Here's what's happening in Room 24!
A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.
“Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape,
and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape.”
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
We have been reading Karen Hesse's Letters from Rifka as our mentor text for modeling and mini-lessons in both reading and writing. Letters from Rifka is set in Russia in 1919 and follows Rifka and her family as they flee Russia on a train bound for Poland with the hopes of emigrating to America. Rifka's family is Jewish, and they are escaping injustice, intolerance, and persecution.
Historical fiction provides so many poignant opportunities to delve into powerful themes, and our analysis and discussions of Letters from Rifka will provide a springboard to our smaller historical books clubs that will bridge and connect our reading unit to our writing unit on the literary essay. The book selections for our small group book clubs all have some connection to our social studies unit on immigration. Our fourth graders will begin their historical fiction/immigration book clubs, meeting to discuss their books and learning how to make their group discussions more productive and effective. A major goal of our book clubs is to work together to deepen our understanding and grow more complex ideas about the text.
As mentioned above, we will be bridging our historical fiction reading unit to our writing unit on the literary essay. During this unit, the students will have the opportunity to internalize the essay frame or format as they craft powerful introductory paragraphs including a hook and thesis statement/claim, reasons to support their claim in the form of paragraphs with supporting facts, examples, and specific details from the text, and effective conclusions that revisit and reflect upon the claim.
During this unit, the students will be able to "rehearse" the content of their essays verbally as they discuss, interpret, and analyze the text in the context of their book clubs. In addition, the students will create some "fast drafts" with coaching regarding timing, structure, and craft. During this integrated literacy unit, the students will be asked questions to guide their thinking and reflections. For example, What does the text seem to be saying about an issue or a particular historical time period? What life lesson(s) is the text teaching about human nature? As mentioned above, our small group and whole class discussions during reading will provide essential springboards for our writing.
A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language. ― W.H. Auden
Our writers have also been immersed in a poetry unit, and our young poets are budding and blossoming in Room 24! Poetry writing can indeed be very liberating and freeing for writers, and our poets have been letting their creative juices flow! Mentor poems have been shared and analyzed to better understand how poets paint pictures with words, use words purposefully and precisely to create mood, express universal thoughts and feelings for reflection, and evoke emotional responses from readers. They have been practicing poetic devices, such as alliteration, personification, metaphor, similes, sensory detail, repetition, white space, line breaks, and use of different perspectives. Our class is creating an anthology about seasons, which includes not only the four seasons, but all kinds of nouns (people, places, things), weather, sports, and even periods in one's life. Additionally, each poet will generate a theme idea on which to base their own personal poetry anthology that they will be able to share with you in the near future.
Students recently finished a Context of Learning unit that involved a real life scenario to use fractions to solve a problem involving the sharing of submarine sandwiches on a field trip as well as the creation of a Bicycle Fundraiser Track including markers at certain fractional intervals to explore the concept of equivalent fractions. In this unit, students developed an understanding of fraction concepts including:
- the size of the whole matters
- fractions may represent division
- strategies for comparing fractions
- fraction equivalence
The following are the student goals during this unit:
- I can show and explain my thinking about fractions with visual models, numbers, and words.
- I can decompose a fraction into a sum of fractions with the same denominator in more than one way (3/8 = 1/8 + 2/8 = 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8).
- I can use different strategies to solve the same problem.
- I can listen to and interpret the strategies of others and make connections.
- I can solve real world story problems involving fraction by using a variety of strategies.
Now, we are continuing our fractions unit with the following additional student goals in mind:
- I can show and explain why fractions are equivalent by using a visual fraction models.
- I can attend to precision when I compare and order fractions by using benchmark fractions and common denominators.
- I can add and subtract fractions and mixed numbers with like denominators using different models.
- I can multiply a fraction by a whole number by using a visual fraction model and then record the equation.
- I can create a line plot to display a data set involving fractions of a measurement unit.
- I can use a line plot to solve fraction word problems involving addition and subtraction.
On February 6th, the fourth grade will be performing the song Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears during the 9:00 All School Morning Meeting. Due to the large number of students and faculty in attendance, we will have a special performance for the families of our fourth graders on Thursday, January 31st at 9 AM. We kindly request the students come dressed as an immigrant from a country which reflects their family heritage on both dates. Also, they should have created a suitcase covered with images (such as the country names and flags) of the countries they represent. These should be brought to school no later than Tuesday, the 29th. Thank you!Science
We will begin our Focus on Energy Unit soon! Students will particpate in a variety of hands-on investigations to discover ideas about energy. Key ideas about motion energy, energy transfer, energy transformation, and the coupling of energy gains and losses, as well as work with representations of energy flow through a system, set the foundation for their work with energy in other contexts. It will be electrifying! More information will be shared in future.