Fourth Grade 2014-2015

Fourth Grade 2014-2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Long Division and Two-Digit Multiplication Videos

I created some videos so you could see how I explain the steps to students, and so that students who are confused can review at home.

Long Division Video:

Multiplication Video:

November 13, 2015

The students have been hard at work on their popsicle stick bridges this week! We tested many of them on Tuesday, and then students were given time to make improvements. We'll do a second test today, and some groups may even be brave enough to see how many dictionaries it will hold before it breaks. Their boards are going to be due on Monday, when we'll set them up downstairs in the gym. We'll show our projects to the Junior High on Tuesday, and have a chance to see their projects, too, and then share with grades 1-3 on Wednesday. Wednesday evening from 5:30-7:30, all families are invited to come and see the students' work.

I've been happy with how well many of the students now grasp long division! We'll practice applying these skills to word problems next week, and then we'll test on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving on long division and two-digit multiplication. Since this can be a tough topic, I'll hold two review sessions for the students. One will be after school on Thursday, November 19, from 3:00-3:45. The other will be before school on Tuesday, November 24, from 7:30-8:00. Anyone who'd like to is welcome to attend.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November 5, 2015

I want to begin by reminding everyone about conferences this Sunday. I'm looking forward to discussing your child's progress this year and goals for going forward. It will be a busy day with conferences scheduled back-to-back in ten minute increments, so please make sure you are on time. Thanks!

We began building our popsicle stick bridges today after researching on Tuesday and planning on Wednesday. We'll finish building them tomorrow. It is interesting to see all the different designs students have! We'll have an initial test on Tuesday, time for students to modify their designs on Wednesday, and then retest and work on our presentations on Thursday and Friday. We'll share our projects with the school the following week.

In social studies, we're just finishing up our unit on the economy. Students should be working on their posters for the UIC poster contest, illustrating either "Choice and Opportunity Cost" or "Productive Resources." These will be due on Tuesday, which is also the day we have our test. I enjoyed reading and hearing about everyone's business plans today! There were lots of creative ideas, from house cleaning to chocolate stands.

We began reading one of my favorite books this week, The Bad Beginning. This is the first in a series of 13 books. Many of my former students have enjoyed reading the whole series, and if your child wishes, they can read ahead and then get the next book from me.

In math, we are beginning to learn long division. Please make sure your child has his or her notebook and notes out while working through these problems! It helps to be able to reference the steps until they become memorized. It's also still important to gain fluency in the times tables, so please keep on working on memorizing those facts!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone! Here are some pictures from our busy day: sharing our ofrendas, making masks with our preschool buddies, and visiting the Halloween Fun Fair.

Friday, October 16, 2015

October 16, 2015

Students had a great time dancing during our Hispanic Heritage celebration! We had an instructor come in to teach the students how to salsa. You can see photos of that above, as well as pictures of the students using the iPads to create US maps and doing a mystery Skype with a classroom in Texas.

We recently started reading Fish in a Tree as part of the Global Read Aloud project. Classrooms across the world are reading this book now and sharing their thoughts with each other through Twitter and other platforms. I set up an online discussion room for students so they can share their thoughts, too. You can access it here.

The last week of October is going to be a busy one for us! On Tuesday the 27th, we're going to have a religion test on the first three commandments. This will also be the day that we make our ofrendas in class and we go see Lyric Opera's performance of Second Nature. Students received booklets about the opera last week, and I'll send home permission slips for this on Monday. The end of that week is our Halloween celebration! We'll go to the Halloween Fun Fair, where each student gets 10 free tickets to use for games and crafts. If you'd like to send in additional money to buy tickets, they are 25 cents each. If you're able to, I know the school would really appreciate any donations of candy or prizes so that we can stock the Fun Fair. Students are welcome to bring treats to pass out to the class, and it might be a good idea to bring a treat bag to bring home all the goodies! We'll share our ofrendas with each other that Thursday and Friday, too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 6, 2015

I am sending home information today about our Day of the Dead project. This project has three parts to it. First, every student needs to select someone in their family who has passed away and that they would like to honor for this project. Then they need to interview two people about this honoree and collect some objects or pictures they would like to put in a shoebox ofrenda for that person. This is the only part that must be done at home! In school, we are going to turn these interviews into paragraphs and use the objects to create the ofrenda. If students like, they may work on their ofrenda at home, but it is not a requirement. We will share the ofrendas and paragraphs in class on October 29 and 30.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, each grade in the school is learning a different dance! We practiced the bachata today, and I am going to tape the students doing this dance on Thursday. If they'd like to practice at home, here's the video we used.

I hope all the students are ready for their math test! It is this Thursday, and will cover rounding and finding multiples and factors of a number. We are not doing a times tables test this week because of the math test on Thursday.

