Mrs. Beck's 4th Grade
We're continuing to delve into our books for book clubs. Special thanks to Chris Child, Laura Isgitt and Amie Velasco-Jenkins for helping to facilitate our groups! Students are working hard on picking out the main ideas, supporting details and important events, and then summarizing what they've read. They're learning to be concise in their summaries (the difference between a retell and a summary is still a tricky one)
We're also working on non-fiction (current events, as well as multiple types of text--emails, letters, advertisements, articles) ) and picking out relevant versus not relevant information and supporting our opinions with text evidence. The kids participated in a district performance assessment where they had to give a recommendation to a pretend principal about whether or not that principal should require students to wear uniforms. This definitely challenged our critical thinking skills as well as how use data and resources to help persuade our audience.
You can support reading skills at home by encouraging students to think more deeply about text. This link provides a great list of questions that you can use as prompts with your child.
Express and Look for Regularities in Repeated Reasoning (seeing patterns in math and using those patterns to help us predict and make sense of our answers)
Reason Abstractly and Quantitatively (Understanding what numbers mean and applying them to real world situations)
Look for and Make Use of Structures: (Seeing how numbers fit together and build on each other)
Students finished up their study on estimation, which really helped us understand how to think critically about the answers we get and if they're accurate. We also learned factoring and multiples which helped us to see patterns in math, and how numbers fit together. For the most part, though this unit was a tough one, the kids did a good job of grasping the concept. Those that have really good mastery of their multiplication facts did especially well.
We are currently in the middle of the Multiplication and Division unit. This has been another challenging one for many kids, as multi-digit multiplication and long division are brand new concepts for almost everyone in the class! All of our math "big ideas" come into play in this unit, especially attending to details and knowing our math facts. We'll be taking the chapter test on Thursday the 19th. You can continue to help your student be successful in math by helping them build math fact fluency. Though students will be allowed to use their multiplication tables for the test, the process is so much easier when they know their facts.
Big Ideas: Evaluate multiple relationships and their influence on change, evaluating how perspective is a catalyst for change ( Different viewpoints and points of view often come together to resolve a conflict, solve a problem or make a change in the community)
We began the unit by looking at Colorado symbols. Students worked collaboratively to research the state symbol, flag, state fossil (stegosaurus), state fish (greenback cutthroat trout), state flower (columbine), state plant (blue gramma grass), state gem (aquamarine) and state mammal (Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep). They presented their findings. (see pictures below)
Now, we've moved on to an integrated science and social studies unit. Students are learning more about Colorado geography, landforms and life-zones (Alpine, subalpine, montane, shrub/wood lands, short-grass prairie, riparian and semi-desert). We've talked about the features of each zone, and explored which animals and plants call those zones home.
After Thanksgiving, we'll be beginning our Westward Expansion/Pioneer Unit. We'll have all kinds of really cool learning opportunities, including building a covered wagon, a sod house, and participating in a simulation of the Homestead Act.
Other News (New friend, Volunteers, Donations Needed)
I'm still looking for any parents (or grandparents even!) who might be interested in helping facilitate a book group one or twice a week. It's super low-stress, the kids have guiding documents to help them with each chapter, they just need an extra ear to listen to fluency and accuracy and to encourage them to think deeper about what they are reading. We do our literacy groups between 9:30 and 10:50, so if you have any availability, we'd love to have you.
Also, we're in need of plastic storage tubs (the shoebox size) for our math centers/activities. You can find them at the dollar store. The kids have also noticed that leaving pencils on the floors at the end of the day means that their own personal pencils become communal and sometimes disappear. You might check with your kiddo to see if they are need of some new pencils.