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Friday News 10/19


Dear Parents,
Happy Friday! Thank you for taking the time to read our class news. 


4th Grade News 10/15-10/19

Reading


Whole Group Instruction: This week we began our anchor text Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. An anchor text is a piece of literature that the entire class reads at the same time and is chosen for its depth, complexity, and ability to keep the reader engaged. I will read the book aloud while the kids follow along with their own copy. Throughout the process, we will work together to make meaning of the text by asking/answering questions that require critical thinking-moving us beyond literal comprehension. The kids will annotate/code their thinking through the sticky notes they add to the book.


Small Group Instruction: Leveled reading focused on various comprehension strategies according to individual group needs.

Writing


This week’s grammar lessons focused on identifying the complete subject and the complete predicate.

The kids worked on using evidence from the text to respond to questions they had about our anchor text. They also started working on identifying four types of questions: interpretive, evaluative, speculative, and literal.

PBL


This week the kids completed their maps of Colorado to wrap up our geography unit. Be sure to compare their map from the beginning of the unit to what they produced at the end.


We kicked off our “Beasts and Biomes” life science PBL unit on Wednesday with our visit from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Our essentials questions are: “How do we use multiple sources to create meaning?” and “Why do we gather and classify information?” What they learn from answering these questions will lead the kids to the summative project where they will invent a species with adaptations that allow it to thrive in a given biome. This project should take us all the way to winter break.

In Focus


This week, we took a look at calming the body through progressive relaxation (tensing up specific muscle groups and then releasing them) as well as friendship. We discussed the qualities of a good friend, how to make a friend, and challenges within friendships.

Other Stuff

Fall Conferences are coming up. Please use this link to secure a slot.


Thanks and have a great weekend!
Mandy



Friday News 10/5

Dear Parents,
Happy Fall Break! I hope you get to enjoy time with your family next week! Thank you for reading our classroom news. 



4th Grade News 10/1-10/5

Reading


Whole Group Instruction: This week we focused on questioning through our Junior Great Books lessons. The kids listened to and followed along with their own copy of a story. We went through this process again and they jotted down questions they had or thoughts that came to mind. I modeled my thinking as I read the story aloud the second time. It was great to see how different people interpret the same story.

Small Group Instruction: Leveled reading focused on various comprehension strategies according to individual group needs.

Writing


This week’s grammar lessons focused on adjectives. We added the adjective questions (What kind?, Which one?, and How many?) to the Question and Answer flow to help us classify parts of speech within a sentence. We then used our knowledge of adverbs and adjectives to expand our writing to create vivid images for our readers. We also discussed how a writer creates mood.

PBL


This week we continued our unit on Colorado geography. We learned about the five land regions in Colorado (Western Slope, Mountains, San Luis Valley, Front Range, and High Plains) and we explored the unique features of each region by creating a map to share their learning with the class.

In Focus


This week, we took a look at calming the brain by focusing on the heart (The kids put one hand on their heart and one on their stomach as they took deep breaths and thought about someone, somewhere, or something they love.); generating goals (The kids wrote one social-emotional goal and one academic goal. They used a flow map to write out two specific steps to take to help them accomplish each goal.), and fostering an attitude of gratitude (They worked in pairs to make circle maps of all he things-big and small-that they are thankful for.).

Other Stuff

Fall Break is Monday, October 8 through Friday, October 12. School resumes on Monday, October 15.


The Fuel Up To Play 60 Club will begin meeting later this month.  We will meet after school on the third Thursday of each month from 3:30-4:45 with Ms. Johnston.  If interested, please fill out the application. Here is the LINK to the application.  


Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions!

Have a great break!

Mandy


Friday News 9/28

Dear Parents,

One week until Fall Break! This year is flying by! Thank you for reading our classroom news!




4th Grade News 9/24-9/28

Reading


Whole Group Instruction: Students examined how the author uses descriptive details to help readers understand what a terrible disaster was like.  They used these details to write their own narratives using descriptive details.

Small Group Instruction: Leveled reading focused on various comprehension strategies according to individual group needs.

Writing


Students worked on exciting, descriptive writing that was filled with details from the realistic, non-fiction article, “America’s Deadliest Disaster”. With this writing, your students were required to write from the main character’s point of view to describe this horrific hurricane. We focused a lot of attention on retrieving evidence from the article to support our thinking.

In grammar this week we finished up unit one which focused on complete sentences, nouns, verbs, and adverbs. Next week we will continue with unit two and focus on adjectives and article adjectives.

