Last week was amazing! We turned in our first novel projects which were awesome, had our Valentine’s day party and dance, and participated in Jump Rope for Heart. Check it all out below in our Storify:
This week we are going to work on the following goals:
The month of December is often one that is crazy busy for most people. It is no different here in Room 11! The only difference is instead of hitting the crowds and shopping, we are creating, writing, crafting, coding, and working hard each day. We started off this month by publishing our first official writing piece. Students worked hard to write about a time they lent a helping hand to someone. They then met with other students to peer edit their work, met with me to finalize changes that needed to be made, and finally used Microsoft OneDrive to type and share their documents with me. We are officially authors!
Peer editing notes, Microsoft OneDrive
After we finished publishing, we set out to travel the world and learn about how holidays are celebrated in other countries. We are learning about their traditions, foods, songs, and languages. For each country we visit, we locate it on our map, learn how to say Merry Christmas (or other holiday greetings), and listen to holiday music in their native language. We were fortunate enough to have a FaceTime with my sister-in-law, Mrs. Phifer, who shared how Christmas is celebrated in Germany. She read us a story in German, answered our questions, and shared many of her favorite German holiday traditions with us. Check out the video she made for us to remember our chat:
Our Christmas Around the World Map
We also did some creative writing and crafting to help decorate our classroom and hallway for the holidays. While it may all look like fun and games, there was a lot of measuring, writing, proof-reading, and cooperative work going on to create our own Holiday wonderland!
On December 8th, we participated in the Hour of Code. This yearly coding challenge was created to have students experience working with code (the language of the computer) and learn about careers in the field of computer sciences. This year my students worked on coding Starwars, Minecraft, Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Disney Infinity, and Flappy Birds. Students had to use code to create a pattern for their character to move through a maze or complete a task. They worked on all forms of devices- laptops, desktops, and Ipads. Check out the link and try it yourself! It really is a lot of fun and can be modified to challenge even the most experienced coders I know! Hour of Code
To finish out our week we will be visiting Spain, Mexico, Sweden, France, Ireland, Poland, and Finland to learn about their traditions. We will be wrapping up Unit 2 in our Reading series on Friday. In math we will beginning to explore the idea of division. We are also preparing for our Holiday Concert on December 14th.
While many are planning their shopping strategies already for the weekend, I’m a firm believer in taking time instead to give thanks for what I have already in my life. This week is always one of my favorite as a teacher. Not only do I get to help my students develop an attitude of gratitude through reflection activities and webquests about the first Thanksgiving, but I also get to spend time with parents during our annual parent/teacher conferences. I really enjoy getting to meet and share the awesome things my students are doing with their parents!
In preparation for our conferences this year I did something a little different. I found an amazing freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers that helped to make sure that our time in conferences was purposeful. The first image below is a questionnaire I sent home the week before conferences for parents to reflect on how they are seeing their child progress so far this year. I was very happy to have the majority of my class return these! This allowed me to have time prior to our assigned conferences to gather resources and materials to best be prepared for our meetings. The second image below is another freebie find that I used to help me be more focused with my concerns (I tend to be easily distracted during conferences telling parents how awesome their kids are!) 🙂 ) This form is a take away that parents can take home and share with their child. It breaks down their grades and areas of success and concern in classroom behaviors. I must say that I did not create either of these forms, so please join me in thanking the lovely ladies who did create them and posted them on TPT for all of us to use! Thank you! Clicking on the picture will take you to each of their TPT stores to enjoy these FREE downloads!
Parent Questionnaire From Zanah McCauley
Teacher Forms to Help with Conference Preparation from More Time 2 teach
This week we will be taking a virtual field trip back to the first Thanksgiving courtesy of Scholastic.com. This webquest is very well put together and a wonderful resource full of videos and text resources to share with students. Students love seeing how the pilgrims lived and hearing how they spoke. As a culminating activity each year, I make hardtack with my class. Hardtack was a food staple during the passage over on the Mayflower as well as when they first were setting up their settlement here. The image below is a link to the Scholastic site.
First Thanksgiving Webquest from Scholastic.com
Finally, I would like to leave you with a heart felt thanks for being a part of our classroom! Below is a link to my annual Thanksgiving video. Each year I choose a song that has a message of thanks and have students compose visuals to express their gratitude. This year we worked with hashtags to develop a concept of how hashtags are useful in grouping ideas and concepts. Please enjoy! Our song this year is the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Theme.
Hopefully this week will bring back the sun! These rainy days are no fun! We did try to make the best this week by using our favorite “go to” indoor recess solution, GoNoodle.com. This website was a true sanity saver this week! Take a peek at the video below showing one of our favorite GoNoodle activities, “Secret Handshakes.”
