Isaac Dickson Elementary School
A Community of Engaged, Active, Hands-On Learners
- Isaac Dickson Elementary School
- Ms. White's 4th Grade
OctoberPosted by K. White on 9/23/2014 3:30:25 PM
October 20 -22 - Sound to Sea Field Trip!
Class UpdatesPosted by K. White on 9/23/2014 3:34:24 PM
October NewsletterPosted by K. White on 11/30/2014 9:16:06 PM
Room 15 December Class NewsPosted by K. White on 11/30/2014 9:15:18 PM
December Class NewsPosted by K. White on 11/30/2014 9:21:47 PM
January Class NewsPosted by K. White on 1/23/2015 8:45:09 PM
February Updates....Posted by K. White on 2/13/2015 1:37:54 PM
It looks like we have a mixed response for what afternoon to have homework help so I may change or rotate the days each week or so. This week we will meet to work on homework and math on Thursday, 2/5. Your child can stay from 2:30 to 4:00. Please send a snack for your child. Let me know: if you plan on your child staying, who will be picking them up at 4:00 and if there are any special circumstances. Regarding plans for the following week, I have a rescheduled meeting Monday after school, so I will most likely have homework help Thursday, 2/12. Maybe we can have a Monday after that!
Students have asked about having another service afternoon and I have an opportunity for them on Saturday mornings if any family is interested. The Garden club will be working on our playground gardens and the new pollinator garden at the front of the school on Saturdays at 10am. This is a great way to serve the school and learn a lot about gardening. I went this past Saturday and dug bulbs for us to transplant. I was able to watch a 4th grader in Peggy’s room get a lesson on pruning fruit trees that was really informative. The child was immediately able to talk about water sprouts and fruit sprouts and where was the best place to cut to help the tree produce fruit. Joan, the garden leader, is trying to have experts at the garden to continue to teach all of us how to care for our school gardens. If Saturdays don’t work, I would love a volunteer to help plant bulbs with the kids while I stay in the room doing what I have to do. Last year some parents took 4-5 kids out at a time to plant. We worked on measurement concepts so that we could determine how many bulbs to plant in a row, as well as how deep to plant the bulbs. I would prep the kids for this before they go outside, so let me know if you are available in the mornings before 11 or between 1:25 and 2:30.
Class pictures are this Wednesday morning! We are also going to learn how to create an online timeline Wednesday afternoon with Mr. Emry. The kids will be able to decide what points in early American history that they would like to include on the timeline, as well as what pictures, videos and captions to embed in the timeline. We will keep this timeline active throughout the year to help students gain historical perspective. We will also practice giving credit to sources we use.
This Thursday is an early release unless the district changes this due to missing this afternoon. Your children will be dismissed from school at noon. This Friday is a teacher workday.
Feb. 18th will be the Center for Diversity Ed’s Good Fortune program. We will learn about various New Year celebrations around the world. Many of these celebrations center around the moon. So students will also be working on a moon journal as understanding the moon’s phases is part of our science curriculum. Cross your fingers as the 4th grade teachers applied for a TAPAS grant to continue our annual basketry project. This year the culminating project will be a mobile of the earth, sun and moon to be hung in a common place in our existing school and then in the new school. If we get the grant, students will learn from basketry artists, Carla and Greg, how to make a trivet and a basket. We also tie this into NC culture and arts study by talking about how baskets have been created and used by various groups throughout history.
Something else we will start soon is cursive writing practice during the school day. This should be a review of the cursive instruction students received last year. Research indicates that cursive writing can help students who struggle with reading as well as spelling, so I would like to make sure students have the ability to pick what works best for them.
Last thing, please let me know if anyone is available on weekends to help with the chickens. You get free eggs!!
You can sign up at:
March and April NewsPosted by K. White on 4/18/2015 2:19:51 PM
Units of Study
We have had a rich study of historical fiction and are continuing to read aloud Bud, Not Buddy. Ask your child about Bud. He’s such a fun and endearing character growing up in the Great Depression. Students’ biographical sketches are complete and will be displayed in the hall with a symbol for that person. Next we will begin a poetry unit just in time for spring. Students have the opportunity to submit poetry or art to The Voices of the River contest (http://riverlink.org/learn/education-programs/poetry-contest/). I will send submission in for students who participate. The deadline is 3/27/15.
