Friday, April 13, 2018

Creatures have inhabited our room!

Learning About Metamorphoses

We have mealworms to watch.  They are the larva of the darkling beetle.

We also have two cups of caterpillars (10) to watch.  
They are the larva of the painted lady butterfly.

We are learning about complete and incomplete metamorphosis.  Too bad I didn't order a praying mantid case, too!

Fourth Grade News
From Ms. Zozak

April 11, 2018

Welcome back!  It’s hard to believe we are on the tail end of our year
here in fourth grade at GES.  There are so many things yet to do and
many activities coming our way! Stay tuned in to our school news
emails so you’ll know what is coming up.

Math:  We have started Module 9 which is primarily about fractions--
strategies for ordering, comparing, calculating equivalent fractions.  
It ends with some work in converting mass and capacity in the U.S.
Customary system. We’ll be moving through 9 as quickly as we can
so we can move into talking about decimal fractions and do some
higher level work with fractions.  We’ll also need to review geometry,
and measurement of angles and graphing to prepare for our final MAP
test which will be the week of May 1. Continue to practice math facts,
especially division. Factors, multiples, prime, composite… do you
know these terms?

Students can continue to work on Khan Academy but are also
experimenting with a new site called

Science:  How do animals reproduce?  Lesson in our Science book
followed by studying complete and incomplete metamorphosis.  
 Animal report due the end of April. All students will make an animal
folder to keep the report in in class.  Students choose an animal of
their choice. Links are available on my science web page for research.
Keep track of links you use and books you use.  They should be listed on
your report. Some time will be given in class to work and this can be an
option during I Time as well. We continue to check in with the Decorah
eaglets.  All three eggs hatched over spring break and the eaglets are
doing well. We watch the live cam and note our observations on a
google doc.

Social Studies:  We are still learning about the Civil War in the U.S.
and the Underground Railroad.  We did side studies on Harriet
Tubman and Clara Barton. An essay is due Monday on the differences
between the north and south.  A graphic organizer and information sheet
was provided for this assignment and time in class will be given to work
on it but a little time at home “polishing” might be a good idea!  It can
be shared as a google doc or printed out and turned in or hand written.

Madison Trip:  Our trip is May 4.  We’ll be sending home a note by the
end of this week.  

Team Time:  We met on Monday for a team experience about colors.
 We each were given a certain color as we entered the room.  First
we grouped ourselves by color and realized as just one color, life could
be a little boring.  Putting all of our colors together made a rainbow
and that was much more interesting. Some photos were posted on
Classroom Dojo Stories for parents to see.  Next we were grouped
according to a number which facilitated small groups of rainbow colors.
We did a reader’s theater style reading where each color thought
they were the most important.  Rain brought in a storm and all the colors
saw that a rainbow is a reminder of how all the colors can work
together to something quite beautiful and strong. Lastly, we worked
collaboratively to form a colorful poster.
On Monday, we’ll meet with Mrs. Noel and talk about how our
personalities and leadership style can be quite “colorful” as well.  

We will practice for severe weather on Thursday.  

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Marching On

We've had a busy month... planning for our Madison field trip, getting ready for the state Forward Exam, working on team building and earning Dojos for our March incentive.
Monday will be an assembly day in the afternoon and a day my homeroom will meet with their buddies.  We will also begin one of two session of Human Growth and Development for the week.  Thank you to all of you for keeping an eye on several notes that came home to you this month to help with all of this planning. Information also came home via our school Skyward Account Message Center.  This system emails you directly rather than you going to a site to check in.  (The blog works that way as well if you sign up to receive an email when I post.)  Although emailing through Skyward isn't as fun as getting photos on a blog, it seemed to be more effective in contacting parents.  

Forward Exam is almost done!  We'll finish up on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and then say goodbye with NO SCHOOL on Friday and off to our spring break adventures.

Thank you to all of you for keeping an eye on several notes that came home to you this month to help with all of this planning. 

We enjoyed a Hawaiian Day on Thursday and included some hula dancing and we were serenaded by ukulele players, too!

I really appreciated all of my birthday notes and greetings from all the students!  Very sweet!

So--four more days and we'll take a break!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Goodbye to February!

Math:  Module 7 started with division - dividing in half, by 4 and by 8.  We all understood what to do but many of us are stuck because we don't have our multiplication facts down solid!   We started working on some easy fraction work on Friday to "warm up" our brains on this topic.  We'll continue work on them this week.

Science:  We continue to do a bit of work on matter.  This week we will talk about chemical and physical properties of matter.  We've also begun observing the eagle live cam in Decorah Iowa.  Through Google Classroom, we'll make observations at times to learn about the life of the bald eagle and it's habitat. So far, two eggs have been laid.  It is rare, but this pair usually lays three eggs.  

Social Studies:  We had an assignment due on Friday, writing a one page paper about our "wondering" we wrote on a 3-2-1 paper we did on immigration in Wisconsin.  All students were given a handout explaining this assignment on Friday, February 15.  We had about three times during the week where we were given time to work on this and to ask questions and get help, besides having I Time available to work.  The assignment was due 2/22.  We'll continue on discussing Wisconsin becoming a state and then move into talking about the Civil War era.

