Monday, September 11, 2017

September Blog

Words Their Way Spelling Homework


Each Friday, your child will bring home a collection of spelling works that have been introduced in class. Throughout the week, your child is expected to complete a different activity daily to ensure that theses words and the spelling patterns they represent are mastered.  These activities have been modeled and practiced in school so your child can demonstrate how they work at home.


Monday:  Cut and Sort Words
Remind your child to cut and then sort the words and then sort the words into spelling patterns as practiced at school.  Your child should read each word aloud during this activity.  Ask your child to explain why the words are sorted in a particular way and what the sort reveals about spelling in general.  Encourage your child to sort their words a second time as quickly as possible.  You may time the activity for fun. Your child will prepare an answer key that will go home each Friday.


Tuesday:  Sort
Have your child sort the words and record them on the Sort and Record Form.


Wednesday:  Star Sort
Write one header in the center of each star.  Write each word that matches the header on the inside line of every star.  If there is not enough space to write on the inside of the star, the outside can also be used.


Thursday: Written Sort
In preparation for Friday’s spelling test, complete a writing sort by having your child first write each header on the form.  Call out all of the words one by one from your child’s word sort in random order.  Each word should be written under the correct header without seeing the words.  Call out any words your child misspells a second or even a third time.  If your child places the word in the wrong category, discuss why it does not belong and help him/her move it to the correct category.  Discuss any spelling patterns or “rules.”


Thank you for your support!

The Fourth Grade Team

 What's Happening in September?

Math

We finished our study of arrays, factors, and multiplicative comparisons in Unit 1.  We are entering our second unit on measurement.  Our investigation of measurement will begin by gathering data on the height of fourth graders and first graders.  The kids will then learn how to represent and compare the data they collected using bar graphs and line plots.  Finally, they will draw conclusions based on the data.  Our study of measurement will continue into October.
Science
Toward the end of August, we began our study of ecosystems.   We started by investigating biotic and abiotic factors, studying the characteristics of all living things, as well as create food webs and food chains.  In addition, we will study the different ecosystems that exist in our world and how human behavior impacts those ecosystems and the animals and plants that live there.  Toward the very end of the month, the kids will each choose an endangered species to study.  They will research its habitat, diet, adaptations, its place in the food chain, the reasons it is endangered, and then they will craft a call to action with ideas on how to save the species.  This information will turn into a brochure that the kids will create and share with one another.
Reading
This month in Reading Workshop we will continue to apply the reading comprehension strategy of activate and connect.  When we finish, we will begin the comprehension strategy of questioning.  The kids will continue to study a variety of nonfiction text while activating their background knowledge on the subject material.  They will then connect their new learning to their background knowledge as they create new thinking on the subject matter.  I will continue to model this strategy and these techniques at the start of each lesson and then gradually release the kids to apply the strategy on their own with leveled text I have provided them with.  I will connect our scientific study of ecosystems to reading as I provide the kids with a variety of texts centered around ecosystems and animals.  They are also using the Ladders leveled texts (Amazing Plants and Worth Saving) They will use sticky notes, graphic organizers. and record their new learning in their Reader's Journal as they annotate their text, identify important and interesting information, and merge their background knowledge with their new learning.  As always, as the kids are reading and applying the strategy, I will be conferring with them individually and in a small group format.

Writing  

During Writing Workshop in September, the kids will mine through the seed stories they have written in their Writer's Notebook as they select a story idea for their first realistic fiction piece.  I will model how to take a story idea for realistic fiction and create a main character who has fully developed internal and external characteristics and one or more conflicts to solve.  We will being workshop each day by working on a class story that I will lead and the kids and I will craft together.  By doing this, they will see how we use techniques such as figurative language, dialogue, apt word choice, details and description, and paragraphing to create a detailed realistic fiction piece that shows vs tells about the character, his or her struggles and how he/she works to solve those problems. Once the kids have selected their own story idea, they will learn how to create a story arc to develop the plot of the story. They will create scenes for the story arc (all modeled by me first) and then ultimately begin their rough draft using their story arc and planned scenes as a guide.  

Technology
Students did a wonderful job with setting up Seesaw, taking a picture of their array and writing a title/caption, and then creating a video where they were able to verbalize and reflect on their learning. 