Finally, our class will be featured in the bulletin this Sunday at St. Sylvester! Here's a transcript of the article:

Fourth Grade Bloggers

Fourth grade is embarking on an exciting new writing adventure this year by becoming bloggers! Our class has joined Kidblog, a site dedicated to allowing students to post in a way that's safe and monitored by the teacher. The students have written tons of great posts so far, with topics ranging from what it's like to be nine years old to ice skating and baseball games to pets. Students can also add pictures and comment on each other's writing, giving them an audience for their writing and feedback from other people. We even made our own avatars by drawing self-portraits on the school's iPads.

To help our writing reach an even bigger audience, we joined a blogging community with other fourth grade classrooms in Ohio, Indiana, and Texas. Over the next few weeks, we will take turns commenting on each other's blogs. The students are very excited about forming connections with fourth graders they've never met before and seeing the comments that are being left on their blogs! David B. said, "I like blogging because it's fun and I get to talk to my friends." Caitlyn R. added, "I love blogging because we get to meet new classes."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Music Blog

Ms. Fox has a great blog about music class and choir! You can check it out to learn more about what the class is doing in music, and about upcoming musical events for the entire school. You can find it here:

Friday, September 18, 2015

September 18, 2015

The students were really excited to meet their buddies in Mrs. Garza's class last Friday! You can see pictures of them below drawing portraits of each other.

Students did a great job on their times tables test test! Our next test will be on the 2s next Thursday (since we don't have school on Friday). We also have our spelling test on Thursday, this time on the word list that students will create themselves on Monday.

In science class, we have our chapter test on Wednesday. Study guides need to be filled out by Tuesday, when we'll play our review game. Remember, if you'd like me to check over your child's study guide earlier than that, I'm happy to do so!

In social studies next week, we'll be using the iPads and apps like SonicPics and Drawing Pad to help us review what we've learned about the United States and its landforms, regions, and climate. Our social studies test will be Tuesday, September 29. The study guide for that is actually on the back of the science study guide, so all the students already have it! That one will be due on Monday, September 28.

Students are almost done with their first writing piece. I've seen lots of topics, ranging from riding on the 606 to baseball games to hamsters. We discussed Wednesday how revising means making changes in your writing, like adding more details, taking out sentences that don't fit, and finding better words. Most students have already completed revising, but those that haven't will need to finish over the weekend.

Next week in reading, we're going to begin doing guided reading. I'll place the students into four groups based on reading ability, interests, and effort and give each group a different book. I'll meet with each group 2-3 times a week. If students don't finish reading the section assigned for them in the book during class, they will need to read it at home. They can read this book as part of their reading log so this shouldn't be extra homework.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 10, 2015

We went to the computer lab today and many students finished publishing their first KidBlog posts! They're very excited about this, and anyone who'd like to log on at home and continue writing or commenting is welcome to. You can find our the site here. I did change the address to make it easier for students to type in, so if you bookmarked this before, please update it!

Don't forget we have a math test tomorrow on place value and comparing numbers. We're going to take the test in the morning right after computer class (and before we go to our first buddy activity). Here's a sample question: Using the digits   3   8    4   5    2   make the largest odd number possible. Next week, we're going to begin taking timed multiplication test on Fridays. The first one will be on the ten times table.

In science, we're studying animals and how they're classified. We talked yesterday about what a scientific argument was, and students debated about what made something an animal. Right now, it looks like our test on animals will be September 24. I'll pass out the study guide for this next week.

Students have been doing a great job writing in their notebooks. They've written lots of seed ideas in their notebooks, and we talked about how you can include pictures, too. We came up with a list of why we write stories and will begin taking our first set of stories through the writing process next week.

Thank you to everyone who came to Back to School Night last week! If you weren't able to come (or didn't see the list) and would like to have your phone number or email added to our family contact list, please let me know by Wednesday, September 16. After that, I'll copy the list and send it home.

Finally, if you'd like to order any books from Scholastic, the order forms are due this Monday. You can order books online, too, by clicking here and entering our code: GWZT3.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Hi, Parents! Thank you for everyone who came to Back to School Night tonight. You can find the link to the Kidblog page that I discussed here. We're going to learn how to use this tomorrow. If you weren't able to attend the Back to School Night and would like to get our join code so you can see the students' blogs, please just let me know!

Also, we will have our first test next week in math. It will be on Friday, September 11, and will be about place value, finding patterns, and comparing numbers.

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015

I wanted to share some pictures from the first week of school! You can see each student holding the book from their favorite subjects, and pictures from two different science classes. In one, we timed the period of pendulums, and in the other, the students are making observations and inferences about earthworms.

Our normal homework routine started on Friday night. Students will have homework every night, and this will usually consist of math, reading, and spelling. Please help your child get into the routine of doing their homework in the same spot each night, crossing out each assignment in their notebook as they complete it, and then putting all the papers back into their bookbag before they go to bed.