Edutyping:  We are trying our best to fit in some edutyping time!  Reminders are always given whenever we use the computer to use the home row and good posture!  Students have access to this program at home as well. 

Other news:  This week there are conferences for some people on Wednesday night, February 28.  Forward exam begins the week of March 20.  All fourth graders take exams for the state in ELA, Science, Social Studies and Math.  

All students in the school are working to earn a large DOJO point incentive including a root beer float!  We'll find out this week if we made it!
Our fourth graders did not earn their personal goal of 1000 points to have an ice cream party.  We'll try again to earn something next month such as an hour of coding.
Wednesdays students have been offered an indoor drawing and coloring recess as an option with me.  There is less room on the playground than in the past so this is to help with that on one day anyway!  We will also go to the courtyard as an option on Thursdays with some students, weather permitting. 

I will start a journaling project with fourth graders this week to keep track of our memories of our fourth grade year and to help with some emotional and team building work.  We will also schedule a time with Mrs. Noel, Ms. Neumeyer and Mr. Balerian for team building activities.  It is hoped that we can learn to focus more on being a strong team, kind and supportive of one another and respectful to all.  


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thank you, parents, for helping us to have a great Valentine's Day!
Valentine's Day fun!

We've had a busy week!  We finished Module 6 in math and tested on that.  We're excited to get the new book for the second half of the year next week!

We just finished working with measuring angles with a protractor, using logic to tell measurements without a protractor and reminding ourselves about acute and obtuse angles.  This math falls under "Measurement and Data" as well as Geometry.  We also work on line plots and analyzing data.  We'll continue this work so we won't forget and add to it as we go.

Module 7 starts with fraction work which is an area we all need to work on!  We'll be working with mixed numbers, adding and subtracting including some borrowing - primarily with common denominators.  I will move into working with different denominators as well. I'm always looking at that next step to challenge our great learners!  

We are also busy in math working on areas that I have found to be the "next step" for your child in different areas of math according to the MAP test results.  We are all trying to focus and give our best effort for the rest of the year!  We want to try our best, persevere and finish strong! 

Continue to work on Khan Academy about three times a week at home on MAP Recommended Practice.  THIS IS HOMEWORK!!!!  In addition, if you know your child needs to practice math facts, please do so.  Ideas?  Check my math web page for a lot of links and resources such as printables.  Videos can be found there also to help with some things such as--did you forget how to measure with a protractor?  Check it out!

We also have had things added to our math binders that we need at our level.  These binders can come home any time you'd like for extra practice at home as well.

In Science, we'll be doing one more short lesson on chemical and physical properties of matter and then moving on to a new unit!  Stay tuned.....   

In Social Studies, we viewed a video on Google Classroom about Immigration in Wisconsin and wrote out a "3-2-1 Form" about what we learned - three facts, two things we found interesting and 1 thing we are still wondering about.  Now we are working on a report due February 23 based on our "wondering".  The answers to our questions are in our WI book which is available online and through some internet searches we are using to supplement our learning such as on kid friendly browsers like KidRex and Kiddle.  We have had time to work on this in class with direction and help from the teacher. 

More photos were posted on Classroom Stories in DOJO.  Are you a member?  We are trying to earn points for a schoolwide rootbeer float party.  Within our fourth grade each class is trying to win enough points for an ice cream party this month.  

So-- early release today, Thursday, at 11:50.  No school on Friday.
Teachers will be involved in professional development all afternoon today and all day Friday.

Report card work is due for us by midnight Wednesday night.  In addition, we have been requesting conferences with some students and that needs to be confirmed early next week.  You should have received a letter from your teacher stating a conference is or is not requested at this time.  You may request one if you'd like.  Conference night is February 28.
There is no time off during the day for conferences at this time.  I am certainly willing to meet with anyone that can't make it that night or at any time you have concerns.


Things are rolling quickly now as we plan for the state testing in March - the Forward Exam.  It feels like time is beginning to fly by as I plan for that and work between now and spring break.  The Forward Exam is extensive for fourth graders - testing in ELA, Science, Social Studies and Math.  It will take over two weeks to complete the testing.  I'll remind you as I'd like to make sure students are well rested and have a good breakfast and bring a snack!

That's it for now!  Enjoy your long weekend.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Time to catch up!

Hello Parents!  With all that has happened in the last couple of months, I totally forgot I had a blog!  Let's see if we can catch up!

My surgery recovery is slow going but going well.  I'm finally going to try to drive this week but I'll still be in and out of my big boot! (I had a bone spur and part of my heel removed on December 1 which involved unattaching and reattaching the Achilles's tendon. ).

Last week we said goodbye to Mrs. Sladky and thanked her for jumping in to help us out.  We are so thankful and appreciative that she did so.  Also last week, Natalie Frank joined us and will continue with us until the year's end.  We feel fortunate to have her as she is full of fantastic ideas, enthusiasm and determination and I'm so impressed with the great job she's doing.  We are lucky to have her!

