News from Room 208

Weekly Updates from Miss DeWitt's Class

March 18, 2016


We practiced changing improper fractions to mixed numbers and vice versa this week. Once we felt like we had that down, the class learned how to add and subtract improper fractions and mixed numbers. We learned a few strategies for doing this. The first strategy when adding and subtracting mixed numbers was to make it into an improper fraction, which eliminates having to borrow and carry fractions. We also used fraction strips that we placed in sheet protectors and colored the fractions. They will be able to use this on their final quick quiz and the test. It is acceptable in 4th grade if they are more reliant on drawing pictures. They are just starting this year to truly be able to manipulate fractions.

We also worked on multiplying a whole number by a fraction. I briefly introduced this in the beginning of the unit, but we are really putting it to practice now. We also used our fraction strips to draw the multiplication problems so we could visually see the answer.

Our unit test will be next week on Wednesday. We will spend Monday filling out a study guide and will be reviewing all class on Tuesday.


We have started our energy research projects this week. The kids were split up into groups and asked to research and present a specific type of energy. We are researching coal, oil and natural gas, solar, wind, and nuclear energy. We have found some great resources using World Book Online and Almanac, which have a section dedicated to information on different types of energy.

The groups are deciding with each other which format they would like to choose to present the material, and they will be the experts teaching the class about their specific type of energy. The main focus is to discuss the pros and cons to each type of energy. Some of them are very costly, but great for the environment whereas others are relatively inexpensive but horrible for the environment. We look forward to having those interesting conversations next week!

Language Arts From Mrs. Edwards

Reading: This week we started our new Historical Fiction Book Club. The students were able to pick out a book with their small group. The groups are only 2-3 students this time around. I also introduced the students to their final project, so the students will be able to start working on it right from the start. The book is to be done May 5th (6 weeks, not including Spring Break). For their final project the students will be presenting like news reporters, using our Green Screen and working closely with our Tech Coach, Mrs. Setter. As they read, they are going to note “newsworthy events” that are happening in their book. We have a lot of interest in WWll, which is great, however, please be ready to answer some of your child’s confusion with such a topic. We will also be reading Number the Stars as our next read aloud, starting after Spring Break.

This week we read two WWII picture books, both enchanted the children. One was The Yellow Star, about King Christian in Denmark and the second was title, Rose Blanche, about a little girl’s viewpoint during WWll. Please make sure to ask your child about the books.

The students received a new “Role Sheet” due every Thursday for Book Club meetings. This role sheet is meant to help your child stay organized for their weekly task. They will be asked to write a short summary on the week’s reading, as well as come up with a discussion question. Then on the back side of the paper they have a choice: a prediction, connection, or an illustration. Please help your child make sure they are ready for discussion every Thursday.

Reading 25 minutes a night is required in 4th grade. We are noticing a lot of students are not able to take this seriously. As a class we brainstormed and came up with a solution. I was impressed by the students ideas! We created a Reading Log sheet that must be turned in each Friday, so each night they should be able to add to the log. On the front it is asking for a summary, a question and a prediction. The back is the same. Each child is responsible for filling out both sides before Friday. We encourage the students to stick with one book and not bounce around between three, or six books, each week. We will be checking our Reading Logs in every Friday. Please let me know if I can clarify anything for you and your child.

Writing: Our Literary Essay Unit has begun! This blends our reading and writing lessons together nicely and connects with our former essay unit. This week we started to notice things in our books with the help of some thought prompts. “This makes me realize…” and “This is evidence that…” We practiced with The Yellow Star book, then the students were able to practice with a partner on a small picture book from our classroom library. We tied our observation, with the prompt and created a mini thesis. We then moved on to focusing on characters. The students were to look at the character’s actions, what they say, and their objects, to then create a thesis. We practiced with our read aloud, The Thief Lord, and the WWll picture book, Rose Blanche.

Author Visit

Wednesday, March 23rd, 9pm

Horizon Elementary

March Madness School Basketball Game

Thursday, March 24th, 1:30-3:30pm

Horizon Gym