Friday, March 31, 2017

Dear Families,

Experimenting with Force
What a great week in 4W as we found ourselves beginning new units of study and welcoming multiple guests into our classroom.  For starters, we were thrilled to have Mr. Conroy, the 5th grade field and science teacher, join us for a hands on experiment with force and gravity.  We kicked off our new unit by researching the results of force on an object and learning about potential and kinetic energy.  Students were able to further their new learning through an experiment involving ramps, balls, and measuring distance and speed.  Our students were extremely engaged and as you can see in our picture, having a blast!  Another guest we were lucky to have present in our room was author Monica Tesler.  Monica is the author of Bounders, our current read aloud, and yesterday we thoroughly enjoyed learning about her writing process! It was great for the class to see that their current narrative writing has a purpose outside of school.  She was fantastic! 
China Study Begins!
In other content areas, the 4th grade class began their study on CHINA this week!  Students dove into their jigsaw groups to begin researching about the culture, lifestyles, history, pastimes, landforms, and other important themes of study.  Our class was fascinated about their new learning, and we look forward to continuing with this topic for the remainder of the year. In math, students are working on unit 7.  This unit heavily focuses on fractions and students are starting to become more comfortable with multiplying, adding, and converting fractions from improper to mixed numbers. We completed an open response this week that required students to reflect on fractions tools that they could utilize to create fruit-salad recipes.  This two day lesson involved working with partners and viewing student samples to revise our own work.  The class gave productive feedback to their peers and collaborated very well!

Monica Tesler Presents!
 Another new topic in 4W is our current novel study, Shiloh.  On Monday, we began reading in our novel groups and we will be reading this story until April vacation.  That means students will not have spelling or an anthology, so the homework will be supplemented! As we end the week, we began brainstorming sensory details for our Chinese poetry which correlates with china trade as well as April being poetry month.  These poems will be based around the theme of nature, and they will be published in our end of the unit China Trade Poetry book.
As a reminder, Wednesday April 5th will be an early release and the week of April 17th is our spring vacation.  Next month is a busy month, so be sure to mark those calendars! Thank you so much for reading, and enjoy the weekend. Below are questions for classroom conversation!

Ms. Wentworth :)

Questions for conversation:

1. What can you tell me about the food, people, and traditions in ancient China?
2. Name two different landforms found in China. (Gobi Desert and Mt. Everest)
3. Can you walk me through the steps for multiplying a whole number by a fraction?
4. What did you learn from our guests this week? Both Monica and Mr. Conroy.
5. What Genre is Shiloh? Who are your main characters?
Revising our work!

Studying about Force

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hello Families,

Our Jigsaw Biographies
Happy Friday!  It sure doesn’t feel like spring yet, but we’re sending positive vibes from 4W in the hopes that the warm weather comes soon.  We have had a fantastic day as we begin our Friday with a Buzz Assembly this morning.  Students will also be coming home with report cards today, and I know they have been anxiously waiting to open them at home.  Please note, as the year progresses and our math material gets more challenging, students have been required to put in additional stamina with the harder content.  The best part about our math curriculum is that it spirals throughout the year, meaning if they experience difficulty with a unit this term, they will revisit the same content next term and even next year! I cannot say enough wonderful things about our students and as I’ve said before, it’s a pleasure working each day with your child.  Thank you! 

Working with our "home groups"
This week in our classroom, we have implemented a newer strategy into our reading instruction called the Jigsaw.  Students were organized into home groups, and expert groups.  Our anthology story this week was a biography about Sacajawea.  With this theme, students were grouped into their expert groups and were assigned a specific book/biography about a new person of study.  These included texts about Laura Ingalls Wilder, John Powell, Lewis and Clark, and Chief Washakie.  As students read, they pulled facts from the text that they would then bring to their home groups.  These new groups consisted of students who all had knowledge about the other biographies read!  That way, they were able to come together, share their new information, and learn from their classmates.  This technique really holds students accountable for learning about their content area, and collaborating with their peers.  As you can see from pictures, students worked very well and even used this strategy as we learned about Social Studies!   In the Midwest region, students are now studying the economy, climate, land forms, and culture found in this area.  They were assessed on their understanding of the states, capitals, and nicknames this Tuesday and will continue working with this region next week.  In Science, students had class time to plan, construct, and finish designing their instrument with Ms. Natale.  The creativity is impressive and as you can see in our picture, they are
Playing with our instruments during recess
forming bands! Such a fun hands-on project.

