Saturday, September 30, 2017

Science:  WORMS!

The worms have landed!  What fun!  We spent time observing worms this week.  Using magnifying glasses, flashlights, and the power of observation, we recorded our thoughts and drew illustrations of our amazing worm friends.  Our new interactive science notebooks are going to be so fun to fill this year!  We also read Diary of a Worm.  This book is fiction, but the author does a great job of inserting facts into this clever story.  A great way to understand that a work of fiction can include facts!  We placed our worms in the Haisley garden, allowing them to live a wonderful life AND help us produce amazing vegetables and flowers!  Yay! 
Keeping Track of the Books We’ve Read

Keeping track of our books is something we do on a regular basis in our classroom.  I have never been big on reading logs, as I think it can turn kids off to reading.  However, I do think writing down titles of books we read IS beneficial.  As long as it doesn’t feel punitive, I think it benefits kids to keep track of their books.  They see me writing down book titles (on the list on our door) and often remind me to write down titles if I forget.  We also use our list to compare books we’ve read as the year progresses.  This is a great way to show WHY we keep track of our books.
Main Idea
Finding the main idea in texts can be tricky.  We spent time this week discussing main idea and identifying the main idea in a variety of texts.  Once you identify the main idea, we look for details that will support the main idea we’ve identified.  We use our Reader’s Notebooks to keep track of the mini lessons we do.  We also practiced our main idea skills while reading Time for Kids. 

Our math schedule will be back on course next week.  It has been slightly modified due to the NWEA.  This week, we practiced converting units of measure.  We also spent time working on story problems relating to converting units of measure.  We will continue to practice not only converting, but also measuring objects too.  If you can, this is something that’s easy to practice at home and kids really need the extra practice!  Thank you!
My Final Thought About The Wild Robot
We finished reading The Wild Robot.  It’s always a bit sad when you finish a good book, isn’t it?  We are writing about our final thoughts on this amazing book.  Before they write it on the chart, they write it in their Reader’s Notebooks.  When everyone has finished their thought, I will post the final result. I highly recommend this book!  It wont’ take long for you to read it, and it’s such a delightful story. 
Writing our Seesaw plans
We are working hard to make our Seesaw plans thorough and meaningful.  The anchor charts that we are coming up with are created by your kids, not me.  I guide the conversation, but they come up with the ideas and procedures. 
Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker

Shelley is wearing an orange sweater because the only color in her illustrations is ORANGE!  :)  

Author Shelley Johannes visited Haisley on Monday morning.  This is her very first book AND her very first author’s visit!  She lives in Michigan and her new book is adorable.  It’s on our TO READ list!  She told us about her writing process, how she comes up with ideas, and showed the kids how she draws and upside down Beatrice. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Science: Nature’s Recyclers
Woot!  How do we kick off our new science unit?  By reading a book called The Story of the Little Mole Who went in Search of Whodunit.  Of course we did.  What’s next?  WORMS!  We will take a look at worms next week.  We will also begin some fun experiments too!  I can't wait to fill in our empty anchor chart!  YahoOOoO!
Reader’s Notebooks
We continue to use our READER’S NOTEBOOKS on a daily basis.  One of the mini-lessons we finished was about PROOF READING our writing.  Why do we do it?  What are we looking for?  How can we correct spelling errors?  How does it sound?  Does it make sense?  The Wild Robot is a really fun book to write about and we are LOVING it.  We are almost finished and we are all going to be heartbroken when we leave Roz and Brightbill.  We will read the sequel starting in March! 
STEM Activity: Marble Maze Craze

In one of our morning activities, they had to share their favorite thing we’ve done in 4th grade thus far.  They also shared something they like to do in the future.  I hear over and over again that they LOVE the STEM activities we did.  This week, we worked on a project that asked them to create a maze for a marble.  They each had their own maze and had to make the marble go OVER something, go UNDER something and have the entrance on the opposite side of the exit.  Kids had a lot of fun creating their mazes and it’s always so fun to see how different they are!  They also WRITE about their mazes and spend some time writing BEFORE we begin creating and then again AFTER they finish their design. 
Books We’ve Read Together
I love writing lists.  This is one of my very favorite lists.  We will read a LOT of books together this year.  I like to keep track of what we read and do my very best to write them on the list on our classroom door. 
Responsive Classroom
Our morning meetings are so fantastic!  We are learning so much about one another and setting the tone for our classroom. 
Quiet Time continues to be a very popular time of day.  We take ten minutes after lunch to take it down several notches.  There are no devices used during QT and our room is pretty close to being silent.  There are a few things they can do during this time and it’s really meant to be a time to calm the soul.  We are busy, and kids need to wind down and relax for a few minutes.  They can draw, read, create zentangles (cool drawings done with a marker and a lot of doodles), or create a book.  I have a great stapler that allows us to make books and we have spent some time discussing all of the different kinds of books we can make.  Chants are a fun part of RC and we learned a great one this week.  It’s called ROLL CALL and after doing it twice, they sound amazing!  Here’s how it goes:

Roll call!  Check the beat.
Check, check, check the beat.

Roll call!  Check the beat.
Check, check, check the beat.

Student:  My names is  __________________

Group:  CHECK!

Student:  They call me _________ (knick name or first name)

Group:  CHECK!

Student:  I am a ___________ (book reader, dreamer, ball player, etc.)

Group:  CHECK!

Student:  That’s what I am!

Group:  That’s what he/she is.

We spent a lot of time discussing all of the things one could say for the I AM A. part.  We are SO many things!  Soccer players, photographers, readers, sisters, violin players, artists, etc.  WHAT ARE YOU!? 
We will write every single day of fourth grade.  It’s hard, and it can be very frustrating for kids.  As a class, we came up with a great list of ways we can practice writing.  Please help encourage your kids to try some of these ideas at home!  Try writing a sticky note to your kid inviting them to write back!  Write a story together.  One person starts the story and the next person adds something to the story and passes it to the next person.  Write to a family member who lives far away or near!  Who doesn’t love getting something in the mail!?

We often add things over time to our charts.  I try and use different colors if we add new things.
Wow!  What a great start to Seesaw!  Kids are excited about creating videos and taking photographs of the work they have done throughout our week.  We are working on understanding what is worthy of making its way to a Seesaw post and are honing our skills every day.  Because I am new to this as well, we may change things as we go.  I’m still learning how to manage this within our classroom and am working on new and exciting ways to use it as a tool for both learning and sharing.  We continue to discuss our procedures and use anchor charts to clarify why we are using Seesaw, and guidelines for doing so. 
We all get in on the action!  Coming to the board to solve a problem or show your strategy is a part of how we roll.

We are moving through our first unit of math.  This week, we revisited adding and subtracting 3 and 4-diget numbers using a few different strategies.  Kids should find a strategy that works  well for them. 
Here is what we’ve covered in math so far this year:
Place Value in Whole Numbers
Place Value Concepts
Introduction to Student Reference Book
Estimation Strategies
Traditional U.S. Addition and Subtraction

We also took our first timed tests for addition, subtraction and multiplication.  These tests will be taken periodically and kids will be able to test out by getting three perfect scores in a row.  Once they test out, I will have challenge tests available for them to take.