Newsletter

                     
  

Welcome to March 2019

 

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope you all had a fun filled vacation and enjoyed spending time with each other. Reflecting on February, it was a quick and extremely busy month. We completed our novel study of The Bicycle Spy and touched upon world history during the time of WW2. It was a wonderful story to share with the students as they hung on my every word when it was my turn to read aloud to the class. They we’re engaged and curious and thoughtful as they reflected on the significance of the times and will hopefully carry the desire to learn from history and not allow it to be repeated. This month we will begin a new novel title Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff. It is our second historical fiction novel that takes place in 1845 and touches upon the Great Potato Famine when Nory must “summon the courage and ingenuity to find food, hope, and a way to help her family survive.” In whole group we will read, discuss, and use this novel to write, showing comprehension of text but more importantly to learn about another’s culture and fight for survival and develop a sense of compassion for those less fortunate.

 

Our guided writing will continue with informational writing based on a class read we did in our National Geographic for kids. The students will be asked to choose from one of the famous women previously studied and write a biographical piece. This writing will go into their portfolio with previous pieces written for next year’s teacher to enjoy. Once we get the more serious writing piece out of the way, we’re going to have a little fun and write about good luck charms. With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, we will do a little research on good luck charms and what culture they come from. Then the students will be asked if they believe in good luck charms, do they have a good luck charm, what makes it god luck for them, and finally do they think a person should rely on luck or should a person work hard to achieve the success they desire? It will be a busy writing month!

 

We continue to keep keeping on with our envisions math program. As I look ahead I see that factors and factoring, which are relative to the division we just completed, play a large role in getting the students ready for fractions. Topic 11 is slightly longer than previous topics and we will take our time. Thank you to those of you who have been practicing their multiplication facts. Remember practice makes perfect and these are your foundational skills for everything else you will do.

 

Science and Social Studies typically end our day and with that a lot of hands on work occurs from the 2:00 hour on. Mystery science will center on Energy and energizing everything. Students will answer questions such as How can a car run without gas? What makes roller coasters go so fast? Could you knock down a building using only dominoes? Can you build a chain reaction machine? And What if there were no electricity? Just to name a few. We will be putting finishing touches on our NH state research, and the students will work in groups to research a topic of their own choosing to make an entry into an ABC NH book.

 

As always, we continue to work as hard as we can developing skills, building a community, and being the best we can be. Thank you for all you do, Happy St. Patrick’s Day and fingers crossed no leprechauns visit our room, and as we look forward, we anxiously await Spring and all the outdoor explorations that come with that.

 

Gina Udice. : )


 Happy New Year To All!

January – February

 

 As we continue to work hard on our skills we find ourselves as busy as ever. Our writing has transitioned from narrative to informational and together we are working on how to identify factual information within text to answer targeted questions. This task is never easy but together we will continue to build our skills and practice. Our first informational writing piece will be based on an informational text titled Is Disney the Happiest Place on Earth? Within the text many questions are posed. The students will be given 2 sources to read from and rely on for their writing purposes. Information will be provided on Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California. The first writing prompt will ask the students to compare and contrast the two parks using evidence to support their response. The typical response should be multi-paragraph long. Another prompt will ask the students to give their opinion on which park is better using evidence from the text, and a third writing prompt will be based on similarities alone, and differences alone. These writing pieces and the modeling will take time and take us through the end of the month and into February. You will see the finished pieces as they are completed.

 

We continue to challenge our math skills, having completed topic 8 and developing fluency by multiplying by 2 digit numbers. We practiced estimating sums and breaking apart numbers to help make the multiplying easier, creating an introduction to the partial products method of multiplying. Topic 9 in envisions revolves around division and using mental math to divide. In order to do this, the students need to be fluent in their multiplication facts. Patterns are also part of using mental math and how to identify groups without having to use repeat addition to multiply. Estimating quotients is proving to be a major challenge as this task asks student to find numbers that a factor can fit into mentally. The purpose of this is lost on many as they can’t understand why they would just randomly change numbers into other numbers because they can multiply easier. Dividing with remainders will be our next task and this will carry us into topic 10 of envisions math as well.

