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!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Life Cycle of Plants

Science:  We completed our first science test on plants Unit 3, Lesson 1 Plant Structures.  Students who scored a D or a B can retake the test this week on Friday.  (Remember we score with a Beginning, Developing or Secure at the elementary level.  An S for Secure is the goal.)  
     We are now studying Unit 3, Lesson 2, How Plants Reproduce.
Study guides were sent home on Monday and more are to follow.  We enjoy doing some "draw and write" work in Science to help us remember our facts and keep us focused.  Students are working on this science packet and should finish that on Wednesday.  We will see science slides, finish our packet and look more closely at parts of a flower.  We hope to dissect flowers soon.  We are also watching bean sides grow in the classroom and will look at parts of a seed (not on the test!). 

IF ANYONE HAS LILIES GROWING.... or any other flowers still growing outside that would be good for dissection... please let me know!

TEST on Unit 3, Lesson 2 next week Wednesday, November 8.

Math:  Seeing some things come home that aren't in Module 3?  That's because I am checking on various skills to see what students need support.  For example, we are supposed to be able to subtract multi-digit numbers.  I recently checked all on subtracting 3 digit numbers.  Some need support to go "over zeros" so I'm double checking that soon.  I will also be checking to see where students are at in their understanding of fractions. 

Book Fair is open all this week!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Red Ribbon Week starts tomorrow!

Red Ribbon Week starts tomorrow.  Students are asked to wear red.  Information about this week has been sent home to you through our school emails.

I enjoyed meeting everyone at conferences!! I had one yet this week and one more to connect with!  

On Monday, we'll cash in our Dojo points and practice a bit more for our assembly.

On Tuesday, our fourth graders will help to present an assembly on 'acceptance' beginning at 8:45.

Wednesday is a science test on Unit 3, Lesson 1 Plant Structures and photosynthesis.  Various study guides went home and a pretest was taken.  Looking for more?  Check out my science web page.  We enjoyed going to the school garden last week to look at fibrous roots, tendrils, vines, tap roots, leaf shapes, etc.  One group still needs to take this on site field trip!  We'll move next into Lesson 2  - How plants reproduce next.  We will hopefully be dissecting flowers for this lesson.  We will plan on starting another set of seeds going so we can look at the seed parts up close as we talk about Lesson 3 - Life Cycle of plants

Thursday is an Early Release day and our Halloween party (no costumes!) will be at 11:00.  Thanks to our parents for helping to put this together between our two classrooms.  No school in the afternoon or on Friday.  Teachers will be working on professional development/training.

Friday - no school. 

This month is always a very full one with so much going on!  (Conferences, Fire Safety, Red Ribbon, Halloween, ....) Fourth graders were also involved in doing the announcements daily.  

I am really enjoying this great group of kiddos who come from great parents!  Thank you for sharing them with me!  

Reminders:  Check your child's assignment notebooks.  Let me know if they are not using it as I impress upon them the importance of it and dating it! --and we had another big talk about it last week.  Also please check Take Home folders.  While I do have times where parents throw things away that they shouldn't, I have more of a problem of things being in there that need to stay home.  When I see student work I at least put a star or something so you'll know that I did see it.  

As you now know in more detail from our talks at conferences time, there are many more things happening in our classroom besides just what is on the report card.  And, especially with math, there are many things happening at many different levels.  I continue to work to help you see what we are doing and how all these needs get met.  I'd like to send the math binders home this week.  Please look at them and make sure they get returned next week Monday.  I plan on putting a comment sheet in there for you. Thank you for your support at home as students work on Khan Academy.  Several parents have asked for more math homework.  Your child can bring their math binder home any time.  This is a place where I provide practice in various areas as well as work chosen specific to each students greatest area of need.  You can also find supplemental work on my math web page.  I am able to easily update these pages to keep them current so please check there for support in any area. Your homework also is to look over work that comes home and discuss any errors.  Be sure your child understands them.  If neither of you can figure it out... or I've made a mistake... just send it back with a note.   Practicing math facts for speed and accuracy is also vital to student success as we move forward to more involved and difficult work such as multiplying double digits by double digits, working with factors and multiples, and working with fractions.  Again, ideas are on my math web page in the form of printables (see Parent Resources at the bottom left side) or links to math games to help (top of page, left side). 

That's all for now!  Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Fall Conferences Are Next Week!!!

Sign up for conferences with your homeroom teacher right away please!
Conferences are Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 - 7:00 and Friday morning 8:00-10:00
Sign up through Skyward.

Friday, September 29, 2017

So long, September!

And there we go.... September has come and gone and we welcome October in on Sunday.
It sure seems that once school starts life goes pretty fast!

All children's MAP scores have been entered into Khan Academy and all of them know how to access their MAP Recommended Practice via the search box on Khan.  This has been such a great new and easier way for me to assign work specifically at the level they are at in all the math domains.  Further differentiation will be done in the classroom through small groups and through using the math binder.  Please try to spend some time each week on Khan Academy as homework.  My goal is for students to get in 60 minutes a week through home and school.  This should be very easy to do as we have a few minutes almost daily that we spend on it at school.  Our math class consists of a mini lesson, book pages, math binder work and Khan Academy.  Daily I meet with some students to confer one on one or with a small group for an extra mini lesson topic.  Every other lesson, I will be adding some supplemental work for all especially in geometry which is lacking in our book and probably our other focus will be fractions (Numbers and Operations).  

You should have access by now to your child's MAP data through Skyward.  I will also provide this for you at conferences. 

We spent some time talking about scientists.  We talked about what scientists do and we talked about different areas of science.  We had a great article about Grizzlies in our Scholastic News which we started on Thursday.  (I usually do a Scholastic News or Science Spin on Fridays or last day of the week.  These are filled with high interest current events.)

Next week we'll talk about why we study history as we prepare for our field trip on Friday. Students need to dress for the weather and bring a bag lunch and beverage unless they order one from school four days in advance.

Thursday there will be a fire safety presentation at our school.  

Please make sure you go online and sign up for a parent teacher conference (October 10, 12, and 13 with your homeroom teacher.  The other teacher will be providing something in writing for you to let you know how your child is doing.  Should you then want to schedule a conference with them, you can do so by contacting them.  Those conferences would, most likely, have to be scheduled for the next week.  (No school on Friday, October 13.)

Looking ahead:  Halloween Party on Early Release Day, October 26.  I could use another room parent for my homeroom!  No school on Friday, October 27.  

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The first days of ... autumn??

Here is a video students watched as part of learning about our brain and talking about having a growth mindset as we kicked off our fourth grade year! (See previous post.)

Reminder to check my Google + Profile as there are a few photos from when we visited our buddies in my homeroom.  Photos appear there now and then from various activities.  I also am able to post a few photos right as things are developing during our days through Class Dojo so please join there and if you haven't yet, please enter your email here at this blog so you'll be emailed when new posts appear.

You should have received a note about our first field trip coming up on Friday, October 6 at the Wade House Historical Site.  Look online for photos about this great historical spot.  Please pay for this activity online through Skyward.  A school lunch order form was also included.  The kitchen will provide a sack lunch for your child which will be put in a cooler for us to take with if you order.  You must order at least four days in advance of the trip.  

The hot days have been unbearable in our rooms as they get even hotter than the outside temps.  We take breaks in cool spots now and then and we're careful to stay hydrated.  It is very difficult for us to focus on learning with the stuffy, hot rooms!

As noted in our Wolfpack news that you receive, it is time to sign up for conferences. Please do so by going online.  

We look forward to our first assembly this upcoming week.  
No school on Friday, September 29.  Teacher Professional Development day.

Brain Jump with Ned the Neuron: Challenges Grow Your Brain

Friday, September 15, 2017

Our studies this week....

We continued to look into information about hurricanes in an effort to understand extreme weather and have empathy for the struggles people are facing as they were displaced and then return to clean up what is left.

In social studies, we have been working on mapping skills.  
We have reviewed different types of maps as well as parts of maps such as title, key, legend, scale, compass rose and intermediate directions.
We are also reviewing landforms.  We'll soon direct our studies to Wisconsin and the unique landforms we have due to glacier formation.  

We've checked to see if we know the continents and oceans so we know where in the world is this hurricane happening... and where in the world is Wisconsin!  

In math, we have been reviewing our multiplication facts involving x 4 and x 8 (double double, and double, double, double).  Don't understand that? Ask your child how to use this method to multiplying 4 x 28 or 8 x 32.
We then extended that knowledge to do something like 16 x 15.
We will also discuss multiplying by tens.  If we know what 1 x 7 is, we should easily be able to do 10 x 7.  We continue to work with place value as well to understand that each digit increases by a power of ten as we move along a multiple digit number.

MAP testing is almost done.  I am able to like closely to Khan Academy using the MAP scores to pinpoint exact areas that students need work on.  Please help your child reach the goal of 20 minutes on Khan at least 3 times a week.  In addition, there will be time here at school to work on it as well.  I get a weekly printout of the minutes spent and a Dojo ticket will be given to those that meet this weekly goal. 

We will meet our buddies on Friday, September 15 (today).  We are excited about that and we will do an interview activity to get to know each other better. 

We're planning our first field trip for Friday, October 6 to the Wade House.  I'm in the process of booking the bus and getting that quote so I can then get a parent note out.  Payment can be made online through Skyward.

Some people mentioned trouble with making an online Scholastic Book Order using the code I gave.  That was the right code but I did "refresh" my activity so I'm hoping that will work now. 

We've had some lovely days outside, but warm weather in our classrooms but we've been doing a great job in spite of it!  What a great group of kiddos!  I'm enjoying getting to know them all!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Moving Along in Math

   Our first module in math is reading and writing six digit numbers.  We are learning to "represent" them in a variety of ways - on an abacus, using digits, writing the words and writing it out in expanded form.  
   Our math binders have been put together and provide us all with work at our level, extra practice where we need it and challenges to make us really think!  We have a section of brain teasers and a section of resources.  We'll continue to expand this as we move on.
   We are all signed up in Khan Academy and I am asking all students to work 20 minutes 3 times a week on Khan Academy at home as math homework.  I am able to assign specific tasks to students helping them where they need practice at whatever level they are at.  Khan Academy has work in connection with Stafford University and supports our MAP testing (Measures of Academic Progress).  Paper homework will come home now and then and may be different for different students depending on each student's need.  Every other lesson in our math book has two extra supporting pages of various math problems and topics.  We were all expecting these pages to be perforated so we could easily send them home but this is not the case!  When books come home you may also see some work that I have crossed out for students.  This is yet another way I am differentiating and individualizing instruction.  
   Our MAP testing will be completed within the next week, enabling me to review data and work to individualize instruction.  I'll provide you with this information as well.  
    We will work together to write in our Assignment Notebooks daily.  However, I will not be walking around the room and checking each student's book daily.  Please do ask to see the book daily and sign or initial.  If you want to send a note, students know to bring the book up to me to see.  If there is a consistent problem of a student not writing in the book, I will ask them to show it to me daily and I can initial to show that I saw it.  We are working to encourage our fourth graders to be responsible for themselves! Together, as a team, we can coax this along as the year progresses. 

Welcome to an exciting year of learning!

We are off to a fantastic start for our last year of learning at GES!  This blog will give me an opportunity to connect with you regarding the learning going on in our classroom. 
This is a fantastic group of students and I am excited to get to spend this memorable year with them.  I have been in the GES building for about 16 years, so it is a bittersweet time thinking about leaving the building, however, we are headed to new and exciting places!

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...