Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering The Twin Towers

September 11, 2001 was a very sad day for our country. Terrorists hijacked airplanes and flew them into the Twin Towers of The World Trade Center in New York City, among other places. The towers fell down and many people died that day.

In honor and remembrance of the Twin Towers, our class is watching this video, based on the picture book, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, by Mordicai Gerstein, which won the 2004 Caldecott Medal for best picture book. It is the story of a young French street performer, Philippe Petit, who was so inspired by the beauty of the towers that he just had to walk between them.

In case students think this is just fiction, we will also watch this brief video, with actual photographs of Phillipe Petit on that day in 1974.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

We Are "O-fish-ally" Fourth Graders!

These cute little tags were tied to bags of Goldfish crackers, welcoming my class on the first day of school.

It has been a busy first week of 4th grade! I am so enjoying getting to know my students. Every day we have begun with a Morning Meeting. This is a time to greet each other in a friendly way, and do a fun activity to get to know one another. In fact, getting to know each other has been the main theme of this first week. We will be spending 176 days's so important that everyone feel safe and comfortable in our classroom.

Here are some of the activities we did during the first week:
  • Scavenger Hunt, which helped students learn how our room is organized. 
  • Time Capsule, with our current favorites listed, along with our height, hand and foot tracings, cursive sample, first timed test, and predictions for World Series, Super Bowl, and Stanley Cup
Learning How to Measure Height Accurately!

  • The M & M Game, which helped us get to know each other better as we answered questions according to what color M &  M we drew.
  • Compass Buddies: Students chose North, South, East, and West Buddies. Now, whenever I need them to work with a partner, I can say, "Work with your south, (or north, east, or west), buddy." We practiced working with our buddies to solve some math problems.

  • "If there were 5 cats, 3 dogs, and 4 birds in the yard, how many legs would that be?"

  • Top 10 Things About Me Writing: We have done the rough drafts. Look for the completed writing at Open House on Sept. 26.

  • In math, we have begun the year with a unit on data and probability. We began by predicting and then collecting data on how many raising were in a mini snack box.


    We made a line plot and found the range, mode, and outliers.

    Next, we started looking at how tall 4th graders were, giving our measurement skills a workout. Students worked with a partner to make a line plot of the data.

    This week, we will be comparing this data with the heights of first graders and looking at the median and mean of the data, in addition to the range, mode, and outlier.

    Students also took their first multiplication timed tests. The expectation is that they can do 100 facts in 5 minutes by the end of the year. Please help your child practice at home. It is the single most important way you can support his/her progress in math. So much of what we do depends on being fluent with facts up to 12 x 12!

    In reading we have been building our stamina for Read-to-Self. I am amazed with how focused everyone is during Read-to-Self Time! You can see from our stamina graph that we are already up to over 20 minutes of focused reading. Research shows that the single most important factor in reading achievement, is the amount of time spent reading. to that end, your child will be coming home with a reading log this week along with their homework. The expectation is for a minimum of 100 minutes of at-home reading each week. Reading logs are due on Fridays.

    We have also talked about how important it is to choose a "Just-Right" book. Here are the charts that we used.

    And finally, we are a class of Bucket Fillers! I read two books about bucket-filling, and we discussed the kinds of things that fill our buckets, and the kinds of things that dip into them.

    Every day, students have the opportunity to write a bucket note to a classmate. This is a much looked-forward to time at the end of the day. Ask your child to tell you more about bucket-filling!

    This is a wonderful group of students and we are off to a fabulous start in our year together!