Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Welcome Back!

Hi Everyone!

It has been a while since my last post and we have been very busy! I hope you all had a great break. The kids have come back with renewed enthusiasm and have been very chatty. It may be a good time to review appropriate school behavior expectations with your child. We have had such a wonderful year and I do not want to see this chatty behavior interfere with our progress. Thank you in advance for helping out with this.

Here's the update from Room 5:

Understanding Our Differences: The entire fourth grade participated in this special program where we learned about the strengths and weaknesses that we all have. The children experienced a variety of activities coordinated by Mrs Barooshian and several other parent volunteers. Thank you for making this such a meaningful experience for us!

Mirror Boxes

It's tough to write with the Mirror Box!

Do you know which item is missing?

Story Time...with a twist!

Valentine's Day: We had a love-ly time passing out notes and creating Valentine bags on February 14th. Thank you to all who supplied the crafty goodies and stickers. Thank you to Mrs. Ransden for picking up our craft bags to decorate. Thank you also for participating in the "What I Love About You" project. It was a wonderful bulletin board for February.

Mathmatics: We are working our way through decimals. Ask your child about our new math super hero, the "Phantom Zero" and how he can help you to compare decimals.

Science: Unusual Bird Projects are due Friday. We have had many class periods devoted to this project and the work must be finished by Friday. We will be moving on to animal groups and animal adaptations in the coming weeks. Ask your child if they know what the word adaptation means and if they can give you an example of one.

Introducing the Grassy Ground Pecker and...

the never before seen Bubble Gum Bird and...

the newly discovered Congo Bird!

Social Studies: We are wrapping up the Middle West Region and will be having a test at the end of next week. Look for a study guide in your child's agenda on Friday. (Be sure to review those states and capitals!)

Writing: We have begun formal MCAS Prep for Long Composition and the Reading Component. Mrs. Gardella is visiting us twice a week to share her expertise with Long Composition. We will also be working on how to answer multiple choice and open response questions using old MCAS test items. These are important testing skills that the students will hopefully carry with them for their academic life.

Reading: Yee-haw! It is Tall Tale time! So far we have worked with Paul Bunyan and Old Stormalong. The children did a wonderful job on their hyperbole pictures for Paul Bunyan. Do you remember what a hyperbole is? If not, ask your child to explain it to you. They should know what it means. We also spent some time doing a little reader's theater for Paul Bunyan, which was very fun.

Reader's Theater

Traveling Tidepools: We had a special enrichment program on Wednesday. An instructor named Lucy from the New England Aquarium traveled out to Zeh with many sea creatures in tow. We talked about the sandy beach, the rocky shore, and the salt marsh. We brainstormed a list of animals that we felt should live in each habitat and what adaptations they would need to survive there. Then, we were able to explore the "tanks!" See the pictures below. We saw and touched many creatures! It was a wonderful and educational time for all. Thanks to the PTO for sponsoring it for us!

Read Aloud: We are currently reading a classic by Beverly Cleary called Otis Spofford. Otis is a boy who likes to stir up a little excitement at school. Ask you child about what happened at the Rosemont School Fiesta when Otis was selected to be the bull!

Here is a link to Beverly Cleary's homepage about Otis Spofford. Check it out!

This is the NEW cover (not like my OLD copy at school!)

Project Adventure: This amazing activity in physical education starts next week. Please remember to pack your helmet so that you can participate to class.

Parent Conferences are coming up! Please contact the office if you have forgotten to make an appointment. Conferences are Thursday, March 13th from 1:00-3:00 PM and from 6:00-8:00 PM. These are 10 minute conferences. Please be prompt and plan accordingly.
The Book Fair will also be running at this time.
Well I think that about does it for now. As you can see, we are busy bees in room 5! Have a great rest of the week!
-JoAnne Gorham

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fabulous February!

Hi Everyone!

