FOURTH GRADE LITERACY As students move to the Fourth Grade, books become more complex. Readers might be asked to follow multiple plot lines in a story and determine how these plot lines connect. They might be asked to pay close attention to secondary characters and figure out how the characters affect each other. Readers are introduced to author’s craft such as foreshadowing- they are taught to notice it and then ask, ‘Why is this important?’ Readers think about lessons the character learned and then make broader generalizations about the message the author is sending through his/her story.
Just as in the grade before, fourth graders read both fiction and non-fiction. They read to learn about many different things in the world around them---growing up, history, current affairs, environmental issues, etc. When learning new information, often students work on projects to teach others about the topic they studied. Students become the ‘teacher’ by choosing the best method of presentation, considering their audience (who they will present to—their classmates? Second graders? Mr. Spatola?) and getting to work on their projects. Projects take many shapes and forms- skits, Powerpoint presentations, dioramas, persuasive posters, and illustrated informational books are all different projects taken on by fourth graders.
Reading Workshop- November/December Unit 3- Themes in Books
The goal of this unit is to help the students understand that comprehending books is not just about understanding the plot of the story (or what is happening); instead, comprehending books means thinking about the ideas within books. We want to help kids become more thoughtful as they read, understanding that books are about ideas. We want readers to develop the habit of asking themselves:
· What is this story really about? · What themes or messages are buried in the text? · What evidence to I have to support my thinking? · What lesson can I learn about life after reading this story?
To help the students throughout this process, they will be introduced to Big Life Topics. BLTs are the general topics about life that show up in books. Big Life Topics (BLTs) are:
Death or Loss
Authors write about these big life topics to share themes and messages about experiences that people encounter throughout their lives. Our job as readers is to pay close attention to the big life topics that pop up, then think about the problem(s) a character experiences that connect to the BLT. As we follow the character through the story, we pay attention to what the character learns and then think about the bigger, broader message or theme the author was sending readers.
Reading Workshop- September/October
Unit 1- Building the World of the Story Focus Skills: Monitoring for Meaning, Determining Importance
Unit 2- Developing Ideas about Characters Focus Skills: Making Inferences, Supporting Inferences with Evidence, Synthesizing
Reading Workshop is a time of the day when students are directly taught how to be a ‘strong’ reader. The period might start with the students looking at a shared text, reading small parts, and thinking together about ‘what is important’ in that part. Then together, students and teacher name what the author did- this ‘naming what the author did’- allows children to create a list of important places to read carefully. For example, the students’ list might include: reading carefully when you notice a strong emotion, reading carefully when the character’s problem pops up, reading carefully when a character interacts with another character, etc. Once independent reading starts, students work on building reading stamina, practicing reading skills. Most fourth graders enter the grade reading levels O/P and end the year reading levels Q/R.
Through individual reading conferences, guided reading groups, and independent practice, students will actively work on becoming stronger readers. Teachers meet with students at least once a week to assess the child through a conference and teach him/her. In a conference, students receive reading ‘jobs’ to focus on until the next conference. Reading jobs are worked on daily, both in school and at home. The student ‘records’ his/her reading job in various ways—in a reading notebook, in a Powerpoint presentation, in a packet, in a voice recording- the ways to record a reading job are endless! Students also have the opportunity to create book projects that are a reflection of the book or highlight a specific reading skill they have worked on.
Students who have mastered the focus skills at their independent level will move on to working on other skills such as prediction, inferring, synthesizing, and interpreting the text. When the teacher determines the student is ready, he/she will move on to the next reading level and begin to practice some the skills in the next level.
To support your child at home, you can ask him/her to:
show you their reading job & make sure they are practicing and recording their reading job
talk about their current reading book- Who is the main character? What kind of person is he/she? Can you show me parts in the text that support your character idea? What is he/she struggling with? What is his/her problem? Who are the secondary characters? Are they helping or hurting the main character? How? Did your character change by the end of the story? How? Did he/she ‘grow up a little’? Did he/she learn a lesson? What themes are popping up in your book?
read aloud to you to practice fluency- making their reading sound smooth and filled with expression
Read Aloud- November/December During Read Aloud we will be reading a novel, The Sign of the Beaver written by Elizabeth George Speare. This novel is a historical fiction text. This means that although the characters and events are fictional, the setting takes place during a particular period of history. While reading historical fiction it is important to keep in mind that the problems that the character is dealing with are specific to the time period addressed in the text. Basically, the problem that the main character is facing could not be a problem that a person would be faced with in present time.
