Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Welcome to December

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. A new trimester is underway! We have a lot to do over the next three weeks prior to winter break. Here's a quick rundown of all that's going on...

Yesterday, most reading teachers started a "Book-in-a-Bag" program. Students were given a log and book that they selected with their teacher's assistance. This book should be read at home for at least 20 minutes every night. Keep track on the log sheet and have the student write a quick summary or reflection after reading. On Friday's we'll send home a set of questions that require deeper thinking and understanding. Those questions and the log will be due every Monday. Also, they’ll need to bring this bag back and forth to and from school every day.

Tomorrow, students will get a new weekly assignment, the "Problem of the Week," or POW for short. This will be a problem solving activity that will be started in class and will be due every Friday. These will be based on fourth grade math standards. Usually the POW will consist of a multi-step story problem and a written explanation. The first few will be on the easier side to get their feet wet, but they'll get harder as we move forward.

In the second trimester, students will be working on a project involving the class wiki. Most of this will be done in school, but the opportunity will exist for students to go above and beyond and do some of the work at home if you have a computer with Internet access. The first assignment went home over the Thanksgiving break. It was the
Worksheet titled “Curran-pedia.” The students will be practicing research and writing skills to create an online encyclopedia with entries that are of interest to kids. Their first entry will be about their interest project. It will make more sense when we have it up and running. I’m hoping to get the first entries typed in before Christmas break. It should be fun and educational, especially when it comes to learning how to do research.

If your child hasn’t selected a driving question for the second trimester, I need to know as soon as possible. The first milestone is already quickly approaching. A list of at least five resources is due December 19!

We’ve resumed our study of Michigan history. For the next six school weeks, we’ll be working from the Our Michigan Adventure textbook. We began Chapter 4 yesterday, which covers Michigan’s statehood. There are a lot of interesting people we’ll be learning about. Be sure to ask your child about them!

Now that Exhibitions are over, I’d love to have you visit the classroom. I’ve added a block of time, too. I’m now looking for volunteers from 9-10 (Writing), 10-11 (Math), and 11-12 (Reading). If you come during Reading, you may or not be working with your own child. During that time you’ll be helping kids with their reading, listening to them read and guiding them as they go.

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