We also were gifted with dictionaries by our local ELKS. Every year they deliver dictionaries to the third graders all over the district. These dictionaries are the students to keep! They were so excited! I actually had to tell them to stop reading them later that day so we could get our math done! (a pretty good problem to have for a teacher)
We wrapped up the 1st half of the 1st marking period on Friday. This is the first year that your child will be bringing home a Mid Marking Period Report. It looks very similar to our report cards. These reports, while very useful and informative, can cause anxiety for both parents and students. Here is my philosophy- this is just showing you where your child is at the current moment. It is not the final report for the marking period. I take time to add comments when necessary to help students make corrections and raise grades for their actual report cards. If you have any questions or concerns, please CONTACT ME!!!!!!! I can be easily reached via email at email@example.com. If you’d rather talk to me via a phone conference or meet with me in person, please call the school and we can set that up (856-327-6101). Also, so that you are not caught off guard and can better monitor your child’s progress, be sure to sign up for the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. To do this follow these steps:
1. visit the Millville Public Schools website (www.millvillenj.gov)
2. Click on the Parents tab
3. Click on the link for Infinite Campus Information
4. Complete the 2 online forms, once complete you will be emailed an activation code with directions for how to access your child’s grades.
Once you have done this, you will have 24/7 access to your child’s grades. I update my grade book at least once a week. You will see if they have missing assignments, how they are doing on classwork, and their test grades. You will also be able to email me directly from that site with any questions regarding specific grades.
Another great way to stay informed is to subscribe to this blog (input your email to the right), and also to sign up for Remind. Once you are signed up for Remind, you will receive texts about upcoming tests and other important class information. Follow the steps below:
The week is a short week for the students. They will have off on Friday so that the staff can attend a professional development day. On Tuesday they will have a substitute. We have discussed substitute behavior and I am sure that all will go well. I try very hard not to take off unless it is important. Unfortunately this month there are multiple times that I will be out. Once this week, again on the 22-23 as I am attending a leadership conference, and finally I am hoping NOT to get called for jury duty, but it is a possibility during the last week of the month (cross your fingers!). We will still be working very hard even though the week is short!
We will be reading an informational story called, “Supermarket” this week. We will learn how food gets to the supermarkets. Our focus skill will be compare and contrast. See the link below to review that concept at home. Our vocabulary words for the week are as follows:
1. Section- noun. part or division of something
2. Store- 1. noun. a place where things are sold 2. verb. to put things away until they are needed.
3. Spoiled- verb. 1. to become bad or not good to eat. 2. to injure the character or disposition of
4. Traded- verb. to exchange one thing for another.
5. Laundry- 1. noun. clothes, towels, and other such items that need to be washed or have just been washed. 2. adjective. used for doing laundry
6. Shelves- noun. a horizontal board on a wall or in a cupboard, used for holding or storing things
7. Thousands- noun or adjective. ten hundred, 1,000
8. Variety- noun. a selection of different things
We will have a test on these vocab words, the compare and contrast concept, and long vowel digraphs that form the long 0, a, and e sounds on Thursday.
We will be wrapping up Topic 2 this week with a test on Tuesday. We will then be working with adding 3 digit numbers. We are going to ease into this by using number models and manipulatives. Check out the video below to see help explain what this looks like. I know it seems like a drawn out way to add, but trust me it will help in the long run when we start regrouping!
We will be moving away from our first unit of discovery, States of Matter and beginning our second, Weather. Our first topic covered will be types of clouds. We will finish out the week with a pretty cool experiment that will have it “raining” in the classroom! And since no week would be complete without a silly song stuck in your head, click the video below at your own risk!
We will be having a unit 1 vocabulary quiz on Thursday. The following words will be included:
Fun Friday Math Centers! Math Duel App and Mobymax.com are some of our favorites!
One month down! Where did the time go?! In the past month, we spent a log of time setting up our routines and getting used to our daily schedule. I think we FINALLY have it set! I want to take some time to explain to you what life in our room looks like on an average day. Take a peek at our schedule below:
9:15-9:30- Morning Meeting- During this time we are learning how to greet each other in a new language everyday! Ask you child how to say hello in any of the following languages: Romanian, Hungarian, Russian, French, Italian, Sign Language, Hindu, Swahili, Spanish, German, and I’m sure I’m missing a few! We are up to 13 different languages! We also take some time to “check in” with each other during this meeting to set the tone for a successful day.