During this unit students will be responsible for: 1) Completing assigned extended response questions in the given response packet. These responses will be collected periodically and graded. The grading criteria for these responses is as follows: 0- point response includes: · Does not answer the prompt/question · No answer · Hand-writing is so messy that the answer is too difficult to read · Includes many grammar mistakes making the answer too difficult to read 1- point response includes: · A literal explanation or retell of the prompt/question · Little details or information from the text to support the explanation · Incomplete sentences 2-point response includes: · A correct inference (idea) from the text that answers the question/prompt · An explanation of your inference (idea) in your own words · Specific details from the text that proves your inference, such as a quote · Complete sentences and correct punctuation
It is very important for students to adhere to the criteria and aim to receive a ‘2’ for their responses. This practice will get them into the habit of accurately answering an extended response question and supporting it with evidence.
2) Completing assigned vocabulary work. Students received a vocabulary packet, containing a graphic organizer to help them apply this word in various ways. They are required to use the word in a sentence, write the definition, draw a picture of and write an example of the vocabulary word.
3) Vocabulary Quiz- Knowledge of the vocabulary words will be assessed every week. Students should be prepared, every Friday, for a vocabulary quiz.
The Sign of the Beaver Vocabulary Words · Survivalist · Prejudice · Naïve · Clever · Stubborn · Arrogant · Wise · Skeptical · Competitive · Bitter
In addition, due to the fact that this genre isn’t what students are used to reading, this text is full of ‘tricky parts’. Throughout the lesson we will identify these parts and apply strategies to work through them in order to ensure comprehension. Students will be encouraged to apply these strategies when reading independently.
Read Aloud- November Human Impact on the Environment Non Fiction Study Using a number of complex texts, students will gain a deeper understanding of the human behaviors that are negatively impacting the world around us. Students will learn about topics such as air, water, and land pollution, deforestation, composting, recycling, global warming and climate change, and the ozone layer. Students will learn various non-fiction reading and note taking strategies that they will then use to research their own topic of choice. Using a variety of student-friendly websites, the students will conduct their individual research both in class and at home. Then they will use their research to educate others on the topic of their choice.
Curriculum Connected Field Trip: SIMS Recycling Center - Conveniently located just blocks away from P.S. 172 is the largest recycling facility in the United States. Our students will have the opportunity to visit the facility and see the process first hand while learning more about the negative effects pollution is having on our community. The students will get to see the recycling plant where tons of garbage are brought in each day and they will get to see how the garbage is sorted and processed. As researchers, the students will be given the opportunity to ask questions related to their independent research topic.
INDEPENDENT PROJECT Using the texts we have read together in class about how humans are negatively impacting the environment, students will create a project about one specific issue. They will explain how this issue is impacting the environment and come up with possible solutions. Their project should be designed in a way that will catch a reader’s attention and convince them to take action on ways they can help make Sunset Park, and the world, a better place.
Read Aloud- September/October
We start the year with a couple short texts that focus on community building. We use these books to work on building conversation skills such as looking at the speaker, using an appropriate speaking voice, staying on topic and building on the comments of others. We help our students master these skills by having them remind us of what a read aloud conversation should look & sound like- they have been doing this for years, after all!
Once we have agreed on clear expectations for the conversation, we support students with rubrics, checklists, individual and class goals to help students grow in their conversational skills.
September/October Read Alouds:
Chapter Books: Various Short Texts and Picture Books There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom
To support your child at home, you can ask him/her to:
share something from the read aloud discussion
discuss ideas about the character (with evidence/proof from the text)
share his/her read aloud goal- What skills is he/she working on in the read aloud conversation?
tell you if they are enjoying the story- ask: ‘What do you like about the book?’
‘What parts of the book do you like the best? Why? Can you share that part with me?’
