News from Squad 16 – April 19, 2017

We are busy, busy, busy this week!  We began taking the Reading portion of the Smarter Balanced Assessment on Monday morning.  Students are given as much time as they need to complete the test, so your child might still be working on it today.  Next week, we will be taking the Writing Performance Task, which asks students to read several articles and compose an essay about what they read.

This week we are also rolling out our study of Oregon Black History.  Over the next several weeks we will be looking at Oregon’s checkered past in regards to racial equity and learning about community leaders who worked to bring about change in the state and across the nation.

We looked at how to solve larger multiplication problems by using the traditional algorithm (the one you and I learned in school) and students are working hard to master it.  This video series from Khan Academy may be helpful to you if your child is struggling to understand what to do: Keep plugging away on those multiplication facts, too!  The more fluent students are with their facts, the easier these bigger problems will be.

Looking ahead to May, our class will be starting a storyline project and we are in need of supplies.  I am asking students to bring in any spare crafting materials you may have lying around the house that you are willing to donate: cardboard, beads, fabric, scrapbook paper, wallpaper samples, buttons, odds and ends that may spark creativity.  Your generosity is appreciated and will help our unit come to life!

Thank you for all that you do!

-Ms. Elissa

News from Squad 16 – April 12, 2017

This week we are traveling the Oregon Trail, learning to multiply larger numbers, and taking a look at the SBAC Practice Test before we take the reading and writing portion next week!  I posted a link to the practice test site on the blog if you are interested in looking over what students are being asked to do.

We have started our twice-weekly multiplication fluency quizzes and students are already showing growth.  Students are challenging themselves to solve 40 problems in 2 minutes and we are tracking our progress towards mastery along the way.  Please support your child’s growth by practicing with flashcards or an online tool at home.

In math we are also learning strategies for tackling multiplication of larger numbers.  We discovered a quick way to multiply by 10, 100, or 1,000 and next we will work on multiples of 10: x30, x40, x60, etc.  This will give us a good foundation for eventually learning the algorithm later in the year.

Coming up this Saturday, April 15th,  is an exciting opportunity at Tryon Creek State Park that correlates with our Native American studies.  Here’s a message from the organizers: Join us for a day of culture, and an opportunity to learn about the lifeways of the original people of the area; now known as the Tryon Creek State Natural Area – 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd. Portland, OR 97219. This is a free, all ages event featuring tribal educators leading traditional cultural activities, including: weaving, carving, language, botany and more.  Check out the website with more info here:  This would be a perfect hands-on extension activity for what we have been covering in class.  I hope you’ll be able to go!

-Ms. Elissa

News from Squad 16 – April 5, 2017

Welcome back!  I hope you were all able to sneak in a few extra minutes of shuteye or a few extra chapters of the book you’re reading or a few extra giggles with your friends and family over the break.

On Tuesday we ventured out to the Oregon Historical Society to view the Oregon, My Oregon exhibit.  Our knowledgeable docents told us stories about the Native Americans of Oregon, Lewis & Clark, fur traders, and the Oregon Trail.  We got to sit in a replica plank house, see sandals that are thousands of years old, and peek inside a real covered wagon that came across the Oregon Trail.  It was a great trip!  Thanks to the parent chaperones who joined us for the adventure!

This month our class is participating in the Write On Challenge hosted by Egg Press (who make letterpress printed greeting cards here in Portland).  We are pushing ourselves to write 30 letters over 30 days!  We unboxed our kit from Egg Press containing cards and envelopes and even some student-designed cards!  Throughout the month, we will spend a few minutes each morning composing a brief message to someone while also working on a variety of conventions: proper letter format, how to address an envelope, etc.  Keep your eyes peeled – you may be getting a card sometime this month!  🙂

April is also the month that 4th graders will begin taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment (state testing).  We will take some time to go through the training test and practice test beforehand so students are prepared for the tasks they will be asked to do.  Students who have opted out will be working on alternate activities during both the practice and actual tests.

Our class is beginning to work on our multiplication fact fluency.  We will be taking fluency checks twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, starting this week.  This is a great time of year to get out those old flashcards!

Enjoy the break in the rain while it lasts,

-Ms. Elissa