Team4@Cornelia 1/15/16

Mrs. Carlson, Mr. Erickson, Ms. Gesme, & Mrs. Laven

News You Can Use

MAP Tests begin next week.
All fourth graders will take the reading and math MAP tests in the next few weeks.
  • January 19 and 21: Reading MAP tests in Laven s classes
  • January 20 and 21: Reading MAP tests in Erickson's classes
  • January 26 and 27: Math MAP tests in Carlson and Gesme's classes

Report Cards

First-semester report cards will be available on Schoolview on January 29.


In lieu of a March parent-conference day, Cornelia teachers will have 6 office hours during February and March. We will invite parents as needed. However, if you have a specific concern about your child, you may schedule a conference with your child’s homeroom, math, or reading teacher via email.

POPS Concert

Fourth grade students have been invited to attend a special performance of the Edina High School Band and Orchestra on Thursday, February 25 at 9:45 - 11:45 am. See more information at the end of this newsletter.

Thank you

Thank you to the fourth grade room parents who provided and served a snack for our Winter party in December. We appreciate you! Students enjoyed a fabulous show by Merlajean's Parading Puppets. If you have not yet paid your child's party dues, please do this as soon as possible. $10 covers the cost of 4 parties. Such a deal!

Why is Independent Reading so Important?

Read and comprehend self-selected texts at fourth grade level. This is one of the reading standard benchmarks that guides our instruction. During each 90 minute reading class, we dedicate 20-30 minutes to independent reading. While students are reading self-selected texts, the reading teachers are conferencing with students with a variety of goals in mind:

1. Are students reading texts at their just-right level? While we don't assign students a lexile, letter or number, we do listen to students read to be sure the book is neither too easy or too challenging.

2. Are students comprehending their book? This is the ultimate goal of reading. To assess comprehension, we ask students questions about the text related to the reading standards, such as:

  • What's happening in the text? (Summarize the text)
  • Tell me about the main character. (Describe a character in depth)
  • When and where does the story take place? (Describe the setting in depth)
  • What is one of the themes of this book? Explain. (Determine a theme)
3. What vocabulary strategies are they using? We want students to expand their vocabulary by noticing and learning new words. While context clues (the words in the sentence) can sometimes be helpful, we also teach them to reread, read ahead, ask someone, or use a dictionary to help them.

These 3-5 minute reading conferences serve as teaching and assessment opportunities that help us plan future reading lessons based on student needs.

Please continue your children to read at home 30 minutes or more EVERY DAY. Numerous studies show the benefits of independent reading, including improving comprehension, increasing vocabulary, even developing empathy. Consider planning a family Reading Night at home where family members engage in reading aloud, independent reading, and paired reading. Remember to include poetry, magazines, newspapers, even recipe books or how-to books.

See the Hennepin County Library website for great book lists for children.

Math Update

4th graders are working on the lessons in Unit 6 at this time and focusing on the following:

-Solving multiplication and division number stories

-Introduce the division algorithms: partial quotients division method (see video below) -Introduce the concept of remainders as fractions or decimals

-Practice drawing, measuring and naming angles using half and full-circle protractors

-Introduce and practice using latitude and longitude and utilize letter-number pairs and ordered pairs on a grid system

The first week of February students will begin Unit 7. This unit is a review of fraction ideas previously introduced, and extends knowledge by developing a good understanding of equivalent fractions. Unit 7 also provides informal activities related to chance and probability. Unit 7 has four main areas of focus:

1. Review fractions as parts of a whole (ONE), fractions on number lines, and uses of fractions.

2. Guide students as they order fractions and find fractional parts of sets and regions.

3. Provide practice identifying equivalent fractions.

4. Review basic ideas of probability, comparing predicted and actual results, and guiding the application of fractions to chance experiments.

Fraction Lessons: videos

Fraction of problems: video

Everyday Mathematics Parent Resources

"The For Parents section of the Everyday Mathematics website is organized by grade level, so that parents can easily find resources and information most relevant to their child. Under each grade, you will find a detailed overview of the goals specific to that grade level, tables to help with homework and concepts for each unit, a Student Gallery of classroom projects and activities, Everyday Mathematics Family Letters in English and Spanish, as well as a compilation of Do-Anytime Activities to help supplement classroom activities."

Writing Overview

This fall, all grade levels started using new writing materials from the Center for the Collaborative Classroom. These materials have a dual purpose: teaching students to be excellent writers while providing opportunities to practice social skills such as collaboration, peer conferencing, sharing ideas, and using positive language.

The first several units focused on Building a Writing Community, Learning the Writing Process, and Writing Personal Narratives. Now we are moving on to Informational writing and researching about a country. Other units include Poetry, Opinion Writing, and Fiction.

Since we do most of our writing on Chromebooks, your child can share the wonderful stories s/he has written in google docs. When you read this work, remember that your child is a developing writer. Look for positive aspects of your child's stories that we have practiced this fall: sensory words, interesting beginning, replacing overused words with more interesting vocabulary, interesting endings.

Science Overview

In fourth grade students work on four science units throughout the year.

Matter and Energy: In this unit students learn about atoms, molecules, states of matter, substances, mixtures, The Periodic Table of Elements, kinetic/potential energy, phase change, and freezing/melting points. Here is a link to one of our favorite videos: Oxygen Ms. Gesme teaches this unit.

Magnetism and Electricity: In this unit students investigate permanent magnets, build electric circuits powered by D-cells, and explore electromagnetism. The students are fascinated with building circuits and eager to learn how they work. At the end of the unit, students apply their learning and problem-solving skills to a hands-on, real world engineering experience. Mrs. Carlson teaches this unit.

Earth Materials: During the earth materials unit students learn about rocks and minerals and identify minerals by physical characteristics. Fourth graders take apart homemade Mock Rocks to investigate rock properties, they conduct a scratch test to determine the relative hardness of rocks, they study the effects on the mineral calcite when placed in vinegar, and they determine which minerals are in granite. Ms. Gesme teaches this unit.

Water: During this unit students use hands-on investigations to help them learn the following key concepts: water has surface tension and flows downhill, water expands as it is heated and contracts as it cools, water also expands as it freezes making water unique, and warm water is less dense than cold water. Students also explore the water cycle, investigating what happens during evaporation and condensation. Finally, students work in teams to use the engineering design process to create simple water filters. They learn that environmental engineers work to prevent and solve pollution problems. Mrs. Laven teaches this unit.

Fabulous Field Trips

Mill City Museum: Students participate in a hands-on lesson in the Water Power Lab, experience, the Flour Tower, View "Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat", tour parts of the 19 century mill, and view the birthplace of Minneapolis from the 8th floor balcony. This trip supports the Water Unit in science.

Bakken and Pavek Museums: At the Pavek, students learn the history of electronic communication, record a radio broadcast show, and participate in a tv quiz show. At the Bakken, students learn about static electricity and make a Leyden jar that stores electricity. This trip supports the Electricity Unit in science.

Edina High School Live Concert: Students see concerts performed by the Edina High School Band and Orchestra during a special show for Edina fourth grade students. This event introduces students to the band and orchestra directors at each elementary school and offers students and opportunity to consider what they might be able to accomplish by participating in band or orchestra beginning in fifth grade.

The Works: Students participate in a hands-on engineering lesson and explore the interactive exhibits. This trip addresses the fourth grade science engineering standards.