9:30-11ish- Language Arts- During this time we have 4-5 mini-lessons and go to 4-5 centers. I follow the Daily 5 approach to teaching. This allows for short periods of focused learning (mini lessons lasting about 10-15 minutes) broken up by time in centers practicing our Language Arts skills. Each day we will have a mini lesson in each of the following areas- spelling/vocab, grammar, reading strategies, and writing strategies. Our centers focus on the skills learned in the mini lessons as well as reinforcing skills we’ve learned previously. We have centers that focus on Word Work (vocabulary), Listening to Reading, Reading to Self, Reading to Someone, Guided Reading, and Working on Writing. The work done in centers is done continuously throughout the week and only graded on Fridays.
11ish-12 and 1-1:30- Math- We begin each math lesson with a common core review that asks students to practice a variety of skills. After we discuss that we move on to the day’s lesson including a short video to introduce the concept, guided practice and independent practice. Our math class is divided by recess and lunch. After we return from lunch and take our bathroom break, we do some math centers. During this time, I will work with students who are struggling with the concept in small groups while the others are practicing the concept in a variety of ways (ipad apps, mobymax website, etc).
1:30-2:15- Science- By far one of our favorite times of the day! We will conduct experiments, read about science concepts, and interact with different apps and web sites throughout the year during this time. We are currently wrapping up our first area of study- matter. We will also be studying the following areas this year: Ecosystems, Life Cycles, Weather and Climate, and Engineering and Design.
3:00-3:30- Social Studies- This year our focus is on the elements and interactions in a community. I am hoping to have a few guest speakers from our community come in to help explain how we all play a part in making our community run smoothly.
Whew! After seeing it all in writing, it’s no wonder I’m exhausted at the end of the day! As you can see, we work hard ALL day! That being said, we do have fun too. We have recess daily before lunch to make sure we’ve worked up a healthy appetite. We also do alter our schedules a bit on Fridays to allow for fun math centers (more game oriented with some sneaky learning built in). I tell them daily we work hard, but we will play hard too throughout the year! Speaking of hard work here are our learning goals for this week as well as some resources to help you support learning at home:
This week we will be reading the story, “Kumak’s Fish.” We will be continuing to work with the concept of Sequence, or order of events. In addition to this we will be completing our first full writing piece, a friendly letter to a teacher that student’s would like to thank for teaching them something in the past. All letters will be “mailed” to the teachers on Friday. Our grammar skill this week is classifying sentences as declarative (statements) or interrogative (questions). The presentation below will help you to review this concept at home:
Our spelling concept this week will focus on using base words to help with meaning. Our spelling words are: using, getting, easiest, swimming, heavier, greatest, pleased, emptied, leaving, worried, strangest, freezing, funniest, angrier, shopped. While I do not give traditional spelling tests, students are tested on their ability to explain the spelling concept for the week on the weekly test. I will be trying something different for homework this Thursday to help better prepare students for the weekly reading test. Stay tuned!
Vocabulary words this week:
Gear- noun. the equipment or clothing needed for a particular activity.
Parka- noun. a warm, heavy jacket with a hood
Splendid- adjective. very good, excellent
Twitch- verb. to make small, jerky movements
Willow- noun. a tree with narrow leaves and thing branches that bend easily.
Yanked- verb. to pull with a sudden, sharp movement.
We will be working on estimating and rounding this week. This is a difficult skill for students to comprehend. The short video below demonstrates how I teach them in class (minus the silly rap). We have to fully get rounding before we can start estimating.
We will be completing our unit on matter this week and taking a quiz on Thursday.
We will be working with how to read and interpret graphs this week.
It’s that month again- November… you know the one where we never seem to have a full week of school and even when we do everyone is sick thanks to the change of the weather! While there are many days off during November, there are also many valuable teaching opportunities- especially in the area of Social Studies. So how can we make the most of our shortened time together? PROJECTS!!!!!!!! It’s time to shake it up and bring on the projects! Kids love them, teachers love them, and they lend themselves wonderfully to the stop/start nature of school days in this month! Below are a few of the projects that we will be completing this month:
First Week of November: Election Day Project
This week we will be exploring the origins of Election Day, political parties, the voting process, and conducting our own mock election. The video below explains why we vote on Tuesdays (a question I have often wondered myself as it seems like an odd choice for an election day!). We will be working through the election process this week and voting for a mock candidate for class president. Students will listen to campaign speeches from our two mock candidates, vote at the polls, and justify their choices. They will also be making their own voter registration cards.
*Parents- if you go out to vote on Tuesday after school, take your kids with you and share the process!
Second Week of November:
During the second (and one of the only full weeks of school) of November, we will be researching the origins of Veteran’s Day. Students will take a virtual field trip to see the many memorials dedicated to our fallen soldiers in our nation’s capital (see the video I created below). They will then work in teams to design a memorial to honor our local veterans.