 

ALL About New Hampshire will be an on-going research project where the students will be invited to take a deeper look at the state they live in. they will identify major bodies of water and river ways and why it was and still is important for people to live near them. A look at the major cities of NH and where the state falls in the northeast region will take place. Students will be challenged to become creative and write poetry and find recipes that are native to NH that will help identify commerce in and out of the state as well as its economy and the average household income as compared to the rest of the country. Along with the identifying of the state’s bird, flower, and insect, the students will identify major historical figures and delve into the state’s politics. There are a few more surprises up our sleeves but you will see this project come back and forth between class and home as there will be an opportunity for you to study along side your child as well. Please make sure this project comes back to school daily as we will use time in our day to research on our classroom computers to move the project along.

 

We will take turns between social studies and science weekly as our science will move into electricity and waves of sound and light. I would like to save Fridays for STEM activities as the class LOVES the hands-on experiences STEM provides. I believe our next STEM activity will be to build a marble maze. The students will be asked to create a maze, design, and build a maze that will allow a marble to travel freely from one end to another. The maze will need to have multiple pathways and dead ends as well as have a theme and be decorated. This will be an on-going process but I know they will enjoy and learn from the process as well as each other.

 

Stay Warm. Gina Udice : )


December Newsletter

 

May Your Days be Merry and Bright.....

 

As we enter the month of December we find ourselves as busy as ever. The students have been working on many different types of writing, independent as well as whole group creative pieces. We completed a festive holiday writing to Santa when we found out to our ASTONISHMENT that we were all on the NAUGHTY list! How could he?!? Doesn’t he know all the good deeds we have done? The students decided it was in their best interests to write a persuasive piece, trying to convince Santa that they deserved to be put back on the NICE list. Some even resorted to bribing him with mom’s freshly baked cookies and milk if all else failed! Our letters can be found hanging in the hallway for all to enjoy.

 

The class has also begun summarizing articles found in Kids National Geographic. Together we worked on reading through and deciding what was important and what wasn’t. We discussed how to summarize those important details in order to support the main idea of the article. This is a difficult, but necessary, task that is important in many aspects of our curriculum, and mastering this task is extremely important in distinguishing our levels of reading as well.

 

We are progressing through the Envisions math program and the students are engaging in double digit multiplication. This is a difficult thing to do. Please remember that basic multiplication facts are the foundation for all we do at the 4th grade level. Simple mistakes made with basic multiplication facts will have lingering effects on your child’s abilities as well as diminish his or her confidence level. Please take a few minutes to practice these facts each day. Driving from daily activities is the perfect time to practice!

 

Our whole group read is Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord. Lucy’s family has just moved into an old house on a lake in New Hampshire and her dad, who is a famous photographer, is leaving on another new adventure, to take more pictures in another new place. Lucy finds out about a contest that her dad is involved in and decides to set out on an adventure of her own. Secretly. We go on this adventure with Lucy through the chapters of the book as well as the characters in the story. We will also cross content areas and use this text in our study of NH, the regions, and wildlife.

 

Science and Social Studies are the fan favorite in our classroom for activity and enjoyment! We have begun our study of NH with the creation of topographical maps. Many of us have travelled to the mountain ranges but few of us knew how far away they were. Did you know we have a Presidential Range of mountains in our state? Did you know you can kayak for NH into Vermont on the Saco? Do you know what the Kancamagus is? We are busy learning about the phenomenal places there are to explore in NH. We will begin an in depth study of NH and create an ABC book about all the information we can gather and share. This will be an ongoing project culminating in a class book created by the students in Room 104! While we find ourselves in the lovely state of NH, we will study rocks and minerals and why the Granite State is called the Granite State, and while I’m at it, just what is Granite anyway? All these questions and more will be answered as we become more engaged and experiment with the different types of rock: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous.

 

As the holidays grow near, I would like to take a moment to thank you for all you do for the students, our class and our school! I am sure you were all on the NICE list and hope you find something special under your tree. Have a wonderful holiday! Happy New Year and Best Wishes for All! Gina Udice







Welcome to November in Mrs. Udice’s Class

 

We continue to be as busy as ever as we enter the month of November. The class has been busy developing their writing skills as we put finishing touches on narrative pieces and give poetry a try. The class has read The Word Collector, our community read for this year and tried our hand at 6 WORD MEMOIRS. What I had anticipated being a difficult task, proved to be fun filled and enjoyed by the students. They literally and figuratively wrote their hearts out! Poem after poem after poem, they continued to write into the afternoon. They loved it!

