Room 22 E-News

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Another Visit to the Garden!

Greetings Families,

Room 22 students visited the Abbot Gardens today to harvest some lettuce for today’s lunch menu! Please enjoy these photos.  And as always, thanks to Fresh Start Food Gardens for helping make this experience possible!

Looks like next time your son or daughter tells you they can’t help with dinner prep, you can call his/her bluff!

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Still Working Hard!

Greetings Families,

Now that MCAS is behind us, we can head full-steam into our last few weeks of fourth grade. I must reluctantly admit (and forewarn you, parents), that this does indeed include the requisite end-of-year benchmark assessments that are a part of our district’s curriculum.  Over the next couple of weeks, students will complete reading and writing assessments as well as the math end-of-year benchmark test.  Early/mid June will also include the final science and social studies benchmark assessments.  I am committed to spacing these out as much as I can, and interspersing the testing blocks with as much downtime as possible.  Easy does it!

Just because we are taking end-of-year assessments, doesn’t necessarily mean we are through with curriculum.  Here is a brief curriculum update:

Math: We are halfway through Unit 8, which takes all the concepts we have learned in math so far this year and encourages students to apply them in practical problem-solving applications. So far, we have explored angles in the real-world, investigated relationships between fractions and angles (a “one-sixth” turn is one-sixth of 360 degrees, or 60 degrees), and tackled multi-step number stories.  Unit 8 also includes more exposure to line-plots: creating line plots, and using our creations to answer questions about the data.  We have also revisited rectangle area and perimeter, this time multiplying whole-number side lengths by fractional side-lengths.  Everyday Math really uses Unit 8 to push students outside of their comfort zone, and set them up for the challenging curriculum of 5th grade math.  These lessons also prompt students to approach concepts from different points of view, and to take ownership of the principles that underlie our math curriculum.  They are really working on becoming fluent and flexible problem solvers.  Don’t worry too much if your son/daughter is confused or frustrated by homelinks.  We talk all the time in math about how important it is to “struggle,” or “wrestle” with a problem.  Encourage them to sketch out their thoughts as they try to solve the problems on their homelink, but don’t let homework become a battle-zone either.  If your son/daughter appears to be struggling with homework beyond what you typically expect, let me know!  We have great math support in our classroom, and there are plenty of opportunities to practice these skills with support at school.

Reading: With all of our major curriculum units finished up in reading, we are proceeding very lazily through our Greek Mythology unit.  The students have really come alive during discussions of the Greek Gods and Goddesses, and I’ve been really impressed with their prior knowledge (Thanks, Percy Jackson and the Olympians series!).  Some of the myths we have read are in prose form; others are plays which we will read in class to build fluency skills.  As we have discussed myths, we have focused in part on how Greek mythology has influenced modern language (and can be found in expressions like “opening Pandora’s Box,” having a “Golden Touch,” or in vocabulary words like “narcissistic”). Another focus of our discussions of these myths has been the similarities and differences between drama and prose.  Try to notice if you find yourself referencing Greek mythology at home, and point it out to your kids.  Do you cheer for the Tennessee Titans?  Chew Trident gum?  Wear Nike brand apparel?  Listen to Pandora radio?  All of these brands/products reference Greek mythology in one way or another.  Our modern lives are in fact steeped in ancient Greek culture.  Here is a great website that references some of the many ways Greek mythology intrudes into our lives.

Writing: We are revising our persuasive essays this week and next, following weeks of planning and drafting.  Revision lessons will place emphasis on strong persuasive language, sentence fluency, and the use of transition phrases. Once we finish, we’ll work on our End-of-Year writing prompt, where we’ll show off everything we’ve learned in 4th grade.  We’ll leave room later in June for some smaller writing pieces, and perhaps even some creative writing.

Social Studies: We’ve spent many long months on our tour of the United States, and we’ve finally reached the West region.  The number one word that describes this region: DIVERSE!  This region is enormous, with many different climates, geographic features, and economic resources.  A common thread for all of the states in this region: tourism is a major industry due in part to the many National Parks found here.  We’ll also discuss some of the many mineral resources found here, as well as how the many cities of the West region are defined by their geography, history, and cultural diversity.

Science: Students have trekked through fourth grade’s district-mandated curriculum, and are now enjoying a bonus unit on waves! The Big Ideas of this unit are understanding the properties of waves (amplitude, wave length, and frequency), as well as being able to identify the parts of waves (crests and troughs).  Stay tuned for one last science benchmark in early June.

