Fall in 4th :)

This post is mostly an update on our current and upcoming learning in the classroom.

In math, we’re nearing the end of Unit 1 in which our focus has been on models for multiplication and division. We’ve learned and practiced concrete representations of multiplication and division such as arrays and area models. We’ve also used ratio tables, open number lines, and learned the patterns that different groups of facts have. We’ve emphasized using strategies to solve problems and nudge students to not only practice their preferred strategy, but to use ones that will be the most efficient. Lastly, students have learned the difference between factors and multiples and prime and composite numbers. We’ll be taking our first end of unit assessment next week.

In Writer’s Workshop we’re still learning the bits of narrative writing craft, such as writing a strong lead, adding sensory details, and strong endings. We’ll begin drafting and revising next week. An Author’s Fair where we can celebrate students’ writing will be coming soon, stay posted! Parents will be invited to this fun event.

Word study groups are up and running. We use Word’s Their Way word sorts in 4th grade. After a spelling assessment, student are placed in small groups within a range of spelling patterns that include ones that they need more practice with. Throughout the cycle (1-2 weeks) they’ll have 2-3 practices at school (some independent, some with a partner). If spelling is a goal for them, they may also plan to have some extra practice and/or choose some tricky-for-them high frequency words to add to the mix. We do not give spelling tests each week, rather we’re hoping to build their capacity to spell words within the patterns and to incorporate them in to their writing. Spelling is reassessed periodically, and groups reconfigured as necessary.

We’re more than half way through Amina’s Voice and we’ve practiced all but 2 of the jobs that students will start to do independently in future Literature Circles. This week and next we’ll learn and practice “Character Trait Collector” and “Question Creator.” The book gives us a chance to talk about themes of identity (which is the first of the Teach Tolerance Social Justice Anchor Standards) as well as begin to unpack some big ideas. After reading certain events in the novel, students have brought up the recent changes in immigration and travel to the US and how some groups have a more difficult time traveling to our country than others. Later in the novel, we’ll look at things like how stereotyping, bias, and racism start and how everyone can work to combat them.

In science, we’re continuing our study of the three types of rocks and the rock cycle. Students will be integrating their narrative writing skills at the end of the unit to write a narrative as if they were a rock traveling through the rock cycle.

In social studies, we’re continuing our study of the regions of California. In a few weeks we’ll be making salt dough maps of the state, with special attention given to the topography of each region.

We’ve also spent a considerable about of time recently getting ready for our upcoming goal conferences. Students have not only come up with goals to help them grow as students, but also action items to help them work towards their goals and measurements they’ll look at to know if they’re successful. I’m looking forward to including parents in these conversations later this week and next!

Upcoming dates:

Bring Your Parents to PE : Thursday 10/10/19 from 9:30-10:30am 

Goal setting conferences Friday 10/11 and Monday 10/14

Our next Disco Cycle coming up 10/15-10/18

Thanks for all you do and have a great evening!