As you know, report cards were sent home yesterday. I ask that the first page in the pile with your child's name on it and your signature is returned by next Friday the 20th. If you have any feedback or questions, please contact me via email or by phone (978-463-8212, leave a message with Mrs. Quigley).
"Music Share" Talent Shows will be held during next week's rotation of Explore Classes. Ms. Sokolowski has explained to each class what this is (so they should know!) but she wanted me to send you some info about it in case anyone asks:
*Each student may bring in a song to sing, a dance, a musical instrument to play - anything musical they want to share in front of the class. In the past, students have been really creative: a drum routine using footballs, karate done to music, original songs, etc!
*Students who are nervous about performing or do not want to get up in front of the class may bring in a favorite/meaningful song and play part of it for the class. They may explain to the class why the song is important to them, giving them a chance to share some of their musical preferences without being put on the spot.
*Please refer any questions to jso
I'm dreaming of hot coffee and hot chocolate this morning. After yesterday's wind and chilly temperatures, I'm disappointed that this week's forecast appears to be for more of the same. Autumn did its best to stave off Old Man Winter as long as it could.
Whether you are staying close or traveling afar, I hope that you and yours enjoy a wonderful, relaxing and festive holiday weekend. Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Hanukkah!
Pajama Drive: Last week, a green notice was sent home about our class and Mrs. Levitt's participating in the Scholastic "The Great Bedtime Story" Pajama Drive this December. For every new pair of pajamas we deliver to Scholastic, Scholastic will donate a book to the pajamas' recipient, too. Receiving a warm pair of pajamas and a brand, new book would be wonderful for any child. We didn't specify particular sizes that were needed because every size from adult to newborn is needed. If it is possible for you to participate, please do. Thank you!
Math: Students have begun work with Multiplication, as you may have noticed with the multiples chart they completed for homework last week. Some groups are beginning to look at the idea of Division through the lens of Multiplication, too. Important vocabulary that has been emphasized so far: prime, composite, factor and multiple.
Reading: Every reading group identified and read a sample of five non-fiction text structures last week. We reviewed description, sequence, compare & contrast, problem & solution and main idea. Because this was just an introduction, you may see short, non-fiction resources, like an article on the fennec fox, for example, come home without an attached corrected worksheet. We used these materials together to dissect the types of non-fiction that are available; and to find evidence from each article to support each structure.
Writing: This week, we're overlapping our writing and science with more time to research and write the tide pool essays.
Science: Students are collaborating closely on their tide pool essays. Each partner is responsible for creating a cover page and about the author by himself/herself. The essay and bibliography will be completed together. I'd like your child to bring in a photo of his/her tide pool animal by Wednesday so that he/she may have a reference when sketching their report's cover page. Most of our time during this short week will be spent drafting and revising the essays.
Mexican Artisans to visit on Monday
In the spring, students will study the country of Mexico in Social Studies. On Monday, they will meet two Mexican brothers who carve traditional art out of wood. (They travel to the United States in the fall only, which is why we'll see them now.) Examples of the variety of what they do can be seen at any of the Margaritas restaurants (Nearby locations are in Portsmouth, Salem, and Exeter, New Hampshire.). They carved the artwork that hangs on the walls and the chairs in which patrons sit.
The men will be at the Molin all day long for presentations to every fourth grade classroom. The group who attends the morning session will see the start of the carving from its tree trunk form. Our class will see them at the end of the day so we’ll be able to see a more finished, but still rough, product.
Students are welcome to bring in up to $20.00 to purchase some of the smaller items pictured above. (I suggested they bring in small bills, likes fives and ones, to make the transactions faster.)
What is a Factor in Multiplication?
It is a number by which another number is multiplied to get the answer/product/multiple.
Every student has begun reviewing the multiplication tables through 12. Some groups have begun using the 72 Boxer quiz, others are focused on the repetition of writing the multiples of every factor from 2 through 12 (2x1, 2x2...up to 2x12 in a row).
How could you support your child if he or she is having difficulty with memorizing their facts?
