Fourth Grade, 2014-2015

Fourth Grade, 2014-2015

Monday, October 13, 2014

Long Division with a 2 Digit Number Video

Here's another video, this time about two digit long division!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 8, 2014

Students are going to have a chance to retake their math test this Friday, October 10. Many of the students did not do as well as I expected, especially since they forgot the difference between factors and multiples. This was especially disappointing since I knew this was a new concept and so we made a poster defining each, and I pointed out where it was in the classroom immediately before the test and told students they could come look at it if they needed to. We went over the test today, discussing how to read the problem carefully to figure out what it's asking and how to use the resources in the room. The test will have the same format, but with different numbers in the problems. Students should get their original test signed in order to retake it on Friday.

We also have tests coming up in social studies on Tuesday, October 14, and in religion on Thursday, October 16. In social studies, we've been talking about the economy. The students created business plans that explained the resources they'd need to start a business, who their investors would be, and the supply and demand they would have. We've also been working on posters for the UIC Economics contest. In religion, the test will cover the first three commandments and the covenant God made with Abraham.

For Hispanic Heritage month, students have been learning a song with Ms. Fox that comes from Ecuador. We'll share the song, the Ecuador flag, and some facts about the country with the school on Thursday, October 16. We are also learning about Day of the Dead. To celebrate this day, students are interviewing two people about a person who died that they would like to honor. We'll be writing paragraphs and creating shoebox ofrendas (or altars) for this person. We'll have time in class to create the altars on October 24, so please make sure your child brings in his or her shoebox and anything they'd like to put inside it on that day.

I sent home a Scholastic book order form on Friday. This one will be due on Tuesday, October 14. If you'd like to order online, simply click the link below. Scholastic is also having a promotion, where if students spend $10 they can get another book ($5 or under) for free. Students who wish to get a free book should let me know which one, as I need to enter that information from the teacher order page.

Finally, in science we are learning about forces that shape the Earth. We discovered how the Grand Canyon was formed by completing investigations about weathering and erosion. You can see those pictures below.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Our Visualizing YouTube Video

In reading class, we've been discussing the comprehension strategy of visualization. We practiced this last week while reading the book Koko's Kitten. Students drew the picture they saw in their head on the iPad, using Drawing Pad, and then used Book Creator to add text to explain their picture. I was able to upload most of these onto a YouTube video, which you can see below!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Multiplication Video

Aaliyah and Angelis created a video to show everyone how to multiply by a one-digit number. You can see it below!

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

I handed out books to students last week that we will be reading in guided reading groups for about the next five weeks. Students have all been assigned a book, either Frindle, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, Fudge-a-Mania, or Tiger Rising. We will be meeting two to three times a week in small groups to discuss the books, while working on visualizing, making connections, and asking questions. Students do have time to read the section that is due in class, but if they do not finish, they should read the book at home. This can count towards their reading log. I also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who ordered from Scholastic! I'm glad the students will have books at home to read, and I was able to buy over thirty new books for our classroom library, too.

I was very impressed with the stories students handed in last week! We began writing a new story this week inspired by the book The Hundred Penny Box. Students made a timeline of their life and then chose three important events to write about. We're talking about how to show that something happened instead of just telling the reader it happened and other ways to add details to stories.

In social studies, we're studying economics. Each student is choosing a business idea, such as selling cookies or dog walking, and writing a business plan for this idea. They'll have to figure out their investors, profit, and resources they'll need for the business. So far, they've been great! We did a fun experiment on Friday about supply and demand. Students could see how the price of Sour Candy Kids (the most popular candy) rose because more people wanted to buy it, but then after several rounds of it becoming more expensive, demand changed and less people wanted to pay the new price.

We have a few tests coming up. This Thursday, September 25, we have a science test on classifying organisms, especially animals. We'll have a test soon in math, too, on using estimation to solve problems. This will probably be on October 6. As a reminder, we have no school on Friday since it's a teacher professional development day. That means our vocabulary test and times tables test will both be on Thursday. I am also sending home progress reports on Thursday instead of responsibility reports. After receiving the progress report, if anyone would like to meet to discuss your child, please just let me know!

Finally, we have our first field trip coming up! The Lyric Opera is performing an opera that was written just for students called "The Brothers Grimm." We'll be going to see it at Lane Tech on Monday, October 6. I'll send home that permission slip later on this week. Students each received a booklet with information about the opera last week, and we'll be doing a few activities to prepare for the trip.

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014: Pictures

Below, you can see a slideshow of pictures from the beginning of the year! The students are making observations about mealworms, practicing read to someone, drawing pictures with their buddies, and launching parachutes.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September 4, 2014

We've definitely been busy this week in fourth grade, so hopefully everyone was able to rest over the long weekend! I enjoyed seeing so many people at Back to School Night last week. One thing I passed around then was a contact list that we will be sending home to students in the fourth grade that has families' phone numbers and emails. If you'd like your information be included on this list and were not at Back to School Night or forgot to sign it, please let me know before September 12.

We have our first math test tomorrow. It will cover place value, writing numbers in standard, expanded, and word form, comparing numbers, and finding patterns. Next week, we'll do a quick overview of multiplication and division using the third grade books, before starting our next unit on rounding, factors, and multiples.

We will also have a social studies test in about two weeks. Right now, I'm planning to have it on September 16, but this may change depending on how quickly we cover the material. For this test, students will need to know the regions and some of the major landforms in each one, the definitions of different landforms found in the United States, and the patterns of weather here (for example, people who east of a lake are more likely to have snow).

