Spelling list: 'ow' words + First Nations vocabulary. Students received the list on Mon. Jan. 15 - test to be held on Mon. Jan. 22, 2018.
Homework assigned: Fri. Jan. 12, 2018. Due: Mon. Jan. 15, 2018.
It was a very productive first week of 2018 for 4E and 4F students in Humanities. This week Mr. Brewer completed reading aloud the story Superfudge. Students discussed the story and answered comprehension questions about it. A particular strategy that we have worked on in class is making a mental picture or image in our mind as we listen to a story or while reading it to ourselves. This week students retold events from the story through the medium of drawing it. This strategy allowed students to summarize the events in the story as well as understand the connections among events, characters and settings. In a four-panel cartoon students were encouraged to retell the events in the final chapter in a logical sequence. They also drew a picture of a particularly funny event that happened in chapter 11 of the book. This helped them to demonstrate clear relationships between character and plot in the book.
Using the Internet students began to find out about a particular dinosaur they had chosen to research at the end of last year. Through this ongoing research students have been finding out how paleontologists discovered the presence of dinosaurs in Alberta. Indeed, the weekend homework assignment for Social Studies relates directly to this area covered in the curriculum. Through their research on dinosaurs, students have learned a great deal about when dinosaurs roamed the earth, what they ate and how big they were.
Over the weekend, students are encouraged to work on completing their dinosaur research. Students have been doing this research independently in class. You may log in to Google docs via your CBE student Username and Password. All students chose a dinosaur to research using this link: www.kidsdinos.com/alberta Below is a copy of the checklist we used in class to check that all required elements are in the research paper:
The final week of classes before the winter break was a busy one around Nose Creek School. 4E students were keen participants in all the activities that took place this week. On Monday was Hot chocolate for $1 in the gym, Tuesday was Santa Hat Day, Wednesday was Pajama Days and finally on Thursday many students went to the year end dance or participated in afternoon activities like face painting, watching a Christmas movie or making crafts.
Students put final touches on their fossil opinion pieces during class this week. Also, each child chose a dinosaur found in Alberta to research. Demonstrating skills and processes for inquiry and research are integral parts of the Social Studies curriclum and will be further explored in 2018.
Over the Winter break, students are encouraged to read for 20 minutes per night. During time away from school this a great way for students to keep up their literacy skills in an ongoing way. For practice, students are encouraged to come to this blog and take part in the activities provided on the Word Work link provided here: gradefourncs.weebly.com/word-work.html
I would like to thank all parents/guardians for the many thoughtful gifts I received. All of them were very good and I enjoyed getting home baked goods! I look forward to seeing my students back in January 2018. Have a peaceful and enjoyable vacation!
I would like to thank the many students and their parents who contributed toys, food and clothes to our 4E Christmas stocking for Inn from the Cold. The items contributed are intended for a 4-year old boy. When children from our homeroom took these items to Ms. Malayko on Friday she remarked positively on 4E's efforts. Mr. Brewer told students that at this time of year it is good for all students to be mindful of those who have less than others.
Following our opinion writing assignments, students shared their writing with peers on Google docs. Students used lists to detail what peers did well and list areas for improvement. In the final week of December students will use this feedback to work on improving their written work. We read a chapter from Superfudge and Mr. Brewer introduced the reading comprehension strategy of chunking text. This means that we break down words into smaller parts. Students have identified prefixes in words and through our study of Haiku poetry we learned about syllables. The chunking strategy is an effective means of improving students’ reading comprehension by allowing them to break down larger words smaller parts.
On Wednesday students wrote their final spelling test of the year and on Thursday students received results and most students edited their spelling sentences. Many students showed good knowledge of the Science terms that were contained in the list through their sentences.