PBL


This week we began our unit on Colorado geography. We learned how to read the map features: compass rose, legend, scale, latitude, and longitude. We also began applying these concepts to maps of Colorado. The week concluded with learning about the five land regions in Colorado (Western Slope, Mountains, San Luis Valley, Front Range, and High Plains) and we started to explore the unique features of each region. Next week, students will work in groups to dive deeper into a specific region and create a map to share their learning with the class.

In Focus


This week we had a different focus each day: Random Acts of Kindness, The Domino Effect of Caring Acts, Making Mistakes, and Encouraging Risk Taking. The kids spent the week performing small acts of kindness for their classmates (and hopefully at home) to experience the personal joy that comes from spreading kindness to others. We also did an activity with dominoes to show that we can start a chain reaction of kindness. We used a Multi-Flow map to show how we can learn from our mistakes. Finally, we talked about the benefits of taking risks and how you can use risk-taking to develop goals. Next week we will focus on goal setting.

Other Stuff

After fall break we have the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo coming in to do a presentation to kick off our next science unit. In order for your child to participate in this experience, you will need to log into your MySchoolBucks account. Then, go to the School Store drop down and browse all items. Look for the "Activity Fee" picture in the School Store that says "TTE 4th Grade Onsite Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo." The link is active now and will remain open until Friday, September 28. Please contact Kelly Colasuonno if you have any trouble.


Fall Break is Monday, October 8 through Friday, October 12. School resumes on Monday, October 15. If you will be leaving school to start break early, please send me an email. Thank you!



Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions!

Have a great weekend! :)

Mandy




Friday News 9/21

Dear Parents,

A huge THANK YOU to all of you for contributing to our annual Move-a-Thon!! As of today, the community has raised a total of $49,104!!!!  Your support is truly appreciated by each and every teacher here at Timber Trail. The kids thoroughly enjoyed their time participating in the activities. It would not have been possible without the help of our fabulous TTEA!!


Good afternoon and happy FridayThank you for taking the time to read our class news.


In Focus: Social and Emotional Learning

This week we focused on areas of strength and ability. The kids evaluated themselves in eight areas: Linguistic Ability, Spatial Ability, Logical/mathematical Ability, Bodily-Kinesthetic Ability, Musical Ability, Intrapersonal Ability, Interpersonal Ability, and Naturalist Ability. Here are the questions related to each area that we used for our discussions; we were able to have amazing conversations about areas of ability and areas for growth.


Reading

Whole Group Instruction: Students used their critical thinking skills to closely read a nonfiction article about a 14 year old boy who makes a heroic rescue during the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. After reading and listening to the article, students were required to reread each section to find the main idea and key details, infer, and relate cause and effect.

Small Group Instruction: Leveled fiction reading focused on summarizing, questioning, and citing evidence within the text.


Writing

In conjunction with the nonfiction hurricane article, students wrote constructed responses requiring them to use text structures, find evidence within the text to support their thinking, and summarize.

In grammar, we focused on asking questions (How?, When?, Where?) to help identify and use adverbs correctly.

PBL: Growth Mindset/Scientific Method

This week most kids shared their space projects. There are a few kids who will present on Monday. The kids were assessed on their oral presentation skills; a blue grade sheet will come home in Thursday Folders next week. On Tuesday, we will begin our first social studies unit of the year: Colorado Geography.


Other Important Info


After fall break we have the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo coming in to do a presentation to kick off our next science unit. In order for your child to participate in this experience, you will need to log into your MySchoolBucks account. Then, go to the School Store drop down and browse all items. Look for the "Activity Fee" picture in the School Store that says "TTE 4th Grade Onsite Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo." The link is active now and will remain open until Friday, September 28. Please contact Kelly Colasuonno if you have any trouble.


Please click here for information regarding an important community meeting being held at TTE on Tuesday, September 25.


The book fair will be held Monday, September 24-Friday, September 28 (at noon) in the library.


Donuts with Dad will be held Wednesday, September 26 at 7:45am.


Our Halloween party will be held on Wednesday, October 31st from 1:30-2:50 pm. I will send out more details after the room moms have had time to plan. 🎃


Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions!

Have a great weekend! :)

Mandy




Friday News 9/14

Dear Parents,
Good afternoon and happy FridayThank you for taking the time to read our class news.

Typing Homework 

Thank you for helping your child accomplish their typing homework this week. I would like students to practice for 40 mins a week with the lessons, not the games. (Kids can play the games too, but they should be shooting for 40 mins of lessons.) This can be divided up in whatever way works best for your family. If you want to do 10 mins a night Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, that works. If you would prefer to do 20 mins 2 nights, or divided up another way, that would work too! Being able to type effectively is a skill that will benefit them all through school and beyond! Thank you for encouraging your student!


