Fourth Grade Updates Archive

Mapping A Story

It is so great to be back into the swing of things after our nice, relaxing Winter Break!  Everyone seems well-rested and eager to learn, which is always wonderful to see.  To start the year in Reading, Third and Fourth Grade worked a lot on reading comprehension, specifically how to preview questions, highlight key words, and then read through the story to find the right answers.  Now that we're halfway through the year, we're moving on to identifying and mapping the major elements of a story's plot.

 This is a useful tool because it helps the reader (especially young readers) visualize the key features of the story they're reading.

The biggest thing to understand is that without a plot, there is no story, really.  In order for there to be a story to tell, something has to change.  The way that authors create their stories follow 5 very specific steps that get the reader from Point A to Point B, and our class spent some time learning about them by reading a short story based off of the famous nursery rhyme Jack and Jill.  

Step 1: Exposition.  This is the foundation of the plot that introduces the reader to characters and gives us some basic information at the beginning of a story.  

Step 2: Rising Action.  This is where the conflict of the story is revealed and then becomes more complicated.  

Step 3: Climax.  This is the turning point of the story and generally the highest point of interest for the reader.  

Step 4: Falling Action. At this point, events begin to conclude the story and allow the conflict to be resolved. 

Step 5: Resolution.  This is the end of the story.  It is also where the outcome of the story is revealed.  

The class did a great job their first time through and will continue to practice as we dive into the book Mr. Popper's Penguins, which everyone (teacher included) is very excited to start. Once their plot maps are complete, we'll post them on the walls for all to see!  It will be a lot of fun!

 

Wrap It Up!

Over the last couple of weeks, both Third and Fourth Graders have been practicing their math facts using a fun tool.  

They’re called Wrap-Ups, and so far they’ve been a big hit. The concept is pretty simple: The number you see in the middle of the stick tells you what you need to use to add, subtract, multiply, or divide. Knowing that, you take the string and wrap it around left to right, trying to find the correct answer. It’s easy to double-check your answers, as there are little plastic pathways on the back that let you know if your answer was right!

Over the last couple of weeks, both Third and Fourth Graders have been practicing their math facts using a fun tool.  

They’re called Wrap-Ups, and so far they’ve been a big hit. The concept is pretty simple: The number you see in the middle of the stick tells you what you need to use to add, subtract, multiply, or divide. Knowing that, you take the string and wrap it around left to right, trying to find the correct answer. It’s easy to double-check your answers, as there are little plastic pathways on the back that let you know if your answer was right!

Third Graders use Wrap-Ups almost daily, as the current chapter they're working on is multiplication with 6, 7, 8, and 9, as well as a little division.  These tools help reinforce how the numbers work together in equations.  Wrap-Ups have also been helpful for Fourth Grade, who are currently learning about Data and Probability, specifically how to find the mean, or average, of a set of numbers.  In order to do that, students need to have a solid understanding of their math facts, particularly division.  

It's been wonderful to see the kids eager to learn and use the resources around them!  Way to go Third and Fourth Grade!

Games Project

Third and Fourth Grade have been exploring the world of Games for Project this trimester and while it has been challenging, it has also been a lot of fun!  Students began by verbalizing what they know about games, including types of games, rules, and equipment.  The next step was to talk to an expert in that field.  We invited Mr. Mike Breault, a Game Design professor at Webster University, to come and speak to the class about the important elements of creating a game.  Before he came to our classroom, the students generated questions for their guest.  Those questions were sent to Mr. Breault ahead of time so that he could provide insightful, yet easy-to-understand answers.  We all learned so much from him!

To get a little field experience, the class then took a day and traveled to the Chess Hall of Fame and the Saint Louis Science Center, which currently has an amazing exhibit that is all about games.  Students were sent on a scavenger hunt around the exhibit to learn interesting facts about games, including the history of games and the skill you need to become a game designer.  Once they finished, they got a chance to go play!  

The next step is to now create their own games, many have finished their rules and instructions and will move on to designing their game board or making sure they have all the necessary equipment to show other students how their game is played.  It all comes together in a couple of weeks and I can't wait to see what the final result is!

