11/20/12

Well, time sure does fly! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Before you know it, Winter Break will be here! Before that happens, we still have a lot of learning to do!

In Reading, we’ve been learning about nonfiction text structures: cause & effect, problem & solution, sequential, compare & contrast, and descriptive. In addition, we’ve been working on fact and opinion.

In Writing, we’ve been connecting to our reading by writing in nonfiction genres: persuasive and problem & soltion. Next week, we’re going to each write a letter to the Parkside Community encouraging them to solve some school-wide problems.

In Math, we’ve been working with some really big numbers, up to one hundred million! We’ve written numbers in different forms: standard, expanded, place value, & word, we’ve rounded & added & subtracted with regrouping.

We’ve just finished talking about Native Americans in Indiana History & our beginning learning about the struggles in establishing ourselves in the New World.

10/12/12

Happy Fall Break! I look forward to speaking with all of you at parent-teacher conferences!

9/19/12

Character study has been our focus this week in reading. We look at what a character does, says, & thinks to infer what type of person they are. We also see the relationships the character has with others. How does the character feel about & treat others? How do others feel about or treat the character?

We are studying homophones for our spelling/word study focus. Today we drew pictures of the word’s meaning to help us remember what the word means. For example, for the word “heard,” I drew a picture of an ear. For the word “herd” I drew a group of stick figure buffalos.

In writing, we are drafting fictional narrative pieces that have a well described setting, charcaters, plot, & author’s purpose or theme. We looked back at our last writing piece to see how we did with these elements & worked on doing even better on this piece. We are continuing to work on showing not telling in our writing.

In math, we are working on solving word problems using equations. For example, if Joey has 12 pictures that he wants to put in an album & he can fit 4 pictures on a page, how many pages will he use? 12 ÷ 4 = 3

8/30/12

It’s been a whirlwind of learning in room 250! As we settle in to routines and become familar with procedures, our class becomes more efficient & productive, meaning we can learn that much more!

Our reading focus these past two weeks has been author’s purpose and cause & effect. We used text details to infer author’s purpose (why the author wrote the piece), as well as, to support what we believe the author’s purpose is with text evidence. Next, we’ve been visualizing the events in a story to help us determine cause and effect. Visualizing is creating a movie in your mind based on the words the author uses.

In math, we are winding up our initial discussion about the strategies students can use to solve multiplication facts. The goal is to know multiplication and division facts in 3 seconds or less. We do realize that it is a journey to that point & want to give students tools to get there. In the end, it comes down to memorization, but the beginning involves engaging our mathematician brains to see patterns & use strategies.

In word study, we’ve been working on short & long vowel sounds. Your child might be asked to attempt the challenge word if they are doing a good job with the list of 12.

We are working on decriptive personal narratives that use sensory words, vivid details, dialouge, and complete sentences, in writing.

8/17/12

Welcome to a new school year! It was great to meet those of you who came to 4th grade parent orientation night! I’m sure I’ll be meeting the rest of parents soon.

We have a new reading program this year. It is an exciting time of change & as the year progresses we’ll get better and better at following the routines and differentiating instruction. This week, we’ve been working on using story elements to summarize. Students should be able to identify the characters, setting and important event or details in the plot. We’ve also been working on writing complete sentences, the spelling pattern long & short a, as well as, using sensory details in our descriptive paragraph.

Differentiating will already be happening with our new intervention groups. Every child will be recieving intervention instruction. This could mean remediation, reinforcement or enrichment based on your child’s needs. 

Homework this year will be reading for 15 minutes 3 times a week, writing for 15 minutes 2 times a week, practicing math facts for at least 5 minutes nightly, and a math sheet Monday – Thursday. Regarding the math sheet, only parts will be assigned, but students can complete the whole sheet for practice if they (or you) wish. Additionally, most weeks students will recieve a spelling list to practice at home. We’ll be doing in-class practice on the spelling pattern as well & the quiz will be on Friday.

I look forward to working with you to ensure you child’s success. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. The quickest way is through my email: rklosowski@goshenschools.org.