There are just a few tables that require rote memorization: 6*6, 6*7, 7*7, 7*8, 8*8, 8*9, 9*9. The rest can be solved by relying on the other tables (to solve something multiplied by 4, think of what it is times 2 then double that answer, for example). To support your child's recognition of the multiples, write them out as we are doing in class. As she is writing, have her say each one aloud, to incorporate kinesthetic (writing with the pencil), visual (seeing the numbers on the page) and auditory (hearing the numbers) processing.
How is this different from third grade?
In fourth grade, we take the multiplication tables from 2 to 12 and build upon them as we study larger numbers: "Given the multiple of 85, what would be its factors?" If a multiple has 10 as a factor, it has 5 as a factor, too, because 5 is half of 10. Every multiple of 10 is a multiple of 5. Knowing this relationship can be helpful for a child as she figures out whether her answer is right or wrong. Building the relationships between numbers builds a child's number sense
Food Chain Game:
On the Sheppard Software site, students were introduced to a wide variety of games and information about our current Life Science topics: life cycles & food chains. They loved the interactive food chain game, which takes them from producer to decomposer. The chains become more complicated as they advance. Many students ask that I post this to you, parents, so that they may continue playing the games and explore the site further for other interesting facts and games.
...the similes we created in writing class. These one-liners are short but can be filled with very sweet, interesting details. We've started the mini-unit on similes in writing class this week. This not only exposes students to figurative language, which is part of the Common Core standards, but also how to use them as part of revising their written work to make it more descriptive and interesting for the audience.
This morning, the kids collaborated with one another on writing similes about an alien creature from the Planet Simile. Its eyes may have been as red as fire or its nose may have been as triangular as a slice of pizza. However they described the creature in words was what the creature had to look like in the picture frame next to them.
In Math, students read and wrote numbers up to the hundred millions. Many found this graphic organizer to be very helpful.
Weekly Letters to Parents
Each Friday morning, students brainstorm lessons and activities they've worked on for the past week to write about to you in friendly letter format. Because some students haven't brought them home in weeks past, we're wondering if any of these letters have been getting home at all? These letters reference at least one if not two things we've done in a week, which your child felt was most interesting, engaging, etc., and wanted to share with you. Hopefully you are finding these in their folders. I hope they help answer the "What did you do in school, honey?" question and perhaps start a conversation about what your child has been up to here at the Molin.
Have a great weekend!
To See: The children earned a pajama and movie party by filling their jar of cubes. (As explained in the class behavior plan page, centimeter rainbow cubes are added to the jar when individuals, small groups or the whole class reflect social and academic behavior that supports our classroom community.) They enjoyed getting cozy and watching Ice Age 3 this afternoon.
To Feel: Miss Kate, Occupational Therapist, came in on Thursday to talk with us about self-regulation through the image of one's body as an engine. We used a variety of techniques like jumping jacks and rapid walks to shift from sluggishness to ready to learn. If a student's engine is too revved for learning, techniques like deep breathing and muscle clenching may help. Ask your child about his/her proprioceptive input today!
To Taste: We had a taste of the ocean join our classroom this week. A naturalist from the Joppa Flats Audubon Center dropped off a dozen periwinkles for us to observe. (I am clearly not suited for a class pet because I forgot to switch out the ice packs [to keep the water cold] most of the time.) The kids had a great time looking at them, watching their antennae peek out and attach themselves to the side of the clear container.
To Hear: In Morning Meeting, the children are greeting one another respectfully with eye contact and handshakes. We've started using Yoga activity cards, too. Ask your child about "Scarecrow Twist" and "Pedal Laughing". That las
To Smell: Um...not sure where to go with this one...in writing this week, we created a sensory poem about our tide pool field trip. One of the lines is "It smelled like". While the field trip video I showed them didn't have Smell-O-Vision, it brought some of their senses back to that morning on the beach enough that they could imagine the scents and odors around them. Writing these sensory sentences is a great segue into our next writing mini-unit on similes.
