February Thaw!

I am so excited that Spring is around the corner! I think we are all ready for some warmer weather!

We have had a great week of learning in room 16!

Last week and this week in reading we talked about the difference between knowing what happens in a story and knowing what the story is really about.  We looked for themes, lessons characters learn, and what a character can teach us to learn what a story is really about.  In The Lightning Thief, what happens is that our hero jumps out of the St. Louis Arch, not knowing for sure he would make it in order to save the lives of other innocent people.  What the story is really about is helping someone else and finding power in yourself to help others in the face of a bully. This can be some deep thinking for 4th graders, but is what we are striving toward in deeper comprehension.  With enough modeling and discussion, all students can do this independently.  We also talked about possible themes of courage, good vs. evil, friendship, loyalty, survival, choices, etc. to get them started. When you are talking to your children about what they read at home, push them to go beyond what happens in the story, to talking about what it is really about.  Ask them if the character learns a lesson, or if there are life lessons we can learn from the character.

In writing we have finished our informational book in Book Creator. Ask your child to share their book with you when they bring their iPad home this weekend. We have started a new writing unit as well. Students are learning how to write a literary essay. Students have been given a short story that they have read, written about, and discussed this past week. Students mined their writing about their reading to find a “big idea” that means something to them. They then took these big ideas and created a thesis that the could support with three reasons from the short story. They will be working on writing examples that support their reasons by citing evidence from the texxt. Pretty big stuff for 4th graders, but they’ve got this!

In math we have completed our Measurement Unit. Our new unit is Fractions! This week we reviewed what they learned about fractions in 3rd grade and we also learned what a unit fraction is (any fraction with 1 as the numerator) and we practiced decomposing fractions into the sum of unit fractions and the product of a whole number and a fraction. ex. 3/4 = 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4 (sum of unit fractions) 3/4 = 3 x 1/4 (product of a whole number and a unit fraction).

In Social Studies we have been discussing how humans interact with and react to their environments. This is one of the 5 Themes of Geography: Human Environment Interaction. We looked for examples of of this in a Video about Yellowstone and then took a quiz identifying Physical Characteristics and Human Characteristics in a video about Alaska’s National Parks.

The iPads have been successfully coming home! Your child will have an iPad assignment daily. Monday-Thursday I expect them to use Spelling City for 10 minutes to study/practice their spelling words. There will also be Math assigned twice a week. This week we worked on Splash Math -Fractions. If time permits this weekend ask your child to ‘play’ Prodigy (math game) for at least 20 minutes. The ‘battles’ on Prodigy are actually math problems that are directly tied to the skills we work on in class.

We also had the opportunity to visit the 7th grade Cardboard Carnival today. 7th grade students were challenged to create carnival games using cardboard and glue! The 4th graders were invited over to play!

Here is a look at our Valentine’s Day Party:

Thursday and Friday, March 3 and 4 – Half Days

Tuesday, Thursday, Monday, March 8, 10, and 14 – Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday, April 1 – Friday, April 8 – No School – Spring Break

Monday, April 11 – School Resumes