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.
This week in Humanities a big focus for students has been on representing their ideas through a variety of media. Mr. Brewer read to students from the novel Superfudge. Students were encouraged while listening to imagine what the story might look like if it were a movie. Students took these images and created a comic in their creative journals based on a particular scene in the book. We discussed the use of speech bubbles in cartoons. Many students truly enjoyed re-telling the events of the story in a different medium. They understood that they could present information visually as well as in written form. The cartoons incorporate both!
Drawing and using speech bubbles allowed for students to develop their ability to personally express their ideas about oral media texts in class this week. Mr. Brewer shared with classes his love of the artwork and storylines in the Tintin books that were authored by Herge. Many students are familiar with the stories and some have seen the Tintin movie too. Herge used a style called claire ligne to draw his panels. Seeing these beautiful illustrations inspired some students to use their artistic ability to explain connections between the characters in the novel.
Students continued to use and develop their knowledge of the meaning of prefixes, such un- (not), and sub - (under), to read and understand the meaning of new words like "unknown" and "indifferent". These two words were on this week's spelling list. Through applying this knowledge more readily grade 4 students can read and begin to understand many unfamiliar words in context.
We continued to work on our infographic project. Like the work with creating cartoons, students were using a different medium to convey a message. We will continue to work with Ms. Asis in our Humanities class to identify how specific techniques are used in infographics to affect viewers’ perceptions in media texts. Mr. Brewer said in class that students may access the easel.ly website on their own time outside class. www.easel.ly/ The username for the site is: firstname.lastname@example.org and the password is Kodiak1 Below are the rubrics for the project work. The two rubrics are essentially the same, though one is simplified and easier for grade 4 students to follow:
Social Studies Homework: Handed out Friday Oct. 20 in class. Due: Mon. Oct. 23
In class this week students continued to identify and learn the meaning of some frequently used prefixes. They applied this knowledge to work towards reading unfamiliar words in context. The prefix words in this week's spelling list are ones students discovered through intentional cooperative learning activities done in class. Students put the words from this week's list into alphabetical order by first and second letter. Through doing this activity they became increasingly familiar with this method of looking up words so that they can more independently find information in glossaries, dictionaries and other such reference materials.
Students also began project work this week on infographics. The word infographic is a blend of two words: information and graphics. Infographics include visual images such as a charts or diagrams used to represent data. Students discovered that information can be recorded and presented visually in different ways. They had an opportunity to describe and compare different examples of infographics in class. Students discovered that good infographics are colourful, include lots of information, have titles, are easy to read, and use a variety of fonts in different sizes and styles. The observations of students will be used as a basis for evaluating the infographic projects that they make for class. Next week, Ms. Asis and Mr. Brewer will be collaboratively explaining in detail how to use the site easel.ly www.easel.ly/ to create their own infographics. Students decided whether they would work together with another student or in pairs on this project work. Mr. Brewer and Ms. Asis will be randomly assigning each pair or individual to research about one of the six natural regions of Alberta. Students said that they would like to include information in their infographics about the landforms, climate, natural vegetation and wildlife in each region. As well, students will be including two samples of poetry about the region they research.
Next week on Thursday there will be a unit test on the natural regions of Alberta. To prepare, students brought home their green Social Studies duo tangs to review from. In class this week, students mapped some of the major landforms and settlements in Alberta. They will be tested on some of this material. The following map was used as a basis for this activity in class:
There will be a Social Studies quiz on Alberta's Natural Regions on Thurs. Oct. 19, 2017:
Word Work homework: Assigned: Oct. 6 Due: Oct. 10, 2017
In Social Studies, students continued to learn about how natural vegetation, climate and landforms characterize each of Alberta's natural regions. As a class, students did a matching exercise where they looked at photographs of each natural region and attempted to match the photos to descriptions. Below is a picture showing the descriptions on the left in column A. In the column titled B students wrote down the number of the picture that they thought fit the description in column A. In Column C. they wrote down the reasoning for their choices. We took this up as a class. Most students could explain their reasoning. Finally, students were given the model answers we see in the picture below:
Reading comprehension strategies were discussed this week. Students were encouraged to ask questions as they read their own books and while listening to Mr. Brewer read aloud from Superfudge. Questioning is an effective means of monitoring reading comprehension as it encourages students to think actively as they read, focus on their purpose for reading and to attend to the meaning of texts. Certain decoding strategies were reviewed as well. Decoding is the ability to apply knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including knowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words. Students learned about chunking words into syllables to pronounce them correctly. Knowing the meaning of some of the more common prefixes such as "un, pre, de, or im" were presented as a means to glean the overall meaning of new words. Weekend homework focuses on the meanings of several of the more common prefixes. When one knows that many words beginning with im have a negative meaning it helps to understand the meaning of words like "impossible" or "improbable". In class we studied the prefix 'in' which is a common variant of 'im'. Students discovered that while many words have 'in' at the beginning (e.g. indirect), they are not all in prefix words. Inukshuk and India both begin with the in, but neither of these words has a negative meaning.
When talking about reading strategies, Mr. Brewer introduced the five finger rule as a way for students to choose "just right" books: