Newsletter #17 Monday, March 20, 2017
Dear Fourth Grade Families,
Homework this week: Students will practice reading comprehension and multiple choice questions, as well as typing practice online.
Here are some happenings in 4L:
ELA (Reading and Writing)
Students will read grade-level passages and practice multiple choice, short answer questions, and longer response writing. Some of these passages will overlap with science and social studies standards. This will help students prepare for the ELA MCAS tests in April (ELA 4/4, 4/5, and 4/6). I will send home examples of our MCAS prep so that you can see what the test content will resemble.
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Apply grade 4 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions].").
Apply grade 4 Reading standards to informational texts (e.g., "Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text").
We will use graphic organizers (i.e. brain frames and EMPOWER) to help plan our writing.
Social Studies: U.S. Geography
In grade 4, students study the geography and people of the United States. This month we will focus on U.S. states and regions, as well as map and globe skills. We watched a fun video on YouTube that helped introduce the states and capitals to the students (“Tour the States” – Official Music Video).
Engage NY Grade 4 Module 5: Fraction Equivalence, Ordering, and Operations
In this module, students build on their Grade 3 work with unit fractions as they explore fraction equivalence and extend this understanding to mixed numbers. This leads to the comparison of fractions and mixed numbers and the representation of both in a variety of models. Benchmark fractions play an important part in students’ ability to generalize and reason about relative fraction and mixed number sizes. Students then have the opportunity to apply what they know to be true for whole number operations to the new concepts of fraction and mixed number operations. We explore the following concepts in a Cathy Fosnot investigation prior to starting this module.
· Fractions are relations – the size or amount of the whole matters
· Fractions may represent division with a quotient less than one
· With unit fractions, the greater the denominator, the smaller the piece
· Pieces don’t have to be congruent to be equivalent
· For equivalence, the ratio must be kept constant
Spelling and Vocabulary
In fourth grade we focus on expanding our vocabulary by tuning into interesting words as we read. We will review content vocabulary (connected to Social Studies, such as longitude, latitude, continent) as well as word parts (prefix, suffix, Greek and Latin roots, compound words, homophones, synonyms, antonyms).
Science: First Peas with Island Grown Schools (IGS)
Last Friday, IGS educators came to our class to introduce their annual curriculum regarding Thomas Jefferson and his "First Peas to the Table" contest. The introductory lesson consisted of reading the book by Susan Grigsby, First Peas to the Table, discussing the contest, and then diving into the botany of peas and engaging the students in the process of selecting pea varieties for our class to grow over the next few weeks. Over the next few weeks Melinda will be working with the students to prepare the garden beds for their peas, and then planting the peas. IGS will be back in April to do some measuring and documentation, as well as a bit more of the history of this contest. Then again in May, and in June for harvest! We are very excited for this opportunity!
Our state MCAS testing in ELA will take place on Tuesday 4/4, Wednesday 4/5, and Thursday 4/6.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at school at x216.
I wanted to take a moment to emphasize that I promote a growth mindset in the classroom.
What is growth mindset?
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for the setting of goals and the reaching of great accomplishments. Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in classrooms. Students who believe that intelligence is a potential that they can develop do fare better when faced with challenges. Students can be taught that their intellectual skills are things that can be cultivated - through their hard work, reading, education, confronting of challenges, etc. When they are taught this, they seem naturally more eager for challenges, harder work, and welcome obstacles.
That being said, in Fourth Grade, independent consistency in performance takes time to develop. The fourth grade curriculum is rigorous. For example, students are taking on multi-step word problems in math, multi-paragraph writing, and answering reading comprehension questions that require critical thinking skills. For some, proficiency happens mid-year, and for others later in the school year. All students in 4L are putting tremendous effort into their learning, and for that they should all be very proud!
We believe that challenges are opportunities in disguise and that our potential to learn is limitless. The way we approach challenges is with effort and perseverance. Our strategies and mistakes are shared and understood so that we stretch and grow our brains. We know that hard work and effort leads to growth and higher achievement!