December Update 4-243

Dear 4-243 Families,

It feels like the year is flying by. We are almost at our winter break but we’ve been so immersed in our learning that the days go by quickly.

Our reading partnerships have been very successful.  Students have been reading books together with a partner and using thoughtful jotting and conversations to deepen understanding of texts.  Students have been encouraged to “lift the level” of the notebook entries–think less retell of events, more analysis of characters, relationships, themes–and always with evidence from the text supporting this analysis.  To take the work to the next level, we have launched Reading Responses.  These are more formal written responses created by students once they have finished a partnership book.  Students are asked to draft, revise, and edit a first draft and then create a finished response.  Partners can work with each other to discuss ideas and help to revise and improve drafts.  The final draft is due to me 3 “business days” after the book is finished.  I will provide a grade and feedback which should be considered when writing the next response.  All students are expected to complete 3 responses before the Winter Break. We will reassess when we return in January, as most partnerships will be on hiatus during that time.

In math, we have been doing some very exciting work in regards to factors and multiples. In addition to reviewing calculations, we have been developing conjectures and then attempting to prove our ideas through modeling and discussion.  It’s been wonderful to see 4th graders develop some very sophisticated mathematical ideas.  We will be starting division in the coming days. Please do not encourage using either the multiplication or division algorithms until we have time to develop the underlying mathematical principals and concepts.

Our Social Studies/Writing projects are nearing the finish.  We have written first drafts and typed them in Google Classroom. Students have begun some revision work which will continue until we do a final edit later this week.  I know it’s been a bit of a challenge with some children missing school for a couple of days so it’s lucky that you can access the work online. Final papers and projects are due Tuesday, the 18th–if you need an extra day, please just have your child let me know.  Publishing Party is the 20th in our classroom. Passes have been sent home.

Thank you to those families who have contributed to the New York Common Pantry Toy Drive and the Student Council Sock Collection.   It’s so wonderful to see our children participate in the experience of giving to those in need.  As you may have heard, the 4th graders raised over $1100 for UNICEF this October! What a wonderful achievement.

Please remember that a written note is required for changes to standard dismissal.  Also, please find the time to occasionally check in with your child regarding the Homework Folder and Backpack.  We have a few hoarders in our midst!  Also take a look through your bookshelves for books belonging to the school and try to get them back before the end of the year. Of course, if you have questions and your child does not know the answer, feel free to email me.

Best regards,

Donna