Third and Fourth week of November:
During the final full week and our last short week of November, we will be walking in the footsteps of the Pilgrims and learning about the first Thanksgiving. We will be researching, comparing and contrasting the Thanksgiving feast we enjoy today with the one that those first settlers enjoyed. Students will work in pairs to create a menu for today’s feast and a menu from the first Thanksgiving feast using various websites like the one below. We will make a staple of the pilgrims diet- hardtack (yum) to enjoy in class together.
This month I am thankful that I get to share these meaningful, cross-curricular lessons with my class! I will be combining first and second hand accounts as well as multimedia to enhance my student’s learning experiences. We will be creating, writing, debating, and collaboratively working to produce meaningful and memorable products. Stay tuned to see the fruits of our labor in upcoming posts!
This morning we were visited by a local reporter, Chris Torres, from The Daily Journal. He spoke with our 4th and 5th graders about how reporters develop their stories. He focused on encouraging us to answer the 5 W’s, who, what, when, where, and why. He also spoke with us about the importance of reporting true facts.
I decided to dedicate this blog to answer the question, “what did you do today?” If your child is anything like any if mine they reply, “nothing.” As parents we know that they did a lot more than nothing but aren’t quite sure what “a lot more” actually is. So today I documented what a day in room 11 looks like. Enjoy!
All of our lessons and centers are designed around our daily objectives.
We begin our day with language arts. A few students needed to finish publishing their Diary of a Spider books.
Why did we write these books? We learned from a mentor text, The Diary of a Fly, about sequence, humor, and intertwining facts into a fictional narrative.
Other students were working on their personal narrative rough drafts in the writing center.
After language arts we had gym. Since the weather did not cooperate we held recess inside and just “Let it Go!”
Following lunch, we have our math lesson. Today we were multiplying 2 digit by 1 digit numbers.
Finally, we wrapped up our day reviewing for our social studies quiz on the NJ Social Studies Weekly Website.
As you can see we work extremely hard everyday! Make sure to stop by and check out our “scary smart skills” the next time you visit our school!
I hope you all enjoyed your LONG weekend! I know I did! The family and I went and picked up some pumpkins at the pumpkin patch this weekend and then spent all afternoon today carving them and roasting the seeds for a nice healthy snack! This week is another short week thanks to our holiday today, but it will be packed with review activities and our first unit test in Language Arts.
This week we will be reviewing our grammar skills and reading strategies to get ready to complete our first unit assessment. We will be taking this test on Friday. Instead of loading this post up with review lessons, each night this week, your child will have a flipped language arts lesson as part of their homework to review the skills needed to be successful on Friday. Remember flipped lessons are lessons that the students view at home via the internet to better prepare to practice this skills in class the next day. The results I get from these lessons will help me to better plan which topics we need to review as a whole class and which lessons only a few people need extra help with.
We will be published authors by the end of this week. We are wrapping up our Diary of a Spider books (stay tuned for a special blog post Friday!) as well as working on our first portfolio piece. Below is a short video explaining the 6 Traits of Writing that we will be working with this year to produce the best writing pieces that we can. All of our work will be scored using these 6 categories.
This week will be working with multiplying 2 digit numbers by 1 digit numbers using the standard algorithm (the way us old people learned how to do it!).
We will be learning about NJ’s first inhabitants this week, the Native Americans. Many of us think Native Americans are mainly located in the central and western parts of the country. NJ however is home to many Lenni Lenape tribe members. The video below features some of the Lenni Lenape from right here in Cumberland County and details their struggle to hold on to their heritage. We will be focusing on the Native Americans of NJ this month in our social studies lessons.
Brrrrrrrr! I am sitting in front of a fire as I type this! Fall is definitely making its presence felt today! Don’t worry, however, because we will be learning so much this week we will work up a sweat! This week we begin our month of Respect. Over the weekend, you had a chance to review our school’s bullying information and sign our anti-bullying contract with your child. We take this very seriously at RM Bacon! Ms. Spanbauer will be in this week to speak with the class about respect and get us started on an activity that we will complete as a whole 4th grade class. There is NO SCHOOL ON FRIDAY due to a teacher inservice day. Enjoy your day off!
This week we will be working with determining main idea and supporting details. We will also be starting our first novel for the year, The Chocolate Touch.
Vocab words for the week: glacier, impressive, naturalist, preserve, slopes, species, wilderness
The Chocolate Touch Chapters 1-3 will be covered this week.
This week we will be working with Multiplying by Multiples of 10 and 100 as well as breaking apart 2 digit numbers to find the product. The prezi below may be helpful to reinforce what we are doing in class.
We are working on our first book this week. By the end of next week all of my students will be published authors! We used the model text The Diary of a Fly as a guide and we all came up with our own versions of “The Diary of a Spider.” Be sure to stop by the third floor hallway and read our creations next week!
We are finishing our study of ecosystems by creating poster representations of the 5 major ecosystems in the USA.