Week of September 29th

Dear 4A Families,

October has almost arrived! What a great first month of school we have had. The month ahead will be a very busy one including the IOWA and CogAT tests, a Saint report and preparation for the All Saint’s Day Mass and Halloween! Please know that I do understand that these first weeks of school can be a big transition—sometimes stressful for both students and parents. It will get easier as the students (and parents) settle into the new routines. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns. Effective communication is the key to a successful year.  This Friday there is no school so that teachers can attend the Ardiocesan Inservice.

untitledTomorrow is the final turn-in day for the magazine sale. Thank you for your amazing support of this important fun raiser. Let’s all work together to meet the goal!

Religion/Language Arts: We are beginning our study of saints in preparation for the All Saint’s Day Mass, which will be held on Friday, October 31st. Yes, the 4th graders will be dressing up as Saints on Halloween this year. This Tuesday each student will be assigned the saint he or she will write his or her report on as well as portray at the Mass. All of the work for this report will take place at school except for one homework assignment that is due next Tuesday, October 7th.

untitledWith the saint information that will be distributed, each student will create a sequenced list of important events in the saint’s life. Specific directions will come home with your child on Tuesday as well. (It will also be available on our website in the Saint Report tab at the top of the page) Using the list of facts they compile at home with your help, the students will write their reports at school. Our writing lessons will be integrated with this project as the students learn to pick out relevant information, summarize and organize facts into a mini report. Please do not write a report at home, just a numbered/sequenced list of important events in the Saint’s life. This list should be in the student’s own words as much as possible. Your assistance in making sure your child can understand the information they read, and in developing lists of relevant and clear facts, are the areas you will help with. You are also welcome to look up additional information to add to the lists. Our website has links to some sites that may be helpful. Thank you! Be sure this assignment is completed and returned on Tuesday the 7th, as we will be working on the project in class that day.

The material should be read over several times so that the students are very familiar with their saint. This is a good opportunity to do some oral reading with your child.  There will be no math homework on Wednesday so that they have extra time to dedicate to this project in the evening. Remember to keep practicing the Prayer of St. Francis as well!

untitledSocial Studies: We have been learning about latitude and longitude in Social Studies. This week the students will apply some of this knowledge as they locate places using latitude/longitude coordinates. The students will also have a study sheet for a NE State test. Yes, they need to remember the state locations and abbreviations from last year! The test on this region will take place on October 10th. Along with the study sheet, I encourage the students to visit the websites linked to the right. Look under “Map Skills”. We will show the students some of these sites in class and during lab time as well.

Regarding Home Reading: I generally send out reading log forms in October as a way for students to chart their reading minutes.  Regular reading is an extremely important and expected activity. Students need to read both orally and silently to build fluency, expression, pace and comprehension. 4th grade students should be reading both silently and orally. Talking with your child about what he/she is reading is a great way to check for understanding. When reading aloud, if your child is struggling with more than 5 words per page, the book may be too challenging for independent reading. Both Mrs. Harris and I are happy to help the students find books they may enjoy reading. Reading aloud to your child is also an excellent way to expand vocabulary and listening comprehension.

On Thursday I will be sending out an October Reading Log form.  I will also include a PDF version of the form in the tabs above.  Logging of daily minutes is not required (but is an option).  I do ask the students to reflect and share about their home reading and let me know what books they are reading.

mathMath:  Look for corrected math tests in your child’s filer from last week’s chapter one test.  We will be moving into our second chapter on adding and subtracting large whole numbers. Your assistance in checking over homework for accuracy is quite important and appreciated. Striving for accuracy and fluency in all math work is always the goal. This often means rereading story problems and checking math problems twice! It is quite important that students are accurate with the less complex skills of addition and subtraction so that when we move into multiplication and division of large numbers they have good habits in place. We will work through some timed tests in class, with a focus on accuracy and speed recall of addition and subtraction facts. When I assess students on timed tests it is individualized. I start with a baseline score, and each student’s goal is to improve their score each time. Accuracy first, then speed. Along with visiting Xtramath most night, students may want to also visit the MyMath site called Fact Dash. From the main page click on the resources tab. Students should focus their practice the next couple of weeks on addition and subtraction so that it will match our daily lessons.

Look for corrected math, spelling, “self-dictation” sentences, a reading comprehension and vocabulary tests in your children’s filers.  The “self-dictation” was not really a test, but an opportunity for the students to use the vocabulary we learned in reading over the week with their spelling words.  Look for similar writing evaluations most weeks.  As we move ahead I will be including the writing/grammar skills we work on in class.

Homework this week: Math and Xtramath, Saint report reading and list creation, music assignment (due on Wednesday the 1st)  The spelling test will be on Thursday this week since there is no school on Friday.

kidsIt is that time again for each student to bring in their monthly $1.00 to support our Ugandan students in their schooling. Students are asked to bring in one dollar each month. Our school’s monthly donations often fall quite short of what we have committed to these deserving students. Thank you so much!

Have a wonderful week!

Don’t forget to send in your final magazine orders tomorrow!