This is the first blog post of the year. I will update the blog periodically to give you some information about what we've been doing in the 4/5 classroom and to share some photos and resources. On the left side of the page you can find some helpful links to different kid-friendly news sites, math websites, research websites, and other sites your child has an account for such as Raz-kids.com and Typing.com. There is also an "Alternatives to Homework" link that can give you some ideas about how to inspire learning of all kinds at home. Though there is no regularly assigned, mandatory homework, students are expected to read at home each night. Below, you can read about our latest learning activities and some upcoming dates to keep in mind.
Thanks for stopping by the blog!
Reading - To start the year, we reviewed the reading strategies of predicting, inferring, questioning, monitoring/clarifying, visualizing, connecting, summarizing, and evaluating by reading a short story called The Pumpkin Box. This week, we started our whole group novel - Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It is a realistic fiction story about a boy with severe facial deformities going to school (fifth grade) for the first time. It's a story about acceptance and choosing kindness. It is told in eight parts, each part from the perspective of a different character. As we read, we will be working on "close reading" and annotating the text, analyzing specific quotes for significance, as well as character traits and character development. In addition to whole group work, your child will have at least one day a week of independent reading time where they will meet with the teacher for a reading conference.
Writing - We are reviewing paragraph structure (strong topic sentence, vivid details, and strong concluding sentence) through writing about an emotionally-charged moment during the summer break. Students are taking their chosen topic through the writing process of pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Up next, students will be reviewing specific writing skills, getting the chance to generate their ideas and draft their own free-writing pieces, and doing various writing pieces related to the whole group novel.
Math - Both grades focused first on problem solving strategies and showing their mathematical thinking. Additionally, as we started new units this week, both grades are working with patterns and number sense. In grade four, students are learning about increasing and decreasing sequences, t-tables, and rules related to both. This will soon be related to basic multiplication concepts. In grade five, students are also learning about sequences but at a more advanced level. Students will compare sequences and extend t-tables with rules involving all four operations.
Science - To begin the unit, we are learning about the Scientific Method and doing a whole-class experiment. It is my hope that after working through one process together, the students will get in the habit of observing the world around them, come up with questions they have, and decide to run their own mini-experiments. Up next in Science, we will be looking closely at the relationship between structure and function in plant and animal systems including the human body.
Upcoming Important Dates
Back-to-School Night: Tuesday, August 29th
Tabaski Holiday: No school August 31st or September 1st
Assembly featuring Grades 4 & 5: Thursday, September 7th
Back-to-School Barbecue: Saturday, September 9th
Enjoy some snapshots of the first two weeks of school! I haven't yet gotten a chance to snap a photo of everyone but I will make it a point to do so in the future!