The Ritenour Review
2017 - 2018 Fourth Grade Weekly News
History, Soil and Degrees - How Fun!
Oh, Indiana winter, you keep us on our toes. Again, I cannot thank you all enough for encouraging flexibility in your homes during our snow/ice day this week. I am continuing to check the requirements for the E-day - several have finished and a few are still working on finalizing their to-do list. Remember, those need to be complete by Wednesday, January 31st.
This past week:
In math, we continued our journey with fractions. Toward the end of the week, we added angle degrees to the mix and connected our concept of fractions with the total degrees in a circle. Ex: a right angle = 90/360 = 1/4
In reading, we have all found books for our book clubs and we are all eager to begin reading with in partnerships. We started our new read aloud, Number the Stars. This book is one of my favorites. It follows a fictional character's life as she lives in Denmark during the 1940's and her best friend is Jewish. As a class, we have been practicing reading analytically, making sense of the story when the author is not explicitly telling every detail (or date) and we are noticing how a fictional character's timeline can be intertwined with a factual, historic timeline. Historical fiction is my favorite genre, so we are having a lot of fun discussions. Our map skills are getting stronger, too!
In science, we kicked off our newest science unit: Rocks, Earth Changes and Landforms. As the class knows, I geek out a bit when we get to talk about rocks. Last year, the class built a beautiful foundation of knowledge about the properties of rocks and minerals. This year, we are building on that prior knowledge and learning about how rocks and minerals go through changes (weathering, erosion and deposition). This week, we played around with different types of soils and made predictions on their locations. We will use our knowledge throughout this unit and come back to our predictions at the end and see if we can apply knew knowledge to change those initial thoughts. Once we understood that soil is composed of earth materials(different sizes of rocks and minerals) and humus (living or dead plants/animals), we looked in the causes of rocks being broken or transformed into different sizes. We experimented with two different causes: physical and chemical weather. We had a lot of fun shaking rocks in jars to create abrasions and the following day we experimented with vinegar to simulate the affects of acid rain. Overall, I think we are all looking at the world differently now - just the way we should! Look for the little things and question why those changes are happening.
Coming up next!
Math: We will practice using our fraction skills in word problems with MULTIPLE steps. This can be tricky. We have struggled with fully reading directions and details in problems, so this will be a good test of our patience, grit and determination. We will test Wednesday or Thursday next week. I have talked with the other fourth grade teachers and we are anticipating the final lesson in this unit may need two days. I want to keep the pace we have had the last few weeks, but I do not want to rush through a concept at any cost. Regardless of the test date, the review sheet will go home Monday.
Reading: We will finally crack open our novels for our book clubs! Eek! We will also dive deeper into our class read aloud.
Science: We will look at our acid rain experiment from this past week. We set up evaporation tests with the vinegar from our acid rain test and we are going to see what will be left behind...if anything.
Spelling: We will have one more week of a whole class list. Last week, we looked at commonly misspelled unusual past tense verbs. This week, we will look at commonly misspelled homophones for fourth graders. After this week, we will go back into our groups, targeting individual spelling needs.
February 3rd - Talent Show in BME Cafe @ 2:30
February 19th - Presidents Day - No School
February 20th - No School for Students (Professional Development Day for Staff)
February 23rd - BME Mixer at Golf Club of Indiana 6:30pm - Sponsored by PTO - See below
March 30th - April 6th - Spring Break (No school)