1 More (short) Week Until Spring Break!

We certainly have been having some roller coaster weather! I hope that it all clears up by Spring Break!

In Room 16 this week we have been learning a lot of new things and applying many of the skills that we have learned all year to new tasks!

During Reading Workshop students have been using all the skills and strategies that they have learned through our the year to read and write about their book club book. Book clubs meet on Friday to discuss what they have read. This week we learned how to sustain our book club talks and saw some models of what a good book club discussion sounds like. The students are all doing a wonderful job of being prepared for and participating in their book club groups. I love listening to their talk about books! They have really grown this year in regards to their depth of understanding.

In Math we are wrapping up our unit on Fractions and Decimals. Look for our unit PRACTICE test to be on Monday, review and practice sheet on Tuesday with the final test on Wednesday. I have been impressed with how easily most of the students have picked up decimals. We have also been practicing simplifying fractions. Students are taking a simplifying Mad Minute each day. This week they had 5 minutes to complete the sheet, next week will be three and then 2 minutes after break. These sheets will come home each day and should be fixed and finished and returned to school the following day. The math test will cover: finding equivalent fractions, reducing fractions, decimals, fractions on a number line, line plots, comparing fractions and comparing decimals.

We have started our research unit in writing. Each student selected an animal from the Lincoln Park Zoo website and they are researching their animal using online and print resources. Students will use the information they gather to write paragraphs describing the habitat their animal lives in, and the animals physical and behavioral adaptations and how these adaptations help them survive. They will also be creating a food web or chain for their animal. All of this information will then be displayed on a poster (created in class). Students will then take a “Gallery Walk” and critique posters from the other 4th grade classrooms. We would love a little help from home! If you have the means to print your child will need to print 1 color photo of their animal and a map of their animal’s range or territory. Photos and maps should be no larger than 6 x 8. I appreciate your help with this!

In Social Studies we have shared our student iMovie projects and have moved on to learning about Human Geography. his week we discussed immigration and push and pull factors. We looked at many of the great migrations in the United States and focused on The Orphan Train. Ask your child to share their learning with you!

We will be having a Class Raffle on Wednesday. As always we are looking for donations of fun raffle items. Please see your email for a list of ideas! Really anything that your child would love to win is a great donation!


Thursday, March 31 – Chicago final payments due

April 1-10 – Spring Break

April 11 – Classes resume! Yes, we have school!

Tuesday, April 12 – NO SCHOOL – PD for teachers and SAT for 11th graders

March 18, 2016

I really enjoyed having the chance to see everyone at conferences and having the time to talk to you about your children. Thank you for partnering with me to ensure your child’s success!

This week in reading we started our book clubs. Children were divided into small groups and each group chose a book to read that none of them had read before. Students have been using all the “reading tools” that we have put in our “reading tool boxes” to help us be better thinkers during our reading. Last week we learned some more about author’s craft and have added the “tools” of flashback, imagery, poetic justice, and irony to our “tool box.” Today we had our first book club discussion about the first section of the book that they read. We are working on keeping the conversation alive and going into deeper meanings of the book. The more you say, the more you understand. We are continuing to read and talk about these books until spring break.

We have started our second fractions unit in Math. Students have learned multiple ways to compare factions, we have learned how to simplify or reduce fractions and we have worked with adding fractional data to line plots! Students will begin to take Mad Minutes on reducing fractions next week. We will also be creating videos that teach others how to simplify fractions and compare fractions that have unlike denominators.

This week in writing we wrote our literary essay “on demand” for the book A Bad Case of Stripes. Students had to create a thesis based on the theme or the lesson of the story. The reasons that they used to support their thesis  had to be universal, not just true in the book. Students were required to use examples from the book for their evidence to support their reasons. I am really impressed with the work they have done!

I hope you have had a chance to check out your child’s Social Studies project! Students were tasked with creating a travel advertisement for a state of their choosing using the 5 themes of geography. I am so impressed by all of their creations! The students really worked hard to showcase their research and convince us to travel to their state! I am thoroughly impressed with their creativity!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who has created a read-a-thon page! If you haven’t had a chance yet, please do so this weekend. I have sent another read-a-thon sheet home today, with your child’s code.  Remember, it is free to sign up and your child will receive a prize just for signing up!  The donations are really starting to pour in – THANK YOU! During the Read-a-thon we are reading an extra 15-20 minutes a day as a whole school at the same time!

Important Dates

Thursday, March 31 – Chicago final payments due

April 1-8 – Spring Break

Tuesday, April 12 – no school – PD for teachers and SAT for 11th graders

March 4th!

It seems like spring is truly just around the corner! We have had a few teaser spring like days and I think we are all ready!

This week in reading we learned about fantasy archetypes. Fantasy books follow a recipe, if you will. There is usually a hero, a mentor, companions and a quest. Students looked for examples of fantasy archetypes in the stories they are currently reading. We also learned about stereotypes in literature. We used the example of Disney princess all being beautiful with long hair. We looked for examples of stereotypes in our own stories. We also learned some Literary Elements: simile, metaphor and personification. Ask your child to give you an example of these.

The students have been hard at work completing their first literary essay! Students have come up with a thesis, reasons and evidence that support their thesis and learned how to write a list as evidence as well as how to insert quotes into their essay! Pretty big stuff for 4th grade!

We are finishing up our first fractions unit in Math. Today we took the book/practice test. Your child should know how to add and subtract fractions and mixed numbers as well as how to multiply a fraction by a whole number. They should also be able to solve word problems involving fractions.

The students have an exciting project that they are working on in Social Studies! Each student choose a state in the U.S. and they are creating a travel advertisement using a program of their choosing on their iPads. (iMovie seems to be a popular choice). we have spent the week researching our chosen state using the 5 themes of geography. They are now working on creating a 3-4 minute advertisement, using the 5 themes of geography, to entice people to visit their chosen state.

We also had an exciting opportunity to visit Mrs. Highhill’s kindergarten class and teach them how to put their written books in to Book Creator!

Remember conferences are next week!

Important Dates

March Is Reading Month Has begun! Information about our “One School, One Book” came home on Tuesday. Our all school Read-A-Thon information is coming soon!

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

April 1-8 – Spring Break