News from R4

Dear 4th grade families,

It’s beginning to feel like fall! Here in 4th grade we’re settling in to routines and procedures, and the students are taking increased responsibility with their binders and homework. While *some* 4th graders are ready to take this on independently, many still need reminders from you, as well as help building routines. A morning reminder to your child to “check your backpack for all the things you need” and a designated place to keep the backpack and binder are helpful ways to build routines!

We’ve been continuing with assessment in small bits here at school. This week we completed the fall baseline assessment for Bridges Math. This is, as it’s name notes, a starting point or baseline. We also do pre- and post- assessments for each unit. These assessments both guide instruction, help us target needed practice for each student, and give the students insight into where they need to focus energy too. Friday, Julee Brinton will be here to sub for me so that I can conduct one on one reading assessment. This will help me target literature circle meetings and instruction to student need, and also help inform any practice toward reading goals. The students are working on fleshing out their goals to share with you on the 11/ and 14th of this month. Since these meetings are student led, please let me know if you’d like to meet for parent/ teacher meeting another time. If we’re able to meet just before or just after your child’s time slot, that’s ideal, but we can find another time if need be.

In Math we’re continuing models for multiplication and division. We learn and practice concrete representations of multiplication and division such as arrays and area models. We also use ratio tables, open number lines, and learn the patterns that different groups of facts have. We emphasize having strategies to solve problems and nudge students to pick the most efficient strategy.

In Writer’s Workshop we’re diving in to creating scenes and getting to know our characters really well. The students are writing up a storm! I’m encouraging them to get it all down on paper, so that we can revise to create amazing realist fiction (narrative) stories. Some students have discovered that their stories have similarities and are crafting characters who will meet and overlap! They are so creative! We are focusing on writing this week and next week, and taking a break from physical science. We’ll jump back in to the rock cycle during the end of October. This allows us more time each week to get and stay focused and go deeper into each area of study.

Our Fourth Grade Community Charter is done and we’ve all signed it. Students agreed that they want to feel safe, respected, and kind at school. We discussed our responsibilities to each other and ourselves to accomplish those feelings and also what will happen if we misstep. Click here to read the charter in full.

Word study groups are up and running. We use Word’s Their Way word sorts in 4th grade. After 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), and another 2-3 at school. 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.

Check out this blog post from Krissie about the 4th grader’s disco weeks!

Small groups discussing their “Character Trait Collector” in Literature Circles.
The Library is a great meeting spot .
First, partners worked together to collect character traits. Then two sets of partners formed a small group to discuss.
This group was contemplating if “happy” is a character trait or not?

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 “Connector” 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. Students wondered the difference between stereotyping and racism, and so we discussed these terms, and then defined them. Click here if you’d like to read those definitions, which come from the Girl’s Leadership Institute: Power ColLABorative training that I attended this summer. I’ve linked to both the GLI and the Teach Tolerance websites above, if you’d like to know more!

Upcoming dates:

Bike to School Tomorrow!

Bring Your Parents to PE R4: Wednesday 10/16/19 from 9:30-10:30am 

Goal setting Friday 10/11 and Monday 10/14

Our next Disco Cycle coming up 10/21-10/25

Thanks for all you do and have a great evening!

Rachel