Fourth grade teachers and Mr. Kendall are differentiating math instruction both in the regular classroom and in a pull-out group that meets on Tuesdays from 10:00-11:00, except for Mr. Sterling's students who meet with Mr. Kendall on Thursdays during their regularly scheduled math time. Students are selected from each class depending on recent pre- or post-test performance, so the group composition changes frequently.
Students who have been pulled out on a reasonably regular basis receive a "Problem of the Week" that is due the following Tuesday. Parents may give some hints to help solve it; no student should spend more than 25 minutes on the problem. Parents may sign the paper with a note "unable to solve in 25 minutes" so that we know the attempt was made.
There are aspects of fourth grade math curriculum that are of significant challenge to all students (long division, dividing and multiplying with fractions and decimals, etc.) During the early sessions of these units, Mr. Kendall will frequently assist in class rather than pull out students. There may be some students that can handle working at a fast pace with these new concepts, but since most others need more step by step instruction the differentiation during these units will most often be extra challenge problems in these areas of math to work on in class rather than in the pull-out group setting.
For many students the pace of instruction they need will vary from unit to unit. With skills like long division students will need to be reminded step by step until it suddenly clicks and they are able to internalize the process. That "click" happens for students at various different times within the study of division and other more difficult concepts.
E-mail Mr. Kendall if you have questions about this program: firstname.lastname@example.org
LINK TO ON-LINE MATH GAMES WE USED IN CLASS LAST YEAR
Curriculum Update - August-October
During August, September, and October students in all fourth grade classes work on problems that extend their thinking through multi-step problems for the Techniques of Problem Solving Series (TOPS). You will hear your children referring to these as their "TOPS packets" and they progress through levels of difficulty from Decks A and B (usually covered in 2nd and 3rd grades, respectively) and Decks C and D (usually covered in 4th and 5th grades, respectively)
Curriculum Update - November
During November students in all fourth grade classes will be working through multiplication and division skills at increasing levels of complexity. As students demonstrate mastery, additional challenge problems to extend those skills will be offered. Many students will need to be reminded that math cannot be completed "all in [their] heads" as it often was in prior years. This does not mean that children are any less skilled in math than in prior years, but that the challenge level of the curriculum is rising to the point where it is at least somewhat challenging for all students. Depending on pretest results, students who may be used to being pulled out to work with Mr. Kendall may find themselves needing to stay in the room for additional instruction on some skills. There may also be weeks in which there is no pull-out because it is more effective to teach the full class with two teachers in the room.
Curriculum Update - December
During December students in all fourth grade classes will get some experience with matrix logic problems of progressing levels of difficulty.
Curriculum Update - January - February
In January students in all fourth grade classes will resume the pre-algebra skills they began in third grade, using the Hands-On Equations series (www.borenson.com) this work will continue through February.
Curriculum Update - March - May
For the final three months of the school year we will enrich with more advanced problems using skills covered in class and we will continue to work on more efficient and effective problem-solving strategies.
Reading enrichment in fourth grade occurs through ability grouping in reading within each regular classroom. Students read appropriately challenging literature from such authors as Roald Dahl, Avi, and Katherine Patterson. They engage in active discussions of the literature using the vocabulary of literary analysis. Students also do critical and creative writing assignments based on the literature they read.