Monday, November 7, 2016

November Update!!!

Here is what we've been up to and what we are up to next.

Important dates:

November 11th:  no school Veterans Day
November 23rd, 24th, 25th: Thanksgiving Break
December 8th: Parent Teacher Conferences

Reading:  We have been diving into our new Reading Street leveled readers each week.  Every Tuesday we do a whole class lesson in which we review new vocabulary that the students will encounter in their leveled readers throughout the week.  Then we have a minilesson on a specific skill.  So far we have covered main idea and details, cause and effect and drawing conclusions.  Throughout the week, I meet with each group and we read together as we dig deep into the text and practice our fluency.  Over the next few weeks we will be covering theme, in which the students determine the lesson or moral in short stories and longer stories as well.  We will also be determining the meaning of words in context, as we teach the students strategies for figuring out the meanings of new words.

Writing: Although, you have not seen their writing come home yet, the students have published three pieces so far.  We worked on some personal narratives, of which one you will see hanging outside of the room at Parent Teacher Conferences on December 8th.  They have published a fictional narrative about a pumpkin who lives peacefully in a patch, but might get picked soon.  We have also worked on a small research project, where the students learned about one of America's National Parks and had to write a post card home describing its land forms, wildlife and activities.  We have also been working on our grammar intermittently throughout each week and have covered such skills as, subject and predicate, common and proper nouns, there, their and they're and word choice.  The students will continually be working on how to edit and revise their papers throughout the  school year and use the appropriate tools such as dictionaries and thesaurus to make the necessary corrections.
Math:  We spent the beginning of the school year introducing place value up through the millions.  Students became comfortable with the concept of rounding, comparing, and adding and subtracting large numbers. Using knowledge of their facts, students studied factor pairs, multiples, and composite and prime numbers.  This knowledge of factors and multiples will be extremely important for the remainder of the school year.   Last week we dove into multiplication of a two digit number by a one digit number and by next week we will be learning how to multiply by two digit numbers on the bottom.  I will be teaching, what I consider to be, the traditional method.

S.S.  This past month, we have been using our S.S. text book frequently.  We use it many times to review non-fiction text features and how they can be used to help us understand our reading better.  Students often use the S.S. text as part of their guided reading center and answer quick multiple choice questions to help keep their reading focused.  In the text, we have studied basic geographical features of our country such as the plains, mountain ranges, the oceans, the continental divide, natural and man made regions and boundaries of states and our country.  Recently, we started learning about Rhode Island history and the five counties.  We will continue to study Rhode Island geography and history for the next few weeks and move on to studying the Northeast Region.
Science: We have been studying erosion all trimester and have one experiment left to do.  Students have been observing the effects of weathering and erosion on rocks and sand.  They have learned about slow and rapid changes over time.  They have discussed how humans and animals have contributed to erosion and brainstormed ways that erosion can be prevented.

Monday, October 3, 2016

October 2016 Update

Wow that month flew by!  Here is what we have been up to and what is coming up next!


October 10: No School Columbus Day
October 13: Picture Day
October 14: The Little Mermaid

~Please sign planner each night indicating students have read and done their homework.
~Students will be tested on wonderful words each Friday.  Packets also need to be turned in on Friday.
~Please return Friday Folders signed on Mondays.  Students lose 5 minutes of recess for an unsigned or missing folder.    

Reading- All bench marking tests have been completed.  The children are in groups based on their strengths and needs during intervention time.  We have started guided reading in class and students are reading from appropriately leveled readers from the Reading Street Series.  These are small books which accompany a unit questions and comprehension skill for the week.  Students complete vocabulary activities and questions about the specific skill as they read their leveled reader.
As a read aloud, we have started a Ghost Story/Mystery, called Something Upstairs by Avi, which was written right here in Providence, RI.  We will be studying RI history in our upcoming S.S. unit and this book ties in nicely to the subject matter.

Writing- Student's writing binders are set up and in working order.  We have continued to work on narrative elements, including good leads, juicy words, and setting the scene.  They have compiled their own thesaurus, which contains a list of "dead words" and found more colorful words to replace them with.  They have been composing a non fiction narrative about themselves to put in a newspaper article, which they have been working on.  These will be displayed during parent teacher conferences! We will be working on a fictional narrative next and will continue to reinforce narrative elements.

Math- We have completed our first chapter in the math book.  Students are able to read numbers up through the millions and write them in expanded, standard and word form.  Students have learned how to round to given place values and estimate sums and differences.  We are currently in chapter 2 of our math series and students are working on adding and subtracting with regrouping, as well as looking for patterns in place value.

 S.S.  Students did an excellent job with their continents and oceans test.  They are currently working on using non-fiction text features in the Social Studies text to help them to better understand their reading as well as being able to quickly go back into the text to cite evidence.  We are currently working on creating a land form dictionary.  By having the children become familiar with many of the earth's land forms, they will be able to better understand land forms in United States geography as we study each region.  This dictionary is also very important to their understanding of erosion in our science unit.

Science-We have begun using our FOSS science kits.  Students have investigated what different types of soils are made up of and predicted where in the world they come from.  We have also looked at how earth materials break down.  This week we are investigating the two types of weathering: Chemical and Physical.  We will then be moving on to several erosion experiments, in which we observe the effects of erosion and how it can be prevented.

Here are some pictures of the children completing a team building activity called Stack the Cups.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year!!!!

Welcome to Fourth Grade! 

I am very excited to begin a new school year with your children.  Here you will find information about what is going on in our classroom.  I will try to include information about what we will be covering in class and any other important updates you may need to know about.  This year I am hoping to have the students do some blogging, as writing for a purpose is highly motivating and we are fortunate to have the Chrome Books! 

