Here's what's happening in Room 24!
“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year.
The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple...”
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Curriculum Night is Thursday, September 27, at 7 p.m.
Picture Day is Friday, September 28th.
Please complete the Big Backyard Forms (by October 1st).
Reading is thinking, and that will be one of our mantras this year in fourth grade! As readers, we use strategies to comprehend and actively engage in text. Students will be learning how to apply these strategies in class during interactive read-alouds and during independent reading. Some of the strategies will include visualizing, questioning, inferring, making predictions, and making connections. Students will also be learning to leave “tracks of their thinking” as they tune into their “inner voice” or their “inner conversation” with the text. Both fiction and nonfiction texts will be used to address purposes for reading and text structures. To enhance and deepen comprehension, students will enhance their metacognitive skills as they "Stop, Think, and React!" to 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!
This year, the students will be immersed in a variety of literacy experiences, and they will be engaged in the research process as well. We are set to launch Writer’s Workshop and our first unit of study will be on the qualities of effective narrative writing. It is imperative that the students view themselves as authentic writers with their own stories, ideas, thoughts, and feelings to express and share.
It’s also important that, as writer’s, students engage in the process of writing and learn the craft. With a focus on mentor texts, students will analyze the writing style of authors such as E.B. White, J.K. Rowling, Jane Yoland, Sandra Cisneros, and others. It's so important for the students to appreciate the connection between reading and writing, and to recognize that reading helps you become a better writer!
Our 4th grade mathematicians participated in Stanford University's Week of Inspirational math, which is all about inspiring students to be the best mathematicians they can be through creative mathematical thinking. Via a variety of engaging tasks, students are encouraged to see math as a broad, interesting and visual subject that involves deep thinking. The important concept of having a growth mindset is introduced and reinforced throughout the year. It's so important that students embrace mistakes as opportunities for learning, persevere through challenges, and grow their brains by discovering relationships and connections. The Week of Inspirational Math tasks are low floor and high ceiling, meaning that they are accessible to all students and can extend to high levels.
In math we've been working on the concept of place value in whole numbers, and students are practicing writing large numbers in standard form, word form, and expanded notation. Rounding large numbers and developing algorithms for multi-digit addition and subtraction will also be key focus areas, in addition to organizing, displaying, and analyzing data via line plots and bar graphs. Reinforcing vocabulary is essential to developing and enhancing understanding of mathematical concepts and skills, so mathematical vocabulary will be a focus throughout the year.
This year our fourth graders will begin learning about the Earth’s changing surface. Change is the thread that weaves the concepts together in this unit. Through a variety of investigations, students will expand their understanding of Earth’s materials and the forces that shape and change the landscape over time.
We began the unit by exploring Earth's materials. Students have been working as geologists to examine rocks and minerals and learn about the characteristics that can be used to describe and identify them, such as luster, hardness, reaction to vinegar, and color. As scientists, they work in teams to discuss observations and record data in their science notebooks. We will continue to engage in the scientific process throughout the year by making observations, asking questions, creating hypotheses, conducting experiments, recording and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions.
Students will investigate both the slow forces of change in the processes of erosion and deposition and the rapid forces of change caused by earthquakes and volcanoes. Students will make observations and collect data as they look for evidence of change in their own schoolyard as well as the local landscape of Whipple Hill. Eventually, students will be asked to consider the New England coastline and apply their understanding of Earth’s materials and forces in order to design a solution to slow or prevent shoreline erosion. Fossils 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!!