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Third/Fourth Math

Alright!  We've definitely gotten into the swing of things in Third and Fourth Grade!  Can you believe it's October already?  Both classes are moving right along in our math curriculum these days.  Third Grade just wrapped up working on how to use rounding and estimation to ensure that their answer is accurate.  Now we move on to multi-digit addition and subtraction to hone our skills there, then we move to bar models which will help us learn how to compare data.  

Fourth Grade also finished up their chapter of estimation, which also included learning the concepts of factors, multiples, and prime numbers.  They got a little bit of practice with area and array models to help them break up big multiplication problems into smaller ones, which then can be easier to figure out.  Fourth Grade is moving on to multi-digit multiplication and division from here.  Both of those operations can seem daunting at times, but the students learn multiple strategies in order to solve their problems accurately. 

One of the great things about math in Third and Fourth Grade is that math also gets to be fun!  On Tuesdays, we use our time to play math games in the classroom.  These games vary in both type (e.g. dice games, card games, etc.) and operation (e.g. addition, subtraction).  So far, the class favorite has been the card game of Golf, where each player tries to get the lowest score in a round.  It's very easy to learn, but teaches counting skills, as well as helping memory and strategy.  If you're ever up for a game, feel free to stop by!  But beware: We've got some real card sharks here.  :-)

Project Time!

PROJECT TIME!

So here at Rohan Woods we are focused on Project-Based Learning.  Each grade comes up with a topic of interest and will go on a journey of exploration and creation over the course of 6-8 weeks.  Third and Fourth Grade will be exploring "Games" as their topic of interest, and that includes types of games, the history of games, preparation, and also rules and instructions among other things.  Before we start, however, there are certain skills that we need to hone and refine.  Last week, the students worked on taking clear pictures that were relevant to their topic, and then how to upload them to their Google accounts.  It's an important skill, and I was impressed to see that they took to it very quickly!

Up next is working on visual presentations.  The class will be making posters that contain information all about themselves, including (but not limited to) their favorite Movie/TV Show, their family, their favorite subject, and what they want to do when they get older.  Through this, they gain the skills of how to draw people's attention with big, bright writing, planning ahead by sketching out a design, and adding other features to their posters to catch their audience's eye.  

After the posters have been made, Third and Fourth Grade will give a presentation so that they can hone their public speaking skills.  It's a lot to put together, but it's great practice for when our Project culminates later in the Fall.  This is such an eager group, and there is no doubt they'll have lots of fun with it!

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Back To School!

Holy cow!  Is summer over already?!?  That may be the case, but I'm so excited to get the school year going!  I love the progression of August.  The room gets cleaned, books get ordered, and you can feel the energy returning to the school.  On top of that, it's so nice meeting with parents and students and learning all about this year's incoming classes.  I have no doubt that this is going to be an amazing year for Third and Fourth Grade!  Here we go!

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What A Great Year!

Wow!!!

Is the school year over already?!?  It was such an action-packed last month, it was hard to keep track of everything going on!

At the end of April, the Fourth Grade class made their annual trip to Jefferson City so that we could tour the Capitol building and learn more about Missouri government.  Up next was our Project culmination.  The students all created their own businesses to expand Plymouth City, a fictional town started up by last year's group.  They had great setups and tons of information to provide to the many guests that stopped by.  After that, it was off to Onondaga State Park for our class camping trip.  Fourth Graders had an amazing time camping, getting to set up their own tents and help prepare all the meals.  They were undeterred by rain, and had an amazing time exploring the vast cave system underground!  Finally, we finished off the book "My Side of the Mountain," by Jean Craighead George.  The protagonist, Sam Gribley, lives off the land of the Catskill Mountains in New York, which includes finding a number of edible plants.  Fourth Grade was inspired to do the same, so we picked some plants from around school grounds, then washed them and put them in a salad and pancakes.  It was such a fun way to end the year!

Each of the students was engaging, curious, intelligent, and a joy to have in the classroom.  It's time for them to move on to Middle School, where they will continue to learn and grow. Their teacher will miss having them in the classroom, but it was a pleasure to be a part of their schooling experience.  

What a great year!  Have a wonderful summer, everyone!