In math, we began our new unit on measurement and multiplying a fraction by a whole number.  Students are applying their understanding of this skill to real word problems involving cooking and recipes.  Next time you’re working in the kitchen, have your child work with fractions and help you with your measurements. I think you’d be surprised with just how informative they are!

In final news, we have implemented another mindfulness technique in our classroom called calm classroomVery similar to yoga for the classroom, but another fantastic tool that we implemented throughout our days to refresh ourselves and prepare our minds for learning.  One final note from our week I would like to mention was our MCAS practice on Monday.  Our students did a FANTASTIC job applying their best effort and working on the chromebooks while taking the test.  Again, this was just a practice but a very beneficial one as this is the first year it will be done on computers.  As a reminder, our MCAS will be April 25, 26, 27th.   Thank you so much for staying informed and have a wonderful weekend! Below are questions for conversation.


Ms. Wentworth :)
Questions for conversation:
1. Please draw the “G” in math to help you with liquid conversions.
2. Who was your person of study from the biography jigsaw.  What did you learn?
3. Tell me about the practice MCAS.  What was easy/hard?
4. Name a landform found in the Midwest.

5. What is the book Bounders about!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hello Families,

Top of the Morning to ya! South School was a sea of green today as we began St. Patrick’s Day at our Irish Step Performance.  Thank you so much to the PTO for arranging this fantastic assembly.  It was nice to bring some Irish history into the day.  It’s hard to believe there was a snow day Tuesday because we have completed so much in 4W.  In math, students were assessed on unit 6, and completed a cumulative which helps us to maintain skills that had been taught since September.  On Monday, we will begin unit 7 which focuses on multiplication of a fraction by a whole number, and measurement.  Students will use their knowledge of fractions to solve problems in real-world scenarios!  

Yesterday, our class discussed our upcoming MCAS practice test on Monday, March 20th.  This assessment will be done on the chromebooks, and students will get a glimpse into the actual ELA MCAS testing.   This will consist of responding to reading in written form, composing a narrative, and answering text based comprehension questions.  We have been working on these skills all year, I know they will do wonderful.  On Monday, our lunch will be moved to a later time, so we are strongly encouraging students to eat a big breakfast and treat this day like a dress rehearsal.  Thank you for helping us prepare our fourth graders.  In writing this week, students were given a prompt and composed a narrative using google documents.  This allows students to type online, and email their work to me!  Using this feature, I can comment and type in notes on their work.  What a great tool! I was very impressed with the creativity in their writing and we will continue to work on these. 

Our ELA anthology this week was titled Harvesting Hope, and students read a biography about Ceasar Chavez and his fight for the rights of migrant farm workers in California.  We paired this story with another biography this week about Louis Braille, and students analyzed the two readings, pulling facts from the non-fiction texts!  In other news, the instrument project began in class this week and we are having a blast! You can see an example of a beautiful banjo that is in the works of being made and we cannot wait to see the final products.  In Social Studies, students will be quizzed on their Midwest Region Map on Tuesday, March 21stand we will continue to learn about the geography, culture, and economy of this region.  Thank you so much for reading about our 4W happenings, and I wish you a fantastic weekend! Below are some questions for conversation.

Ms. Wentworth :)

Questions for conversation
1. What struggles did Ceasar Chavez experience?
2. How were Ceasar and Louis Braille similar?
3. What was your narrative about? What hook was included?
4. What are your thoughts about the MCAS practice? How do you feel on the computer?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Our RACE sentence starters
Hello Families,

I hope you’re all doing well!  This week in 4W has been FANTASTIC.  We were all extremely motivated by our theme in literature this week which was Greek Mythology, and we engaged in multiple stories about various myths.  Our anthology story this week was titled Hercules’ Quest, and students analyzed the text to understand character traits.  With these character traits, students pulled evidence from the text to support their answers, and composed a well written RACE to further explain specific traits that made our character Hercules memorable.  I was so proud of the class, they have really come a long way in working independently with this skill.   Students also read a Greek Mythology fable, which we used to compare the different genres and author’s purpose. 

Working with supplementary angles
In math this week, we wrapped up unit 6 in math.  This unit focused on 4 main concept areas.  Students continued to work with strategies for division and partial quotients, expressed and interpreted remainders, measured angles and gained confidence with protractors, and solved number stories with fractions.  WOW!  In class, we approached angles in a variety of fun and engaging ways.  We worked with angles in a carousel (ask your child to explain this), we played angle tangle, and collaborated with partners to draw and estimate angles.  We will have a math review on Monday, and students will be assessed on material on Tuesday.  