Writing Workshop Writing Workshop is a time of the day when students are provided the opportunity to develop their skills as writers. During Writing Workshop, children choose their own topic or idea within a specific Unit of Study (personal paragraphs, character & theme essays, persuasive writing, historical fiction journal writing). Students are encouraged to write about topics that are personally meaningful to them, while learning how to write in that particular genre. Teaching also focuses on grammar such as writing in complete sentences, using the appropriate punctuation, and spelling. November/December Unit 4- Theme Essay Focus Skills: Developing ideas, Organizing/Structuring an Essay, Elaborating- providing details that support your idea, Grammar- Complete Sentences, Capitalization, Punctuation, Spelling Our Theme Essay writing unit pairs with our Theme Reading Unit. In this unit, our fourth graders work on writing a theme essay that conveys the various themes discovered in the books they read. In the theme essay, students state the theme and use three pieces of text evidence to provide support for the theme they discuss.
September/October Unit 1- Writing about Reading Focus Skills: Developing an idea, Organizing/Structuring a Paragraph, Elaborating- providing details that support your idea, Grammar- Complete Sentences, Capitalization, Punctuation, Spelling
This unit teaches students how to write a clear and concise response to a piece of literature. writing about literature. In this unit, children learn to answer a question clearly and then use convincing text evidence to support the idea. Students learn different techniques for elaboration. By the end of the unit, students will publish multiple paragraphs on read aloud texts, short texts, and independent texts.
Unit 2- Personal Paragraphs Focus Skills: Developing an idea, Organizing/Structuring a Paragraph, Elaborating- providing details that support your idea, Grammar- Complete Sentences, Capitalization, Punctuation, Spelling
This writing unit builds on the work done in unit 1, but in this unit, writers focus on writing paragraphs about topics they care about. Students might write about a special person, a favorite place, or an important object. Children get the opportunity to write new paragraphs everyday, get feedback, then revise them to make them better. By the end of the unit, students will have published multiple paragraphs, setting them up for a successful year of writing.
Unit 3- Character Essay Focus Skills: Developing ideas, Organizing/Structuring an Essay, Elaborating- providing details that support your idea, Grammar- Complete Sentences, Capitalization, Punctuation, Spelling
At this point in the year, writers are ready to become essay writers! This unit pairs writing with reading. As students develop ideas about the characters in their independent reading books, they learn how to gather evidence and put their idea and evidence into a character essay.
To support your child at home, you can ask him/her to:
share his/her writing with you- encourage him/her to read their writing aloud to look for mistakes they can fix (missed words, punctuation)
write about everyday events together (going to the park, visiting family)
make writing a part of everyday home life (write letters/emails to family, make a family journal, write lists)
November/December Our next unit of study will begin with a mini-unit focused on The Age of Exploration and European Explorers. During this unit,s students will learn about various different European Explorers. Students will research different explorers by reading a variety of non-fiction texts. The goal of this unit is for students to understand why people in Europe began to explore territories across the globe and for students to recognize that the beginnings of our country are founded on the Age of Exploration. The purpose of this unit is to prepare students for the following unit, Colonial Life in North America.
Following our mini-unit on The Age of Exploration, we will begin our Colonial unit. During this time, students will learn about why people settled in the American colonies and how they survived in a new land. Using both primary and secondary resources, students will develop an understanding for what life was life for people living in the American colonies. As the unit continues, we will begin to focus specifically on Colonial life in New York State and how this would eventually lead to the development of New York Today. This unit will last approximately one month and will end with a culminating research project.
INDEPENDENT PROJECTS: Working both in the classroom and at home, the students will choose a topic to research about what daily life was like during Colonial Times. The students will use both non-fiction texts, internet resources, and videos to aid in their research. Using the information they gather, they will choose a creative method to display their findings.
Curriculum Connected Field Trip: Old Stone House - Students will learn about Colonial crafts such as candle making, knitting, making butter, and crocheting.
The fourth grade Social Studies curriculum provides students with an opportunity to learn about the different cultural groups who lived in New York State centuries in the past. Each unit will culminate with a research-based project and exam.
