Sunday, September 18, 2016

The First Few Weeks of September

Hello 4th and 5th grade families!

Below, you can find a brief summary of what we've been up to lately in the 4/5 classroom.  Aside from the core subjects you'll read about, we've also had our first two sessions with our kindergarten reading buddies!  Students look forward to working with their buddies; reading to them, helping them with letter sounds and sounding out words, and listening to them read.  It's great to see.  Enjoy some photos at the end of this post.  

Reading:  As we continue our whole group novel, Rules, students have been focusing on finding particular text evidence where the main character is acting empathetically. They've been practicing the skills of paraphrasing and determining importance. They've used their examples to write a paragraph that proposes and supports their view of the character. One of the other characters is unable to speak and needs to point to words in his communication book in order to express himself. Students have reflected on word cards they'd want to have in order to express themselves if they couldn't speak or write easily. Students have also completed the first DRA of the year to assess their reading level. We will do DRAs again in May, charting their progress.  

Writing:  Students have finished the research portion for their essay and this upcoming week we will be focusing on creating a simple timeline, writing a thesis for their essay, and flash-drafting. We will then take our drafts through many revisions, focusing on the traits of good writing. Additionally, students have completed the first writing sample of the year to assess their proficiency in various traits. 

Math:  

Grade 4:  Students have been practicing rounding to different place values and using rounding to make reasonable estimates.  Students have practiced addition of numbers up to the millions and showing their work using diagrams, place value blocks, and the standard algorithm. Students have also been exposed to multi-step problem solving. This is a skill that is new for many students. I encourage all fourth grade students to create and discuss these types of problems at home, to help them get used to slowing down during problem solving and completing all necessary steps. Here is an example:

Raffle tickets were sold for a school fundraiser to teachers, parents, and students.  563 tickets were sold to teachers.  888 more tickets were sold to parents than teachers.  107 more tickets were sold to students than to parents and teachers combined.  How many total tickets were sold?  

Grade 5:  Students have been practicing rounding decimals to various place values and using rounding to make reasonable estimates. Students have practiced addition and subtraction of decimal numbers using place value disks and the standard algorithm.  Rounding and estimating is especially important when working with decimals in order for students to check their answers for reasonableness.  

Science:  We've continued learning about electricity through creating electromagnets using iron bolts, copper wire, and batteries. Students discovered ways to increase the strength of their magnets through increasing the coil in the wire and ensuring that the coil is going in the same direction so that the electrons move freely in one direction. Students have also made electroscopes which we'll be testing soon to determine which materials are insulators and which are conductors.  

Important Upcoming Dates

September 21st:  Progress Reports go home
September 22nd:  Malian Independence Day, No School
September 27th, 29th, 30th:  Grade 4/5 MAP testing days
















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