Upcoming Dates

September 15th:  Western Night

September 27th:  Parent Teacher Conferences

September 29th: Digger Dash

October 5th: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Field Trip AND Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday, September 1, 2017

August Blog

August Happenings

Language Arts

As the school year begins, we are setting the tone and foundation for Reading Workshop; we are practicing what it looks like to engage in sustained reading, to think about our reading, to share our thoughts in a clear manner while being active listeners as others share, and we are working on building our reading stamina.  As the month progressed, we learned fake reading vs. real reading and how to annotate our reading by leaving tracks of our thinking in the text (sticky notes).  We are using background knowledge, asking questions, identifying important information, make connections (text to self, text to text, text to world), and sharing our annotations with one another.  As always, I will model this strategy first, guide the kids through practice, and give them ample time to independently practice the strategy.  

Writing 

We begin fourth grade by studying the components of a paragraph; a topic sentence, detail sentences, and a concluding sentence.  In addition, we will work to elaborate on the details and add more meat to the text.  The kids had their first experience doing this as they chose a summer memory to write a few short paragraphs about.  During this process, we touched on figurative language, appropriate use of punctuation, and transition words.  We have started our first writing unit. The genre is narrative writing. Students have been brainstorming small moments, looking at stories they wish existed within the small moments (strong emotions/struggles), developing characters (internal/external features), writing daily and incorporating the lessons into their own writing.  These lessons as well as others will continue into September.  I always model strategies, use mentor text, and allow plenty of time for students to practice.

Math

Our first unit of study is on factors and arrays.  Thus far, we have explored a large group of objects and used our background knowledge of multiplication and repeated addition to create a variety of arrays that represent that group of objects.  We have used manipulatives when needed to assist in the creation of arrays.  We will continue to build the foundation for one-digit by one-digit and two-digit by one-digit multiplication through our creation of arrays.
Student have received their password and log-in information for Pearson Realize.  They have digital access to the student math handbook.  (Please note that the pages must be printed and can not be completed digitally.)  This may be used in case homework is left at school.  Your child will have viewed/completed the majority of the videos/tasks in class.  You may use them at home to keep yourself informed of what we are doing in class and/or to support your child at home if necessary.

Science

Toward the end of August, we began our study of ecosystems.   We started by investigating biotic and abiotic factors, studying the characteristics of all living things, as well as create food webs and food chains.  Check out next month's blog post for further details.

Technology

Next week we will have our first technology rotation (Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday). Our focus is on previously built arrays (factors).  Students will use the digital tool, Seesaw.  Within Seesaw, there are several tools they will use to construct knowledge.  Students will produce creative artifacts that will promote their learning experience.

Buddies

We are buddies with Ms. Wilson's first grade class this year.  We met our Buddies on Friday.  Buddy Time is an amazing opportunity for the kids to develop bonds, build friendships, and share their learning with others - that and it brings smiles to all of their faces

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Welcome to 4th Grade!

Dear Parents and Student ~
 
            I would like to introduce myself, and welcome your child to 4th grade!  My name is Kathryn Kramer, and I will be your child’s 4th grade teacher for the 2017/2018 school year.  I am looking forward to our year together with great anticipation and excitement!
         I have been teaching for the past twenty-four years and have a Master’s degree from Regis University.   I have taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades here in Douglas County, as well as in Littleton Public Schools.  It is a pleasure to be a part of Gold Rush Elementary School.
         Teaching is my passion!  I am excited to come to work each day, teach all curricular areas, and help students make connections with what they are learning in the classroom and in their daily lives.  I hope the enthusiasm and love of learning that I bring to my classroom carries over to my students each day.
         My husband, Tom, and I moved to Parker eighteen years ago.  We absolutely love the Parker community. Tom and I have two children.  Logan is 16 and in high school.  Jeffrey is 12 and going into seventh grade.  This past year we got a new puppy named Otis. He is a German Shorthaired Pointer. Our family enjoys hockey, swimming, bicycling, water skiing, snow skiing, and camping.  We love spending time together as a family.
         Fourth grade is a year of tremendous growth, increased responsibility, and an opportunity for your child to think critically.  My goal is to help your child become more responsible and independent, while providing a learning environment that is rich in content and conducive to your child’s needs.  I will work with your child throughout the school year to provide them with the tools and knowledge needed for them to meet these expectations and achieve success.  Together, I hope to create an environment with open communication, the ability to take risks, and one that encourages life long learning. My door is always open.  If at any time you have questions or concerns, please let me know as soon as possible in order to minimize miscommunication.
Sincerely,
Kathryn Kramer

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Blog

May

What's Happening In Our Classroom!