I tagged along with these kiddos. Each small group was given a 5-gallon bucket and the task of collecting plants and animals to investigate back on the beach. These students took their job seriously. Gently, they lifted up rocks and ended up finding an Asian Shore Crab. Our naturalist, Sarah, noticed that when it was picked up, it dropped its larger claw immediately as a defense mechanism. Did you know that that was one of its defenses against predators?
As you can see, we were fortunate to have a beautiful day. The incoming tide provided an unusual occurrence: microscopic-sized shrimp swimming around everywhere. Even the naturalists were surprised. They looked as small as a baby tadpole, if you could imagine.
The tide was also bringing in a lot of loose kelp. Our naturalist, Steve, identified an invasive bacteria on one piece of kelp that resembles Vaseline. It attaches itself to the kelp, rendering it unappealing and difficult to eat. This will obviously have an impact on the kelp beds off of Sandy Point and the food chain.
Our active scientists were stepping gingerly around slippery rocks and
After bathroom breaks and lunch, we got back on the bus and headed to the Spencer Pierce Little Farm for the second half of our field experience. Here you see a small group in the barn. They had to sequence the pictures of what a typical morning would have been like for Jakob Stekionis around the one chore of milking.
Arlene spoke with us about the chore of milking. Everyone in the group had an opportunity to milk Bessie, the demo cow, if you will. When Jakob Stekionis first started working for Ed Little, he had to hand milk the cows. We discovered, thanks to the American Dairy Association FAQ, that the udders had to be squeezed 350 times for one gallon of milk. That was a lot of work! Eventually, machinery was created to make milking a little easier, which Arlene also showed to us.
The children came in this morning so eager to read your notes and compare the "Pop Quiz" results. It was great to see so many parents in attendance last night. Thank you for joining us.
One item I didn't review was the report card we'll be using this year. It's currently under review so I'll have more information about the letter grades we use (not S, G, N, W, like the Bresnahan did) and the content in the different categories in a future blog entry.
In many letters I saw this morning, children were particularly interested in writing about Thursday morning's presentation by a representative from Historic New England's Spencer Pierce Little Farm. The science and social studies themes of adaptation, immigration and migration will be integrated through the study of an immigrant farm worker, Jacob Stekionis, who came from Lithuania and worked at the farm for Ed Little. Our field experience next Thursday will start at the farm then continue with Joppa Flats Audubon naturalists at Sandy Point.
Here is a picture of some of them playing a chip trading game and eating their snacks this morning. The game reinforces the concepts of regrouping in addition. Eventually, they'll learn how to play the game by trading from left to right, a link to regrouping in subtraction.
Have a nice weekend!
Students are becoming familiar with how to get around the building on their own. We're memorizing our Explore schedules and class routines. Hopefully your child is feeling more adjusted and at ease with his or her transition to the Molin School now.
I look forward to having the opportunity to share more information with you about the fourth grade curriculum, expectations and routines at Open House next Thursday night, starting at 6:00. You'll meet with Ms. Rossi first in the cafeteria then join Mrs. Remley, Mrs. Volpone and me in room 107.
We've been asked to remind parents that Open House is not an opportunity for a persona, certainly not private, parent conference (which will occur at a later date) but an opportunity for a brief overview of the year.
We continue to administer pre-assessments to students to get to know their academic strengths and challenges. The fourth graders completed the GMADE test in mathematics this week and a diagnostic of their addition and subtraction skills. We'll review the former in relation to their end of third grade results and the latter as we continue to work through Investigations Unit 5.
Our class does not have a parent liaison assigned to it yet. If you would like to volunteer, please drop me an email. (If more than one parent expresses interest, I'll draw names from a hat.) The job entails organizing class parties on holidays like Halloween and Valentine's Day. Should I require parent volunteers for a field trip or class project, you would coordinate that. Liaisons and volunteers must have a CORI on file with the district. (It's good for 3 years.)
Finally, thank you for taking the time to fill out the parent survey. It helps us build a well-rounded picture of your child so that we may support him or her as much as possible.
Have a great weekend!