Friday, February 16, 2018

Quarter 3 is Well Underway

Hello 4th and 5th grade families,

Here's a quick peek into what we've been learning lately in the 4/5 classroom.   A big congratulations to the students on a great performance at the assembly a few weeks ago!  The second semester has had a strong start.  Enjoy a much-deserved long weekend!

Ms. Fezekas

Reading:  We have begun our whole group novel, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.  It is a suspenseful science-fiction/mystery story.  As we read, students are practicing various skills such as context clues, cause and effect, character analysis, and identifying key elements of both the unique setting and the theme of light versus darkness (or fear versus hope).   The kids are hooked on this book!  We aim to finish before the upcoming holiday.  When students aren't working on this novel, they are transferring these skills to their silent reading books and conferring with me individually.  Ask your child to tell you about Lina, Doon, and the challenges facing the citizens of Ember!

Writing:  This quarter in Writing, we are focusing on the genre of persuasion.  To begin, we looked at different persuasive strategies such as ethos, logos, pathos, kairos, and "big names".  Students identifies these strategies in published commercials and created mini-commercials or advertisements of their own.  Currently, we are working on a practice persuasive essay in two groups; a "pro" group and a "con" group.  Students are using research-based articles to support their position of whether or not chocolate milk is a healthy choice.  Once students have a solid understanding of the basic structure and purpose of persuasive essays, they will be choosing a persuasive topic of their own to research. 

Math 4:  In fourth grade math, we began the quarter reviewing and extending sequences and patterns and linked this with the introduction to long division.  So far, we have practiced division using drawings, on number lines, and skip-counting.  We have also learned a few different strategies for more complex division such as using repeated subtraction, using place value concepts, and the "Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Bring Down" or "DMSB" method.  We have also begun analyzing word problems to determine how the remainder should be interpreted.  If students know their multiplication and division facts with automaticity, they will master division more easily.  I recommend that students practice their facts and complete the IXLs below.

IXLs:  E1, E4-9

Math 5:  In fifth grade math, we began the quarter with coordinate concepts and students identified, drew, and connected points on a coordinate grid.  Students also continued sequences in a t-table to create and plot ordered pairs.  As a challenge, the students were using x and y-scales which were split into decimals or fractions.  More recently, we've been working with multiplication of fractions; unit fractions, non-unit fractions, and mixed numbers.  Students used models to show what is happening and have been first determining whether the number being multiplied will increase or decrease depending on whether it is being multiplied by a fraction or an improper fraction/mixed number.  If students know their multiplication and division facts with automaticity, they will master these concepts more easily.  I recommend that students practice their facts and complete the IXLs below.

IXLs:  M12-15, M23-25

Science:  In Science this quarter, we are focusing on our "Blue Planet" and the human-ocean relationship.  Students have engaged in a small research project on one of our five oceans and will soon be tasked with a bigger research project on one of the major threats to our ocean and, subsequently, our future. 


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