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Classroom Announcements 9/1

posted Sep 1, 2012, 7:40 AM by Craig Yen   [ updated Sep 2, 2012, 12:48 AM ]
Email lists have been set up for both 4th grade and 5th grade classes.  On Thursday, August 30, you should have received this initial email. 

Welcome back to school!   I've taken the time to set up the class' group email lists.  This group of parents should be __ grade parents.  If this is in error, please reply to the email.  If you would like to use a different email address or would like to add an additional email address for which to receive communication, please let me know.

If you would like to add another email address, please let me know.

Electronic resources to help continue that flow of communication will be extremely important for us this year.  The one above, email will not be used quite as frequently as I used it on Friday afternoon...  promise!  Items that you should have received on Friday afternoon included...
    Subject:  Weekly Update (which basically said... check student's backpack/homework folder to review and sign)
    Subject:  A few more notes (which reminded about passwords, included a link to the back to school packet, and informed of acceptable use agreement)
    Subject: Volunteering within the classroom (which informed how we will be working with volunteers this year)

For our volunteers, I have taken the time to put in the schedule for the school year online through the website, Volunteerspot. Thanks to those parents who have visited the site and have already signed up.  We have almost 40 hours of committed volunteer hours already!   :)   (and one who visited and didn't sign up yet...  I know who you are!)  While I do not expect to get every hour requested filled, it will assist me in understanding how to set up our class schedule on any particular week.  If there are other hours that would work well within your schedule, please be sure to let me know.  We will see if we can accommodate your schedule.  It does appear that you must click individually on each of the days and then click sign up if you are wanting to volunteer consistently.  Anyways, as stated in the email, any hours that you are able to help with are greatly appreciated.  
    Station benefits...
        Can provide practice without repetitive worksheets
        Increased discourse between students
        Allows students to take risks, encourages movement
        Can integrate different subject areas including math, social studies, language arts, and science
        Allows for more individualization 

Other electronic resources that will be used besides email and volunteerspot will be:
      AR Home Connect
            Parents can log in to check their child's latest AR results 
            Can track how many points have been earned for the trimester (20 points for each trimester required)
            Can view on the book shelf the books that students have read
      Class website
            If you haven't taken the tour yet, please do so
      Edmodo
            A secure, social networking site for schools
            From the student perspective:
      • On the site, students will only be able to communicate to the whole class
      • Students can only send messages to the teacher
      • Proper online etiquette and safety will be discussed with students prior to the launch of the use of the site and the enabling of the features
      • Teacher can assign specific assignments link different videos and students can comment to ask questions (when enabled) and even respond to their 
      • Quizzes can be assigned, links can be shared, polls can be assigned
      • Students can store a document in their library to be able to work on it later
            From the parent side
    • Allows communication between the teacher and the parents 
    • Allows parents to understand more about what is happening within class
    • Allows parents to communicate and ask questions that are specific to the class and be able to respond
This will be the first year that we have used Edmodo.  There were a number of other sites that I considered prior to deciding upon this site. Teacher and student feedback regarding the ease of use, features, and functionality of the site were just some of the factors that I considered when deciding upon its use. As we implement the roll out of the site itself to the students and parents, we will see how we can integrate this tool into our classroom to help extend learning beyond the instructional day.

Here's one of just many videos that describe Edmodo and it's benefits from youtube.
     
Our typical announcement will look something along the lines of this...



Upcoming this week on Tuesday, will be Back to School Night.  Remember that this night is for parents only and will be from 7:15 to 8:00.  It would be helpful for parents to preview the back to school packet before coming to Back to School Night. With two grade levels and many other items that we want to put in place, there will be much information to cover so that I will not be able to go into as much detail and will be highlighting certain areas.  It would also be helpful to have toured the class website and to have learned about the flipped classroom.  

As a fourth grader and fifth grader, students may choose to run to be a student council officer. Representative elections will be held later on within the classroom.  There will be an informational assembly to explain student council and the officer positions on Thursday afternoon this coming week for our fourth and fifth graders. Applications, which require a parent signature will be due on 9/13. 

Students are currently sitting with their classes in the lunch room as we get down our procedures for the year.  When they have earned the privilege to sit with other classes, students will no longer have assigned seating and will be able to sit where they choose.

4th Grade


Language Arts - Students were assigned their initial accelerated reader level. They have chosen out an AR book and they will be told that after successfully completing and quizzing upon two books within this level, we will be able to look at their level and readjust. In the coming week, we will be doing a read aloud to go ahead and practice some reading strategies with the class.  Students are expected to read at least 20 minutes each night. They are to earn at least 20 points each trimester and the other goal is to have a reading comprehension level of 85% or more. 


Writing - We took some time this week to write about our first day of fourth grade.


Math - We learned about place value this week starting out by counting grains of rice to help understand how big a million was. At the rate that fourth graders were counting and tallying these grains of rice, we figured that it would take over fifty days of counting 24 hours a day before we would reach a million.  In other words, a million is a very large number!  Within the computer lab, students were shown as to how to follow classroom links to be able to access instructional videos and activities which will be done primarily at home. They reinforced their understanding of place value through Rags to Riches as they worked with the content from place value to the hundred thousands. We will continue this week and learn about even bigger numbers.  Ask them about the different forms of numbers or the different ways that you can write a number.


Towards the later part of the week, we did timed tests for addition and multiplication which were sent home.  Within stations, utilized our Flashmasters for the first time in practicing our subtraction facts and played with the game Rock and Roll Multiply to continue to work with our multiplication facts.  Students were also introduced to Frog Games where they can continue to reinforce math concepts.


Social Studies - Within Social Studies, we learned that it is often about the time, people and the place. We explored the table of contents and through it, previewed some of the concepts that are going to be covered this school year. We'll continue to learn about California through the year, first starting off with chapter 1 about California's Geography.


5th Grade


Language Arts - Students were assigned their initial accelerated reader level. They have chosen out an AR book and they will be told that after successfully completing and quizzing upon two books within this level, we will be able to look at their level and readjust. In the coming week, we will be doing a read aloud to go ahead and practice some reading strategies with the class.  Students are expected to read at least 20 minutes each night. They are to earn at least 20 points each trimester and the other goal is to have a reading comprehension level of 85% or more. 


Writing - We took some time to write about the first day of fifth grade. Students were introduced to the Book into Movie Project. (attached to their weekly update as well)  In the coming week, we will discuss the project in more detail and will also provide students with a graphic organizer that will help with the project.


Math - Some of the content for fifth grade is review of lessons learned within fourth grade.  To that extent, there are many videos that have been created for fourth grade students which fifth grade students could go to if they needed a refresher in any particular area. We started with prime numbers and composite numbers this week revisiting how to figure out a factor and divisibility rules. Within the lab, they played a "millionaire game" and worked with a game called "factor float" to help reinforce some concepts. Towards the later part of the week, we did timed tests for addition and multiplication which were sent home.  Within stations, utilized our Flashmasters for the first time in practicing our subtraction facts and played with the game Rock and Roll Multiply to continue to work with our multiplication facts.  Fifth graders also worked with our division "war" sticks to practice their division facts. Students were also introduced to Frog Games where they can continue to reinforce math concepts. 


Social Studies - Fifth graders will be responsible for learning the states and capital for all 50 states. They will also need to know about how to complete a US map that has not been filled in. We will start with the West where there are eleven states. We will also learn more about each particular region and in doing so, will create a flip book for the regions.  We learned that this year we will be learning about the United States!  Students completed a trivia assignment with their book to get a preview of what will come during this school year.