Spring Creek Cardinals
4th Grade Newsletter
JANUARY 2016 EDITION
It is hard to believe that your students are five months away from being a 5th grader!!
This semester we are all working on and preparing them for success in finishing 4th grade and making a smooth transition into 5th grade. Please read all the information in the newsletter to best support your student.
Lunch and Rice Krispies
In the cafeteria, students are allowed to buy seconds of any lunch items. There are also additional items for sale: bottled water and Rice Krispie treats. It has been brought to our attention that some students are purchasing any where from 2-10 Rice Krispie treats at 25 cents each on a daily basis. We have spoken to the students that more than 2 Rice Krispies is excessive and not a wise nutritious or financial choice. The cafeteria is not allowed to deny the sale of extra items unless there is a lack of funds in the account. Although, parents do have the ability to block additional purchases from their child's account.
If you have any questions regarding your child's lunch purchases please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Howeth is our cafeteria manager and should be able to look at the history of your child's purchases.
As the school year has gone on, more and more students are reporting the following. "I don't have time to do my homework." "I'm too busy after school to do my homework." Or "My mom wouldn't let me do my homework." We have had discussions in class about the need to prioritize activities. We have discussed using time on the bus or in the car to work on homework. If your student attends after school programs it might be wise to discuss with that organization how homework is incorporated into the after school program. As fourth grade teachers we have limited the homework to be about 30-45 per day. See notes below about changes specific to ELA homework this winter.
During the month of January we will be concentrating on learning “long division”, as we
called it when I was in elementary school. We will be discovering what dividing a
number means, mainly that we start with a given amount and break it apart into equal
groups. Therefore, if you have twenty-one pencils that you want to share equally
between seven students, how many pencils will each student receive? We will talk
about dividing using a “Fair Share” so that each group has the same amount. We will
discuss how division can also be looked at as repeated subtraction, in which we
continually subtract the same amount from the amount we start with until there’s none
left. On Friday they will learn about division using “Partial Quotients”. Again, this is
different than probably most of you learned about in school. Next week they will be
introduced to the traditional way of dividing numbers. Eventually we will discuss what to
do when there are some that are left over that can’t be shared equally, also known as a
“remainder”. Of course, during this whole time we will be emphasizing problem solving
involving all four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The
students need to be able to read a word problem, figure out what the question is for that problem, what the important information is in that problem, and what type of operation
or operations need to be completed to solve the problem. This continues to be a daily
discussion in our math class through our bell work as well as the work we do in class.
I just want to once again remind you of the importance of making sure your child has an
opportunity to complete their homework every night. For math they only need to
complete their fluency homework. This should take less than 10 minutes each night
Monday through Thursday. Being able to be fluent with multiplication and division facts
helps your child to be more efficient when completing various math problems from this
year and beyond. The nightly homework also prepares them for an increased amount
of nightly homework that will begin in intermediate school and continue throughout their educational career.
Students will be bringing home their writing portfolio in January to show their families the writing they have accomplished this school year. This is such a great way for your child to show off their hard work. I do ask that all portfolios be returned the following day with all of the writing in it. We use the portfolios periodically throughout the year for students to self evaluate their progress and to establish new goals.
Students are beginning a new reading unit on nonfiction. During this unit students will continue making inferences and drawing conclusions from nonfiction. Students will summarize the main idea and give supporting details. Students will learn different ways authors organize text.
In writing, we are beginning a unit on essay writing, which will include informational. procedural and persuasive writing. Essays will follow a structure of establishing a thesis statement, supporting sentences and a concluding statement.
During book clubs this winter, students will be grouped according to their interests. In their groups they will read books on their topic and create a report to present to their book club. During book clubs they will learn research skills and the difference between direct quotes, paraphrasing and plagiarism.
ELA homework will be passed out on Monday and DUE ON FRIDAY!
Each week will alternate a reading passage with multiple choice questions and the next week a reading log.
Process for the reading passage.
Monday: Read the passage and take notes in the margin. Circle words you don't know and try to figure out the meaning of the word through context clues or a dictionary.
Tuesday: Read the passage again and answer 3 questions. Justify your answer by citing evidence.
Wednesday: Read the passage again and answer 3 more questions, justifying your answer. Thursday: Read the passage again and check your answers with an adult, using a red pen. Make corrections.
FRIDAY: TURN HOMEWORK IN
Process for the reading log.
Monday: Read 30 minutes
Tuesday: Read 30 minutes
Wednesday: Read 30 minutes
Thursday: Read 30 minutes
FRIDAY: TURN HOMEWORK IN
Please encourage your children to read on days when there is no homework assigned. It is so critical that students read every day. It improves their vocabulary, comprehension, logic, analytical skills and more. You could even set up a system with your family that matches minutes read equals minutes screen time.
SCIENCE/SOCIAL STUDIES Update
In Social Studies:
During the next three weeks we will look at the impact Mexico's independence from Spain had on Texas, we will take a week to review looking back on the European Exploration up to the Texas Revolution and then discuss the Alamo, Texas Independence day and the Texas Deceleration of Independence.
**WEEKLY QUIZZES** resume this week - encourage your student to participate in class and review the key vocabulary that is on the webpage.
We will look at weathering, erosion and deposition and the formation of soil and soil types. If your student finds examples of these concepts around your house or while you are out running errands, take a picture of it and email it to me. Have them identify what it is and we can use that in class! The more your student can "see" science outside the classroom, the easier it is for them to understand.
As a reminder, Encourage your child to review the vocabulary on the website.
FOR BOTH SUBJECTS - Students really enjoyed the challenge of working on "stretch" questions in December as part of our class routine, so we will continue those a few times each week. "Stretch questions" look a lot like a STAAR test question. They require the students to understand a concept and then apply it to the question to find the answer. Two-part thinking. We discuss the incorrect and the correct answers and the WHY. This will help your student feel comfortable with different formats of test questions and allow them to build and improve their critical thinking skills.
Help with the first Spring Creek Yearbook!
January 8th – Awards Assembly
January 11th – PTO meeting at 6:00 p.m.
January 12th – Spring Creek Spirit Day at Taco Casa (all day)
January 14th – UIL
January 18th – No School
January 27th – Sing-A-Long and Early Release
January 29th – Spring Pictures