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?