4th Grade News Update
The fourth graders have been working hard this quarter. Thinking more outside the box and writing more detailed works have been the focus in Mrs. Scholtus’s class this quarter. Context clues, main idea, making inferences, and analyzing text have been strategies that have been focused on in reading class. Using clues from the text, text evidence and a student’s own background knowledge are the keys to many of the skills the students must incorporate within the fourth grade Common Core components for reading. Reading for Accelerated Reader allows the students to practice these advanced skills for reading. The students see this more now that they have two goals for AR. Each student not only has her/her points goal as in the past, but they now also have a comprehension goal of 85%. This is also the goal for their Skills Iowa Assessments to ensure the students meet the standards for comprehension work. The students have also found out how reading and writing go together in fourth grade. Many of the stories that the students have read, they have also been writing about in different ways. They have written character descriptions and summarizing paragraphs. The students are currently working on writing a narrative story using dialogue. The focus of this is to understand the narrative writing process where characters talk back and forth to each other as in a fictional book. We are also including the use of technology as stated in the fourth grade writing standards for Common Core. Students also have Daily Grammar Practice for homework like the Homelinks in math to practice grammar and spelling skills needed to become a better writer.
In Mr. Marlay’s math class the students have been perfecting their use of multiplication and division facts. The math series has given the students a great review of decimals, the metric system, and customary measuring system during the last few weeks. We presently have many different computerized programs that are enhancing the math program. The use of Math Playground, IXL, and Everyday Math Online have allowed the students to find different ways to work on their math skills. One of the great things about these programs is that the students can use these web based programs at school or at home.
In Mrs. Strupp’s Science class, we ended our unit on Energy by completing a S.T.E.A.M activity. S.T.E.A.M stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. In the activity, students worked in teams as they went through the engineering design process. They’re task was to create a secret code to transmit a message containing locations of beryllium deposits back to their company’s home office. They sent their codes via two sets of equipment and had only 5 minutes to code, send, decode their message. This was a great success and my students had a wonderful time showing off their engineering designs and working together as a team.
Mrs. Strupp kicked off Social Studies withCivics/Government, which was just completed. This unit involved answering this compelling question: How do Iowa Caucuses impact our elections? We sorted new vocabulary, watched many videos and read several articles to help build an understanding of what a caucus is, how they are run, and the impact they have on the United States. We have been working on highlighting important information from a text to help us organize information. At the end of the unit, the students created an individual video to answer the compelling question with strong evidence. This was a new type of assessment for them, so we are still practicing. Our next unit, which we started this week, is Economics. We will be trying to answer the following question: Is corn farming a stable income? I look forward to hearing the students’ thoughts!
Students have been practicing coding once a day each week for the last several weeks with Mrs. Strupp. This is something that they look forward to each week. Each week’s lesson challenges them more and more. It is so great to see the students problem-solve to complete each level’s task. This past week was Computer Science Education Week. We took a break from our regular coding lesson, and the students were able to choose their own coding activity through the website https://hourofcode.com/us/learn. Coding helps students prepare for 21st Century jobs and for jobs that aren’t even created yet!