Grade 3 / 4 October 2019: Owls, Pirates and Prime numbers

Happy November,

Third and fourth graders packed in a lot of activities this last month of October.

First off we had to say goodbye to our friend Nicolette who is on her way to Kansas City as I write this. But we also welcomed Peter F. to our class the next day, so he has helped fill the void! Mr. Gore had a small ceremony for Nicolette for her to receive her soccer certificate, photos attached.

We just finished up reading Owls in the Family, a favorite of mine by Farley Mowatt. The comprehension packets worked on throughout and the final quiz had the students recalling and explaining different parts of the story. For a final project, the students will be writing letters to one of the characters in the story.

The Pirate Maps and Captain Logs are also winding down. Once they determined where their treasure was to be buried, they labeled their maps and described how to get there using cardinal and intermediate directions. The Captain’s Logs are also quite interesting…I didn’t know that pirates stayed over in hotels and a few took planes to their destinations. All of that was easily changed in final drafts.

The board game called Prime Climb is a class favorite and a great way to practice prime and composite numbers. Multiplication is ongoing in Math class and next week we will be rounding numbers as well. I am working for solid numeracy, confidence, and competence with numbers and number relationships. I come at math concepts from a variety of angles because they need to understand the concepts from a variety of contexts. When they look at 48, they need to be seeing not just 8×6, but that is 2 away from 50, and thereby 52 less than 100 and one less 8 would be 40 and divided by 6 would be 8 and is the same as 4 tens and 8 ones and so on and so on. Number patterns and solid multiplication facts go a long way to help with that.

Portfolio work went home today and again I have asked the students to take some time, choose a few pieces that they particularly connected with for whatever reason and write a short reflection about that piece. If you have time to go over their work with them and have them explain and summarize some of the work they have done that is great.  It always helps to have an audience!

Please make sure everyone has warm hats, gloves, etc. – this week is supposed to be cold again.

Until then hope your weekend was happy, and a special salutation to any and all veterans in your families and communities.

Best, Katharine

p.s. link to slide show below

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RrdNEUA5oFVkE52v7

 

By |2019-11-14T07:26:44-05:00November 8th, 2019|

4th Graders winding down 2018-19 in style

Dear Parents and Families,

Thank you all so much for coming to our Create-A-State final presentations last week. I thought the students presented with much poise and confidence and I was glad you were there to see that. And of course, the Spring Concert always reminds us how many different and spectacular talents some of us are gifted with and work hard to develop.

The photos in the attached slide show reflect the wide variety of activities the 4th graders have participated in these past spring weeks. The temperatures finally got us into the BCD garden where we weeded then planted, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, onions and leeks, all with an eye to next years Thanksgiving Soup. Our trip to Chocolate Springs was not only delicious but the class realized how much they already knew about the amazing and complex process of making chocolate.

Thank you to the Newman/Lazar family for our final and, oh so delicious lunch bunch and to Natacha for sneaking in a make your own sundae celebration for Sadie’s birthday before the All School Assembly last Friday.

We have managed to do some classwork as well and there are some shots of the class working on different parts of our final unit on Geometry. The smiles are of the class enjoying seeing the video of our trip to the Boston Museum of Science for the first time. And, of course, almost everyone celebrated Twins Day in their own unique fashion.

We will be working on final Portfolios this week. It’s a meaningful exercise for them to recognize and reflect on their academic growth, which has been considerable for each and every student this year. It helps them think about what works and doesn’t work for them, and why. (Should I re-read this page?, should I write a short summary of what I just read?, does this answer make sense?, I’ll go back to this question later in the quiz, etc.) This is an important year for them to take some responsibility for their own learning. The days of, “My Mom forgot to put my homework in my backpack,” are over.

We are headed to Mission Restaurant in Pittsfield this Thursday for a  cooking class and delicious lunch, which seems like a fitting way to finish up our Service Learning unit on the Food Supply Cycle and Food Citizenship. Thank you Jill Duffy, Jen Glockner and all the parents who made this possible.

If possible, please send in some strong canvas bags so we can start sending home things before Friday. Hope to see you all at the closing Assembly (11:00) and family picnic at 12:00 on Friday.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/n5BiWPSmHS9AsLt9A

Best, Katharine

 

 

By |2019-06-03T13:20:23-04:00June 3rd, 2019|

4th Grade Poetry Slam/ April 2019

Dear Families,

“You’ve been slammed” the class announced as we surprised different classes with poetry recitations yesterday and today in honor of National Poetry Month. Tomorrow we’re surprising the Administrative offices, shhhhh!

In Social Studies the class is totally engaged in our final Create-A-State project. All of the physical maps have been completed and now we are on to road maps, regions and products and downtown maps. Landmarks, histories, and flags will follow and some may have time to produce a travel brochure as well.

