Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Update

It's warm, then cold, snowy then rainy, blizzard and then a heat wave.  The inconsistent weather always has students wondering whether we will be inside or out for recess almost every day.  Fortunately for our academic side of things, the schedule is more consistent than the weather.  Please make sure your children are going to school dressed for the weather, just like you send them to school with all their school supplies and a healthy lunch and snack.  Please keep in mind if you are sending snacks or treats for the entire class that you ensure they are gluten-free and nut-free (cannot be processed in factory with nuts).  For a list of gluten-free snacks, click here.  Thank you for considering the dietary needs of our students.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen has taken over our reading curriculum and inspired all kinds of comprehension opportunities, including the formation of new literature circles.  These discussion groups are student-centered and designed to help students practice asking questions, making inferences and connections, increasing vocabulary skills, and visualization abilities.  Each student has a responsibility to prepare for discussion groups and participate in conversations about readings.  In addition to discussion groups our class is continuing to work on writing chapter summaries, making predictions, and answering short chapter quizzes.  

Research, research, research.  Science research on ecosystems is now growing from outlines to rough drafts.  As students begin writing rough drafts, they are asked to focus on creating a topic sentence for each of the five paragraphs and adding supporting details to compose complete paragraphs.  The idea surrounding a complete paragraph includes at least five quality sentences that use correct grammar and focus on the main idea.  Following rough drafts, students will engage in peer-editing before composing final drafts next week.  They will be working on oral presentations, supported by some technology infused visual aid, in March.  

Our Global Virtual Classroom project continues as students are now combining research with graphics in preparation for web page development.  Students have uncovered much information about NUMBERS in our world and are creating graphics and organizers to represent what they have discovered.  In the weeks ahead, our class will be collaborating with our virtual classmates in Arizona to develop a final web site devoted to our them.  Students will be using Kompozer, a free web-design application, to create the website.  They have been using programs like Pixie, Kidspiration, Microsoft Word, and some free Web 2.0 tools to compile their research and develop their graphics.  The due date for our final website is the end of March.  For more information, explore the GVC tab at the top of the blog.

Thanks for reading and keep checking back.  The blog is being continually updated with resources and information from our fourth grade school experiences.