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