 

This week we will begin writing a narrative piece based on all the reasons we should be thankful. We will discuss what is happening in our families and what is happening in the world and how there are people in the world less fortunate. We will use graphic organizers to details our ideas and events and the comparisons between the fortunate and less fortunate.

 

In Math we continue to work with mental math to add and subtract as well as multiply. Estimations plays a larger role in topics 5 and 6 and rounding proves to be a difficult task for most students. We have used the terms “ ground ball” and Home run” to help us decipher between what numbers are rounded up or rounded down. Topic 6 concentrates on arrays and expanded algorithms as we begin to work on multiplying by 1, 2, 3,and 4 digit numbers. As we progress through the envisions program, multiplication is becoming progressively more difficult for students who are not fluent with their multiplication facts. Please remind your child to practice their fluency facts either using cards or technology, 15 minutes a night will be a big help.

 

We have begun our study of New Hampshire. In our text NH is our Home, we have worked with map skills and will begin a topographical map of our state. We will identify bodies of water, streams, and rivers along with mountain ranges and natural borders. We will study the people who settled here and why, and why they moved west. Was it their needs or wants or both that forced people west?

 

Last week the students worked on a STEM project that tasked them with building a web that held a message in it. They were given paper plates, yarn, pipe cleaners and nothing more. They had to decide what type of web they wanted to build and how the message was going to be placed inside it. This wasn’t an easy task and many were unable to complete the project in the time allotted. STEM is all about the process and while some may not have finished, the thought process behind every choice they made was where the learning process began and ended. Even an unsuccessful project was a success because the students were able to communicate why they were unsuccessful.

 

November is a short month and once the holidays begin, time slips away from us and the year begins to fly by. We have a lot to accomplish but together we can get there. I thank you for all you do to help make us as successful as we are.   

 

Gina Udice

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September 17, 2018

 

This week we continue to read Because of Winn Dixie, utilizing the story to work with vocabulary skills and comprehension. We were introduced to two new characters and will use them as an opportunity to review what character traits are and aren’t.  The students will utilize an anchor chart depicting the traits, and   as we read further into the book and the characters begin to develop, we will see if there are any traits we can add to our chart.  We will work with plot and discover all the elements to a story that create those roller coaster feelings authors want us to feel while reading their written words. An example of the roller coaster ride of a story would be rising action. Because of Winn Dixie provides many opportunities for us to look at the ways writers create opportunities that evoke feelings.

 

Last week we began a narrative writing piece that had your child think about the influences in his or her life. They were asked to examine what influences shaped they way they think as India Opal does in the story. It isn’t until Gloria Dump points out that maybe her mama gave her more than a green thumb. This is a challenging task for many as I am sure it would be for all of you. We are taking our time discussing the people in our lives and the things that we do that could possibly make us who we are. 

 

We have completed Topic 1 in Envisions math as it was a review of multiplication from 3rd grade. We read riddles by Greg Tang who has taught us that finding groups of 10 will be he best things we can do for ourselves when using mental math and achieving fluency. This has also helped us to introduce patterns and look for them in all things. This also gives us a jumpstart on Topic 2 as that is the main focus along with an introduction to geometry. 

 

In Science we completed an experiment based on the types of volcanoes that explode and the ones that don’t, We discussed the ring of fire, where it can be located and the possibility of a volcano popping up in our neighborhood. We watched footage of a volcano that erupts daily in Hawaii which brought up CURRENT EVENTS and the volcano happenings occurring in Hawaii recently. 

 

This week begins STAR assessment. We will do our STAR READING on the specialist day we have computer lab. Please refer to the notice sent home that displays the day and corresponding specialist as well as refer to your child’s homework assignment notebook to reference the day of the week.

 

Curriculum Night is Thursday Night. Hope to see you there. Have a great week! 

Gina Udice

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