4/23/12

Equivalent fractions can be found by multiplying the numerator & the denominator by the same number. Fractions can be reduced by dividing the numerator & denominator by the same number.

3/4 = 6/8 because 3×2=6 for the numerator & 4×2=8 for the denominator.

4/12 is reduced to & = 1/3 because 4÷4=1 for the numerator and 12÷4=3 for the denominator.

We’ve started a new writing project! It is an informative writing piece about sea turtles. Students already have some background knowledge and have been given additional resources with which to craft their nonfiction piece. Expectations include using two different text structures in addition to description, using concrete details & specific vocabulary, and clustering similar ideas together.

Summarizing is the focus in Reader’s Workshop. All students are in reading groups and are being asked to summarize chapters or short sections from their reading. Ask you child to summarize a story or a TV show episode as practice!

We have a new spelling pattern & a list is going home with your child today. We are starting work on the suffixes -y, -ly, & -ily. We are looking at the way the base word changes (fun to funny, day to daily, merry to merrily, etc.).

4/19/12

We made an equivalent fractions chart to help us with practicing finding equivalent fractions and reduced fractions. To find an equivalent fraction, just multiply the numerator and denominator by the same number. To reduce a fraction, just divide the numerator and denominator by the same number.

We’re finishing up our opinion pieces on whether the curse of King Tut is real or not. They are due tomorrow. I’ve been meeting with students to guide them to become better writers for this piece and into the future.

We compared and contrasted two characters from Jerry Spinelli’s The Library Card. It’s a coming of age story were decisions need to be made as to which path each character will follow.

Tomorrow is the Word Study test! We’ve been working on the prefixes uni-, bi-, tri-, pent-, and oct-.

04/16/12

In math, today’s emphasis was on adding and subtracting mixed numbers. We used the rules of adding and subtracting whole numbers in that we had to carry or borrow:

3 1/4 + 1 3/4 = 5 because 1/4 + 3/4 = 4/4 = 1 & 3+1+1 = 5

4 2/5 – 1 4/5 = 2 3/5 because we borrow from the ones (4 becomes 3) to create 7/5 (5/5 +2/5 = 7/5) so we can take away 3/5.

In writing, we a beginning an opinion piece on whether King Tut’s curse is real. The focus is on grouping like ideas together & backing up reasons with evidence and facts. This seems like a high-interest topic. This will be a one-week assignment.

Summarizing is key in Reader’s Workshop. We talked about giving an overall statement using important ideas without giving all the details.

Lastly, we reviewed what a simile and what a metaphor were. Ask your child to explain them to you!

A new spelling pattern went home today. Prefixes are the focus. Also, 10 high frequency words your child is trying to learn went home as well.

04/12/12

Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope everyone had a restful and rejuvenating break!

In room 250, we are learning how to convert improper fractions into mixed numbers & mixed numbers into improper fractions.

We’ll be finishing up our Personal Narratives about our field trip to Wakarusa this week. We’ve been working hard on using sensory details so that the readers will feel like they went with us on our field trip.

Theme has been a major goal for fourth grade. We continue to work on going deeper into our reading to think about the author’s purpose or message or the lesson learned.  

Other topics of learning include using context clues to figure out the meaning of unknown words, using SMART7 as a strategy for comprehension, and prefixes. 

03/28/12

Today we looked at comparing fractions & came up with these two “rules:”

The bigger the denominator, the smaller the piece.

If the denominator is the same, the greater fraction has the larger numerator.

We talked about starting our personal narratives closer to the waterfall (the most exciting part).

We found many examples of similes & metaphors in our reading of Miracles on Maple Hill.

Comprehending our reading includes approaching passages in a systematic way. We use SMART7.

03/27/12

We are using our experiences on our Wakarusa field trip to write this quarter’s Personal Narratives. We are also using our knowledge of text structures to help organize our writing.

Fractions are the action in math. We are learning what fractions represent: denominator & numerators.

We are making inferences and thinking about theme in reading.

03/23/12

We had a blast in Wakarusa today! We learned about how things were “back in the olden days

” & how maple syrup is made. We even got to taste a sample! Yum! We’re going to be writing this quarter’s Personal Narrative project about this trip.