Thank You!

I truly appreciate all of the supplies you have sent in with your children and they will all be put to good use!  We have color coded folders for each subject.  All of the students have been given a planner and will write their homework down every night.  Thank you for all of the tissues and wipes, as we are always in need of those throughout the year!


Please sign your child's planner Monday through Thursday to indicate that they have completed their homework and have read for a half an hour.  The planner can also be used as a communication log between home and school.  Planners will be checked daily for signatures and notes.  Written homework should not take more than 30-40 minutes per night.  If it does take longer or your child does not understand something, please send it in and I will gladly help them complete it during enrichment.  Math homework is taken from our math workbooks and usually contains a section of review at the top of each page in case students are struggling with the concept.  


This week students were assigned usernames for two math programs we use on the Chrome Books daily.  The first is Ten Marks, in which students solve problems and can watch videos or get hints to help them solve each problem. The program automatically grades them at the end and collects the data for me to view as a teacher and see which skills the students need help with.  It is awesome! The second program is Xtramath, in which the students practice multiplication and division facts.  This program really helps the students improve their fact fluency, which is essential to all 4th grade math.  We will also be using Google Classroom, Google Docs, Google Sites and other Google apps frequently this year in order for the students to show their understanding of content and bring out their creative side!  As always, I make it a priority to keep student safety in mind when creating anything on the Chrome Books.  We talk a lot about digital safety and digital citizenship.   New students will be receiving their Chrome Books very soon, but for now are using our class computers.  


Scholastic News! This year students will be receiving Scholastic News each week.  I feel this resource is a valuable way for students to learn about current events, while practicing their Non-Fiction reading strategies.  Students really enjoy the articles, photographs, debates and online component in each article.  

Scholastic Book Orders:  I am pleased to inform you that all Scholastic orders for your child can be placed online with our special class code.  You simply enter the class activation code NJYGH or click on the link below, which will bring you directly to our class page, then add your child and verify that he/she belongs in Mrs. Clapprood's Class.  This option allows you to pay with a credit card directly online.

Please note**** If you are unable to order online, but would still like to order books, please send in the order written on the traditional order form and I will enter the order online for you.  All orders help to gain bonus points for our class in which we can order free books and keep our class library current!  Only checks made to Scholastic Book Clubs will be accepted.  NO CASH PLEASE!!

Volunteering- Please remember that in order to volunteer in our classroom or attend field trips, you must have a current BCI check.  There is a lot of thought, planning and checking on the teacher's part when preparing for these trips and our children's safety is of the utmost concern.  So please don't wait until it is too late to get one done if you plan to join us for any activities!   The form is available on the school website!

Here's a quick overview of what we will be starting off the year with

Reading:  We will be reviewing comprehension skills that we have learned over the years.  We will also be using details from the text to answer and ask questions and form constructed responses as we learn about story elements and summarizing.  An important skill that is consistently emphasized this year is that students will cite evidence from the text when responding to their reading. 
Writing: So far we have been covering the basics: subject and predicate, sentence fragments and run on sentences, topic sentences and paragraph formation.  Once we have covered the basics we will begin working on the components of writing narratives.
Math: We will be starting with place value, rounding numbers and adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers fluently.  
S.S.We will be studying the geography of the world.  The students will learn and be tested on the seven continents and the oceans soon.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February Update!

Well, it has been a little while since the last update, so there is lots to share!  Here's what we've been up to.

Reading -The children have been working on their questioning skills.  They are able to create and ask questions of varying levels.  Some questions require students to look further into a text and some require them to think about themselves as the character in a certain situation.  We also are working on visualizing during our read aloud, How to Steal a Dog.  Recently the students learned about point of view.  It is important for them to determine how a certain point of view changes the lense through which a story is told and can possibly change our feelings about a character.  This week we are working on inferring, which is a review skill for the students, but we had some interesting conversations about the book that we read with the lesson, Coming On Home Soon. 

Writing- We have been working on Opinion writing this trimester.  Students have learned that in order to make a strong point they need to back their opinions up with facts and examples.  We have been practicing how to organize our opinion essays by starting with a great lead, a thesis statement, followed by 3 examples with elaborating details, facts and evidence under each example.  Students are provided with articles to help them form their opinions and gain knowledge to include valid evidence in their writing.

Math-December and January were pretty heavy months in math.  The children tackled double digit by double digit multiplication and mastered long division.  We are currently learning about numeric and non numeric patterns and will be moving on to fractions next.  Fractions can be a difficult and frustrating topic for students.  They may require your help with homework, but we will get through it.  Fractions are followed by work with decimals.

S.S.-During the month of December we studied the history of Rhode Island and our founding father, Roger Williams.  We discussed the Native American tribes that lived here and still do.  We learned about all of our state symbols, including the state drink, coffee milk and we learned about the land and geography of our great state.  We have since moved on to the south and have already had our states and capitals test.  In each region of the United States, the students learn about the features of the land, the climate, the people who live there and the plants and animals.  We will be moving on to the Midwest for our next region of study. 

Science- We just finished our first FOSS science kit last week.  The students completed hands on activities and investigations which covered electrical current, magnetism, sound waves, force and motion and light.  All units were part of the Energy unit in which students are now able to understand that energy is all around us, energy travels and energy can be transferred.  We are currently practicing our investigative skills using released Science NECAP experiments.  The children are getting to practice for the real Science NECAP, which will be in May, and will feel comfortable with the set up after using the released items to practice.   Our next FOSS kits should be arriving soon and we will be studying rocks and minerals.