Spectacular Science- Exploring Pulleys and Gears

In science, we are sometimes able to borrow fantastic learning kits from HWDSB’s Kit Services. Some of them are in hot demand across the boards schools, so we can’t always be too picky about when we get them.  This week we put our study of Habitats on hold to jump into our upcoming unit of Pulleys and Gears. These amazing LEGO kits have kept our class super engaged. Through these kits, we have explored different types of gears and pulleys. We have looked at how they make things move and how they make work easier. 

Math Test Questions

Here are some sample answers from our most recent math test. Hopefully this will help shed some light on the various strategies your child might be trying to use. Please sign and return the test if you haven’t already. I will send it home again promptly so you can use it to practice further if your wish. There will be more opportunities this term for the children to demonstrate their subtracting and problem solving skills. Your child can let me know on Monday if they feel they need to do a retest

Classroom Happenings-Loving Literacy

We have been working to expand our vocabulary and improve our spelling during word work. We have added new words like agile, exclaimed, balance, and biome to our vocabulary.

Here students are sorting words with vowel-R combinations. We talked about how vowels with r can sometimes sound the same, such as -ir (girl), -er (nervous), -or (working), and -ur (purple). We also looked -ar and -ir, and noted how the sound changes with another vowel like -ear in hear and -air in pair.

In writing, we are pulling apart and ordering stories to better help us understand how we organize writing in this form. We are working to ensure our story beginnings have well developed characters, descriptive settings, and a problem or action that will move us into the middle of the story.

Classroom Happenings

We are continuing to have lots of fun in grade 4! The students have been commenting that they are noticing an increase in the work load and expectations now. Grade 4 is a big jump from grade 3, but they are coping well.

On September 28 everyone worked hard during our Terry Fox run. We fell a bit short of our school goal of $2000, so we will not be throwing tomatoes at Mr. Adams. However our schools top fundraisers will get to put a pie in the face of a few volunteering teachers. I’ll be one of them…bring me a towel please! All money raised will go to cancer research.

As many of you know we have been talking about growth mindset in class. Recently students were asked to recreate this without any upfront instruction:

Here’s some of the language I heard while they were working:

After some perseverance, encouragement, and clues from others, a few were able to complete the task. Many others were close and I’m sure with more time, they too would have been successful.

The lessons: Positive talk and believing in yourself get you further. Believing you “can’t” ensures you will not succeed. Mistakes help you get closer to the correct way…we call these “beautiful mistakes.”

Today, we also added a lesson to our growth mindset discussions about the power of “YET.” When we struggle with something, we will no longer be saying “I can’t do this” or “I don’t get this.” Rather, we will be saying “I can’t do this YET” or “I don’t get this YET.”

In reading, we have been working on improving our  fluency with some readers theatre. Here are a few of our performers:

Here we are playing math games to practice comparing and ordering numbers. The greatest number wins the round!

Two Weeks In

We have had a great first two weeks! Everyone is settling in nicely. I am very much enjoying this new class and I think they are enjoying me.

We have busy with lots of work reviewing and doing some diagnostic work so I can see where everyone is at. Below is a snapshot. If a child’s face is covered it is because I do not yet have a media consent form. Please send this form in as soon as you can.

We have a new friend temporarily visiting our room. DWEEBLE, as our hermit crab is affectionately known as, is helping to get us excited about HABITATS in science inquiry.

In art we are leading to a bigger project. We have reviewed warm and cool colours, and had a lesson on lines.

In math, we have been reviewing our mental math strategies from grades two and three. Check out all of the different ways our classmates get to an answer in their head! We learned that making tens, looking for doubles, and using friendly numbers like 20 or 30 is efficient. We have also been working on place value, expanded form, standard form, and written form. Today we started rounding, but we slowed down because many students had trouble remembering how to round 2, 3, or 4 digits to the nearest ten. We will work on rounding some more next week. The goal is to round 2, 3, and 4 digit numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, and thousand.

In literacy/language we have been building our reading stamina. We have listened to a few read aloud stories and have written our first story. This writing piece is a diagnostic so that I can see where their skills are at and was completed with little upfront teaching. We will be doing more story writing in the next couple of weeks with more targeted lessons.

Here is a shared writing piece we did, modelled after one of the read aloud we heard.

Have a great weekend everyone. Remember to read at least 5 nights a week with an adult. 😃✌️

Welcome to Grade 4

Image result for welcomeWelcome back to school and welcome to Mrs. Davies Dynamic Class! 

Can you believe summer is over? It seemed to go by very quickly for me. With so many cool days, I think it felt like even more of a blip in time. Oh well, fall is always like New Years to me. A time for fresh starts and new goals.

I am so excited for our first day. Like most students, I too get the first day jitters. The night before, I lie awake anxious with anticipation for how the first day will go. What will I wear? Will my students enjoy me as a teacher this year? Will I remember to say I the things I need to tell them? Have I got everything ready? etc.

Mr. Swinarchin and I have been busy planning for this years grade 4’s and we know we’re going to have a great year.

As classroom activities get busy and planning fun things take up much of my time, I have reduced my expectations for this blog this year (for now). I will use this as a place to share some exciting updates and fun times in our class. Sometimes it might only be a picture post, but my hope is that about once a month I can provide families with a small window into our classroom. Please subscribe for updates and poke around the other pages for more information.

Parents: please be sure to sign up for our remind updates (see contact page for more) by texting @davies4a to (289) 275-1476

Here are the links to the handouts that went home on the first day of school:

Introduction Letter

Parent Homework: Getting to know your child