Finally… some important dates:

  • Monday 5/28 – Memorial Day (No School)
  • Friday 6/22 – Last Day of School/Early Release Don’t forget to send me a postcard (you can find me here at Abbot) from your summer adventures, near or far!

Thanks, as always, for your support at home!

 

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Field Day!

Greetings Families,

Field Day was a massive success! We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather, and are all hot, grass-stained, and exhausted!  Many thanks to all of our parent volunteers, without whom this day would not have been possible!  Thanks, also, to P.E. teacher Mrs. DeVarney!  Here are some pictures from the day:

The kids should sleep well tonight (and so will I)!

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Freedom Trail!

Greetings Families,

Fourth Graders had a great time at our Field Trip to the Freedom Trail today!  Please enjoy these photos:

Many thanks to our chaperone volunteer Mr. Brookings for helping count each and every one of my fourth-grade ducklings!

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Distance Learning, Day 1 Links

The following links will be helpful as you complete Distance Learning, Day 1. Refer to your agenda book or the Distance Learning packet for usernames/passwords.

Everyday Math/ConnectEd Log-In

Dreambox Log-In

Brainpop: Immigration Nation Game

Happy learning!

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Distance Learning, Day 1!

Greetings Families,

Students will be going home today with their first “Distance Learning” assignment. The activities in this packet were developed by all fourth grade teachers to address content/standards that students are currently working with. Here’s what your need to know:

1) These are all reinforcement activities – they reinforce lessons/standards we have addressed in class.

2) The activities in this packet are designed to take approximately 90-120 minutes total, and this time commitment can be spread out over the two weeks of the assignment. Teachers expect some small degree of variation in this time requirement, accounting for the differing needs/abilities of individual students. If your son/daughter appears to be working far beyond the 120-minute time frame, or has not completed most of the activities in this time, you may STOP the activities at your discretion.

3) I consistently modify/extend lessons as needed to address my students’ abilities. Modifications might include offering sentence starters in writing, asking guiding questions to assist my students’ comprehension in reading, or offering tools such as multiplication fact tables in math. Extensions might include asking students questions to deepen their understanding of the text (“Why do you think this character did X?” “How do you think X felt when…” etc), prompting them to improve their word choice, or having them create and solve their own complex math problems for the target learning goal. Let me stress, I do not expect parents to assume the role of classroom teacher with these activities, but please know that I welcome you to use your own best judgement on how to support/motivate your son/daughter.

4) Student Support Staff have been consulted to be sure that all students are supported at their personal level of need. If your son/daughter has an IEP, more formal modifications may have been included in your son/daughter’s packet.

5) The fourth grade team aimed for a balance of rigor and fun in developing these activities. We tried to achieve this by offering students choice whenever possible. I personally came at this task from the perspective of both a teacher and a parent. I want my children to get the most out of every “school” day, including these Distance Learning Days, but I also want them to come home, have fun, and be kids!

6) If you choose not to do the Distance Learning Day 1 assignment, or if your child does not complete/turn in the assignment, s/he will be marked absent for one school day.

7) I welcome your feedback, and expect you may have questions as you go. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

 

Many thanks for all you do at home!

 

Monica Sateriale
Grade 4 Teacher
Abbot School
Westford, MA

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Pillowcase Sharing!

Greetings, Families!

The final countdown to Immigration Day has begun.  It was SO fun to see all of the thought students put into their pillowcase items.  Please enjoy some of the photos, below.

Family photos were popular!

Marbles, yo-yos, dolls, and other trinkets were popular “fun” items.

We saw some beautiful heirlooms!Wooden spoons and family recipes were great representations of food!

We really can’t wait for Immigration Day tomorrow! Thanks so much for all your support at home!

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Explore Angel/Ellis Islands

Angel Island:

http://www.poeticwaves.net/

 

Ellis Island:

http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/tour/

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Teamwork!

Greetings, Families!

On Tuesday, Room 22 had a return visit from Guidance Counselor Mrs. Kelly.  She led a lesson on teamwork and communication.  Students got a chance to work in small groups on a fun problem-solving activity: Stacking six cups in a pyramid using only three strings attached to a rubber band.  This was deceptively tricky, but the students did a great job sharing ideas, listening to one-another, and completing the task!

