Monday, November 12, 2018

Grandparent's Day

Thank you to all the grandparents who were able to join us on Friday. I have included some of the pictures of the kids and their grandparents.

Our Latest Updates

I just saw how long it's been since I last posted. I am so sorry!

Here are some updates from our classroom:

  1. We have a social studies quiz on Wednesday. It will be covering our explorers unit and the Columbian Exchange. We discussed the quiz today, and students took notes on the vocabulary words, essay questions that will be asked, and the matching questions. We will spend time in Tuesday studying for the quiz. If you want to see what needs to be studied, ask to see your child's social studies journal.
  2. Friday is our zoo trip. I will be sending out an additional email with information on the trip.
  3. Our next gathering will be the week of December 17. Yep, that is the last week before Christmas Break!
  4. Dr. Whitecotton and I are working on doing an evening trip to the Melton Observatory in lieu of a Curriculum Night. This evening should be Monday, November 26th at 7:00 pm. Once the evening is finalized I will send an additional email.

Math - You probably noticed we have moved from studying geometry to place value. Much of what we're doing builds on what your child learned in 3rd grade except the place value we are working with goes up to the millions. We are learning about writing numbers in unit form, expanded form, and standard form. 

Science - We will finish up our weather unit before Thanksgiving. Each day we watch the WIS TV weather report and use our knowledge of low and high pressure, cold fronts, high fronts, stationary fronts, and cloud types to predict the weather. After Thanksgiving we will move into our astronomy unit.

Reading - Today, a small group of students started a literature study. This will serve as an introduction into our first whole-class literature study of The Jacket by Andrew Clements. We are also reading Blood on the River. This book tells the story of Jamestown, the first successful English colony in the Americas.

Writing - Several times a year we do what's called a DBQ. It stands for Document Based Question. It's a writing assignment in which we analyze several primary documents, form an opinion, and write an essay. While writing the essay, students learn the formalities of writing an essay. This includes an introduction and conclusion, topic sentences, and using transitionary words and phrases. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Warm Air Rising

Yesterday we did a demonstration that showed how warm air rises. We placed a thin layer of dish soap of the top of a bottle. We placed the bottle in warm water so that it will warm the air. As the air rises, the thin layer of dish soap expands creating a bubble (the dish soap captures the warm air).

Friday, September 28, 2018

Curriculum Night Presentation

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend Curriculum Night. For those who were not able to make it, this is a presentation I shared outlining things like our class schedule, homework, etc.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Information for the Week

Thanks to everyone who was able to make it to Friday gathering. Because of the week off due to hurricane Florence we really had to cram to get ready for gathering. Now that gathering is over we will continue moving forward in our studies.
  • Don'g forget that this Thursday, September 27 is Curriculum Night from 7:15-8:00. I will be outlining our daily schedule and sharing a few things we are working on in class.
  • In social studies we are moving into our study of Native Americans and how the different regions of the United States effected how they survived.
  • In math we will move into geometry. I like to start with geometry to build confidence in math and to get kids thinking about using their knowledge of geometry to construct during explorations. This also gives me a chance to introduce students to computer programming through Scratch.
  • In reading we will continue to read poetry, discuss different characteristics of poetry, then use that knowledge to create our own poems.
  • In science we are moving into the water cycle. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Hurricane Post

I hope all is going well as you prepare for the upcoming weather. Hopefully things will not be so bad and we can return to a normal schedule next week.

Even though we are expecting some rough weather due to Hurricane Florence, this experience will provide your child with hurricane knowledge as we dive deeper into our weather unit when we return to school. So I am asking for a few things:

1) Even though you are already doing it, please allow your child some time to watch the weather on the news. One of the things we will be studying during our weather unit is how to read weather maps and how to stay safe during hurricanes. The news will provide a good bit of this information,

2) When the bad weather hits, allow your child, in a safe manner, to take pictures or video of the weather at home. I would like to compile these pictures and videos so that we can study this weather when we return to school.

While scary, this hurricane offers us a unique opportunity to study severe weather as it occurs.

Monday, September 3, 2018

A Couple of Things for this Short Week

I hope that everyone is having a restful Labor Day weekend.

1) Remember that Thursday, September 6 (6:30-8:00) is Opening Picnic. We purposely hold Opening Picnic after Labor Day so that students become acclimated to school and feel comfortable showing you around the classroom and school. After we all gather for the picnic, students and parents will head into the classroom. I'll give students the chance to show you around before I spend a few minutes talking about a few items you as parents will want to know such as homework and discipline policies. Other than that, I'm more hoping to get to know all of you so we can quickly start relationships that will benefit the academic success of your child.

2) On Friday, September 21 at 2:20 will be our first 4th grade gathering. We will most likely be sharing about current studies such as student poetry, our study of Native Americans, and weather.

3) MAP testing in math will be this Wednesday, September 5th.

4) Have students bring in their Richland Country library cards. Our first trip to the Sandhills library is this Friday, September 7th. We will leave around 9:30. You are more than welcome to join us or meet us at the library.

I wanted to share share a bit about the day's schedule.

Each day begins with explorations. Students have the opportunity to practice the skillfulness of inquiry as they explore topics of their own choosing. Students from Dr. Whitecotton and my class switch between our classes if they choose. My class typically does anything involving building (e.g., Legos, Keva blocks, robots, Lego Mindstorms, Coinstruction, Snap Circuits) or computer programming, and Dr. Whitecotton's class has drawing, math stuff, games such as chess, etc. As the year progresses, students' thinking in explorations often becomes more sophisticated as they take more chances in what they want to construct.

We are currently doing a study of mathematicians and the things that mathematicians do. For instance, we've read books on famous mathematicians such as Fibonacci, Einstein, Ada Lovelace. One website called Math Munch has interviews with mathematicians. We are gathering a list of what makes a mathematician a mathematician. I am hoping that students understand that math is not about getting answers right or wrong, but it's about exploring patterns in nature, it's about learning to problem solve, it's about dealing with frustrations, etc.

There are several thing I emphasize students do as historians: 1) history is an account of the stories of the past, 2) historians use evidence to construct a story of the past, 3) historians must be critical of the evidence they gather, and 4) a story should never be based on a single piece of evidence. This was the perfect introduction into the Landbridge Theory of how Native Americans first arrived in North and South America.

Lunch is now from 11:00 to 11:30. This gives us an extra 5 minutes for lunch.

Our recess comes directly after lunch from 11:30-12:00

I always do a read aloud after lunch. The read aloud is always connected to the curriculum in some manner. Currently I am reading Heartbeat by Sharon Creech. Since we are looking at poetry, I am reading a chapter written in prose. But most of time I love to read historical-fiction (my favorite genre)!

Our reading and writing blur into one large chunk of time. (This makes sense since reading and writing are so heavily intertwined). Currently students are independently reading while I conduct some reading assessments so that I can get to know your child as a reader.

After reading we work on writing. Here is a list poem we created as a class. It is titled "The Kind of Class We Want." Students created a goal as to how they would make that poem a reality in the class.

Most of the time our special areas time is in the afternoon except Tuesday (we have PE in the morning) and Friday (library).