My goodness, we are getting much closer to the end of the year. Very hard to believe. But, before we get there, there is still some important work to do in fourth and fifth grade. This will be a lengthy blog as I wish to give you a brief outline of what is planned for the rest of the year for both grade levels, update you on the grading, and give you some testing information.
Fourth Grade Math-
The fourth graders are about to begin Chapter 15 in the math book, decimals. I plan to have that test on Tuesday, April 19th. Chapter 16, Probability, is the last chapter in the book. I plan to have that finished before the testing in May. It is rare that the curriculum can be finished so eary, a testament to the hard work of your kids.
Fifth Grade Math - The fifth graders are about to begin chapter 11, Measurement - Perimeter, Area, and Volume. It is the last chapter. Awesome! Once the book is finished I will spend the rest of the year working to extend their math skills, do some prep work for 6th grade math, and work to increase their critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Writing for both - The last few weeks of school I can align the writing standards quiet comforatably. I would like to see both grade levels work on writing fluency, writing quickly. Getting their thoughts out on paper. For this they will continue with MyAccess and use some short writing worksheets. Both grades will be graded according to their grade level standards. The MyAccess scores are fine, I tell them to think of them as video game scoring. But, all work will be printed and handed in and I will give the final grade.
Also, both grade levels are expected to write informational pieces. This coming week the students will begin work on their "Independent Studies". This is basically a research project, that will, mostly, be completed at school. This is an individual and differentiated assignment. Students may choose any topic that suits their intrests and abilities. They will recieve a booklet for the work to be put into and graded as the process continues. I will send home a calendar of dates for the project for your information - but most work, as mentioned, will be done in class. It is likely, however, that they will need a trip to the community library. They will need three resources and our library visits for the year are nearly over. The students will create a project of their choice, to go along with the written assignment and present it at the end of the year. Parents will be invited and information will come.
Test Prep - For the next three weeks I will be reviewing standards with the students, using an online resource provided by the California State Department of Education. I plan to do this in grade level groups with whiteboard and using the smartboard. You will not see any written work come home.
Fifth Grade Science - The next few weeks will involve some intense science work. We will be working on Chapters 7 and 8, Matter. Homework will be assigned.
Fifth Grade Wordly Wise - Due to time constraints Wordly Wise stopped a couple of weeks ago in the middle of Lesson 13. We will start fresh with Lesson 14 this week. We will now spend only one week per chapter. That means a test every Friday in Wordly Wise.
For the next couple of weeks, due to the extra Wordly Wise and Science Homework there will be no Differentiated Reading Homework for fifth grade.
Fourth Grade Play - It is just about time for the play! The auditions will be next Thursday and Friday (April 21, and 22), at 1:45 in the afternoon. No material has been sent out yet for review. The rehearsals will be primarily held in the afternoons from 1:45 to 2:45, during what is normally their science and Social Studies time. The performance is scheduled for Thursday, the 26th of May.
Grades - I had some time this week to update the grades and post them online. Due to increased absences (wash your hands everybody!), field trips, open house, and a bunch of other stuff, I find, I am missing a number of assignments. I plan to forgive most of them. Most of the work that is missing is smaller writing and reading assignments, often the Differetiated homework. Tests and major projects are just about complete. Here are some notes of the gradebook -
Fourth Grade Math Tests - four students are missing a test score, I will reveiw the work with them this week and retest. One of these was given during the fifth grade field trip and were misplaced. If you notice your child is missing a score, we'll take care of that this week.
Fifth Grade Math Tests - The fifth graders, as a group, struggled with Chapter 9, Percents and Fractions. I'll reveiw that with them. The Million Dollar Projects are partially graded and those grades are on line, they should help the overall grade. Feel free to review chapter 9 with your child, the online resources are very helpful.
Fourth Grade Reading assignments are complete! Awesome job fourths!
Fifth Grade Science - Grades are up for the Digestive posters and the tests we took before the break. Good work.
Fifth grade Reading - The grades are updated. Some work is missing, here and there. I have decided to forgive all work preceding March 18th. No "0's" were given before the. The Differentiated Reading on March 18th is the first date I hold the students accountable and zeros were given if the work was missing. I'll accept makeup work, make sure your name is on it, "Differentiated Reading", and the Date (18th) that you want the makeup work counted for.
Remember that math homework is not included for the grade in either grade level. And, I don't mark all of it down in the grade book. However, looking at your child's homework record, does give you an idea of their consistancy in getting their work done and turned in.
STAR Testing - The state testing will be the first two weeks of May. Only five days of actual testing (6 - for fith graders). There will be no homework on either of those weeks. Try to remember that the larger the data the more useful it is. Meaning, that for the state of California the testing is extremely useful to understand what subjects and areas show weeknesses. For school districts it helps to identify strenghts and weaknesses from site to site. For students, it is really a snapshot of one particular day. We have studied hard all year, the kids are doing great. I have complete confidence in their skills and am extremely proud of them. Any prepwork you do at home is up to you,but, most importantly, make sure they are here during the testing - dressed, fed, and foccused.
Finally, the school will start a "Recess before Lunch" program when we return on Monday. My fifths were out, that last Friday, stuck in traffic, and never received the notices. During the lunch, the students will drop their lunches in a designated box, one for each class, and go play. After a while the yard aids will line them up. Once they are lined up, they will all go and eat their lunches, as well as line up to buy lunches. Research shows that students need food to learn, and we have found that students will often skip lunch, to go play as soon as possible. Also, it should help them to be more calm when they enter the class, ready for work.
Well, I believe I have set a new blogging reccord. Hopefully it's all here. I look forward to the week. Mrs