Sunday, January 22, 2017

Wrapping Up Quarter Two

Hello 4th and 5th grade families,

It's hard to believe that this school year is already half over.  This post will detail what we've been up to the last few weeks of the quarter.  Please be sure to take a look at the important dates listed below.

Reading:  During the last few weeks the students were introduced to Google Classroom; a platform to organize assignments, share links, and have collaborative discussions.  Posted on our Google Classroom site were several text sets from a website called Newsela.  The students were able to sign in using their AISB google information and gain access to several articles about environmental issues, the refugee crisis, and news from Africa.  One great feature of Newsela is that it allows students to change the text difficulty so that the same information is accessible to all students, despite their stage of reading development.  We used articles to review how to extract important information from non-fiction texts and write concise summaries.  I hope that students continue to peruse this site and stay informed of big issues around the world.

Writing:  Wrapping up the quarter, students spent time self-editing and peer-editing their work. Students also wrote an independent writing sample to help chart their growth in the traits of ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and conventions.  Their development is clear and I believe they have benefited from trying out different genres and styles this quarter.  Each student will share one original poem at the assembly this Thursday.  I hope you've seen them practicing their performance at home!

Grade 4:  The fourth graders have finished their units on multi-digit multiplication and division.  We have derived the first 25 primes, found all the factors of large numbers, and explored divisibility concepts.  These concepts will be used frequently in the upcoming fractions unit.  So far, students have explored fractions and deduced that fractions must be of equal parts and that there are multiple ways to represent fractions.

Here is a video to review factoring.  

Optional IXLs for review: A10, D15, D22, E16, E17, E8, D4

Grade 5:  We have finished our units that review multi-digit and decimal multiplication and division. To get ready for work with fractions, students reviewed the concepts of prime and composite numbers, divisibility rules, finding the greatest common factor and the least common multiple, and prime factorization.  This foundation will allow us more time to explore complex fraction concepts and apply them.

Here are a few videos to review the concepts of decimal arithmetic and prime factorization.

Optional IXLs for review:  F1 to 7, I1, I9, J3, J4

Social Studies:  The students took on a challenging task as a final project for this unit.  As a particular character (a lettuce farmer, a 4-yr old child, a recent graduate, a widow, etc.) students reviewed the primary and secondary resources we created and researched to decide whether, overall, life in Bamako is improving or declining from that particular perspective.  Students created and presented Google Slide presentations to share their position.  Though this was difficult, students rose to the challenge and learned a lot from the process.  We will be moving on to Science for quarter three.

Upcoming Important Dates

January 26th:  4/5 to present at Morning Assembly
January 26th:  Q2 Report Cards go home
January 28th:  PTO International Fair
February 3rd:  ES and Grade 6 Music Performance

The students shared in my birthday celebration last week.  The birthday song where they counted up to my new age went on much longer than it normally does ;) Thank you for the sweets and gifts!

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