Dear 4-243 Families,

It’s only day 27 of school and yet we are in full swing here in 243! We continue to work to solidify routines and get into the groove of a regular school day.  Most students have already made a smooth transition into the 4th grade and those of us still working on it are progressing.

The Core Value of the first month was again, RESPECT.  It is evidenced by not just being polite to your teacher, but also by respecting yourself, your work, your classmates, and the school itself.

In Reading, we are working on reading Fiction.  Much of the focus of the unit involves analyzing characters, making inferences, and determining big ideas and themes.  Students are expected to be reading at home nightly (about 30 minutes) and jotting regularly about their ideas in these main areas.  Jots need not be formal paragraphs but may also include charts, webs, tables, etc.  Ideally they are not simply retells of what was just read.

In Writing Workshop we are about to publish our narrative writing pieces.  Students focused on stamina while becoming more independent in their use of dialogue, thoughts, figurative language (similes/metaphors), and more specific word choices.  We also wrote strong leads and endings as we worked to write stories that were realistic. The final stories will be available to parents when we have our next publishing party later in the year.

Our Math work has focused on reviewing addition and subtraction, expanding into larger numbers and building our “toolbox” of strategies and models.  Students are encouraged to choose strategies based on the problems and numbers. We are also working on rounding and building our understanding of place value in larger numbers. At this point, all students have been taught and have had many opportunities to practice the US Algorithm for addition and subtraction.  Please encourage your child to check over their calculations.  I notice that many are rushing when reading problems and when doing calculations, which leads to careless errors.  In addition, the Math Team has begun.  Students meet on Thursday mornings with Dr. Katarina Klaf, our Science Teacher, to solve problems and learn advanced strategies. Back in 243, we have begun a new year of Continental Math League (CML).  While these problems can be challenging, I encourage everyone to at least try to solve a few.  Read through all of the problems, decide which to tackle, and then think of what model, picture, equation, table, etc. might help to determine the answer. Bring whatever worksheets you used into school to aid in our discussion.  Competitions for CML begin in November.

Our first Social Studies Unit focused on geography. Children enjoyed learning about maps, globes, atlases, and learning the 50 States.  Now, we are moving into learning about the First Americans and delving into our Native American Unit. As you know, our first class trip is next week, on the 25th.  We will focus on NY Native American groups of the Alonquians and the Iroquois.  In addition, students will have the opportunity to do some independent research on groups from other parts of North America.

Our enrichments have all begun.  Latin class has been very exciting and today, students were introduced to an online game created by our amazing Latin teacher Akiva. Students have all been given log-in information so that they can practice at home as part of their homework. Wingspan has begun.  We have a new teaching artist this year. Her name is Mattie and she will be working with the class on theater games, improv, and voice projection.  Later in the year, we will work together to write and produce an exciting play that incorporates some of our Social Studies work into a unique and special show.  More details on that to follow.

In general, students seem to have adapted to the routine of nightly homework.  Expect there to be nightly math & reading, some word study, grammar, writing and/or Social Studies during the week.  Students are expected to bring home necessary materials and to return to school with everything they need.  Homework slips will go home when needed. If your child is struggling or taking an exceptionally long time with homework, please contact me so that we can try to come up with a solution together.

This year I will be sending home Scholastic Book Orders.  Please place your orders online at Scholastic Book Clubs.  Our class code is DYLPQ.  I will no longer be accepting paper orders with a check here in school.  I expect to send home flyers about once every 2 months.

As the weather gets colder, please remember to put your child’s name inside all jackets, sweatshirts etc.  It’s unbelievable what ends up in the lost and found each year.

All the best,

Donna & Bill