Here's what's happening in Room 24!
“It was November--the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”
- L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Our fourth grade readers continue their work tracking their thinking through our interactive read aloud of Kate DiCamillo's The Tiger Rising.
This poignant and thought-provoking piece of realistic fiction is going to provide a “jumping off point” for many of our mini-lessons during Reader’s Workshop. During this unit, we will focus on interpreting text and reading intensely to grow ideas about character development, traits, and motivations, mood, and theme. Students will be asked to think deeply about complex characters and issues, and defend their thinking with evidence from the text.
We've also been focusing on ways to choose books and selecting "Just Right" books to read in class. "Just Right" books are comfortable, but provide us with opportunities to stop and think about what we're reading. Whether there's new vocabulary to learn in context or inferences we have to make by connecting our background knowledge to the text, it's important that the book selections we make give us some food for thought! We're going to continue to work on not only making appropriate book selections, but we're also going to strive to read a variety of genres during Reader's Workshop to expand our reading horizons!
In conjunction with the above-mentioned reading work of realistic fiction in Kate DiCamillo's Tiger Rising, the students are writing their own realistic fiction during Writer’s Workshop. Imagining stories from everyday moments is key to this genre. Our young writers finalized their ideas and developed believable characters by focusing on external and internal features. After, the students gave their characters struggles, yearnings, and motivations which will be revealed through scenes in their stories. Students will then sketched out possible plot lines by creating story arcs that represent the traditional story structure.
Throughout this unit, students will continue to focus on author's craft and effective writing techniques through the analysis of mentor texts. Strong leads, orienting the reader into the world of the character by grounding the action and dialogue in the setting, and crafting endings that leave a lasting impression will be focus areas. In addition, students will continue to strive to show, not tell by including small actions, using precise and purposeful word choice, and unfolding moments step by step. Letting the heart of their story shine through their characters' interactions, thoughts, reactions, and decisions will reveal the life lessons their stories will impart to readers.
In math we have been working on estimation and the partial products algorithm for multi-digit multiplication. Please see the Math Curriculum link to find essential vocabulary and a few helpful videos that demonstrate the methods students are using in class. So far, we have been creating open arrays to represent multiplication. Next week, we will explore the partial product algorithm for multi-digit multiplication.
- I can use the distributive property and the base-ten structure of numbers to explain and show multiplication strategies.
- I can model and explain multiplication using an open array and partial products.
- I can use multiplication and division with whole numbers to solve problems.
- I can use a number line to demonstrate my understanding of rounding whole numbers.
- I know multiplication facts and related division facts 12 x 12.
A major goal for fourth graders is to develop the automaticity of basic multiplication facts 0 to 12 by the end of the year. Any additional support our fourth grade families could provide at home would be extremely beneficial and very much appreciated.
Once we complete our science unit next week, the students will begin a study of immigration and how America is truly a "Nation of Immigrants". Through web sites, literature, videos, and primary sources such as journal entries and photos, the students will learn about what life was like for a new immigrant in America - both historically and in the present day. Students will be learning about the push/pull factors of immigration, the experiences of immigrants entering through both Ellis and Angel Island, the contributions of immigrants, and their rights as citizens. To enrich this unit of study, please share family stories of your family's immigration history and cultural heritage!
Bridge fourth graders will be visiting the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston on December 4th. They will be viewing the exhibits and participating in a program entitled Pathways to Citizenship, a 45-minute chamber simulation program. This program will not only reinforce the rights acquired by immigrants who become citizens, but explore the pathways to citizenship for immigrant populations. Our fourth graders will be introduced to Immigration Reform and will work in sub-committees on the Senate floor with an EMK Institute program facilitator on a bill that will define a pathway to citizenship for three groups of undocumented immigrants; DREAMers, farm workers, and a general undocumented population. Following discussion and debate, the group will reconvene as the full Senate, recommend their agreed-upon provisions, and vote on the full bill. This promises to be an engaging, interesting, and exciting learning opportunity, and one we hope will inspire our students! The field trip notice will be coming home soon! We will be able to take 3 parent chaperones. Please consider joining us for this rich and timely educational program.
Our fourth grade geologists recently explored Whipple Hill, Lexington's highest point, to observe the concepts of weathering and erosion in their own Big Backyard! It was exciting to look for evidence, and to imagine the massive glacier that once covered the area, leaving behind exposed bedrock and even alien rocks. Our geologists are continuing to learn about fossils, which are evidence of change on a grand scale and can be used to inform us about life and landscapes of the past. Finally, students will explore how Earth’s materials can be changed into non-renewable energy and how sunlight, wind, and water can be changed into renewable energy sources for the future. The change theme will carry into future physical science standards as students investigate energy, its motion, energy transfer, and conversion in different physical contexts. SCIENCE ROCKS!!