Saturday, September 5, 2015

4th Grade, Oh My!

I am very excited to get this year started!  It was wonderful meeting all of you that were able to come to registration.  I look forward to meeting those that were unable to attend and I really hope you were off doing something fantastic during the last weeks of summer!

4th Grade is a the very best grade at Xavier!  We have so many wonderful things to learn about and I always anxiously anticipate sharing this curriculum with my new 4th Graders.  Our first Core Knowledge unit will be a science unit on  the respiratory and circulatory systems.  We will begin the year with the novel Robinson Crusoe  and spend a lot of time reviewing key word outlining before we get started writing essays. 

In math we will be using Math in Focus for the first time.  This is a newer version of Singapore Math.  The newer program will give me more resources to enrich your math machine kids and to bring along those that may not excel in math.  I love teaching math and think Singapore Math really gives our students a great foundation for higher math.  I cannot stress enough how important it is that your student be fluent in  multiplication and division*.  Please work with your students on these concepts!  If they have never seen division, please let me know!    To assist with fluency we will do a math fluency test for multiplication or division daily.  This is a timed test with 60 problems. Students will stay on the same multiplication set until they pass it with a 60 in 3 minutes.  Once multiplication is fluent they will move on to simple division fluency.  Students that do not practice at home have difficulty passing these tests in the 3 minute time frame, but more importantly they are unable to learn 4th grade math concepts because they are not fluent in the foundational skill necessary to complete these problems.

*Division- at Xavier this was taught in 3rd grade!   In 4th grade we start dividing right away and the kids must know this concept to be up to speed with their peers.  If your child does not know how to divide they will struggle until they learn how to divide.  Please let me know if your new to Xavier student did not learn division at their previous school.  I will try to get them some assistance with parent helpers and paras during the day, but it will take a home/school partnership to get them up to speed without the student experiencing frustration.  I recommend starting division practice now and not waiting for us to get to that unit. 

I will follow-up next week with more information about what you can expect from 4th grade.  Make sure you check your student's traveling notebook on Tuesday.   There will be information about homework for you to refer to for the whole year.

Enjoy your weekend!  I look forward for Tuesday and getting to spend my day with 4th graders again!