Spring Creek Cardinals
4th Grade Newsletter
DECEMBER 2015 EDITION
Thank you for your communication and support of their learning.
We are continuing to learn how to multiply those bigger numbers using various methods. The students have learned how to multiply using a “Multiplication Mat” and “Partial Products”. Ask your child to show you their favorite method. This week we are learning how to use the traditional algorithm for multiplication. I’m sure more of you would be familiar with that method of multiplication. I have told the children that once I teach them all three methods, they are welcome to use any of the methods to figure out the answer to a multiplication problem, using whichever one is most comfortable for them. Therefore, if your child has chosen another method than you are familiar with, please contact me with any questions on how to use that method so you can help your child. Please don’t try to “correct” them into doing it the way you know. They will be much more successful with multiplication if they can choose the way the solve a problem.
We have also begun working on daily “bellwork” to take word problems and break them down to solve them correctly. Right now, they are using the “QISP” strategy to solve the problem. QISP is a mnemonic for breaking down the problem into the four parts of “Question, Important Information, Solve and Prove”. If you want to help them at home, you can always find word problems on-line and have them solve them using the “QISP” strategy.
Finally, the week before our winter break, we will begin division beyond the fact families that they have begun on their fluency homework. Again, when I teach division, I will be teaching a couple different strategies for division. The students will be learning to divide probably a little differently than you did when you were in elementary school. Again, if you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email and I will gladly meet with you to show you what we are doing in math.
4th graders are deeply involved in writing realistic fiction. Each student has carefully planned their main characters wants, attitudes, and internal/external traits. Using a story arc, students have planned the rising action, climax, and falling action for the plot of the story. Each day they are writing scenes for their story. The goal is to be finished with a published book before our holiday break. Ask your child to share with you their character and story line.
Students participate in a book club each Friday. During book club students discuss their book in a small group. Students are continuing to evaluate and analyze characters actions, thoughts and words to develop theories about characters. You should hear the amazing discussion happening! Monday thru Thursday, students are reading independently or working on book club projects and assessments.
The current homework has students tracking how many pages they read in 20 minutes. Research shows that a 4th grader should be reading 15 pages of text in 20 minutes or about one 120 page novel per week. Their goal is to meet this standard from now until break. Students should continue to read fiction for their homework in order to complete the homework assignments.
Your child recently brought home the Aggie Dream Team Reading Log. Please encourage your child to read 450 pages between now and Jan. 6. If students read 20 minutes 5 days a week, homework should get them to 375 pages. If they read on the weekend or 30 minutes a day students will easily reach the goal of 450 pages. The elementary school with the most participation will earn a visit from the Aggie Men's basketball team. I know I want the opportunity to meet the team!!
Help needed: one volunteer to lead a small guided reading group 30 minutes/2 times per week from 1:30-2:00. Curriculum is well written and easy to follow.
Supplies needed: fine tip dry erase markers for handwriting practice
SCIENCE/SOCIAL STUDIES Update
In Social Studies:
The next three weeks we will look at the threats to Spain's control in Texas, Moses Austin, settlement and colonization of Texas and the impact of Mexico's independence from Spain on Texas.
In Science, we will take our first CBM* on Friday (12/4).
The week of December 7-11, students will apply their writing skills to science and create their own non fiction book based on a science vocabulary word that we have studied this semester. We have "easy to read" books from the library to use as a mode (mentor text) and special guests who will drop in throughout the week to help in the writing process. My goal is to have the books complete and ready to read to head start, kindergarten and first grade students at Spring Creek the following week.
As a reminder, Encourage your child to review the vocabulary on the website.
*CBM stands for curriculum based measure. I'd like to have the 4th graders take this assessment so that all of us (you, me and them) can see where they are in the curriculum with their understanding.
FOR BOTH SUBJECTS - We have started working "stretch" questions as part of our class routine. These 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!
December 10 - 4th grade Music Performance (2pm & 7pm)
December 14 - PTO meeting @ 12 noon
December 18 - Early Release Day
December 21- January 4 = Winter Break
January 5 - School resumes