In Focus: Social and Emotional Learning

This week’s lessons focused on discovering students’ strengths.  Students were introduced to how human beings have many different abilities. In the educational circle, these abilities are referred to as areas of intelligence.  Howard Gardner, who proposed this theory many years ago identified eight areas of intelligence or abilities. Over the course of eight days, we will be discussing these abilities and students are encouraged to think about and identify their own strengths and abilities.


Reading

Guided reading groups this week focused on questioning withing fictional texts. Each group read a different short story or excerpt and we discussed character traits, narrative plot line (to connect with writing) and author's purpose. Next week we will focus on non-fiction writing with whole class instruction and continue with fiction in guided reading groups.


Writing

In writing this week students worked on their narrative drafts. We focused on following the narrative plot line and adding sensory details to enhance writing quality. In grammar, we worked on classifying sentences by identifying the subject, verb and adverbs. Next week, we will focus on the features of nonfiction writing, how nonfiction differs from fiction, how to construct a detailed response to nonfiction, and how to support your response with information from the text.


PBL: Growth Mindset/Scientific Method

This week the kids shared a quick partner research project on a constellation of their choosing. This helped them to: see what types of questions they should ask to develop a presentation; gather appropriate images to support their information, and learn about citing sources. Then, they chose a topic related to space for an independent research project. They developed a minimum of five well thought out questions and began using books, videos, and web sources to gather important information. Next week, the kids will conclude their research, develop their presentation, and present their findings to the class.


Other Important Info

Move-a-Thon will be held from 1:30-3:00 (for 4th grade) on Thursday, September 20. 👟


There is no school on Friday, September 21 due to a professional development day for teachers.


Parent Night at TTE: DCSD’s Budgeting Challenges 💲

Save the Date: September 25th, 6:30pm

Our speakers that evening will be Dr. Thomas Tucker, Superintendent; Kevin Leung, BoE Representative for the TTE & BRE communities, and Corey Wise, Director of Schools.  There will be a presentation with a Q&A following. Please see this link for more information.


Our Halloween party will be held on Wednesday, October 31st from 1:30-2:50 pm. I will send out more details after the room moms have had time to plan. 🎃


Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions!

Have a great weekend! :)

Mandy


Friday News 9/7

Dear Parents,
Good afternoon and happy FridayThank you for taking the time to read our class news.

Typing Homework 

Thank you for helping your child accomplish their typing homework this week. I would like students to practice for 40 mins a week with the lessons, not the games. (Kids can play the games too, but they should be shooting for 40 mins of lessons.) This can be divided up in whatever way works best for your family. If you want to do 10 mins a night Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, that works. If you would prefer to do 20 mins 2 nights, or divided up another way, that would work too! Being able to type effectively is a skill that will benefit them all through school and beyond! Thank you for encouraging your student!


In Focus: Social and Emotional Learning

This week’s lessons focused on balancing the brain and nervous system: calming the brain through mindfulness, calming the brain by focusing on the body, and using both sides of the brain. The kids practiced the 5-5-5 breathing pattern, chose a word to focus on to remind them to be mindful (calm/relax/peace), applied pressure to their body (i.e. massaging their arms/legs; creating friction with their hands), and practiced crossing the midline to engage both hemispheres of their brain.


Reading

In reading this week our comprehension strategies continued to focus on the narrative genre. We took a look at plot: set up, problem, climax, solution, and conclusion. We also discussed how authors design a "problem" for their main character and how they design the solution before they even begin writing. The students brainstormed some challenges they have faced that they may want to write about if they choose to do a personal narrative as their main writing piece for this unit.


Writing

This week students began brainstorming for their narrative writing piece. Their stories should include events that lead to a complication or problem with describing words that create images within the reader’s mind. Next steps will be to write the falling actions and resolutions to these stories before starting the revision process. We also incorporated our Tree Map Thinking Maps into our grammar work with nouns and verbs.


PBL: Growth Mindset/Scientific Method

We began our study of the stars, constellations, and other celestial bodies in our solar system. The kids brought home a “universe in a box” that shows why the stars change with the seasons/the constellations that are visible from the Northern Hemisphere at different times of the year. On Friday, the kids worked with a partner to complete a quick research assignment on a specific constellation. They will present their findings to the class on Monday.


Save the Date!