This week was abbreviated as the majority of students went skiing/snowboarding at C.O.P. on Tuesday and Friday was a P.D. day with no classes. Mr. Brewer introduced a new spelling list. The list is notable for having many words related to 4E and 4F's study of Science in Ms. Ross's class. In Humanities we endeavour to extend sight vocabulary to include words frequently used in other subject areas in order to extend understanding. In addition, words in the list like conclusion, opinion, and finally are being used in student opinion pieces on the subject of protecting Alberta's heritage. In these pieces they are actively seeking to identify other perspectives by exploring a variety of ideas, opinions, responses in oral, print and other media texts. This weekend Mr. Brewer came across the following article that relates strongly to this topic: news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/12/duck-dinosaur-amphibious-halszkaraptor-fossil-mongolia-science/
Classes viewed a Bill Nye video on the subject of dinosaurs on Thursday. We reviewed how fossils are created and learned about the variety of dinosaurs that Science does know about. The wide-ranging video also discussed current theory on the demise of dinosaurs due to a meteorite impact approximately 65 million years ago. World-wide distribution of iridium (a rare element that is not often found on earth) in strata and the fact that dinosaur fossils are not found after 65 million years in strata were advanced as evidences of the meteorite theory being a plausible explanation of the disappearance of dinosaurs. In coming classes, students will choose a dinosaur that was found here in Alberta to do a personal research project. 4E and 4F will be introduced to the website www.kidsdinos.com/ On this site students can read about a number of dinosaur fossils that have been found in Alberta itself: www.kidsdinos.com/alberta
This week, students in grade 4 learned that up until 1978 in Alberta, anyone who wanted to could take fossils and keep them for themselves. In 1978 that all changed when the government introduced a law that stipulates that anyone who finds a fossil must report the find to the government. We learned in class about a girl who found a fossil on the surface of the ground. She reported her fossil find to a paleontologist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller who informed her that it was a squid fossil. Since these are very common types of fossils she was allowed to keep her find. The law was passed to protect Alberta's fossil heritage and is one of the strictest laws on the books in the world. In class this week 4E and 4F worked on expressing their opinions about the issue of how Alberta's fossil heritage should be protected. Students were exposed to different points of view from paleontologists, government officials, people who enjoy making jewellery from ammonites and fossil hunters. They considered these various different viewpoints as they expressed their opinions by speaking and crafted their own written responses. They have been considering issues from multiple points of view and explaining which one they agree with most. Below are some of the words they are incorporating into their written responses:
Students used the knowledge gained through classroom discussion/debate and by looking at the textbook. The phrases above were introduced to students and they were encouraged to use them in their opinion pieces. The writing process involves pre-writing; in class we had a discussion and engaged in a class-wide activity where students had to choose one of four corners to go to to react to statements about how to conserve fossils. Secondly, we did some research using our text books to discover who holds different opinions and how these opinions differ a lot. Finally, we looked briefly at the website of the Royal Tyrrell Museum and we viewed the rooms inside the museum using the Google Earth app and read about the law of 1978. All students are encouraged to look at the Royal Tyrrell's website to see how the museum contributes to scientific knowledge regarding Alberta’s fossil heritage: www.tyrrellmuseum.com/ Many students have a good plan about what they will say in their opinion pieces and they are now typing using computers. We learned how to log into our CBE Google accounts. Next week, students will investigate the various aspects of the program in order to self-edit their writing and share their opinion pieces with Mr. Brewer.
Fossils give a valuable record of the plant and animal life and environmental conditions from millions of years ago in Alberta. In class this week, students looked at at fossils of trilobites and ammonites. Some students brought in actual fossils to show the class too. We discussed the Fibonacci numbers by reading a picture book about Leonardo Fibonacci the Italian mathematician who discovered this sequence. The title of the book was Blockhead and was authored by Joseph D'Agnese. The fibonacci sequence of: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5 8, 13, 21, 34 appear everywhere in nature, from the leaf arrangement in plants, to the patterns of a flower, the bracts of a pinecone, or the scales of a pineapple. We can also see this pattern in the fossil ammonite:
In class this week students practiced for the Spelling test on Wednesday. They received their Spelling marks on Thursday or Friday. On Friday, most students were able to complete research questions about Alberta's fossil heritage and edit spelling sentences. Working towards revising and editing their work independently through attending to common spelling rules, knowing when and how to use capital letters and using punctuation correctly are all ongoing goals in Word Work this year. Some students who did not complete the work in class time brought it home as homework over the weekend.
Spelling list: This list contains curricular terms related to our current study of Alberta's fossil heritage, homonyms and words containing the spelling pattern 'oa' where the 'o' is voiced and the 'a' is silent. There will be a quiz on Nov. 22.
Since September we have been talking about and repeatedly reviewing the types of behaviours that will support students in their reading. Some examples of behaviours that will help students with their reading are:
Social Studies homework assignment: assigned on Fri. Nov. 10. Due: Monday Nov. 13.
