Dear Muggle Parents,
In my opinion, things could not possibly be going any better at Hogwarts than they are. Your little witches and wizards are a true joy to teach. I can't emphasize this point enough! They come into class each day ready and eager to work hard and learn. While they are making great progress across the curriculum, I'd like to take a moment to highlight their work in a few specific areas.
As you know, the Mendon-Upton Regional School district invested in a new K-6 math program called "Go Math!" This program is aligned to the common core standards. It really does feel very different from the mathematics instruction your students were used to. Still, they have demonstrated great flexibility and have thoughtfully applied all of their rich conceptual learning to problems posed in this new curriculum. In addition, just as I have in years past, I'll be using a number of different routines during morning math meetings. These routines are necessary to build a community of mathematicians who are committed to learning together. Furthermore, these routines build deep conceptual understanding, are fun, and really CHALLENGE students. These include but are not limited to "Number Talks", "Fraction Talks", "Open Middle" problems, "Which one doesn't belong?" and "Math in Three Acts." There are many amazing mathematicians across the globe doing remarkable work in the classroom. I am fortunate to be able to connect with these mathematicians and teachers through Twitter. Ten to fifteen years ago I never would have predicted that my teaching would be enhanced and made more effective by global influences and social media. Teachers and students at Clough are blessed to be learning in such a technologically rich school. This is thanks to our community, especially our parents, who support our schools at the polls and through PTO. Thank you!
In reading, the students continue to use the Wonders Reading Program to build comprehension skills and strategies, rich vocabularies, and writing skills. In addition to Wonders, the students will read a tremendous amount of literature this year. Of course, we are reading the first HARRY POTTER book! We read on chapter a week. Over the course of the week students write "Dear Harry" letters where they share their reactions to the text and Harry's struggles with Harry. These letters are doing double duty as they certainly help students to work on their writing skills but they also help students to focus on important reading skills like main idea and details, cause and effect, beginning, middle and end, etc. I've seen tremendous growth in the students' writing already and we've only just finished chapter 8!
In addition to HARRY, we've also read the Lemonade Crime, sequel to the Lemonade War. The children really enjoyed it. We've since moved on to the BELOVED, Charlotte's Web. The children have fallen in love with a PIG! For our final project they're working on text dependent illustrations. I hope they'll be up for your enjoyment by conference week! Next, we'll move onto another classic, Beverly Cleary's Ribsy. Exposing children to talented writers helps children to LOVE stories and reading. My end goal is for my students to leave fourth grade as kids who LOVE to read and who seek out books for relaxation, information, and entertainment. We're already well on our way.
Finally, in social studies, we've covered all the necessary map skills deemed necessary by the MA Curriculum Frameworks and we have started our nearly year-long study of the U.S. Regions. The Northeast, which tends to be easiest for our students as they've visited many of the states, was wrapped up last week. I've posted a couple of projects for you to check out below. Also, by the end of the week, your student should be sharing his or her own project for you to check out in SeeSaw. This time around, the students used S'more (a digital newsletter, not a campfire treat!) to show what they learned. I think you'll agree that their work is impressive. I plan to introduce the children to a variety of different high-tech options for project presentation over the course of the year like Google Slides, Fotobabble, Weebly, Prezi and more! They'll also be able to choose from low tech and no tech options too. Choice is a HUGE motivator for fourth graders (and adults too if I'm being honest).
A couple of announcements:
These are scheduled for November 9th and 10th. I can also meet nearly any day before or after school too. Let me know what works best for you soon if you haven't already signed up on the SignUp Genius.
We will be having a LITTLE celebration on Halloween in addition to our school-wide parade. We'll be watching the Charlotte's Web movie as a little treat. If you are willing to bake or send in some paper goods or juice boxes, please contact Melissa Rezek at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love a few Charlotte's Web themed treats or Harry Potter themed treats. PLEASE, no bacon though! That would just be insensitive.
Remember, THE STUDENTS have no school on voting day (Nov. 8). We all have no school on Veteran's Day (Nov. 11). November 9th and 10th are early release days to allow for parent/teacher conferences.
I'm planning to run in the SPOOKY run on October 30th. This 5K walk/run is sponsored by the Mendon-Upton Education Foundation who does so much to support our schools. Might you and your family consider joining me for this walk/run?
I'm looking forward to seeing you soon!
Marie (Prof. Brigham)