In math we have been studying fractions and the kids have been grasping how to compare fractions, as well as add and subtract fractions. We will be beginning decimals shorty after I study students’ latest fraction assessment to see that they are ready to move forward.
In science, we have studied magnets and their properties as well as conducted experiments to introduce the idea of controlling variables to ensure meaningful results and data. We started connecting what we have learned about magnets to begin electricity. The kids learned a lot at Colburn Museum and we have conducted one lab on static electricity. We will do one more lab on exploring the various types of energy and then begin generating inquiry questions that the students have about electricity so that they can conduct their own science experiment to find the answer to that question. This is hard work for us all and anyone who has an interest in science projects, electricity or kids’ learning in general is welcome and needed to join us to make these science projects a success. I will work with your schedules!
In social studies we have used our historical fiction unit to read a lot about the Revolutionary War. Students demonstrated if they were able to describe at least two ways North Carolina influenced this war as in 4th grade everything is connected to North Carolina. They did a fabulous job! They are becoming nice historians and seeing the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to history. We studied westward expansion and the Trail of Tears last week, which was really saddening, but meaningful. The students’ job was to try to figure out what could have been done differently given the wants of the pioneers and the needs of the Cherokee. Students learned that without changing the minds and hearts of the population at the time, that most of the options involved fighting and violence. It was an interesting discussion! Next we will begin studying the civil war and North Carolina’s role.
Important Dates and Volunteer Opportunities
3/16 – 3/20 - We were awarded the TAPAS grant and will have two visiting artists; Greg and Carla Filippelli come in and teach us basketry! We’ve read “Basket Moon” to build background knowledge of basketry and connecting it to history and culture. The students will make two pieces to take home and all three 4th grade classes will contribute to the culminating project which is to make a model of the earth, sun and phases of the moon to be displayed in the school.
3/19/15 – Math club until 4pm. Each week the club may meet on different days or not at all due to other meetings and obligations I have each week. I will let you know each week as to the schedule.
3/23/15 – We will be heading to Linville Caverns and Linville Gorge. Michelle and Xandria will be joining us as chaperones. This trip will connect to our study of rocks and minerals that we will begin after studying electricity. We had to have it sooner than later due to scheduling testing at the end of the year. Field trip forms are coming home this week!
3/30 – 4/3 – Spring Break
4/8 – Report Cards
4/9 – Asheville Symphony visits
4/14 – Mock EOG testing for grades 3 – 5. We will use this time to help students build stamina for the lengthy End of Grade Tests and to do a school-wide run-through.
4/16 – Last Field Trip! Living History Day at Smith McDowell house is something I’ve wanted to try. The Living History program will show students what life was like for the early settlers of Western North Carolina (http://www.wnchistory.org/educationalprograms_34_1495407526.pdf). We need two chaperones for this one, so let me know!
5/8 – Career Day – If you have a career you would like to share with students, please consider volunteering. You can volunteer for part of the afternoon or all of it.
We need PANTS for our emergency clothes closet. If you have gently used PANTS (please, not shirts), we’ll take them. We need smaller sizes (5-7) the most but we’ll take bigger (up to 12/14) sizes too.
Joan, our Garden Club leader and Garden Coordinator, is looking for donations of rain gear, boots, coats, umbrellas, etc. If you have some gently used items your children have outgrown, please send them in to the gym for the Garden Club.
Do you have books your child no longer read? Be awesome and donate those books to our end of the book drive. Classes visit the library and each student picks out a book to take home and add to their home library. Students don’t have to donate a book to get a book, but we need a lot of book donations so students can find something they are truly excited about reading. Donations can be brought to the library. At the end of the year, if we have enough books, we will invite all classes to the library to pick out a donated book.
Beginning of the Year News and Events!Posted by K. White on 9/2/2015 5:05:28 PM
Our class is embarking on the Daily 5 literacy structure that teaches independence and gives children the skills needed to create a lifetime love of reading and writing. It consists of five tasks that are introduced individually. When introduced to each task, the children discuss what it looks like, sounds like and feels like to engage in the task independently. Then, the children work on building their stamina until they are successful at being independent while doing the task. The five tasks are: Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading and Word Work. When all five tasks have been introduced and the children are fully engaged in reading and writing, I am able to work with small groups and confer with children one-on-one. Ask your child about the Daily 5 and see what they have to say. I hope they will tell you about building stamina, reading for enjoyment and becoming a stronger reader!