In September, we will begin with a mini-unit focused on Geography. During this unit, students will learn about geographical terms, explore different types of maps, and create their own map of New York. Next, we will begin our Native American unit. During this time, students will learn about various groups of Native Americans who lived in the Northeastern Woodlands of the United States. As the unit continues, we will begin to focus on the Iroquois, a group of Native Americans that lived in New York State. Using both primary and secondary resources, students will develop an understanding for what life was like for the Iroquois. The unit will last approximately one month and will end with a culminating research project. Working in the classroom, students will come up with their own research question and will learn how to use non-fiction texts and Internet resources to carry out their research. Students will then display their findings in a creative way of their choosing. Some of their options will be to create an informative poster, a board game, slideshow, blog, or a method of presentation the student may come up with on their own.
Students may also continue their research at home by using our class website: http://www.portaportal.com/ Students may scroll down to the Social Studies section of the website in order to help with their research. See login information below:
Username: 4302 Password: ps172
INDEPENDENT PROJECTS: Students will be working in groups to create a visual representation of the topic of their choice. The students have been given the opportunity to choose from the following topics - Food & Farming, Clothing, Gender Roles, Myths & Legends, Longhouses/Villages, and Natural Resources. Once the students have chosen their topic and met with their group, they will begin doing additional research on their topic of choice, as well as collectively deciding how they would like to display their findings. Choices include PowerPoint presentations, posters, models, dioramas, catalogs, or presentation method of their choosing. Once the projects are complete, the students will then present their finished products to the class.
Curriculum Connected Field Trip: Old Stone House - Students will learn about the natural resources of New York and how they were once used by the Native Americans Blue Heron Park - The students will go on a nature walk taking note of the different natural resources and how those resources were once used by the native Lenape tribe.
In the first unit of fourth grade, we will extend our work with whole numbers. They begin with large numbers using familiar units (hundreds and thousands) and develop our understanding of millions by building knowledge of the pattern of times ten in the base ten system on the place value chart. We recognize that each sequence of three digits is read as hundreds, tens, and ones followed by the naming of the corresponding base thousand unit (thousand, million, billion).
Some concepts we plan to master are
Place value of multi-digit whole numbers
Comparing multi-digit whole numbers
Rounding multi-digit whole numbers
Multi-digit whole number addition
Multi-digit whole number subtraction
Multi-digit addition and subtraction word problems
In order to help your child at home, please reinforce these terms and concepts with them:
Sum (answer to an addition problem)
Difference (answer to a subtraction problem)
Rounding (approximating the value of a given number)
Place value (the numerical value that a digit has by virtue of its position in a number)
Digit (a numeral between 0 and 9)
Standard form (a number written in the format: 135)
Expanded form (e.g., 100 + 30 + 5 = 135)
Word form (e.g., one hundred thirty-five)
Tape diagram (bar diagram)
Number line (a line marked with numbers at evenly spaced intervals)
My name is Mr. Manley and I am the new Physical Education teacher at P.S. 172. I am very excited to join this community of teachers, students and families. I’ve taught Physical Education and Health the past six years at the middle school level and coached a variety of sports to all ages. I look forward to getting to know you and your child this upcoming school year.
In the month of September, students in grades Pre-K to 2nd grade will be participating in a variety of locomotor and fitness skills as well as learning to cooperate with others. Students in grades 3-5 will be participating in team building activities and personal fitness. For their safety, please have them come prepared wearing sneakers on days that they participate in Physical Education.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Welcome to art! My name is Mrs. Siskar and I teach art to class K 103 and grades 1-5 for the 2017-2018 school year. I’m so excited to have a creative year together in the art room. Childrenl have art class once per week for 50 minutes. Participation in the art room is encouraged and we can prepare each student by making sure on their assigned day for art they arrive prepared and ready to learn!
I recommend no new clothes on art class days. Even though everyone will wear their art t shirts to protect clothing accidents and messy masterpieces still happen. Please provide your child with the following materials by September 25th so they feel prepared and ready to learn.