Using the chromebooks for angle practice!
In Science, students were introduced to an end of the unit project in sound.  Students will create an instrument in class and be able to demonstrate their understanding of pitch of volume.  We are reminding our class to bring materials in from home by Tuesday, 3/14, so they can start designing their instruments! These will be worked on and presented in the following weeks.  In other content areas, we are continuing with the Midwest Region in Social Studies and have completed our map in class.  Next week, we will fill out a practice map for homework and be quizzed on this Friday 3/17.  Please keep your eye out for another completed map coming home on Monday.  

Looking ahead in the month, our 4th grade class will have their practice MCAS on 3/20 in school on the computers.  We have been implementing practice tests in class throughout our TRI times, so students will have a chance for a “mock MCAS.” Our ELA dates for this test will be April 25th, 26th, and the 27thWishing you all a fantastic weekend and thank you for reading!

Ms. Wentworth :)

Questions for Conversation
1. What is the difference between a complementary and supplementary angle?
2. How do I multiply a fraction?
3. What are some character traits displayed by Hercules? Cite Evidence.

4. What was the difference in the genre between your two stories?

Learning to annotate our RACE
Angle Carousel 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Hello Families,

Protractors made to measure angles!
I hope you all had a wonderful February break.  Now as we’re in the month of March, it is full steam ahead until the end of the year!  This week “Read Across America week” was recognized at South School with themed days and a beehive reading one of the many fantastic Dr. Seuss books.  It’s always a wonderful way to have children collaborate across grade levels to discuss literature and engage in a good book! Prior to our vacation week, our students of 4W earned their 15th marble and brought in games for a game day.  We have been working hard to refill our jar and just today, we earned three!  As you can see, we ended our week on a great note.
Creating Adverb mad libs with our teams!
In math this week, we continued to work on our division strategy, partial quotients.  Students also learned how to interpret remainders in number stories.  If you are looking for additional support with how to work with your child on this skill at home, I have linked a youtube tutorial on how to compute using this method. Today, students made their own protractors and learned the beginning stages of how to measure angles.  We used prior knowledge of classifying angles to help identify measurements.  We will continue with this into next week! 

In ELA, students worked in their anthologies with the Narrative Nonfiction story titled The Right Dog for the Job. We compared this text with a Nonfiction we had previously read and looked for differences in the theme, and the facts/details. We also focused on adverbs and integrated these into our writing.  Next week, we will begin our new writing piece which will be persuasive.  We have many talented writers in this class, it will be nice to incorporate this genre into our daily
Collaborating with our groups in ELA
In Social Studies, students began a new region to study, the Midwest!  We began our unit with a brief overview of the states, capitals, and abbreviations.  Students also took notes as they watched an introductory video and learned about the culture, economy, and landforms found here.  Next week, we will dive deeper into learning more about this region of our country.   Thank you for reading and staying involved with our classroom happenings, more to come! Below are questions for conversation, have a wonderful weekend.

Ms. Wentworth :-)

Questions for Conversation
1.       What are the steps when using a protractor?
2.      What is a protractor used for?
3.      Name the states found in the Midwest region.

4.      In the sentence, identify the adverb: The child quickly rode his bike to school.

Celebrating our 15th marble with Game Day!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snow Day Ideas

Hello Families,

I hope you've all been enjoying these past few snow days, I'm sure all the kids are! We are excited to get back, hopefully this will be our last day off! (If the weather cooperates).  I just wanted to give everyone a friendly reminder that we will still celebrate our Valentine's Day classroom party tomorrow.  We are promoting healthy choices for treats this year, however if a child brings in a candy, it will just stay unopened until brought home!  A class list went home last week, please let me know if you need another one, I'm happy to resend through email.  Thank you to our room parents for organizing our craft and snack for tomorrow.  If you and your child are looking for some educational snow day activities, I have linked some math and reading websites with great practice!  Looking forward to seeing our students back this week.  Enjoy the day!
Ms. Wentworth :)

Math Sites: (Our online math program with games)

Reading Sites (grade level reading passages with comprehension)

Valentine's Day Ideas for Kids! 

Friday, February 3, 2017

February 3, 2017

Hello Families,

The month of February seemed to creep upon us, crazy how our year flies!  It was such a pleasure speaking with some of you this week during conferences, thank you for coming.  This past Thursday, students began their day with a presentation called Reading Rocks, by Joe Holiday. We were all so impressed by his performance as he inspired students to read by using magic tricks.  4W has many avid readers in our classroom, and the expression on our students’ faces as they watched this show was priceless.  Thank you so much to our PTO for putting this on for South School, we love it. 