Reading 
Students' are working on the reading strategies summarize/synthesize. Summarizing takes the important information and merges the reader's thinking.  Synthesizing information helps readers to see the bigger picture as they read. Students are learning how to be thoughtful and integrate new information with their existing learning to gain a deeper understanding of the text.  Their thinking will begin to evolve as they encounter new information.  We have been reading non-fiction passages from the Stephanie Harvey Tool Kit, science articles, and Time For Kids. Students are now combining strategies to construct a deeper understanding of what they read.

Writing  
In writing, students are working on several assignments.  They are working on a constellations story and when that is complete, they will begin working on their narrative story with illustrations. We will be using the format that Author Justin Matott shared when he visited with the fourth grade. These story will be published in a book.  We will have a celebration for this as well.  This celebrations will held Tuesday, May 30th from 2:00-3:00ish.  Please join us in this celebration as students will be sharing several pieces of writing.

Math
We are currently working on adding and subtracting larger numbers using a variety of strategies (number lines, place value blocks, and/or the U.S. Algorithm).  We will begin Unit 7 (How Many Packages and Groups) within the next week.  This unit covers: converting measurement, two digit multiplication and division problems.  Learning is differentiated through small group instruction, as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Science
We are finishing our study of "The Sun, Moon, and Stars".  The students created a constellation and are in the process of writing a narrative story of how their constellation came to be.  We will begin our Magnetism and Electricity unit next week.


Technology
Last Monday and Wednesday students were working with Legos.  They were learning about simple machines (force/motion, friction, and gears).  They were using inquiry to answer questions about force and motion.

May
  • May 29th - No School
  • May 30th - Writing Celebration from 2:00-3:00ish
  • May 31st - Field Day (Morning)
  • June 2nd - Last Day (Picnic...more information to come)   

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Blog

April
What's Happening In Our Classroom!

Reading 
Starting the middle of April, we will focus on the comprehension strategy of summarize/synthesize. Synthesizing information helps readers to see the bigger picture as they read.  Students will learn how to be thoughtful and  integrate new information with their existing learning to gain a deeper understanding of the text.  Their thinking will begin to evolve as they encounter new information.  We have been reading multiple fiction and non-fiction passages from ReadWorks.org, Time For Kids, and a variety of articles regarding the sun, moon, and stars. 

Writing  
As you saw prior to conferences or at conferences, students were heavily involved with their informational research report.  They did a wonderful job taking the lessons and skills taught and implementing those into their report.  After PARCC, I will send an email to let you know when we will have our informational writing celebration.  We would love for you to join us. Students will be writing a narrative story which they will illustrate and publish into a book.  We will be using the format that Author Justin Matott shared when he visited with the fourth grade We will have a celebration for this as well.  This celebrations will be sometime in May.

Math
We are in the process of learning about fractions and decimals. We are taking a very hands-on approach (visually and kinesthetically) in order for students to understand why we have fractions and decimals.   For the remainder of this unit we will multiply fractions by whole numbers, as well as multiply, add, and subtract fractions.  Learning is differentiated through small group instruction, as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Science
Our new unit is "The Sun, Moon, and Stars".  The students will learn what causes night and day, how the sun creates shadows depending on the time of day, the phases of the moon, stars, and constellations. 

Technology
On Friday, March 10th students did a great job using a variety of digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts, and made meaningful learning connections by using Discovery Education and ReadWorks.  Students were able to use their reading/thinking strategies (background knowledge, asking questions, inferring, synthesizing and summarizing)

Young AmeriTowne
Students had a wonderful time today.  They were so busy and dedicated to their job.  I am proud of all the hard work they put forth and it truly showed by their work ethic.  Way to Go! 

April
  • PARCC - April 4th, 6th 7th, and 10th-14th                                                                                            Please make sure your child is here on those days and try to schedule appointments around testing times.  Also, please make sure your child has a good night sleep, a healthy breakfast, and snacks for school. Thank you.  
  • Monday, April 10th Book Fair Preview Time for our class 
  • Monday, April 10th- Thursday, April 20th Book Fair 
  • Friday, April 21st - No School  
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March Blog

March
What's Happening In Our Classroom!

Reading 
Students continue to work on the comprehension strategy of making inferences. We are also working on theme vs. main idea, and summarizing and synthesizing.   We have been reading multiple fiction and non-fiction passages from ReadWorks.org.  In addition, we have been covering the above reading/thinking strategies as we prepare and practice for PARCC testing. Students are learning to use the tools (highlighting, annotating) and important test taking strategies as we practice together.