Parent Night at TTE: DCSD’s Budgeting Challenges

Save the Date: September 25th, 6:30pm

Our speakers that evening will be Dr. Thomas Tucker, Superintendent; Kevin Leung, BoE Representative for the TTE & BRE communities, and Corey Wise, Director of Schools.  There will be a presentation with a Q&A following. Please see this link for more information.


Keep in touch with TTE

Timber Trail Website  

TTEA Website  

Follow us on Twitter @timbertrailelementary



Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions!

Have a great weekend! :)

Mandy



Friday News 8/31

Dear Parents,
Good afternoon and happy FridayThank you for taking the time to read our class news.

Typing Homework Begins!

Next week we will begin nightly typing homework on Typing Pal. This is typically done Monday-Thursday. However, because of the holiday, next week it will be Tuesday through Thursday. I would like students to practice for 40 mins a week with the lessons, not the games. (Kids play the games too, but they should be shooting for 40 mins of lessons.) This can be divided up in whatever way works best for your family. If you want to do 10 mins a night Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, that works. If you would prefer to do 20 mins 2 nights, or divided up another way, that would work too! Being able to type effectively is a skill that will benefit them all through school and beyond! Thank you for encouraging your student!


In Focus: Social and Emotional Learning

Our community meetings this week focused on bullying. We connected the effects of bullying with our lesson on the brain last week. The students learned that if they are being bullied or teased, all of their energy is stuck in their brain stem (which alerts us of danger) and there isn’t energy left to send to the cortex where we learn, create, and analyze. It is important for students to feel safe at school for their emotional health, well-being, and ability to learn. As a class, we defined bullying behaviors and we talked about all of the ways students can stand up for themselves and others. (Please click here to see 3 circle maps of our discussions. Click on the first picture that comes up and it will open a slide show. Be sure to ask your child about the discussions we had while creating these maps!) We spend a lot of time talking about how the person who is bullying might feel, how it feels to be bullied, and how it feels to stand up to someone who is bullying others. We emphasized the importance of telling a teacher, parent, or other trusted adult if they are seeing/experiencing bullying or teasing and are unable to solve the problem themselves.


Reading

In reading this week we studied the difference between character traits and character feelings. We analyzed ourselves and characters in books we have read. We also began discussing the narrative plot line and vocabulary with guided reading groups. Next week we will continue with analyzing characters and begin studying text structure and story elements.


Writing

In grammar this week we focused on the noun and verb as parts of a complete sentence and how to identify them. We also learned about the four kinds of sentences (declarative, imperative, interrogative, exclamatory), how to punctuate each type, and how to differentiate them from one another. We also wrote about our own character traits and how to show our positive traits. For example, looking out for others is an action associated with the character trait of compassionate.


PBL: Growth Mindset/Scientific Method

This week we wrapped our learning about the moon. The kids completed an activity on the phases of the moon using flashlights to represent the light from the sun and styrofoam balls to represent the moon. They took turns both “rotating as the moon” and “shining like the sun.” Ask your child to sing the phases of the moon song (linked here); it will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. : ) On Friday, we began to talk about the stars and constellations.



Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions!

Have a great LONG weekend! :)

Mandy


Friday News 8/24

Dear Parents,
Good afternoon and happy Friday! Don't miss the pictures of our shadow tracing activity under PBL! Thank you for taking the time to read our class news.

Assessment Day: Tuesday, August 28, 2018

This year DCSD elementary schools have been assigned a date to use to gather baseline assessment data. The date for this year is Tuesday, August 28.  This will not be a regular school day and there will be no bus service or lunch. Students in fourth grade will come in for a 30-minute reading assessment. When students are finished assessing, they will be done for the day and need to be picked up or scheduled to go to B.A.S.E.  B.A.S.E. program will be open and operating from 6:30 am - 6:00 pm that day. The sign up can be found by clicking here.


In Focus: Social and Emotional Learning

This week our focus was “The Brain and the Nervous System.” We spent time learning about the brain stem, the limbic system, and the cortex. We learned that the function of the brain stem is to scan for danger and help keep us safe; the limbic system generates emotions and is responsible for motivation, and the cortex is where we think, analyze, reflect, and create while it helps us to deal with our emotions and express them appropriately. We discussed the two parts of the nervous system-the sympathetic (energizing/stimulating part) and the parasympathetic (calming part) and learned how to engage the nervous system and the brain to work to together to calm ourselves through belly breathing.


