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

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Distributive Property

Students really dived into learning about the Distributive Property of Multiplication today and they all seemed to be much more comfortable with it by the end of math class. The distributive property tells us that multiplying 3 x 8 is the same as multiplying 3 x (4+4). This really helps children begin to understand how to decompose numbers to make multiplying easier and more efficient. For example, 7 x 18 is a pretty tough question for fourth graders to solve at this point in the year, but by using and understanding the distributive property, students can decompose the 18 into to more manageable numbers (such as 10 + 8) and work from there (126 is the answer). We used the Area Model of Multiplication to help give us a visual understanding of why and how the distributive property works and then learned how to use pencil and paper to apply the distributive property to multiplication problems.After discussing and do a few examples on the board, students were asked to solve a few problems on their own at their desks. Here are a few samples of the work students were conducting.

I was very proud, happy and excited about the work done today during math! I felt that students were trying hard and really thinking about the concepts we were covering. I am eager to see how they continue to progress in with some of these challenging concepts, and if today is an indicator, it will go quite well!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hard Work

     We spent most of the day today working very hard on our Vermont Animal projects. Students have been learning about animal adaptations, habitats and diets. They were then able to choose a Vermont animal to learn about and do more in depth research about. We had quite a variety of animals this year, ranging from fish, bullfrogs and rabbits to bears, birds and bobcats, with a whole slew of other animals in between. Students were asked to create a poster about their animal, make a page to go in a Vermont Animal book and to write a narrative about a "Day in the Life" of their animal. We are presenting our work tomorrow morning at the upper grades Community Meeting. Students really buckled down today and focused on finishing whatever tasks they needed to complete. I was very impressed with the level of helpfulness that the students displayed once they finished all that they were required. Some helped friends type up their papers while others gave advice on drawings or facts. It was a busy day and we accomplished a lot!

This is an example of one of the posters that students have been working on. These will be displayed in the school.

This is an example of the front side of one of the book pages students created. 

We will assemble all of the pages together in a book and deposit it in the Thistle Hill Shelter along the Appalachian Trail in West Hartford this spring. The ideas is that hikers who stop at the shelter can read and learn about some local Vermont animals that they might encounter on their journey. Hikers are then able to write notes back to the students creating a dialogue of sorts between students and hikers. It has been a great success in the past and we are looking forward to hearing the responses from the hikers.

Here is an example of the back side of a book page.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Appalachian Trail hike

     On Thursday we took a field trip to the Appalachian Trail (AT) in West Hartford. The students have been researching and studying a variety of Vermont animals that hikers might see while passing through our state. They will create animal posters for display at school along with a page about their specific animal. The pages will be assembled together into a book which will then be deposited next spring in the Thistle Hill Shelter along the AT for hikers to read while they stay at the shelter. Hikers can then write notes back to the students about what they learned and have seen while hiking the trail. This is the third year we are having this link with hikers, and it has been a great success in the past. The hikers seem to appreciate the time and effort that students put into the project, and there have been some really great responses in years gone by. We did not run into any animals this year on the hike (last year we saw a porcupine!), but the students had a great time out in the woods and learned a bit about Vermont/forest history. Try asking your child about why there are random-seeming stone walls throughout the woods of Vermont and see what they tell you. Or ask them what a "pillow and cradle" means when looking at the topography of the forest.

Chili Cookoff

     Last Wednesday we prepared a chili for the Harvest Dinner chili competition, and it was a big success. We began by visiting our school garden and harvesting some green peppers. It was nice to be able to use vegetables grown by OQS students! Students worked together to chop onions, peel and mince garlic, prepare tomatoes and measure dry ingredients. The dry measuring was especially interesting as students needed to multiply fractions to figure out how much of each ingredient they needed. They used a variety of strategies to help them figure this out, which was really great to see. We have not begun our probe into fractions in math, so this was a challenge for the kids, but one they stepped up and completed with great determination and grit. We baked corn bread to eat while we sampled the chili, which also involved converting and multiplying fractions.

     The Harvest Dinner was a big success, with ten different kinds of chili to sample. After the votes were tallied, the fourth grade chili came in 2nd place, behind Mellow Yellow pork. The students did a great job of creating and cooking a delicious chili!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The End of NECAPs

     Well, here goes nothing, my first attempt at a blog! I will try and update the blog at least once a week, and hopefully more often than that. I would like to use this as a way of keeping parents more closely in the loop about what we are doing here at OQS in fourth grade. 
     We are finishing up our final day of NECAP testing, and the students are very happy to be done with these tests. The kids have done an excellent job of trying their hardest and really giving the tests their all. I'm very proud of each of them for the hard work they have put into these.
     We will finish the week out with two exciting days. Tomorrow we will help Mr. Sadowski get ready for the Harvest Dinner by preparing a chili. We will try and use local ingredients whenever possible and will be harvesting some of our very own Garden Club grown green peppers! We are very excited to see how it turns out.
     On Thursday we will be taking our first field trip of the year. We will be taking a hike on the Appalachian Trail up to a hilltop meadow with some nice views of the surrounding hills. The trip is to celebrate the ending of our Vermont animal unit, where each student studies an animal that lives in Vermont. The students usually have a great time on this trip and last year we even saw a porcupine!