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, September 19, 2014

What a week!

We had a great week here in 4M!

   Things really started to gel here in 4M this week. Students were assigned jobs, they are getting into the rhythm of how math class will flow and the disruptive behavior that was occurring earlier in the year is dwindling.
    I want to stress again the importance of helping your child learn their multiplication facts. This is an essential skill that all students entering fourth grade are expected to have already mastered. Mastery is achieved through repeated exposure and visual understanding of how multiplication works.
    We have begun learning about early Vermont history, as well as different strategies for solving multiplication and division problems. Students are getting familiar with the area model of multiplication as well as using it to solve division problems. We also have been focusing on using a number line as a way of showing our thought process and as a visual strategy.
    This Friday, we had a great outdoor education period where students made observations from their power spots about different things they could see from their spot. One task was to look for something with hair on it and a few students discovered that by rubbing the leaves of nearby plants they could feel microscopic hairs on them - which were invisible to the naked eye. Others were having trouble finding something dead until they really understood what that term meant - most were looking for a dead animal or bug until they realized they were surrounded by dead things; leaves, trees, plants etc. Very interesting!
    We also introduced a new chess piece today, the powerful rook. After learning about how the rook moves and why it is so powerful, students were paired up and played games with pawns, the new rooks and the king.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Routines, Jobs and more!

  We have been very busy here in fourth grade! The weeks are flying by; it is amazing to think that we are beginning our 4th week of school already. We have established a good rhythm and flow to the fourth grade, and most students are falling into the routine of the day nicely. This year is a little different for the students as they essentially have two teachers, Ms. K and myself, but they are adapting to this model of teaching very well.
  Today the students in 4M were assigned their classroom jobs. These range from things such as chair stacker, floor cleaner and line leader to jobs such as meteorologist, news reporter and ichthyologist. These jobs will rotate throughout the year on a weekly basis, and students are responsible for knowing what their job is and performing whatever tasks are associated with that job as need be. Students earn a paycheck for doing their job. For those students that forget to do their job once, they lose half their pay. If they should happen to forget again during the same week, they will lose their entire paycheck. They need to be responsible for following through on their jobs. About three times a year I will hold an auction where I sell students various items. They use the money earned in class to purchase these items.
  We are moving along in math, but it is apparent to me that ALL students in fourth grade need to work diligently on their multiplication facts. These facts are essential to students developing a deep understanding of mathematics and helps them to make connections between numbers they might otherwise struggle with. Please talk with your child about what fact they are learning and practice with them throughout the day. Research has shown that short, 3-5 minute reviews of the facts multiple times throughout the day (4-5 times over the course of a day) will have a huge impact on student retention of each fact. If you have any questions about how your child is doing or how you can better help them with their facts, please don't hesitate to contact me.