions can be equal to one another.  As you can see in the picture, students model how 2/4 is equivalent to 1/2.  We also used number lines to reinforce this concept! In ELA, our story this week was a realistic fiction titled Me and Uncle Romie.  Students worked on the skill of analyzing character traits to understand how characters change throughout the text.  In order to assist in comprehension, students used their "tracking sheets" to think beyond the text to make inferences, opinions, predictions, and to ask questions.  If you ever find your child needing assistance in comprehension at home, ask them to explain "tracking" to you!  In addition to analyzing our story, students also worked on a RACE which required them to go back into the text to pull out evidence to support why the main character changed throughout the story.  You will see an example of this response to the right.  We are beginning to get the hang of this! In writing, students are also continuing with their spooky Halloween narrative and should be typing their final draft by the end of next week.  Please watch out for these coming home soon!  

I always love providing questions in our classroom blog to help prompt some conversation at home about school. Recently, a colleague showed me a quote she found and I had to share it with all of you.  It says: "A teacher/parent is not a person who gives the right answers, but one who asks the right questions."  The questions we choose to ask our children encourages deeper reflection and better learning processes.  This weekend, see what your child's responses are to the questions below and as always, thank you for reading!

Ms. Wentworth:)

Questions for Conversation 
1. How can I determine if 2/8 is equal to 1/4?
2. What two strategies did you use for finding equivalent fractions?
3.  How did James' opinion about this uncle change in the story?
4. What are some natural resources found in the Northeast region?
5. How do you learn best in the classroom?  In a group, partners, individually?

Exploring the NE region