MATERIALS: Students inall grades are required to wear an oversized T- shirt or art apron to protect their clothing from arts materials. Please write your child’s first and last name on the shirt in permanent marker. Many students bring an old recycled shirt, as it does not need to be newly bought. Throughout the year this will be returned home for washing when needed and to be returned to school the following week.
Grades 3, 4, 5 : Sketchbook with blank pages OR a composition notebook. Please label your child’s name and class room on the front. This will be used for in class drawing, writing activities, and occasional homework. If your child does not bring materials each week they will be marked unprepared, as this limits your child’s ability to appropriate participate and engage in learning.
Additional materials are also appreciated:
SEPTEMBER IN THE ART ROOM: As each class in grades K-5 begins to learn the routines for our art room we will be starting with a school wide community art lesson inspired by the literature The Dot, by the author Peter Reynolds. Students will be using their imaginations to invent their own dot artwork and contribute it to our community dot gallery. September 15th is International Dot Day!
Parent Conference Night: Wednesday September 13th Parents & students meet me in the auditorium during our enrichment fair to make a dot together for our dot gallery.
ART DOJO This year I will be connecting with parents through classroom dojo to share student masterpieces and communicate your child’s progress and different art events throughout the year. Please make sure you are connected to your child’s classroom with their teacher’s invitation.
If you need assistance with materials or have questions, please contact me by email.
Welcome to 2017-2018 school year at P.S. 172! I hope your summer was a fun and relaxing one. We have an exciting and creative year ahead in the art room. There is a small number of materials your child will be required to bring to art class each week to support their success and preparedness for their learning experiences.
Students inall grades are required to wear an oversized T- shirt or art apron to protect their clothing from arts materials. Please write your child’s first and last name on the shirt in permanent marker. Many students bring an old recycled shirt, as it does not need to be newly bought. Throughout the year this will be returned home for washing when needed and to be returned to school the following week.
Grades 3, 4, 5 are additionally required to bring a composition notebook with lines OR a sketchbook with blank pageswith their name, and classroom labeled on the front. This will be used for in class drawing, writing activities, and occasional homework. If your child does not bring materials each week they will be marked unprepared, as this limits your child’s ability to appropriate participate and engage in learning.
Additional materials are also appreciated:
small or large paper plates
Please contact your child’s teacher or myself with any questions or concerns regarding these materials. I look forwarding to working together this year in supporting your child’s artistic growth! Thank you,
Mrs. Siskar firstname.lastname@example.org
The following are dance units/ mini units we will be working on in Sept/Oct- In Prekindergarten and kindergarten, we start the year creating good habits for dance class. We learn how to move safely in one place and through space. We also learn how to focus our energy on our bodies and not our voices. Our focus in our first larger unit will be pantomime, in which the children will learn and create movement to communicate ideas. We will then move to studying opposites in movement and how contrasting efforts can give us a wider dance vocabulary. We will then work on a unit based on the fall, in which the children will continue to explore movement options based on books, poems, songs, pictures and other inspiration based on the autumn. In first grade, students in dance class start the year learning how to do a set warm-up. This warm-up helps children keep their bodies safe throughout class and reminds children how to move in their own space with energy and effort. First graders will focus on making shapes of different sizes with their bodies, taking movement with which they are already familiar and extending it in creative ways. After we have expanded our movement possibilities, we will study the human body and how our bones, joints and muscles allow us to move in different ways. In second grade, students start the year with a complex warm-up routine which incorporates standing, sitting and traveling all while executing various movements. We will work together to develop our movement vocabularies by performing movements at different levels, in different shapes, and in assorted relationships with other students. We will also challenge ourselves by planning dances with multiple movements and working to remember and perform our dances. We will also practice our audience skills as we respectfully watch other students perform their dance work. In third grade, students first learn a set warm-up which we will use throughout the year in order to keep our bodies healthy and safe. Our first big unit of study will be Chinese dance, and through books, photos and videos, we will be studying the dance characteristics, culture, costumes and music of Chinese dance. Students will also begin to create their own choreography based on the characteristics of Chinese dance, which they will perform for their classmates and assess together. In fourth grade, we start the year by reviewing the importance of a good warm-up and learning the important components that keep our bodies healthy and safe; raising our body temperature, building strength and stretching our muscles. Our first big unit focuses on American Indian dance, aligning with the social studies standards in fourth grade. Using books, images, videos, poems and more, we will learn several American Indian dances and also create our own choreography based on what we have learned. In fifth grade, students take the reins! They’ve learned the importance of a good warm-up for several years, and pretty soon, students lead our class warm-ups! We quickly start our unit based on New York and choreographers who have lived and worked creating dance based on New York. We will study the choreographers Jerome Robbins, Trisha Brown and Pascal Rioult, learning about their different dance styles and characteristics and practicing their movements. Our creative and team-working skills become important when we use the ideas and movement styles of these NY based choreographers to craft our own dances, also relying on our audience and assessment abilities to help ourselves and each other continually improve our work.