These transitions have been hard for a number of students who have been acting out by ignoring directions and comments by the adults, talking when they should be working and not following our general classroom and hallway rules etc.  Friday, January 19, grades 3 through 5 met together to have reminders about following the Wolfpack Way in the hallways, bathrooms and classrooms.

We did some team building work early in the week talking about feelings and skills we have individually and then realizing how much stronger we can be as a team.  We all shared in a workshop called a Kindness Retreat on Thursday.    This retreat included all fourth graders in our district.  An organization called Youth Frontiers comes to conduct this workshop set up by our school psychologists.   All day we are team building through talk, dance and music. We work in large group and in small groups where high school group leaders are trained to take over.  By the day's end we are able to quietly share ideas for how we can show kindness, how we can thank someone in our lives for showing us kindness and how we can say we are sorry to someone for not being as kind as we could have been.  We carried this theme through Friday where we wrote a reflection of our day and talked about ways we can carry on being kind.  We started a chain in the hallway where each link is an act of kindness we can do at school.  We brainstormed ideas and I hope to see that chain grow in the coming weeks.

Friday we had an assembly about determination and perseverance.  We also learned about Jump Rope For Heart.  Materials came home to explain this event.

MATH:  We finished Module 5 which involved fraction work and metrics.  We are now working on Module 6 and learning to multiply using the partial products method.  Here is a video that shows you how we are doing this. Partial Products Multiplying  The video explains how to do this and what our goals are by the end of fourth grade.  Please continue to help your child multiply using the algorithm  you learned especially when doing double digit by double digit.  It is a lot less writing using that method.  We continue to work in the math workshop model - 15 minutes mini lesson, then small group rotations of book pages, math binder work and Khan Academy.  Looking for more?  Check out my math web page or ask your child to bring their math binder home.

MAP Testing:  You'll receive information this week about your child's MAP scores from January.  I'm busy analyzing these scores and will update them in Khan Academy shortly.  You'll get a student profile and an information sheet.  If you have questions after you see this info, just let us know.
You'll be able to check the breakdown of the different areas of math and reading to see where the highs and lows are.  We use this information to direct our instruction.

MATH HOMEWORK:  Reminder - math homework is to work on Khan Academy for 20 minutes three times a week.  Students are to work in the MAP Recommended Practice.  I get an email each week that tells me how many minutes total students are doing.  We need to get going!  I do allow time in class each day (10-15 minutes) to use Khan Academy so this should not be a tough task!

SCIENCE:  TEST on Wednesday.  Students read an article, read a book lesson and were given a study guide for this short test on Matter.  In addition, I have linked videos on their Google classroom site that support our learning.  Students did a great job last week working on one specific video about matter, taking notes and then transferring those notes into a "quick write" about what they learned.

SOCIAL STUDIES:  We spent December working on the history of Wisconsin and keeping all of our studies in red Badger binders!  We are about to talk about the lead rush and how Wisconsin moved from a territory to becoming a state.  Looking ahead, our Madison field trip will be Friday, May 4 and we'll return by 4:30 so you can be ready for a PTA sponsored dance/event that night.  Cost for this trip is yet to be determined but will be around $34.00 per child.  Coach buses have been reserved!  Each child will be able to bring one adult with them on this trip (at no extra cost) and it's a very enjoyable day.

ILLNESS:  Please follow our school guidelines about keeping students home when they are ill or for the appropriate time before they return.  We are cleaning our tables daily with wipes to disinfect.  If you have an extra canister to donate it would be appreciated.  We are only halfway through the flu season!

END OF TRIMESTER:  February 15 - that means we are working on assessments and getting ready for that second report card.  It also means we have one trimester left so we will all be trying to give our best focus and effort on the work that lies ahead!

Thanks for your support!  As always, feel free to contact Natalie Frank or myself with any concerns.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Where's the math homework?

I've gotten remarks here and there from students saying my dad or mom wonders why we don't have math homework.  I discussed this at conferences and have blogged or sent home a note about it before so here is a reminder.
Here is your homework:
Daily - check your child's take home folder.  Any math sheets should be looked over and make corrections on errors.  Practice math facts for speed and accuracy (with flash cards, games, online links - see my web page - like math magician, or print out worksheet (links on my math web page).  We also have a math binder that can come home any time for math homework.  Please use Khan Academy at home at least 3 times a week for about 20 minutes.

Reading homework impacts math and all other subject areas.
Science and Social studies will have homework including studying.  Any reading done in these areas (an article coming home, etc.) counts as reading minutes, too.

Opinions about homework have changed over the years and one of them is this.  I don't send home the same homework to all students.  We don't all need the same thing.  I try to send homework to all (different things) on the same day to be "fair".  I feel if the students are working hard during the day for 90 minutes of math, and you follow my "homework" daily work above, you have plenty to do!

I feel this is plenty to do at home.  You also need to have quality family time making great memories!  And just some time to relax!

Have a great weekend!

Creatures have inhabited our room!

Learning About Metamorphoses We have mealworms to watch.  They are the larva of the darkling beetle. We also have two cups o...