Sunday, January 29, 2017

Week of January 30, 2017

4th Graders have been busy returning to a rigorous schedule since our holiday break.  We have a new spelling program that is designed to help students learn spelling patterns in words.  We have four leveled groups and students are working in the level based on an assessment I gave prior to vacation. I am seeing growth in all students and it is rewarding to be able to meet students where they are and help them grow in their spelling achievement. I have spent excessive hours planning and creating spelling lists and games to accompany these lists.  (Hence, no extra time to work on this website/blog.) 

In reading, we continue to work in our LLI program reading many exciting texts.  We have also begun learning about ways to respond to our literature using constructed responses.  Constructed responses are a major expectation in our assessments (SBAC testing) and our school historically has not scored well in this area.  The fourth graders have been introduced to a strategy using the acronym;
R.A.C.E. which stands for Reword, Answer, Cite, Explain.  This helps the students understand the structure of the response required and gives them support in answering questions adequately and with written detail instead of short one line answers.  We will continue to practice this skill on a weekly basis in order prepare ourselves for this testing that occurs in April.

Speaking of testing, the 4th and 8th grades will be taking the NAEP test that is given nationally on Tuesday of this week.  It is administered by someone from the state department and we do not receive any feedback or data letting us know how our students did. I believe this data is used to compare state to state achievements. 

In science we have been learning about characteristics of light and it's behavior.  Students have tried to send light around objects using mirrors and we were exploring the relationship of absorption and reflection using white, black and gray objects.  We have run one experiment and will repeat it with several trials to see if we get the same results.  I've included some images below showing our team at work, reading, timing, and recording our results.

This Thursday is our last Winter Wellness Ski Day.  Hopefully we'll get a bit of fresh snow!  We in the classroom are trying hard to stay healthy even though we are surrounded by so many germs.  We disinfect our tables, doorknobs, etc. on a weekly basis in the attempt to keep the "bugs" at bay.