Fourth Grade 2014-2015

Fourth Grade 2014-2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fantasy Summer Reading 2015

Welcome to our new fourth graders! This year for our summer reading, instead of doing a written report, you have the option of participating in a discussion online. I hope this will let us all see and respond to each other's thoughts about the book.

As a reminder, you need to begin each comment with the book you read, and should write your first name only under "Comment As." You should then write down the number of the questions you are answering, followed by your answer. Later on, you should check back and respond to another student's comment.

For your fantasy book, you need to answer two of the following questions:

1. Who is the main character and how would you describe them? Are they like you at all? Why or why not?

2. What do you think are the three most important things that happen in this book? Why are these the most important?

3. What in this book happens that makes it a fantasy? List at least two things, and be specific.

4. Is the "world" that the author created one that you would like to live in? Why or why not?

Realistic Fiction Summer Reading 2015

Welcome to our new fourth graders! This year for our summer reading, instead of doing a written report, you have the option of participating in a discussion online. I hope this will let us all see and respond to each other's thoughts about the book.

As a reminder, you need to begin each comment with the book you read, and should write your first name only under "Comment As." You should then write down the number of the questions you are answering, followed by your answer. Later on, you should check back and respond to another student's comment.

For your realistic fiction book by Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume, you need to answer two of the following questions:

1. Who is the main character and how would you describe them? Are they like you at all? Why or why not?

2. What do you think are the three most important things that happen in this book? Why are these the most important?

3. Do you think that this book could really happen in your school, family, or neighborhood? Why or why not?

4. If you could change something about the book, what would you change? (Do not write down "nothing" as your answer!)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Free Dress Down

Mr. Bennett just confirmed that there will be a free dress down day tomorrow, June 5, for all students.

Dexter the Tough

Dexter the Tough

June 4, 2015

Before we leave for the year, and all the fourth graders officially move onto middle school, I wanted to pause and thank everybody. Thank you for the students for all your hard work this year. I've really enjoyed learning together, and I will miss all of you! Thank you for the parents for working with your children. I appreciate the help they receive at home and your efforts to make sure the children do their best work.

One of the final things we did this week was create mind maps for each subject in school. Students took turning writing down everything they learned. As you can see from the very full pieces of paper below, they certainly learned a lot!







We've also had a lot of fun this week going on field trips to Humboldt Park and the Shedd Aquarium, and celebrating our ABC countdown with a water balloon toss.





Good luck to everyone next year, and please keep in touch! I'd love to know what new adventures you find.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

May 28, 2015


It's hard to believe we're almost done with the year! The fourth grade has continued to work hard on everything from research papers to geometry problems, but we're also having fun going on treasure hunts for "T" day and creating book trailers for our literature circle books.

The students are almost done with their research papers, and they've done outstanding work. Almost all of them have finished typing their papers in computer class, and they are currently working on adding a cover page, bibliography, and text features. These are due on Monday.

We had a special visitor today. Mr. Lindo came to the classroom to talk about engineering, and he brought a flame tube he built to show how sound travels in waves. Even though it was hot outside, it was fun to watch the flames dance to the music! Our science test on heat, light, and sound will be tomorrow.

Next week, we are going to Humboldt Park with the middle school on Monday and to the Shedd Aquarium on Wednesday. Students will receive their summer work in math and reading on Tuesday from their middle school teachers. Friday is our last day of school. That day ends at 1:00 and there will be not be extended care. Students also need to start returning anything they borrowed from the classroom next week, especially library books.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 13, 2015

The students did a fantastic job on the science fair! I was very impressed with all their presentations and how much they had learned. We have our science fair Open House tonight, and everyone is welcome to come see the whole school's projects between 5:30 and 7:30.


We've been busy with a lot of great projects in school, too. Students are continuing to meet with their literature circle books and we've been discussing protagonists and antagonists, how to use quotes from the book to describe characters, and different points of view. Next week, we'll begin using the iPads to create movie trailers. In writing, students have been busy researching different types of animals. They're starting to put their notes together into outlines now, we'll start typing them in computer class next week, and then use different text features to help our readers understand our topic better.

We're continuing our study of geometry in math, looking at squares and rectangles and how to find the perimeter of figures made up of different rectangles. In science, we're studying heat, light, and sound. There are tons of hands-on activities we're doing with these, such as testing to see if a thermometer inside of a mitten will be warmer than one outside, using tuning forks and making our own instruments and telephones to explore sound, and using spectroscopes to see the different colors in light. We will have a test in math and science before the end of May. Math will most likely be on Wednesday, May 27, and science will be on Thursday, May 28.