In Social Studies this week, students completed their infographic assignments and we began learning about the fossil heritage of Alberta. Students discovered that the badlands of Alberta are a place where a great variety of dinosaur species have been found. Fossils are the remains or impressions of prehistoric organisms preserved in rock. Students viewed a powerpoint presentation made by Mr. Brewer on this topic. Paleontologists have discovered the presence of dinosaurs here in Alberta. Particular features of Alberta's landscape make it an amazing place for finding fossil remains such as the Albertosaurus, a prehistoric creature that students are reading about over the weekend for their homework assignment. Many students were fascinated by the question of how dinosaurs became extinct. A popular theory is that the extinction was caused by a large meteorite from outer space impacting the earth. While it was explained in class that the size of an object that could have led to a mass extinction was huge, we did look at a meteorite impact site in Canada as a means of comparison:
The picture above shows the Manicouagan Resevoir in Quebec. The shape of this lake is circular and it is thought to be the result of the impact of a meteor of 5 km in diameter. This weekend an article was published on the National Geographic website that speculates about the impact of the object from space that it is thought to have led to the mass extinction of dinosaurs: news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/11/dinosaurs-extinction-asteroid-chicxulub-soot-earth-science/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_fb20171109news-dinoasteroid&utm_campaign=Content&sf157171398=1
Also this week students attended the Nose Creek School Remembrance Day assembly. Ms. Ross is to be thanked for her vital role in organizing this assembly. It was clear that students took seriously their obligation to reflect on the difficulties and dangers faced by those who undertook going into battle. They were solemn during the songs and performances that took place in the assembly. Many students in both 4E and 4F were directly involved as members of the grade 4 choir and are to be commended on the quality of their performance. All staff, students and visitors to Nose Creek were reminded of the ultimate sacrifice of our war dead who paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedoms.
Students brought home Spelling Word Work duo tangs in the latter part of the week. In class we studied about some common plural forms: both regular and irregular ones. Plural forms that are irregular are those that do not change when pluralized: e.g. deer (sing.) is also deer (pl.). Another example would be the word 'sheep' which does not change form in the plural (i.e. 'There are many sheep.' versus 'There are many sheeps.') In the second sentence the writer has made a plausible prediction about the plural form based on prior knowledge, but clearly it is grammatically incorrect. We never say 'sheeps' with an 's'. One activity which we have done repeatedly in the class is a three-point organizer. The three point organizer allows multiple access points for learners when learning new vocabulary associated with curriculum. They draw a picture of the word, define it using a dictionary, text or other reference material and they are prompted to think of synonyms for the word or give examples. 4E and 4F students are familiar with this type of work. Below is an example of how to do the three point organizer effectively that may assist parents who are helping their sons/daughters at home to complete the three-point organizer:
In our word work this week students have been learning about identifying and applying common spelling generalizations in their own writing. The spelling list from this week and in-class assignments prompted students to use spelling generalizations such as changing "y" to "i" and adding -es to make a word plural. In addition to the plural forms the list includes words frequently used in Social Studies and in student research for the infographic assignment. The weekend homework involves writing 10 sentences using the words from this week's list. Students are asked to do this in preparation for a quiz on Monday. As part of our ongoing word work in class, students write their own sentences as a means of further developing the ability to write in a legible style that demonstrates awareness of alignment, shape and slant of letters. They identify and apply common spelling rules, attend to capitalization and edit their own work for subject-verb agreement errors with prompts and cues from Mr. Brewer. As students work through the weekend homework they should be actively attending to points that are reviewed frequently in class such as capitalizing to indicate the beginnings of sentences or proper nouns. The aim should be for students to become increasingly independent in recognizing errors in their own writing and applying strategies to self-correct.
This week Mr. Brewer read from the Judy Bloome novel Superfudge. As students listened Mr. Brewer frequently stopped and posed questions. The questions were meant to illicit students' own ideas about the thoughts and actions of the characters portrayed in the book. Many students could make personal connections to the story and students were encouraged to ask relevant questions and respond to questions on topic. While some questions prompted students to recall events in the story, many questions were intended to make student explain connections among events, setting and main characters. As we continue to develop the skill of active questioning while reading, students will sometimes be asked to recall events, but increasingly we will look to develop the ability to probe more deeply into texts by predicting, making evaluative statements and inferring about the actions of characters. When reading together, parents can assist in increasing reading comprehension by asking 'why' or 'how' type questions: "How do you know that will happen?" "Why do you think the character did that?" These types of questions prompt students to 'think between the lines'. In this way we come to appreciate the artistry of texts and enter more readily into the minds of characters to understand their motives.