Sincerely,
Mr. Rowe

Plymouth City Project

Wow!  It's hard to believe that we're in April and there's only a little bit of school left.  Where does the time go?  One way that Fourth Graders are spending their time in the classroom is working on their Plymouth City Project.  

Plymouth City is a legacy project, meaning that each class adds something to it each year.  Last year, the class founded the town of Plymouth City, and each of the students added either a business or some sort of public service (e.g. a bakery, the police department).  This year's group must choose something different to add to the town, as will next year's class and the class after that.  The students must think about why their business or service is good for the community in multiple ways, including why it's good for the environment and why it's good for the economy.  Recently, we had a guest speaker in our room who also happens to be a room parent.  He is a business owner, so we thought he would be able to provide lots of good answers. 

The class generated questions a week before so that he had time to review them and provide answers that were kid-friendly.  I was so impressed with what they came up with!  They were specific, open-ended questions that really allowed our guest to go in-depth with his responses.  Fourth Graders took age-appropriate notes in order to apply the knowledge they gained to their own projects.  The next step for the group is locate specific resource materials, including a book, a website, and an expert in the field of their business that they can interview.  It's so much fun watching how excited they are to take ownership of their work!  They continue to impress and I can't wait to see what the final product looks like!  

Let's Take A Trip!

One thing we love to do in Fourth Grade is not just read, but learn more about (if possible) the settings of our books.  Recently, the Fourth Grade class at Rohan Woods read a book called "The Family Under the Bridge," by Natalie Savage Carson.  This Newberry Award winner is about a down-on-their-luck family who lives on the streets of Paris.  They all befriend a hobo named Armand, who eventually adopts them as his own family.  

As we began to read the book, it was clear that the setting was unfamiliar to the students.  So, we started by taking a visual tour of Paris.  The students got to see what many of these landmarks look like, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Arc de Triomphe.  A week or so after that, the class got a surprise.  When they came back from one of their specialists, they arrived to find foreign currency on their tables.  

They were to use the Francs to approach the owner of a lovely French Bistro (me) and ask to make a purchase.  In exchange for their money, they got a beret, some baguette, and Champagne (which, of course, was sparkling grape juice). Students were also invited to try a couple different types of cheese.  It became evident very quickly that Gruyere was MUCH more popular than Brie.  :-)

Now our group is getting ready to take another trip.  We just started a book called "In the Year Of the Boar and Jackie Robinson," which is about a girl who comes to the United States from China in 1947.  It's a wonderful story that is based off of the experiences of the author, Betty Bao Lord.  As the title indicates, the book does have some focus on the Chinese New Year.  With that holiday fast approaching, the class will learn a whole lot of the history and lore of Chinese New Year, as well as find out which animal was represented in the year they were born, and what character traits people born in that year are said to have.  It should be a blast!  Off we go!  

 

Welcome Back!

And we're back!  

Everyone in Fourth Grade got some much-needed time off to recharge the batteries, but all of us were ready to roll once the holidays were over.  Based off of the stories that were shared, it seems like everyone had a wonderful break.  It's so nice to see all of our friends again!

Now that we're back on our schedule, we reviewed some things we learned before the break, and added a couple of new things.  Fourth Graders at Rohan Woods take notes on the books we read together as a class.  With the new year came a new book for all of us to read.  "The Family Under the Bridge" is a Newberry Award-winning book by Natalie Savage Carlson.  It's a wonderful story about a hobo in Paris who befriends a family who is hard on their luck.  The hobo, Armand, quickly finds out that you can become part of a family anytime, anywhere.  

In their reading notes this year, students have been look for the following things: Characters, Settings, Unfamiliar Vocabulary, Schemas (various ways for them to connect to the book), and a Chapter Summary.  To start off 2018, the Fourth Graders were introduced to figurative language.  They learned about personification, similes, and metaphors.  In order to help differentiate between similes and metaphors, the class was given the lyrics to "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch." As the song was played they highlighted the similes with one color and metaphors with another.  The song is loaded with figurative language, and it was a ton of fun!  

There's much more to come in 2018, but we're off to a great start so far!  

Sincerely,
Mr. Rowe

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