Sunday, January 25, 2015

LA and SS 1/26-1/30

We send home another STAAR-like homework on Monday night this week.  Students will have until Friday to read the passage, jot down notes and answer questions.  We will check the answers and share strategies in our class discussion on Friday.  

In class we will be inferring with non-fiction text features.  We will review what we know about captions, photographs, titles and subtitles and then work to infer the author's purpose for including them in the article.  

We wrote our first kernel expository essays last week.  Our topic last week was something we can just not do without.  Your children really got into the work and their kernels are priceless!  Topics ranged from video games to books, hair gel to chocolate and water to puppies.  Our LOVES were all over the map.  This week we will continue to flush out other ideas and write another kernel essay.  After we compile a bank of possibilities your children will pick which topic they wish to take through the writing process.  

One of the biggest moments of success and fun was while I was listening to kids share their kernel essays.  Our WITS author, Mrs. Bolton, has been teaching mini-lessons on figurative language.  She's covered similes, metaphors and personification so far.  One of our students last week used a simile in his conclusion to drive home the reason he just couldn't live without books!  The quick writes they do with Mrs. Bolton each week are fun and imaginative.  It was so fun to watch them apply it to our new genre of writing last week!!

Spelling continues this week.  New words will come home on Wednesday, January 28. Spelling homework is due 2/3/15.  Spelling tests will be given on 2/4/15. Many children struggled last week to get back in the rhythm of spelling.  Please check in with your child to make sure he or she is on track to complete spelling homework on time.

Social Studies
During Story of America we will create trading cards to help us solidify our learning about the explorers below:
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)-An Italian explorer working for Spain who sailed to the Americas while trying to reach Asia from Europe.

William Clark and Meriwether Lewis – American explorers who, in 1803, led The Corps of Discovery in exploring the land west of the Mississippi River. They journeyed overland across North America to the Pacific Coast and back.

Daniel Boone (1734-1820)-An American pioneer leader who helped settle the state of Kentucky and created the Wilderness Road, a trail in the Appalachian Mountains that early settlers used to move west.

Juan de OƱate (ca. 1550-1626) A Spanish explorer who founded the first European settlements in the upper Rio Grande Valley, including the city of El Paso. 
A study guide will come home Monday, 1/26.  Our test will be on 2/3/15.

4th graders will take a practice STAAR test on Thursday.  We will have an alternate schedule.  Lunch will be at 12:45 and specials at 1:15 on Thursday of this week.

Math and Science Week of January 26th


We have finished our NRT testing and will return to our normal schedule this week.  There will be Math HW Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night.  There will be a Problem of the Week due on Friday as well as a Fast Facts Test this Friday.  This Friday's fast fact grade will be inputted into the grade book.

In Math we will continue working on Perimeter.  This week students will be given the Perimeter in some instances and be asked to solve for one of the sides of the object.  We will give them the double step strategy of adding first, then subtracting from the total.  Students will also use their knowledge of congruence to solve for the missing side as well, as in the picture below.


The irregular shaped object on the right has two sides that the students must solve for before they can add all the sides to find Perimeter.  They must study the object carefully and use subtraction to figure out the missing sides.  The triangle on the left gives the you Perimeter and the students must first use addition then subtraction, to solve for the length of the missing side.

In Science we have been studying weathering and erosion and how they cause slow changes to the earth's surface.  This week we will discover the opposite, fast land changes such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides!  

Schedule changes for the week just include Thursday, when the kids will eat lunch at 12:45 instead of 12:30 due to 4th grade practice STAAR testing.  

Ms. S


Monday, January 19, 2015

Math and Science Week of January 19th


This week in Math we will be moving on to the Customary Measurement system we use in the United States.  We will begin working in measurement as we use rulers to find the length of objects.  We will focus on inches, feet, yards, and miles.  Students will practice predicting the length of objects around the room, measuring with rulers, and then calculate the difference between the predicted and the actual length.  
We will also work on the concept of Perimeter.  We will talk about the border around our bulletin boards or the fence around the school to introduce the concept of a perimeter.  To find the perimeter, students will measure all sides of an object or shape and then find the sum of these sides.  To challenge your child on perimeter,  give them the total perimeter of an object or shape and encourage them to find all the possible lengths that could equal the given perimeter.  