Students have been having a lot of fun in science! We're still talking about how the students are scientists and doing different experiments together. We had some visitors from the Nature Museum on Monday. The museum has given us all the great materials we've been using in science lately, so they came to see how the lessons were being taught. The students did a great job while they were there making claims about which brand of cookie has the most raisins. We're making parachutes now, and each group came up with their own question to test. Next week, we'll begin studying how to classify animals.

In writing, we've made word webs and beginning/middle/end books to help us organize ideas for stories. Students will be writing a paragraph using these next week, then revising and editing their work. In reading, we're continuing to practice our routines of read to self and read to someone, while learning different strategies to become better readers. We're learning how to write a reading letter, a letter students will write to me every other week throughout the year about a book they're reading. We'll talk about genres next week, and the week after that I hope to pass out our first guided reading novels.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21, 2014

Welcome to a new school year! I'm really excited about this class and can already tell we'll have a great time learning together. We've spent the first few days discussing rules and procedures, checking out books from the library, and setting goals. Next week, we'll start the units in all our different subject areas. We'll be talking about place value in math, reading comprehension strategies, how to use a writer's notebook, how to conduct an experiment, and the different regions of the United States. We'll start having nightly homework next week, and I'll send responsibility reports home on Friday, August 29.

Next week is also Back to School Night! It begins at 6:00, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there. I'll go over our curriculum and my expectations in more detail then.

Our Mass days are moving to Tuesdays this year for grades 1-4. We'll be leading the Mass on September 2 at 8:30. Family members are always welcome to join us.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Recommend Books on Padlet

I love reading all the responses people have left about books! Since it seems like some people are checking back regularly, I thought it would be fun to share some of the books you've been reading this summer and would recommend to others.

I've created a padlet wall where we can share our recommendations, which you can see below. You can click on the picture below and add things to that, or go to the link here. To add something, just double click anywhere on the sky where there's not a note already. Write your name, and the title, author, and a quick description of a book you're reading. You can add pictures, too. If you can figure it out on your own (or with a parent's help), go ahead and add a picture of the cover! Otherwise, we'll talk about how to do this once school begins.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer 2014 Reading: Fantasy

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?

Summer Reading 2014: Realistic Fiction

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!)

Friday, June 6, 2014

June 6, 2014

I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for helping to make this a great year! I've really enjoyed this class's energy and enthusiasm for learning. They are great performers, readers, and thinkers. I'm sure they'll be fantastic middle schoolers now!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June 3. 2014

I can't believe it's almost the end of the year! Among the fun things we are doing to wrap everything up is Humboldt Park Day with the rest of the middle school. Unfortunately, since there is 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms tomorrow, we are going to reschedule this day for this Thursday. All students who had originally planned on being dropped off will now be walking over after Mass on Thursday. Otherwise, all the plans will stay the same, just moved over a day!

We're also going to be going to the Nature Museum on Friday, finishing up our ABC countdown with our division, and reflecting on the past year. Students will be receiving their summer math packet and reading packets later on this week. These will be due to their middle school teachers when classes resume in August.

Below, you can see pictures of students' state projects (they did a great job) and Mr. Lindo showing the students a flame tube, which he brought in to show them how sound is a wave.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 21, 2014

Above, you can see pictures of all the great science things we've been doing lately, including the science fair experiments and students' circuit rooms! Now, we've moved on to learning about heat, light, and sound. We've experimented with tuning fork, made sound sandwiches, and created our own instruments. We'll learn more about light this week and next, and I expect the test to be on June 2.

Since it's the end of the year, we're wrapping up several units, which means there are other upcoming tests. The math test on multiplying two digit numbers is tomorrow, and our social studies test on the Midwest will be on Friday, June 30. Students are also going to be presenting their projects this Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. They signed up for a specific day last week, so everyone should know when they are going to share.

The students' research papers are turning out really well! I've been excited to see all the facts they've learned and how well they've organized their papers. We'll type them up in computer class next week and create a cover page and bibliography for them. They will be very professional looking!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8, 2014

We've been very busy with science lately! This week was the science fair, and the students' projects look great. I've had many compliments from other teachers about how professional and interesting the projects look. So far, we've shared them with the third and fifth graders, and each other. The students gave fantastic presentations, and I could tell that they had learned a lot. We also had students share their circuit rooms yesterday. Everyone came up with different ways to use the light bulbs and switches, and I think we have lots of future engineers here! Next week, we'll begin studying different forms of energy: heat, light, and sound.

In math, we're working on multiplying by two digit numbers. We're going to do a lot of practice this week and next, and I expect the test to be sometime the week of May 19. In reading, the students are reading The Bad Beginning, the first in a series of 13 books. I told students that I have all the books in the series and if they finish one, they are welcome to borrow the next. Some of them are racing through the books! While we read, we're discussing protagonists and antagonists, how to infer character's thoughts, and the theme and tone of the book.

The students have been doing a great job with their five paragraph essays! Next week, we'll begin working on a research paper. I'm going to bring in lots of books about animals, but I know some students would like to research a different topic. If they'd like, they can bring in at least three books about a person, place, or invention and use that as their research topic. These books should be brought in by Monday.

May is definitely a busy month, and we have some important dates coming up. Next week, on Wednesday, is the walk-a-thon. Everyone will participate, even if the students are not doing it as a fundraiser. It is gym uniform that day, since we will be outside in the park. At the end of the month, on May 28, is the awards ceremony where we will be giving out the peacemaker and effort awards. Each class will also perform a song, and we'll have work on display from all the classrooms.

Finally, we've started our ABC countdown! Each of the last 26 days of school has a letter, ending with Z on June 11. Yesterday was bubble gum day, today is carrots, and tomorrow will be a free dress down.