Social Studies Exploration!
 In math this week, we wrapped up our unit 5 with an online review in class.  Our test will be on Monday and students will be assessed on fractions, plotting data, identifying angles/rotations, and symmetry!  We also had a CML this week, which encourages students to tackle word problems and higher level thinking questions.  I saw some fantastic effort from the whole class this month as they tried their best on this CML.  In reading, students focused on a non-fiction text about the life and jobs of an ant.  We also used a paired reading text, a fable, that allowed students to compare the readings and identify the differences in features as well as the author’s purpose for writing.  

 In Social Studies, students worked with a classmate and were assigned a specific part of the Southeast region to study.  We learned that the Southeast is divided up by geographic features.  States are categorized as Coastal states, Gulf states, or Inland states.  We used a Jigsaw approach to learning and students shared their knowledge about their assigned reading with the class.  Today, we learned vocabulary through the use of creating a flipbook!  In Science, Ms. Natale is teaching our class about sound.  We recently did a hands-on activity with mystery boxes where we relied on our sense of sound to identify objects in a box.  Students focused on the weight of the object as well as the vibration and pitch of the sound being made.  In other classroom news, we seem to have pencils that disappear quite frequently!  I am putting our students to the test by having a “Great Pencil Challenge” that will require them to hold onto their assigned pencil for week intervals.  This will teach them management and responsibility with their items.  We started yesterday, let’s see how we do!  Thank you so much for reading and staying updated on our daily happenings in 4W!  Below are some questions for conversation.  Enjoy the weekend!

Ms. Wentworth :)

Questions for conversation

1.  Describe Reading Rocks to me.  What was your favorite part?
2. What makes an object symmetrical?
3. Name the text features you would find in the non-fiction that was read as well as the fable.
4. What specific area within the SE region did you research? 

Morning Meeting Shares!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Dragon Dance
Hello Families and Happy Friday,

This morning at South, we began our day with a Buzz Assembly.  Our third grade friends did a fantastic performance and some fourth grade representatives participated in a “Dragon Dance” to celebrate the start of Chinese New year.  We also recognized students for their outstanding participation in math Olympics so far this year.  Great job Luca and David on completing all sessions.  This program is optional, and available for download on our school website.  Way to go!

In math this week, we moved on from fractions to line plots and rotations.  Students collected their own data this week to plot and analyze.  We also learned angle rotations and practiced vocabulary words such as clockwise and counterclockwise turns.  We incorporated some kinesthetic movements into these lessons by playing “Simon Says” and moving our bodies to represent angles and their rotations.  We had a mid-unit quiz to assess our understanding of adding, subtracting, organizing, and ordering fractions.  I was very impressed by how well this class did as a whole.

ELA Carousel
In ELA, students read a non-fiction narrative titled Antarctic Journal.  With this text, students learned how writing can be organized sequentially by date.  Students “tracked their thinking” with in-depth responses such as predictions, inferences, opinions, new learnings, and connections.  In addition to this narrative, we read a paired text that was strictly non-fiction and taught students more about Antarctica and the animals that are found there.  We are continuing to practice writing in a RACE form, where students restate a question from the text, and answer by citing evidence and explaining this information from the story!
Math Olympic Medalists
We are wrapping up our Social Studies brochures and next week will be studying the Southeast Region Today.  We will dive deeper into learning about the Atlantic coast states, as well as the inland and Gulf States.  In science we are learning all about sound. This unit will include a project where students design their own instruments to demonstrate what they learned at the end of their study! 

Thank you for reading about our week in 4W!  We hope you enjoyed a sneak peek into our week. Below are some questions for conversation.

Ms. Wentworth :-)

How is sound made?
What is the difference between a ¾ rotation and a half rotation?
Show me with your arms a counterclockwise quarter turn.
What was your anthology story about this week? How did it differ from the paired text?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Hello Families,

"Turning to talk" and explain our thinking
Thank you all for a fantastic week! Although it was another short one, it felt extremely productive as students tied up some loose ends and began new projects.  In math, students explored the whole in fractions as well as added and subtracted fractions and mixed numbers.  We were also introduced to tenths and hundredths, and learned how to add unlike denominators.  Today, we mixed up our usual use of whiteboards during mental math practice, and used shaving cream on our desks! It’s always fun to try a new and unique approach to math.  We also received our 15th marble today as a class and acknowledged this achievement with extra time on the chrome books this afternoon.   I’m really proud of this 4th grade group.