In Math we are working on place value and using a structure that is very similar to the Daily 5. Students are learning to work with a partner in math as well as work on math on their own. We will be starting flexible math groups with the entire 4th grade soon in order to best meet students’ individual strengths and needs regarding place value.
In Social Studies we are working on beginning to learn about North Carolina government and our constitution. Our class will have a mock senate and go through the process to pass a “law.” Students will also be able to apply for a classroom job soon. Once their job starts they will receive a paycheck that they will use to pay bills as well as use for purchases that are fun. Class Dojo, our behavior tracking system, helps students earn extra dollars for when they are helpful, respectful, working hard and staying on-task.
Please remember to encourage your child to read and log 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes a session. They should also do their best to complete problems on their weekly math sheet. I will collect both of these items on Fridays. Math problems that are too tricky should be circled and we will work on them during morning work time since these problems cover a large amount of 4th grade math work. We know what their best effort looks like and they will be given credit for that!
Special Events and Volunteer Opportunities
9/7/15 – No school for Labor Day holiday
9/25/15 – Parent Teacher Conference Day – Please see attached schedule and let me know at least two times you could make that are listed. We can try for other days than the ones posted if these don’t work for your schedule.
9/28/15 – Required Teacher Workday – This will most likely be professional development for me, but I will squeeze in more conferences if I can on this day once I know the schedule.
9/30 – 10/6 TAPAS Artist Audra Holden will teach our class how to weave and create a reading mat that depicts one of three region of North Carolina for our school to enjoy for years to come. Each 4th grade class will construct a reading mat with one region from North Carolina. The school days of 9/30, 10/1, 10/4 – 10/6 will be our class’ week to weave our mat outside on a loom that we will be constructing in the next few weeks. Most importantly we could use parents during the hours of 9:20 – 11:15 on those days to help take small groups outside to the loom while the rest of the class works in the classroom. Please let me know if you might be available any of those times. The weather could create some changes to the schedule. We will also need used t-shirt donations to use for materials so please send any t-shirt you don’t want our way!
10/15/15 – Early Release Day – We hope to have a presentation and celebration of our weaving project that morning. We will keep you posted!
10/26/15 – Teacher Workday
11/4 – 11/6 – Sound to Sea Field Trip!!! The 4th grade teachers are working on all the components of this trip and a newsletter and financial commitment form will be coming home soon. The cost of the trip is $250. Thanks to Mitch Russell and some very dedicated parents we are already in the process of raising money! One way the kids are going to do their part is to run or walk a half marathon over the course of the next few months during part of their recess. This not only connects to our science unit on health and development, but gives the kids a chance to earn money for their trip. Students can get sponsors for running. They could get either a set amount for the total half marathon or a certain amount of money per mile. If anyone is interested in sponsoring an additional child that may not have access to a sponsor please let me know so that every child has the opportunity to help fund their own trip.
This school year our class will be participating in Trout in the Classroom. Students will raise trout from eggs to fingerlings, monitor water quality and engage in stream habitat study. These experiences can lead to a better appreciation of our water sources and our environment. Check out http://www.troutintheclassroom.org/ for more information about this exciting opportunity.
Character AwardPosted by K. White on 11/8/2015 11:20:31 AM
Thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement for our Sound to Sea field trip. Pictures will be sent out soon. Coal received the character award for the month for being responsible. Our class voted for the student they felt exhibited this character trait and Coal and Leah received equal amounts of votes so we decided to draw a name to be fair. Leah was such a good sport, she deserves a character award for good sportsmanship! We will be doing this each month with a different character trait and the student who receives the award will be invited to lunch with Mr. Johnson or Ms. Cobb. This month's character trait is perseverance and grit. Students can receive this award for being someone who always shows this trait OR for someone who has made a lot of growth around this character trait. Congratulations to Maddie who received our first character trait of the month award for September for respect. Speaking of respect, the students will learn about Veterans Day this Monday and Tuesday to prepare for Veterans Day on Wednesday. Here is a link for you for ideas at home around the topic of Veterans Day and service to our community.