Reading

In reading this week we began guided reading rotations and students took the iReady Reading Diagnostic Test. iReady has replaced STAR Reading throughout the district. The data from this assessment will be used to group students within our class, monitor growth, and help ensure that students are mastering the necessary reading skills. Next week, guided reading groups will continue and we will continue to work on questioning and identifying genres.


Writing

In writing, we are focusing on the foundations in order to build successful writers this year. This week students reviewed the parts of a sentence and learned the “Sentence Jingle” to help remind them of the 5 parts of a complete sentence (subject, verb, capital letter, end mark, and the ability to stand alone and make complete sense). Next week we will focus on the 4 types of sentences and we will begin to connect our work in Thinking Maps to our writing.


PBL: Growth Mindset/Scientific Method

This week we learned about the Earth and the sun: how the sun changes position in the sky without actually moving, the shadows that the sun can cast (click here for pictures of class's shadow drawing activity), the rotation of the Earth on its axis, the way the Earth revolves around the sun, and how the sun and the position of Earth affect the seasons. We also began talking about the moon, its phases, and the effect of Earth’s gravity on the moon.



Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions!

Have a great weekend!

Mandy






Friday News 8/17

Dear Parents,
Happy Friday! We completed our first full week! Yay! The kids are doing so well adjusting to our schedule and the expectations of fourth grade. I'm so proud of them. We have such a great class! 
I typically send newsletters on Friday to update parents about what we are doing in each subject. These newsletters will also be archived on my website (linked below in the email signature) if you ever need to reference them. Thank you for taking the time to read about our class!

Assessment Day: Tuesday, August 28, 2018

This year DCSD elementary schools have been assigned a date to use to gather baseline assessment data. The date for this year is Tuesday, August 28.  This will not be a regular school day and there will be no bus service or lunch. Students in fourth grade will come in for a 30-minute reading assessment. When students are finished assessing, they will be done for the day and need to be picked up or scheduled to go to B.A.S.E.  B.A.S.E. program will be open and operating from 6:30 am - 6:00 pm that day. If you haven't signed up for an assessment time for your child, the sign up can be found by clicking here.


Picture Day

Picture day is August 23rd. The form to order pictures went home in Thursday Folders yesterday. Please let me know if you need an additional form and I can send one home with your child.


Agenda Signatures

Thank you for taking the time to sign and check your student's agenda each night (Monday-Thursday). They should always have something written in there Monday-Thursday. This is both an organizational tool for students and a communication tool between you and me. Thank you for helping your student get into the habit of being organized!


In Focus: Social and Emotional Learning

This week in our In Focus classroom meetings we discussed having the "Eye of the Tiger," our fears, and how we are connected. Having the "Eye of the Tiger" means looking out for the safety and happiness of ourselves and others just like a tiger that fiercely defensive of itself and its family. We talked about what that looks like for kids and how they can help adults have the "Eye of the Tiger" for them by reporting problems they are unable to solve themselves. We also discussed our fears and what we can do to help each other overcome some "school" fears like public speaking, not having anyone to play with, and getting bullied or teased. Finally this week, we discussed how we are all connected as a class and a school. Be sure to ask your child about the "web" we made and the "webs" they are a part of both inside and outside of school.


Reading

At the beginning of the year, I meet one on one with each student to get to know him/her as a reader. This week, I met with each student listened to them read aloud, and talked with them about their reading habits and preferences. Next week we will start guided reading rotations with a focus on the types of questions used when analyzing and talking about literature.


Writing

This week in writing the students learned how we are going to use our journals and worked on writing for 10 mins a day. By the middle of the year, we will raise that to 15 mins most days to build fluency with written expression. Next week, we will begin our first grammar unit on sentence construction, types of sentences, nouns, and verbs. We will also start studying the narrative plot line and begin analyzing short narrative stories in preparation for narrative writing.


PBL: Growth Mindset/Scientific Method

This week we are working on laying the foundation for a successful year in PBL. Earlier in the week, they had the homework of discussing the concept "Neuroplasticity" with you at home. It was awesome to hear the kids sharing about the discussions you had with them! We watched this video on the concept in class and talked about how this applies to them as 4th graders. It is so important for kids to understand that they are in control of growing their own mind! This week we also focused collaboration and began some work on the scientific method. On Thursday, we started our "Out of This World" unit which will focus on the sun, moon, stars, planets, and interconnectivity of the solar system. Next week we will focus on the sun. As you hopefully saw in your child's agenda, we will be using flashlights on Monday. If you have one at home that you could spare for the day, please label it with your name and send it in with your child.


Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions!

Have a great weekend!

Mandy