This class has done a great job of converting our knowledge of factions over to decimals in Math class. We also did some measuring with yardsticks, rulers, and tape measures of each other and various other classroom items.  I like to save the Geometry unit for the end of the year and we will be starting that next week.

The class has gotten much more comfortable with our ELA reading book, Locomotion and the packet that goes along with it. The packet calls for using detailed evidence from the text to explain their answers which connects with all the work we have done this year on how to find the main idea in what we read and how to determine what are supporting details. Thorough reading comprehension includes not just remembering and understanding what you’ve read but identifying which statements support your understanding. They are becoming quite adept at providing evidence and explaining their point of view.

In the slideshow (link below) there are some shots of the class receiving their most recent issue of the Penguin Press. This paper is their creation and has become quite anticipated each week. Also included are some shots of our recent session with the Wise Bodies program. How does a flower reproduce? How many different parts are involved and what do they look like? These are some of the questions we considered and learned about.

As part of our Service Learning unit, we will be visiting Chocolate Springs in Lenox on Wednesday, May 15. Senor Silva and I will drive the class in the school vans. The class has already asked me if they can bring money to make a purchase. I am asking that each child brings no more than $10, if any, and I am hoping that Mr. Needleman might treat us to a small goody as well. The process of how cocoa pods become the delicious chocolate we all know and love is one of the more complex ones and a great example of the many steps of the food chain.

We will continue working on learning how to read food labels and what to look for as well as preparing a presentation of what we have been studying all year about the Food Supply Chain.

We are planning to leave on Thursday at 1:00 for our trip to the Boston Museum of Science which allows us to eat lunch at school and have some recess time as well before the long drive. We will still make a bathroom stop on the Pike on the way. I think most questions have been answered in class but if you still have any last minute concerns, please don’t hesitate to email or call. I will send as many photos as possible back to school and Ms. Hedidnger will get them out to you as soon as she can.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Jts3qTCNSS5HPzAa9

We will be back in time for dismissal on Friday, if we are any later, I will contact school asap. Last year the timing worked out perfectly, here’s hoping for the same this year.

Best, Katharine

By |2019-04-30T13:00:02-04:00April 30th, 2019|

Welcome April

Dear Families,

The 3rd trimester is up and running!

In Social Studies we have begun to incorporate all we have learned about map skills into our Create-A-State projects. Each student has created their own state and will construct a physical map, a road map, a landmark map, a downtown map, a map of regions and products and finally a history and a flag. We will invite you all to see the finished work later in May.

In Math class, we are continuing to practice simplifying fractions and finding equivalent fractions. We are also measuring with yardsticks and rulers and figuring out what all those little lines on the ruler really mean. Are we as tall as our arm span? Would I measure this table with a yardstick or a ruler?

In ELA we have finished up The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. The timelines projects came in today. Everyone shared their work and were duly proud of it. We have begun our final book of the year, Locomotion by Jacquline Woodson.

As you can see from classroom photos taken throughout the year, we use a combination of collaborative and independent learning in all our classes. I believe students need skills in both working in a team, and solving problems independently. Part of my job is to determine when to use each of these strategies and give them opportunities for both. Social Studies is often a great time to work cooperatively with atlases, answering questions about landforms, determining latitudes, labeling rivers and adding cardinal points. Opportunities abound in ELA and Math classes as well.

Before we start a new project I am often asked, “Can we work together?” Yesterday, we had an interesting discussion about the pros and cons of working collaboratively. Here are some of the comments: ” If you give someone the answer then they’ll never know it themselves for a quiz”, “Sometimes it’s helpful to work with someone else because they can show you a new way or a strategy for figuring something out you would never have thought of”, ” Sometimes you can give hints, or just guide them”, “It’s fun”, ” I like to work alone because sometimes I work at a slower pace” and “I like it when we come up with different answers and compare what you did.” It helped me explain to them why sometimes it works and sometimes, it doesn’t!

Finally, there a few snaps from last week when the class was receiving the first copy of The Penguin Press. In case you don’t know, that is our new in-house newspaper. In-house, in that it is totally written, edited and created by the class. I’m just the copier and that’s fine with me! If you haven’t seen a copy, just ask. It’s worth a read.

Finally, in backpacks tomorrow (Friday) I will be sending home the final paperwork/forms that have to be signed and returned for the trip to the Boston Museum of Science. If they could come back on Tuesday, that would be helpful.

Thanks to Dan and Angelica for a fabulous Taco Tuesday Lunch Bunch!

Have a great weekend,

Katharine

To view photos in Google Photo, click this link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cZb8Zs5HYF4Cpo5C7

By |2019-04-12T12:55:58-04:00April 12th, 2019|