The little bit of flirting we had with spring weather sure was nice.  a, it
won't be long until we are enjoying it for an extended period of time.
   Our recent math test covering geometry was a bag of mixed results.  Most of
the children did very well on the concepts / vocabulary involved with lines,
rays, 3-D figures, etc.  However, as we return to some of the review concepts
that most mastered earlier in the year, skills are a bit rusty.  So, we will
keep plugging away at review and practice to be sure we know how to do these
things. This week, we began Unit 7 and are focusing on hints, tips and tricks
to help us with multiplication facts and patterns.  The hope is that all
children are at least on their 6's in fact tests at this point in the year.  I
have students who have passed all of their tests and are on to mixed facts and
division.  Others are struggling to pass 3's.  This requires lots of home
practice in many different ways.  The links page of this website offers many
alternatives to flash cards that kids do not always enjoy. They all have had a
set of math fact triangles since fall of the year.  They are supposed to be in
the pocket of their agendas.  Without these basic facts under their belt they
are most certain to have math difficulty with fourth grade math.
We are well into our unit on non-fiction reading as well as non fiction
writing.  The children have been paired with texts on the same topic and our
focus lessons in reading center on particular text features and what we may
learn from these.  We will investigate and explore the differences in text
structure such as problem /solution, cause and effect, descriptive, etc.  The
children will find these structures within the text they are reading and also
examine text boxes,headings, bold print, graphs and other additional helpful
features that add to our information of topics.  Did you know that over 80% of
text we read as adults is non-fiction text?  We've decided that we all
want to be good non-fiction text readers after learning this bit of
interesting info.
   We generated lists of topics that we are experts on, then narrowed our
topics. Each student is creating a non-fiction book to teach others about
their topic. It will include the features we explore in reading such as bold
print for special vocabulary,headings, diagrams, labels, glossary, table of
contents, etc.  They have selected a wide variety of topics and seem to be
enjoying this unit very much. 
   Our study of Michigan's first people proved to be the most popular of
social studies units so far!  (Imagine that they liked this better than
geography and government!!) This unit test had an average of 90%.  Yeah! 
Well, now that we have moved into Visitors From Far Away and are discussing
the French settlers and the trading of guns and gunpowder....well, interest is
peaked. We will have a real French trader visit a little later this spring
that brings this all to life for the kids.  He's a favorite part of the year
for the teachers.  
  All students need a rock for our Earth's Resources unit.  We are "Rock
Hounds" and study the properties of many rocks and will do an individual
project with one of our own.  It will be returned home at the end of this unit. 
  March is National Reading Month.  If you would like to be a mystery reader
in our classroom, contact me to set up a time.  Don't tell your child.  We'll
surprise the class with guest readers throughout the month.
    You should have received notice of out upcoming field trip.  Please be
sure to turn in paperwork and money by the due date listed as payment must be
in to our venue quite far in advance.
   Think Spring!