Happy Monday everyone. I hope you all enjoyed the sunny weekend. This Friday there will be a half-day for WestFest set-up. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for this fun community event. Students may enjoy free dress this Friday when wearing their West Fest t-shirts—new or old—- or fall colors.
As we begin our third week of school the students should have a pretty clear understanding of our classroom rules and procedures. We will continue to review and practice regularly, but the classroom management plan will begin in full this week. The management plan is in place to insure that every student in our class feels safe and is able to work and learn without disruption. Our classroom rules, which the students know, are:
- Show kindness, respect and integrity
- Follow directions quickly
- Listen attentively
- Raise your hand to speak or leave your seat (this applies in the most part during direct instruction)
- Keep your hands and feet to yourself
When rules are not followed student receive (in the order):
- A warning
- A time out (generally inside the classroom so instruction is not missed)
- A note home (this note will explain the infractions and ask you to sign and return)
Our goal is always to help students be responsible, respectful self-managers. Each new day is a new beginning. The less time we have to spend of managing behavior—the more time we have for great learning! Thank you for your support.
Last Friday a recorder letter from Ms. Mudge was sent home. It is on green paper. Be sure to read, fill out and return the form by this Friday so that the orders can be placed. Thank you!!
Religion: This year the 4th graders will have a virtue of the month to focus on that includes a Saint as a model of that virtue. Our virtue this month is fortitude and the model saint is St. Paul. This is a perfect compliment to our focus on GRIT as well.
On Tuesday the students of 4A will have the honor of visiting the relics of St. Faustina and St. Pope John Paul II in the church. We will learn about both of these saints prior to our visit. This is a wonderful opportunity and a great beginning to our Saint studies this year. Students are encouraged to touch personal objects of devotion to the reliquary (rosaries, medals, crosses, etc.), as a means of blessing them and making them Third Class relics. If your child has a rosary, holy card or some other devotional object they would like to have blessed when they view the relic they are should bring them on Tuesday.
.We will focus on strategies to make and build friendships in our Steps to Respect lessons. Our religion lessons continue to be on God’s Plan and how God reveals himself through creation, Scripture and Tradition. We will use our Bibles to look up Gospel readings, and we will preview this coming Sunday’s Gospel.
Science: This week we are finishing our introduction to our first project on Solar Energy. Be sure to look for a vocabulary sheet in your kids filer this week. It will have important terms we will be discussing throughout our solar oven project. I will also be posting these terms this week on the 4B webpage under solar oven project.
Social Studies: Last week the students received study sheets for a continent and ocean test that will take place this Tuesday the 13th. This is a review of the test they took in 3rd grade. We will continue to review in class, but hopefully your child has asked you to quiz them as well. The test will have a word bank of the continents and oceans. Students need to know the locations. The 4A website has links to review the continents as well. Look under the “Map Study Sheets” section on the right-hand links column. The students are also memorizing the Continent poem which is in each filer and available as a PDF in the tabs at the top of the 4A website. I will give practice time in class for this, but the memorization should be practiced at home as well. The final day to present the poem is the 20th. We will be focusing on the concept of latitude and longitude as we gain skills reading maps using coordinates.
Reading: On Monday and Tuesday we will be finishing up some work from our reading lesson last week. Our next story is called The Girl Who Loved Spiders. The Essential Question is: How does exploring nature help our understanding of the world? We will focus on story structure (characters, setting and plot) and visualizing as our comprehension strategies.
Spelling (and some math): The spelling words this week are the number words. These words tie in with our required math objective of reading and writing numbers through the millions in grade 4. The spelling “packet” that was sent home last week, includes some extra math practice that does require some parent assistance (along with spelling practice). All students have this packet in their filer. Please read the directions and return the completed and signed homework on Friday (not before). Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!
Math: We are working out a few glitches with our Mathletics subscription—mostly related to use on the iPads. I know some students have accessed the site at home. Hopefully we will have everyone on at school this week as well.
All students will also be signed up with Xtramath. You will find a parent letter and sign in information in your child’s filer on Monday. Even if you child has had a sign-in from a previous year, you will need to follow the instructions for a new sign in as that is the only way I can access student progress and assign levels. If you have any questions please let me know. I would like all students signed in by this Friday. In class on Monday I will be going over the site and expectations with the students. We will sign-in in the lab today and do our first session.
Just a note on XtraMath: It is not uncommon for me to have parents or students tell me they do not like this program. Some say it is too frustrating or goes too fast. This site is designed to build fluency with math facts. It is not glitzy and it does require about 10 minutes of focused attention—GRIT—you might say. Mastering facts for automatic recall is hard work—but mastery is the ultimate reward. Most students get pretty good at typing numbers after only a few sessions of XtraMath. Again, grit is required—but the students can do this!
From the XtraMath site: XtraMath is designed to measure what basic math facts students can recall, not what they can calculate. Three seconds is a carefully selected compromise that is long enough that a relatively slow typist can enter a recalled answer, and short enough so that most finger-counted responses are not erroneously considered fluent. If you increase the interval then you are no longer measuring fluency.
For maximum effectiveness, XtraMath adjusts to each student and has them practice near the limit of their abilities. This might be uncomfortable for some students. If students do not get the correct answer within the three second threshold they should not perceive it as a personal failure, but as a normal challenge of the XtraMath “game”.
We will begin with addition and subtraction facts for a couple of weeks, but the majority of our time will be used to master multiplication and division facts. Students should plan on visiting the site nightly. This consistent—focused practice will quickly build math fact fluency and confidence in math overall!
Along with the spelling/math homework, our math lessons will focus on place value, ordering, comparing and rounding numbers to the millions. Look for math homework most nights.
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