There are many other fun activities coming up as we wrap up the year! These include our awards ceremony at 6:00 on Wednesday, May 28 (students can dress down the next day if they come to our evening event) and a field trip to the Shedd Aquarium on Wednesday, May 3.

Friday, May 1, 2015

May 1, 2015

We began the ABC countdown yesterday! It's hard to believe there's only 25 more days of school left, and they'll be busy ones.

We'll take our test today on electricity, and then begin studying heat, light, and sound next week. We'll also share our science fair projects next week. Students will have time in class on Monday to work on their presentations, and then the projects are due on Thursday, May 7 (this is pushed back one day from the original due date). We'll share them with our own class on Thursday and Friday, and with the rest of the school on May 11, 12, and 13. You can see the circuit rooms students made for the electricity unit below, along with an art project we've been working on.


 In math, we're learning about parallel, perpendicular, vertical, and horizontal lines. This unit and the next are both short, so we do already have a test coming up on lines. The test will be Thursday, May 14.

Students are reading their books in a new set of literature circles this week, and they are continuing to have great conversations about their books. After writing several poems, we're about to start working on research projects. I'm going to have lots of books about animals, but students are welcome to choose any subject they'd like to research. They just need to have three books about that topic by Thursday, May 14.

Finally, congratulations again to the winners of the UIC economic poster contest! There was an awards ceremony on Wednesday. (Not pictured is Angelis.)


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22, 2015

As Mr. Bennett mentioned in yesterday's Tuesday letter, TerraNova scores are in and will be sent home on Friday. Please remember that the scores the students receive do not reflect a percentage of how many questions they got right (like our tests at school do), but how well they did compared to the rest of the students across the country who took this test. If you have questions about their results, please let me know and I'd be happy to set up a conference.

In science, our test will now be on Friday, May 1. I moved the date back since I gave students some extra time to work on their circuit rooms. Any students who aren't done with the project at this point will need to work on it either during recess or at home. They will be due on Monday, April 27, and we will share them with the class at this point. Don't forget that the science fair is coming up, too! Those projects are due on Wednesday, May 6.

Friday, April 17, 2015

April 17, 2015

Happy Easter! Even though many of us just celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday, it is actually a season that lasts for 50 days. Many students in the school today did something fun in recognition of this. We created poems and made pictures of animals with our buddies!

Students have been doing a great job on their literature circles, and I've enjoyed listening to their discussions, especially the follow-up questions they ask each other. In writing, we're almost done with our five paragraph essays about Chicago. We'll be writing a few poems in class next, since April is poetry month, before moving on to our final research paper.

In math, we'll be working on geometry until the end of the year. Right now, students are learning how to measure and draw angles. We did a fun scavenger hunt yesterday for angles, and next week we'll learn how to decompose angles before taking our test on Thursday. We also have a test coming up in science. It'll either by Tuesday, April 28 or Wednesday, April 29. The students in science have been engineers lately and are designing a circuit to go inside of a shoebox room. I've been emphasizing that many designs take a lot of trial and error before finding the one that works best, and students are doing a great job of being persistent.

We also have a field trip coming up! We'll be going to the Museum of Science and Industry on Monday, April 27. The permission slip for that is coming home today.

Friday, April 3, 2015

April 3, 2015

I hope everyone is having a blessed Holy Week! There were a few things I wanted to share. First, congratulations to all the students who participated in our Slice of Life challenge this month! I really enjoyed reading everyone's blog entries and commenting on them. We had 8 students in our class who posted at least 21 times, and we'll have a celebration once we return to school. If you'd like to see what the students wrote, you can go here.

Science fair is coming up, and I wanted to clarify a few things. First, the students do not need to do the experiment in class for the presentation. They only need to talk about how they conducted the experiment and what they learned. I was able to see or talk to almost all of the students about their questions before break, but as a reminder, the project needs to be an experiment. This means that there needs to be a variable that should get changed between trials. Also, as I told the students, this should not be an expensive project. There are many things students can do with the materials they have around the house, so please do not feel like you need to go out and buy something. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

Finally, I wanted to share some pictures from Catholic Schools Week that I realized I never posted. You can see them below.