There will be no HW this week and no Problem of the Week due to testing.  We will have a fast fact test this Friday so continue to study the facts nightly. 

We will be using our Science time this week to continue to learn the typing curriculum in third grade.  After this week, we will place the typewriters in Math stations and the kids will get their typing experience during that time a couple times a week.  NRT testing will be this Wednesday and this Thursday.  Please make sure that your child is present if at all possible so they don't have to be taken out of instructional time to make up the test.   

It's going to a short and sweet four day week!
Love, Ms. S

Friday, January 16, 2015

LA and SS 1/20-1/23

We send home our first STAAR-like homework on Tuesday.  Students will have until Friday to read the poem, jot down notes and answer questions.  We will check the answers and use the poem for discussion in class on Friday.

We will continue to look for similarities and differences as we move from writing narratives to working on expository pieces.  Students will create their first kernel expository essay (pre-writing) on the topic of something they couldn't live without!

Spelling continues this week.  Spelling homework is due 1/20.  Spelling tests will be given on 1/21. New words will come home on 1/28.

Social Studies
During Story of America we will begin to focus on explorers.  This week we will focus on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

NRT testing continues on Wednesday and Thursday.

Monday, January 12, 2015

LA and SS Week of 1/12-1/16

We will learn how to attach poetry this week.  We will look into what work and thinking can help us answer reflection questions about poetry.  Our hope is that this kind of analysis of poetry will then start to spill over into your child's work in fiction and expository.

We LOVE Mrs. Bolton.  The WITS program has been a joy to be part of at HCE.  Mrs. Bolton visits every Tuesday.  Last week she helped us realize that there are many things a good writer carries in his or her writing toolbox.  Students got a chance to dig deep into similes.  Some of my favorite that they created and shared were---
Yellow is as excited as me on a field trip.
Pink is joy like a seal with a squeaky toy.
Blue is as sad as a woman who has lost her husband.
Orange is exciting like a UT football win!
This week we will work on understanding and creating metaphors with Mrs. Bolton.
With me students will begin to compare narrative to expository writing.  We will look for similarities and differences as we move from writing narratives to working on expository pieces.

Spelling will resume this week.  Look for new words to come home on Wednesday.  Homework is due Tuesday, 1/20.  The spelling test will be Wednesday, 1/21.

Social Studies
We have begun a new unit of study in Social Studies.  (This is by far my personal favorite!)  Over the next 9 weeks, students will learn about pieces of American history through the lives of famous American's who made or continue to make a lasting contribution to our country.  To help students understand the wide range of time our nation's history covers, we begin the unit week learning about time lines.  
Vocabulary that you can discuss at home: time line, year, decade, century, past, present, future, and chronological order
This week we will focus on the life and service of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Math and Science Week of January 12th


We have reached the week of NRT (Norm Reference Testing).  Your child will be taking different sections of the test this week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Make up times will be scheduled the next week or the week of the 26th if your child must be absent.

In Math this week we are still studying pictographs, bar graphs, tally charts, and dot plots.  The students will be taking information in tally charts and pictographs and creating bar graphs and dot plots to match the information.  A test question to access this skill might look like this:

A dot plot graph looks like this:

Although we only have HW on Monday night, please continue to study fast facts.  Your child will have a fast facts test this Friday and it will be inputted into the grade book.  There is no Problem of the Week this week.

In Science this week we will be focusing on a new typing curriculum.  Your child will utilize the typing machines that third grade has to increase their WPM while typing.  The students will learn about the "home row" keys and the proper placement of their hands while typing.  We aim to avoid chicken pecking!!! 

It's going to be a busy week with testing and new typing curriculum!  Wish us luck!

Ms. S

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!

We will discuss poetry vocabulary and spend time reviewing and identifying parts of a poem.  We will then look for the hidden messages that we have to infer in our reading.

Our WITS writer, Mrs. Bolton, will join us again on Tuesday to get the kids thinking more about their portrait poetry and share about their holiday break.

There will be no spelling work this week.

Social Studies
The third 9 weeks brings us to a study called Story of America.  It's our chance to look into American history. We will start this week by reviewing timelines. The following vocabulary words will be helpful to review and discuss at home: timeline, past, present, future, year, decade and century.