Homework Assignments due On:

Students should be studying their multiplication facts everyday. Fact quizzes that aren't passed are due back the next day, with fact worksheet completed. Multiplication facts are a 3rd grade standard, so every day and week that goes by of your student not knowing them sets them further and further behind.

Homework is due on these days:
Tuesday (6/2): Any unfinished in-class work
Wednesday (6/3): Any unfinished in-class work
Thursday (6/4): Any unfinished in-class work
Friday (6/5): Any unfinished in-class work
Monday (6/8): Nothing

Friday, May 29, 2015

Appalachian Trail Hike

     We had a fantastic hike this morning, with lots of sunshine, smiles and screams of laughter. We journeyed about 1.2 miles from Joe Ranger Road to the Thistle Hill Shelter where we ran into an AT thru-hiker named Paul. He was a little startled by the flood of kids, but was very kind and spoke with the students about his trek, where he had started (Mahoosic Notch, NH/ME border) and where he was hoping to end up (Springer Mountain, Georgia). It was a great experience for the students to meet someone who was tackling this challenging hike. After a successful firewood hunt, we got a fire going and were able to roast hot dogs and make s'mores. The students also left some reading materials for any hikers who may stop in at the shelter over the summer months. Two books of animal narratives were left, along with the animal information book. When we returned to school, the students watched a documentary about the AT produced by National Geographic. All in all, a wonderful day.

Monday, May 18, 2015

One Testing Down, Another One Up

   We have finished (for the most part) the new SBAC testing that has replaced the NECAPs. This was a learning period for both student and teacher. The SBACs have proven to be difficult for students as well as for test administrators, but almost all of our fourth graders have finished. That being said, we are beginning a new week of testing, this time for the fourth grade science NECAPs. This is similar to the old NECAP tests, except that on the third and final day the students will conduct an in-class experiment and then they do a write-up/analysis of their data. I've always found the science NECAPs to be interesting and engaging for the students. Please make sure your child gets plenty of rest and lots of healthy food this week. We will be testing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
   We are also planning a field trip hike along the Appalachian Trail for the Friday, 5/29. We would love to have some parent volunteers join us. Look for a letter home in the next few days with more information.
   And on the topic of field trips, we have our yearly trip to Montpelier scheduled for June 9th. This is an all day trip and includes a tour of the State House, a trip through the Historical Society and a mock trial in the Supreme Court! This is always a great trip and we would love parents to accompany us. This year also marks a special event on our trip, as 4M won the Secretary of State's Vermont History contest. Jim Condos, the Secretary of State, is going to try and meet with us and present us with some sort of award! Should be a fun and educational trip. Look for more information about the trip to come along in the next week or two.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The End is Drawing Near...

  We are entering our final full month of this school year! The month of May should possibly be re-named Testing Month for fourth graders, as they will be taking the SBAC and Science NECAP tests all during this month. The SBAC tests will be taking place from May 4-7, and the NECAP will happen on the week of May 18. Please make sure your child has lots of rest and is well fed on these weeks. As for academics, we are completing our multiplication unit today and will begin our last unit on fractions and decimals next week. Fourth graders are expected to know and understand fractions with denominators of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 50, 100 and decimals to the hundredths place value. I am very pleased with the progress most students have made with their multiplication strategies. They should be comfortable with multiplying a one-digit number by a four-digit number as well as two-digit by two-digit using the standard algorithm. Some are still working on their understanding of the algorithm and are still using an area model to ensure accuracy. Hopefully with more practice they will become fluent in the algorithm by the end of the year. We have also just started our final science/social studies unit on Ancient Egypt, which the students always find very interesting and exciting. We will be learning about the pyramid complex at Giza, the Valley of the Kings, Thebes and the Temple of Karnak and mummification.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

End of Winter

   I hope everyone enjoyed the winter months and are looking forward to some warmer and longer days! We are cruising along here in fourth grade, having finished up the Vermont animal unit last week. Students created an information page about their specific animal and shared these with the class. These pages will be compiled into a book which will be left in the Thistle Hill Shelter along the Appalachian Trail in West Hartford. Hikers can then use the book as a resource and often they write notes back to the students. Next fall, once hiking season has ended, students will get their book page returned to them along with copies of the notes that hikers left for them.
   We have transitioned into learning about the Vermont government, focusing on how are government is structured as well as how laws are created. We have reviewed and discussed a lot of key vocabulary used in this unit and will begin some more experiential activities next week.
   We are currently finishing up a Geometry unit in mathematics. Students have been working very hard to better understand angles, lines, shapes and the properties/characteristics of those shapes. We will finish this up next week and will then jump right into a unit on higher level multiplication skills.
   We finished our first fraction unit about a month ago, and there was one area of fractions that the grade as a whole (pun not intended) struggled with, which was equivalent fractions. If you have any opportunities to discuss, talk about, explore equivalent fractions with your child, please do so. I will be focusing some extra math work around equivalent fractions, but any extra exposure they can have will only help.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Welcome Back!

     I hope you all had an enjoyable vacation with your children and that you were able to get outside and enjoy this wonderful winter weather. Despite the cold, there is still plenty to do outside, like snowshoeing, skiing or just playing in the snow. There are several things this week you should know about; NAEP testing will happen on February 25th after lunch. This is a national test that fourth graders take every two years. There is no preparation for this test other than for your child to be well rested and fed, so please make sure they get a good night's sleep this Tuesday. The other event this week is a trip to Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Park on Friday, February 27th. We will be doing animal tracking with Ranger Ed Sharron, as well as a few other animal based activities. Please let me know if you would like to join us for the trip - we will be leaving OQS at 8:30am and returning around 12:30pm.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fractions and Animals!

    We have moved from division into fractions in math. We are using egg cartons to help us model different fractions, as well as number line model and set model. Fractions are always a challenge for fourth graders, as they are a tricky concept to understand. Please talk with your student about fractions whenever they come up at home, especially in the kitchen! In science, we finished our States of Matter unit at the beginning of last month and have segued into a study of native Vermont animals. Student first learned about habitats, adaptations, ecosystems and food chains and are now focusing in on one particular Vermont animal that they will do an in-depth study of. They will do research on the internet and with various other resources we have here at school, such as books and magazines. This will culminate in students creating an information page about their animal that will be placed in a book binder and left on the Appalachian Trail in a shelter for hikers to peruse during the summer hiking season. Students will also enter their information into a website which they will be able to share with family and friends at home! Students who finish both of those tasks early will also be asked to create a poster about their animal to help them when they present their work to other classes.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Welcome to 2015!!!

Hello Parents! Happy 2015 to you all. I hope the December vacation was enjoyable for each of you and that you and your children were able to get outside whenever the weather permitted. We are jumping right back in where we left off in December. We will be starting a new math unit, this one based around division and then moving into fractions. Fractions are always a challenge for fourth graders, so any extra help you can provide them would be great. In general, fourth graders work with fractions that have denominators (the number in the bottom of a fraction) of 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 12, 50 and 100. If you do a lot of cooking/baking at home, try having your child help with the measuring of ingredients and discussing with them what each measurement means and also what the total amount of ingredients might be (say you use a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, ask how much of a teaspoon the cinnamon and vanilla equal... 2/4 or 1/2). We will also be finishing up our States of Matter unit and then quickly moving into a study of native Vermont animals, their adaptations and habitats, diet and tracking. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. Stay warm!