In the month of September, Pre-K students will learn how to utilize their voices in order to sing songs. We will start by singing familiar songs, which many students were exposed to when they were younger. During this month and the coming months after, the students will be developing their voices and improvising movements for each of the songs.
In the month of September, the students in kindergarten will be learning about many different instruments including the Tambourine, Djembe, Guitar, and the Egg Shakers. Students will be using these instruments to develop the important skill of keeping a steady beat. Building up from this skill, students will also have a chance to experiment with different rhythms, making sure that the rhythms being performed are played steadily. The students will also be clapping their hands or playing percussion instruments while singing children songs to reinforce the idea of steady beat, and to develop their individual voices.
1st Grade Curriculum
In the month of September, the students in first grade will review steady beat, one of the most important skills a young musician can develop. Once reviewed, students in first grade will learn about quarter note and eighth note rhythms, using one syllable and two syllable words to help the students understand the timing of each rhythm. Students will then begin to compose their very own rhythms using one syllable or two syllable words, which will then lead them to having a share of their composed rhythms in class. There will also be a great deal of singing to further develop the students own voices.
2nd Grade Curriculum
In the month of September, the students in the second grade will be reviewing steady beat, and will be performing rhythms using quarter notes and eighth notes. The rhythms will first be performed by clapping, but instruments will then be introduced into the performance. Students will also be singing and clapping the same rhythms being sung in order to practice quarter note and eighth note rhythms. After the students have practiced, there will be a slight introduction to the pentatonic scale, a scale in which sounds pleasing to the ear, and is very fun to play.
3rd Grade Curriculum
In the month of September, students in the third grade will be focusing on maintaining a steady beat, but what changes in the third grade is that students will now have to pay attention to a time signature, which tells you how many beats are in a musical phrase or measure. Not only will they have to watch for how many beats are in the measure, but they will also have to know which of those beats are strong (louder) and which are weak (softer). Students will also review past rhythms, and incorporate this idea of strong and weak beats into their performances.
4th Grade Curriculum
In the month of September, the fourth grade will put to use their skills in maintaining a steady beat and use it to perform Native American percussion music. While learning and performing Native American music, the students will also be practicing traditional notations such as quarter notes and eighth notes, eventually leading to notes of different timings (whole notes, and dotted quart notes).
5th Grade Curriculum
In the month of September, the fifth grade students will begin by practicing steady beat, which will then lead to learning new rhythms. These new rhythms will feature sixteenth notes, one step up from eighth notes (instead of two notes to a beat, there will be four notes). These new rhythms bring about a new term called syncopation, which is a skill every musician should know how to perform.
SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER SCIENCE NEWS
As we get ready to say goodbye to summer, I look forward to another "sciencesational" year with my super scientists. Both Pre-K classes will be having Science this year. As kindergarten scientists are using their "detective" skills to collect clues, first grade scientists are going on a treasure hunt to gather recyclable objects for our treasure box collections. Grade 2 scientists will be recording observations and learning how to collect data and draw conclusions. Grade 3 chemists will be creating "top secret" formulas, while fourth grade ecologists begin a unit on animal studies. Grade 5 chemists will be concocting mysterious mixtures and solutions and working on spectacular lab experiments. We say hello to Autumn on September 22nd with some "cool" fall activities. Please feel free to contact me, if you have any questions or concerns. I can't wait to work with you and your child during this upcoming school year.