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Is It Spring Yet? (update)

Greetings, Families,

Still waiting for more seasonal temps around here!  In the meantime, here is a quick curriculum update:

Math: We are rounding out Unit 6 this week, and will “Show What We Know” on the Unit 6 assessment in a few days.  The last few lessons of Unit 6 deal with adding/subtracting fractions, and tying this understanding in to multiplying fractions by whole numbers.  We will talk about how repeated addition is related to multiplication, and extend this understanding to fractions.

By the beginning of Unit 7 next week, students will have covered most of the big new ideas in 4th grade math.  The final two units of the year, Units 7 and 8, mostly focus on “putting it all together”: integrating learned skills into multi-step number stories, extending understanding of line plot analysis, etc.  We will be doing LOTS of fine-tuning of our math skills these next few weeks.  Math fact recall (multiplication/division)  is as important as ever, so even though we are just about finished with weekly Math Logs, please find ways to make math fact practice a part of your daily/weekly routine at home.

Westford’s Grade 5 Math Information Night will be held this Wednesday, March 28 at 6:30 PM at the Crisafulli School.

Reading: We are wrapping up a unit about reading and exploring poetry.  First, we begun by reviewing third-grade poetry terms (line, stanza, rhythm).  We also explored differences between poetry and prose, dipped our toes into the concept of “meter” by listening for rhythm as we read poems aloud, and finally searched for examples of similes and metaphors in poetry.  This week, we will begin searching for themes in the poems we read together.  When we try to determine the theme of a poem, we will practice using a strategy called the 5W&H method.  We ask ourselves, “What is happening in the poem?  Who is the narrator/speaker of the poem? When/Where is the poem taking place? Why do we think the author wrote the poem? How was the poem written – using what kinds of figurative language or literary devices?”  We also try to visualize the poem, painting a picture in our minds.  Using all of this analysis, we ask, “What message is the author trying to tell us in this poem?”  It’s a difficult process, and we will do lots of whole-class think-alouds and lessons to try to put these strategies into practice.

Coming up soon in reading: Greek Mythology!  We’ll read and share some entertaining Greek myths in the form of both prose and drama.  This will be a great opportunity to do some Readers’ Theater – a chance to show off our fluent reading!

Writing: We have just begun our unit on Persuasive Essay, and I am so excited about the passionate discussions we have had about persuasive writing this week!  By next week, students will have selected an issue they cared deeply about, and will begin brainstorming strong reasons to support their opinions on their chosen issue.  We then will add details to our graphic organizers, strengthening our reasons with evidence.  Later, we’ll turn those opinions and reasons into five-paragraph persuasive essays. Our goal will be to use passionate language and strong reasons to convince our target audience to agree with our opinion, and perhaps even “take action”!  We will also work on incorporating transition words to improve our sentence fluency.

Social Studies: With Immigration Day looming this Friday, we are just about through with our unit on Immigration and Citizenship.  In addition to exploring what immigration was like a century ago, we used the TCi textbook as a guide to reveal contributions of immigrant groups to the United States throughout history.  All of this will culminate in our Immigration Day Simulation on Friday, March 30th (see below). Many thanks to the parent volunteers who help us make this tradition possible!

Beginning in April, we will continue our tour of the United States by stopping in the Southwest Region.  The unique geography and climate of this region make it a fun one to “visit”! We will talk a lot about land formations and resource management in this unit, with lots of discussion given to how water is shared in this arid region. I LOVE how this unit ties in to Mrs. Allen’s study of Land & Water…

Science: Students are finishing up their study of Land and Water with Mrs. Allen.  A Land & Water benchmark is tentatively scheduled for the week of April 9th.  For more specific information about the science curriculum, or to help your son/daughter review the textbook at home while studying, remember to log on to the TCi website using your student’s science log-in information.  It’s a great way to access the virtual textbook and other interactive learning opportunities.

MCAS Reminder: Our first English Language Arts session of testing will be Friday morning, April 13th! I hope to see all students bright and early at 8:15, ready to conquer this first ELA session and show off everything they’ve learned so far this year!

Immigration Day: As mentioned earlier, Immigration Day will be Friday, March 30th.  Students should come dressed as their immigrant identity (think turn-of-the-century – button-down shirts, slacks, dresses, skirts, blouses, anything that might still fit from Parkerville).  This is an early release day, so don’t forget about dismissal at 11:40!

 

Phewwww!  That about covers it.  As always, please let me know if you have any questions!

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