Update August 19, 2016

Dear Fourth Grade Families,

Our first week back in the classroom seemed just like old times.  Every one of us slipped back into the comfort of our classroom, getting caught up on all the news from the summer and sharing our expectations for a wonderful new school year.

Over the summer I read The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey, a middle school teacher and expert in school law.  As we begin a new school year, this book helped me to  reflect on many practices in my classroom, one being homework. Lahey wrote this on the benefits of homework:  “The ability to initiate, delay gratification, see a task through to completion, and persist through frustration and challenge are incredibly important executive function skills, and homework encourages their development.”  Allow your child to work independently on their homework, allow struggle, and praise effort rather than product.  I will be easing into homework this fall, slowly adding tasks that provide practice of skills, rather than “busy work”.  There will be a few projects to look forward to also.  (Upcoming soon is the tree model project!)

In the spirit of appreciating the “gift of failure, this year I will encourage risk-taking, celebrating effort, and embracing failure in our classroom.

Academics next week:

ELA:  Readers’ Workshop:  This week students will complete an informational text reading this week, A Plant Puzzle. This selection will support our study of the prairie and its biodiversity of plant life.  The Daily 5 will be in full swing this week, so Mrs. Krissek and I will begin to assess reading skills using the Fountas and Pinnell benchmark assessment system.  In Spelling students will be evaluated for skill and strategy knowledge and placed within an appropriate sort.  In Writers’ Workshop students will complete their narrative and informational writing samples.  

Math:  We began our new Illinois Model Math last week.  This week we will be working on multiplicative comparison:  using tape diagrams, equations with variables, and word problems.  Students will have homework on Wednesday, followed by review for a quiz on either Friday or Monday.  Students will be encouraged to use their math  notebook to practice strategies at home.  I would like to allow for flexibility as students become familiar with the new curriculum.  From time to time I will reteach strategies which will cause us to deviate from our schedule.

Science/EE:  Next week we will wrap up the prairie habitat by creating a mural in our hall highlighting the biodiversity of the prairie.  Students will write a short opinion piece on the destruction of prairie habitats for development.  By the end of the week we will be hiking to Oak Openings to explore the woodland habitat.  Students will learn the functions of the parts of trees.  

Specials:  All specials will meet next week.  Due to the band assembly, Spanish will be shortened on Monday, however all others will meet as usual.

Dates to remember:

8/22/16     Morning Band assembly
8/23/16     Board meeting, 7 pm
8/24/16     Band parent meeting, 7 pm
8/29/16     Picture Day
8/30/16     Green Challenge Assembly, 8:15 am
9/6/16        Comstock Curriculum Night, 6-7 pm