There may only be a few more weeks until spring, but we have so many miles to go before we sleep in room 5! The February MCAS calendar came home today. It is a slightly different format (looks like the weekend reviews) but still contains one problem a night to be completed at home. The completed packet is due back in school on Monday, March 3rd. These are questions taken directly from past MCAS tests. This is an excellent way to help to prepare the students for the upcoming tests.

Reminder! Tuesday, March 25th is the MCAS Long Composition for 4th grade. There are 2 parts to the test- writing (long composition) and reading (comprehension and open response questions). The 3 days of the Reading MCAS will be completed the week following the Long Composition. If you have any questions about these tests, please let me know.

Here's what is going on with Mrs. Gorham's Gang...
Chorus Concert: It was wonderful! It was nice to see so many families able to attend this special event. The children looked lovely in their "concert dress". Thank you for helping with this. Thank you also to Mrs. Stonebraker for her effort and dedication in preparing our students for their first concert! We look forward to their next performance in May. The next concert will have an evening performance as well. I will let you know the date in a future post.

Valentine's Day: We will be celebrating Valentine's Day on the 14th. Your child received a class list on Monday. If he/she plans to pass out valentines, they must have one for eveyone in the class- teachers are optional. Reminder: We have a "No Food Policy" at Zeh School that includes candy. If you wish to pass out a treat with your valentine, I suggest: pencils, erasers, temporary tattoos, stickers, etc. Both Dollar Tree and Target have decent selections for a low price. We will be decorating valentine bags to hold our cards/loot on Thursday, February 14th at 11:30. Please contact our room parent, Mrs. Ransden, if you have any questions about the activity or wish to help. We are looking for donations of valentine stickers/fun foam/glitter to use to decorate our bags. Thank you in advance for your help with this.

Mathematics: We have our fractions test tomorrow and we will spend the rest of the week completing our "Winter Benchmark" assessments. I will share this data with you at our next scheduled parent conference in March. Our next unit in math will be Decimals and we will start that next week.

Science: We have begun our "Unusual Bird Guide" project. The students are creating their own original bird. They must include specific information on their bird such as: migration, range, nest type, beak type, eggs, voice, habitat, food, enemies, and interesting facts. A sketch of the bird must also be drawn. This is an "in-class" project, but students may need to take work home to finish.

Social Studies: We are just getting started on the Midwest Region and have learned our states and capitals as well as the 5 Great Lakes. HOMES is a mneumonic device that can help you to remember the names of these lakes. Do you remember them? We will have a quiz on the states and capitals next week.

Reading: We have started our unit on Tall Tales and have been working exclusively with Paul Bunyan. One of the most important parts to tall tales is the use of hyperboles or exaggerations. We are making a hyperbole book using just the exaggerations found in Paul Bunyan. Drawing with perspective is another skill we are working on with our illustrations. We will also participate in reader's theater this week for Paul Bunyan.

Listening Centers: Did you know that we have listening centers in room 5? Everyday at D.E.A.R time, 2 groups of students have the opportunity to listen to chapter books on tape. Currently, we are listening to The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks and The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. We rotate the children so that everyone gets to listen to all of the stories. Ask your child what story is there favorite so far this year.

Read-Aloud: We are still reading Poppy. Do you have any idea why Mr. Ocax does not want the mice to move to New House? What might he be afraid of?

Thank you to Justin & Family for sharing their copy of the Matilda DVD. We read Matilda for read-aloud and I promised the children we could watch it before vacation. It was a very enjoyable experience for all! There were many similarities and differences between the book and the movie.

  1. 2/12/08-Understanding Our Differences Program.

  2. 2/14/08 -Valentine's Day is on a Thursday. Party is at 11:30 am!

  3. 2/14/08- PTO Grade Level Coffee at 9:00 am. Please join us!

  4. 2/15/08- Last day before Winter Break!

  5. 2/18 thru 2/22/08- Winter Break

  6. 3/6/08- Northboro Unplugged

  7. 3/11 thru 3/13: Scholastic Book Fair

  8. 3/13- 11:30 Dismissal for Parent Conferences
I think that is all for now. Thanks for all your help!