Just when you thought spring was around the corner...
Here's what we've been up to in 4C!
Reading-We have been focusing on Folk Tales and Tall Tales. Students have been learning about the elements of Folk Tales. We have read several different tales and have been practicing how to compare and contrast the two using signal words. We have also been reviewing theme throughout these readings as usually there is a lesson to be learned.
Another skill we worked on this past month was first and third person point of view. We have looked for clue words to let us know which point of view the author is writing from and discussed how a story can change depending on whose point of view the story is told from.
We have been working in our guided reading groups on various types of texts. When we meet we work on developing thick questions, finding new and interesting vocabulary words and discussing our thoughts as we read. We have four different reading groups going on with four different chapter books. When I am not meeting with the children to read their chapter books, they continue to read the Reading Street leveled readers, most being non-fiction texts. As they read these texts, they work on various reading skills such as generalizing information, summarizing, comparing and contrasting and note-taking.
Writing This trimester we worked on writing opinion pieces. Our most recent writing project involved the idea of students having to wear uniforms to school. The students read an article on the pros and cons of school uniforms and then determined which position they wanted to take. We then split into groups and students developed an oral presentation on the reasons why we should or should not wear uniforms to school in order to persuade their peers. They worked on trying not to read directly from their paper, making eye contact with the audience and speaking loudly and clearly. The audience developed constructive criticism and compliments to give their classmates. Mrs. O'Hara and I graded them separately on their presentations, which is why you will see two rubrics attached to that piece of writing. The third trimester involves expository writing, where the students will be doing quite a bit of research in class.
Math The other day one of the kids said "Wow we've come a long way in math." Yes we really have! Fourth grade is a remarkable year for the amount of math the students are required to learn. I remember starting the first week of long division with the groans and looks of bewilderment from the class and now it is a piece of cake for them (so they've declared)! We have completed two separate chapters on fractions, including equivalent fractions, simplifying, adding, subtracting and multiplying fractions, mixed numbers and improper fractions. While fractions is difficult and there are many concepts to try to keep straight, the students have a good foundation and can usually figure out the right function to perform. We are now completing a unit on decimals and as we move into the final part of the year, will study geometry, measurement, angles and patterns. Although we are constantly using our multiplication facts for fractions, please continue to have students practice their facts at home using flash cards. It is so important that their facts come automatically to them without much thinking time.
S.S. We completed our unit on the South and will be moving on to the Midwest soon. Many times, our S.S. readings are completed during guided reading groups. The students use their knowledge of non-fiction text features to help them understand the text as they read. The students also created brochures for a southern state, which are hanging up in our classroom. We also just recently finished our presentations of our Northeast state websites. If students log in to their Google Accounts at home they can show you the website they created for their Northeast state. During their presentations, their classmates gave them "Two Stars and a Wish" on a post it note. They wrote down two things they liked about the website and one thing that needed improvement and then anonymously stuck it to the presenters desk. The kids really enjoyed reading all of the comments from their classmates.
Science We are just about finished with our FOSS Energy Kit. Students have created parallel and series circuits. We have tested materials that are conductors and insulators. We have also looked at the inner workings of a light bulb and read a bit about Thomas Edison. The students then explored magnetic force, conducted tests to determine which kinds of materials are magnetic and learned a little bit about attraction and repelling. Then we moved on to force and motion, where students tested how friction, incline, speed and weight can affect a moving object using cars and ramps, balls and ramps and pushing each other on scooters (it was a crazy day).