Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May Update!!!

May Update!

The weather is finally warm and we are winding down the school year and gearing up for summer!

Reading-  You may have heard from your child that we are reading the book, "There is a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom"  It is a story about a boy who is a bully, but changes his ways throughout the story.  The message is powerful and while the story has elements of humor, the kids are really learning to think about why the character acts the way he does.
We have also began looking at different text structures and author's focus.  Students are examining a variety of firsthand and secondhand accounts otherwise known as primary and secondary sources.  We have been looking at some primary sources from Ellis Island and Lewis and Clark.  The kids have been very interested in learning the history of these important times.

Writing- We are working on expository or informational writing.  Students completed their biographies and presentations and did an excellent job.  We are now researching a tidal pool creature to prepare for our upcoming field trip.  Learning to write expository pieces includes how to use colorful language in descriptions of animals and places, using transitional phrases, and writing appropriate introductions and conclusions for non fiction writing.

Math- After a long winter of really difficult concepts such as fractions and decimals, we have moved on to Geometry.  The students have learned how to measure and estimate angles, and identify and classify shapes.  We are also working on measurement and are spending a significant amount of time on area and perimeter, which can be difficult for students to distinguish.

Social Studies- After taking a break from S.S. to prepare for Science NECAP, we are back and beginning our study of the Midwest and then moving on to the West.  There will be a states and capitals test on both regions.  I will give the students ample time to prepare and plenty of practice maps. Students are working on making a slideshow of a Midwestern state of their choice using Google Slides.  They are creating word clouds and picture collages as part of their presentations.

 Science- We are just wrapping up Science NECAP testing and the students have worked incredibly hard.  We are very proud of them!  We will continue studying animals and plants, their adaptations, features, ecosystems, etc., and gear it more towards our tidal pool habitats, which we will be visiting soon!  Permissions slips are going home.  Please sign all paperwork and return as soon as possible so we don't have to worry as it gets closer.  Chaperones will need to have completed volunteer training and have a current BCI in order to participate in the trip.

 Upcoming Important Dates:

Philharmonic: Monday May 22nd
4th Grade Field Trip:  Friday June 2nd
Field Day: Thursday June 8th
Last Day of School: Friday, June 16th

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March Update!

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).

Monday, January 9, 2017

December/January Update

Welcome to 2017!  I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season!  

We are back in action in 4th grade.  Here is what we have been up to and what we are up to next.

Reading  We have been reading all types of different texts in 4th grade.  We finished our read aloud A Series of Unfortunate Events and watched the movie as well.  The students were surprised at how different the book and the movie were.  During guided reading groups, all students had the opportunity to read a novel on tape for their level. Students read Shiloh, Because of Winn Dixie and Stone Fox and we just finished those novels last week.  We will be choosing new ones soon.  During our meeting times in guided reading, we are reading and discussing leveled readers of mostly non-fiction content.  Students have read about therapy animals, civil rights, the government, weather and much more!  We usually focus on a skill like main idea and details, or fact and opinion as well as practice new vocabulary.

Writing   Our first trimester consisted of narrative writing and we did a lot of story telling, both real and made up.  Our second trimester will focus on opinion writing.  Students are learning how to present their opinion, while backing it up with facts and examples.  Students are learning how to appropriately write an introduction and conclusion for this type of writing.  Opinion writing is highly organized and students will have lots of practice with graphic organizers to keep their ideas in order.

Math-  We have tackled double digit multiplication and long division since our last blog update.  It has been tough, but the students really stepped up to the challenge.  Now, the even more difficult task of fractions begins.  Students still need constant practice with their multiplication facts in order to be successful with fractions.  Fractions rely heavily on the knowledge of factors and multiples, as students begin to find common denominators and fraction equivalents.  It is going to be difficult in the beginning, but eventually they will start to understand fractions as a bigger picture.  It will be followed by decimal notation, which then relies heavily on their fraction knowledge.

S.S.- We have spent the past month and half studying the land and climate, the plants and animals, and the people and products of the Northeast.  Students are learning how to create a website using Google Sites to showcase their research about a particular Northeast state.  They will then present their website to the class.

Science- We finished our land forms and erosion unit quite a while ago and took a little bit of time to review matter.  The students learned about properties of matter, observed how temperature affects molecule movement, learned how to measure mass and volume and observed matter changing from one state to another.  We are currently ready to begin our unit on energy and will explore electricity, magnetism and force and motion.

1.) No School Monday January 16th- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
2.) No School Monday and Tuesday February 20 & 21 - Winter Break

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.