Friday, September 18, 2015

9/14 - 9/18: News of the Week

September 14th - 18th

Hello 4th and 5th grade families!  Here is a quick look into what we've been doing this week.  Please take a look at the announcements at the end of this post for important information about the upcoming MAP test.

Reading:  The students have been hard at work on a culminating project for the first class novel.  In addition, I have been meeting with each student to administer the first DRA of the year.  The DRA is a tool that helps to identify each child's reading level and is used throughout the elementary school. The scholastic book order forms went home on Wednesday; it has been great to see the kids pouring through them together during snack and recess.

Writing:  We continue to work on our realistic fiction drafts.  The students have been drafting their stories, scene by scene.  We have been focusing on adding description, dialogue, action, and emotion in our first drafts in an attempt to avoid "summary" writing.  

Math:  In grade 4, we have continued with our addition and subtraction unit.  We reviewed rounding and used rounding to estimate sums and differences.  We also used place value blocks to model what it is actually happening when you regroup in addition and borrow in subtraction.  Click here and here for helpful review videos of these skills.   In grade 5, we have been working on multiplication patterns and using tables to chart these patterns.  We have also worked with finding the factors of composite numbers; a skill that will be useful for multiplication, division, and fraction work.  All students are encouraged to study their multiplication facts at home each night.  At the end of each week, students will be given a timed test to see if they can complete the tables in order in five minutes or less.   

Social Studies: Each group has completed their project!  They presented to the whole group, teaching us about everything that makes their region unique.  In the coming days we will be taking a brief but eye-opening look at the continent's history before moving on to our first Science unit.  

A special thanks this week to Julia's mom for coming in to help out on Wednesday.  We really appreciate it!

A Note about the MAP Test:  The week we return from the break, the students will be taking the MAP test.  Our testing sessions are Wednesday and Friday afternoons and Thursday mornings.  MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress.  It is an important tool that guides our instruction and chronicles student growth.  The fourth and fifth graders will be taking the Reading, Language Usage, and Math tests.  The test is adaptive; as students answer correctly, the questions become more difficult.  We recommend doing what you can to ensure your child has a good night's sleep and a healthy breakfast before the test each day.   Please encourage your child to give his or her personal best!

Upcoming Events:
Tabaski/fall break:  September 19th - 28th (no school)
Grades 4/5 MAP testing:  Sept. 30th, Oct. 1st, Oct. 2nd.

I hope you all have a fun and restful break!  Enjoy a few pictures of the students hard at work.  More pictures of projects to come next time!

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