Friday, November 13, 2015

November 2nd - 13th

Classroom News, November 2nd- 13th

Hello 4th and 5th Grade Families!

Thank you very much for attending conferences.  It was great to meet those of you I hadn't yet had the chance to meet and it was wonderful to get a chance to discuss your child's progress and how we can work together.

Reading:  We continue to focus on theme and proposition and support.  Lately in reading, we have been focusing on working through short yet powerful stories in a variety of genres.

We have read "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury, a science fiction story. The students found important quotes from the story and searched for the deeper meaning in them. Through this activity, students were able to locate evidence for why the antagonist of the story acted as he did.  We also looked closely at Bradbury's use of metaphor and came up with a few metaphors of our own.
The second thing we read was "The Fly", a play about a famous Vietnamese legend.   We had a couple of great socratic seminars about the stories and what they teach us about life.  The students discussed big ideas such as why people bully others, why bystanders often don't stop it, and why stories about the poor or powerless outsmarting the rich and powerful are so popular in many cultures.  We also began literature circles.  Students are meeting in small groups to discuss a common story on their level.

Writing:  We have recently begun a new unit: personal and persuasive essays.  Students have learned the basic structure of an essay (thesis statement, reasons, evidence) and practiced "flash drafting" a simple essay to get used to the format.  They have started to collect ideas for their personal essays. The focus is on big ideas rather than stories and one strategy is to think about a person who matters to you and list big ideas about that person.  The more ideas that the students generate, the more likely they are to find an excellent topic for their final piece before we move on to persuasive writing.

Math:  In 4th grade, students began to explore two-digit multiplication and in 5th grade, students worked with two-digit divisors in long division.  The students have also been engaged in daily mathematical discussions explaining their reasoning when doing various mental math problems. Students are learning from each other and expressing their thinking in new and exciting ways.  Next week we will be taking a break from numbers and operations to learn about probability, data, and graphing.

Please ensure that your child is practicing his or her math facts at home each night.  All operations need review for most students (multiplication, division, as well as addition and subtraction)!  Making and practicing flash cards is a simple and effective way to have them study.

Science: The students are working in groups to research a particular system in the human body.  They are making a life-size, labelled diagram.  They are also collecting notes on the parts, how the parts work together to perform various functions, how to keep the system healthy, and problems that can happen in the system.  I am encouraging students to research at home whenever possible.

Mali Health Project:  We continue to work on our graphic novel, slowly but surely!

Upcoming Dates:

November 26th - No school
December 16th - Winter Show
December 17th - January 4th - No School

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