Writing  
Student focused on their informational writing.  They have completed their four subheadings, conclusion, and glossary.  Students are currently in the process of writing a micro-story in first person which includes thoughts and feelings.  After the micro-story is complete, students will begin importing pictures/maps that match their text, writing captions, and creating charts.
 
Math
We are in the process of learning about fractions and decimals. We are taking a very hands-on approach (visually and kinesthetically) in order for students to understand why we have fractions and decimals.  Students have been learning through creating fraction cards, Twizzler activities, cutting/pasting different square and rectangular grid paper.  They are shading to show equivalent fractions and comparisons.  Learning is differentiated through small group instruction, as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Young AmeriTowne 
Students did a wonderful job with interviews and received their position for our day at Young AmeriTowneWe are concluding our study of the free enterprise system and preparing with great anticipation.  Students have done a wonderful job.  I can't wait to see them take what they have learned and put it into practice. Please sign your child up for this field trip through RevTrak.  

Science
Our new unit will be "The Sun, Moon, and Stars".  The students will learn what causes night and day, how the sun creates shadows depending on the time of day, the phases of the moon, stars, and constellations. 

Technology
On Friday, March 10th students will be using a variety of digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts, and make meaningful learning experiences by using Discovery Education and Read Works.  

March  
  • Conference - 8th and 15th 
  • Spring Break - 17th-31st
April
  • PARCC - April 4th, 6th 7th, and 10th-14th                                                                                            Please make sure your child is here on those days and try to schedule appointments around testing times.  Also, please make sure your child has a good night sleep and a healthy breakfast and snacks for school. Thank you.
  • Young AmeriTowne Field Trip - Wednesday, April 5th

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February Blog

February
What's Happening In Our Classroom!

Reading 
Students are working on the comprehension strategy of making inferences.  We have been reading multiple fiction and non-fiction passages (Ladders, ReadWorks.org, TFK).  As we practice this strategy together, students are working on transferring what they've learned to their own work.  Students are learning how to use text clues and their background knowledge to infer the meaning of unknown words, how to infer authors' unstated meaning, and how to merge their background knowledge and information from the text to create a new meaning from the text.  We are also reviewing how to annotate using the strategies and why those annotations are important . 

Writing 
We have started the genre: informational writing.  The students are learning how to craft an informational piece. The purpose of the informational piece is to teach others about their selected topic.  Students chose topics based on U.S./Colorado History.  Students are currently using their number notes outline to take notes on note cards.  They are adding details and examples. From there, students will use their note cards to begin drafting.  Author, Justin Matott, will be joining us on Friday, January 3rd.

Math
We are in the process of concluding our study of U.S. Measurement and the Metric System.  Students continue to learn how to convert from one unit of measurement to the other, calculate perimeter and area, classify polygons, measure angles, and how to accurately use measurement tools. In addition, they are working on symmetry, finding halves, area of polygons, and area of angles.  Learning is differentiated through small group instruction, as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Young AmeriTowne
Students are learning about the Free Enterprise and Economics.  In the next few week we will be discussing:  choices and decisions, supply and demand, what is banking, intro. to checking accounts, how government works, how to write a deposit slip, campaigns, filling out a job application, interviewing, voting, advertising, developing laws, philanthropy, debit cards, budgeting, investing, stocks, mutual funds, CD's, and savings.  We will need volunteers, please look for the letter that will be coming home with your child.  Students will be attending Young AmeriTowne on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

Science
Our new unit will be "The Sun, Moon, and Stars".  The students will learn what causes night and day, how the sun creates shadows depending on the time of day, the phases of the moon, stars, and constellations. 

Technology
Students thoroughly enjoyed our time in the STEAM Lab.  They were able to use the new apps to code our robots Dot and Dash.  The lessons have been designed to connect with the math unit we are currently studying. For example, students created coding paths for their robots using their knowledge of the metric system.  The class is excited to go back!

February is Kindness Month!  
  • We will be working on developing and strengthening our classroom community.  
  • Secret Pal Valentine Breakfast - February 14th
  • Friendship Soup - February 14th (letter to come)
March  
  • Spring Break - 17th-31st
 
April
  • PARCC - April 4th-7th                                                                                                                          Please make sure your child is here on those days and try to schedule appointments around testing times.  Thank you.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.