Shaving cream math 
 In ELA, students explored Chromebook features and practiced comprehending non-fiction articles online.  We learned specific techniques for how to answer a multiple choice question, and navigated numerous texts online.  The fourth grade as a whole has been working to enforce typing practice in school, in the classroom, and at home.  We are seeing how important it is that children learn how to type, use email, and use reference tools online.  Many of our text books in class are now offered to students online, and the daily practice is essential for making all these tasks simple, effortless, and trouble free.  So thank you all for the continued support at home!  Already, I can see a difference in the classroom as students type their final expository pieces.  In writing these past few days, not only have we published our expository writing, but students have also written a creative narrative in response to a passage called “Wacky Shoes.”  Students read a text and used their knowledge about the plot, the character, and the events, to create their own rendition of this story.  As a whole class, we brainstormed ideas, however the drafting of these stories was very independent.  I am seeing students apply their knowledge of a narrative to write a story containing 5 essential parts/paragraphs.  What growth since the beginning of the year! 
Our brochures are filled with great information

In Social Studies, students are working on their brochures about the Southeast region and have pulled evidence and valuable information from the text to create these projects.  This task can be challenging for some, as they have not spent too much taking notes from a text.  The skill of pulling important information and evidence from their reading assisted in writing down these facts, and their finish products are looking great!  You will see a student example to the right, don’t these look wonderful? As always, I appreciate you all keeping in touch with our classroom news.  Below are some questions to spark conversation with your child about their week!

Ms. Wentworth :)

Questions for conversation
1.       What were your thoughts about the reading practice online? How was this different from the paper version?
2.       When I add or subtract fractions, what must be true about the denominators?
3.       What information have you included in your brochure about the land, economy, and culture?
4.       How do you feel like you are doing in fourth grade so far? Is it too hard, too easy, just right?
5.       What was the best part of your day?

We love bringing technology into the classroom!

All ready to cheer on the PATS!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Hello Families,

Computer Review Station
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday break.  Our students came back very well rested and the difference I see in the classroom over this short week is impressive.  We began our New Year in 4W by brainstorming and listing academic and social goals for ourselves.  We spent time reflecting on the importance of setting a goal and keeping high expectations in mind.  Everyone was very thoughtful with their “school resolution” and I look forward to watching them all work to achieve these! 
This week in math, students spent the first few days rotating through stations and carousels designed to review unit 4.  This unit was completed before break, and the movement throughout the room was a nice way for the class to settle back into the routine.  These stations consisted of games, workbook problems, group problem solving, and working on the computer with review questions. Today, we felt prepared to take our unit 4 cumulative, which included questions from unit 1 through unit 4.  This is to ensure our students are exposed to content already learned so they will attain this information throughout the year!

Rotating through our math stations

In ELA, students were exposed to their first MCAS practice and completed an open response to a MCAS prompt titled Yeshi’s Luck.  We learned strategies to help us answer questions that required us to infer and to look back in the text for evidence.  We also evaluated sample responses that had been graded and learned the scoring requirements for the open response.  Our former practice with RACE forms gave students the confidence they needed to complete the response thoroughly and to the best of their ability.  This first packet was modeled whole class, which we will continue to work on in the upcoming weeks! In writing, students are wrapping up their expository pieces and are now typing these.  Our next genre of writing will be persuasive, which we will introduce next month!
In just four days, we have been able to make some progress in Social Studies as we focus on the Southeast Region! It sure is nice to research a warmer region of the US now as we experience our snowy winter. Students will be given a map and are required to learn the location of these states, as well as their abbreviations and capitals.  Along with the map, we are gathering information about the Southeast to design a brochure about the land, economy, and the culture of this region.  We are in the note taking stage now and will then move to creating paragraphs that will used in our informative pamphlet. 
Resources for our Social Studies Brochure
In other classroom news, this week in 4W, we began our Journey’s literacy program again along with our spelling.  We had taken a break from this program the past few weeks to focus on novels, and are now continuing with our anthology as we move through our pacing guide.  Students will be exposed to vocabulary on Mondays and will be tested on the story and specific grammar skills on Friday!  As a reminder, next Wednesday, January 11th will be an early release.  Thank you for taking the time to stay informed about our classroom news, below are questions for conversation.
Ms. Wentworth :)

Questions for Conversation
1.       In Yeshi’s luck, how did the character change from the beginning of the story to the end?
2.       Describe two stations visited during the unit 4 review.
3.       What are some land features of the Southeast Region?
4.       What is a personal and classroom resolution you have set for this year?