MATH ENRICHMENTOne activity that students particularly enjoyed were solving multiplication problems that had missing numbers in them. Students had to think through what pairs of numbers could create specific numbers that end with a particular digit that is in place in the problem. Students made up their own examples to challenge their classmates.
Mr. Kendall works with students in a pull-out group that meets during their regularly scheduled math time. Students are selected from each class depending on recent pre- or post-test performance, so the group composition can change from unit to unit, serving identified gifted students and selected high-ability students.
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 these more difficult units Mr. Kendall will do a compacted version of the day's lesson. Students do a few problems to show mastery and those who make errors are re-taught and asked to do additional problems while the other students continue to work independently.
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. During more challenging units students do not participate in the pull-out group, but they do not "fall behind" in the group because the work is self-paced.
E-mail Mr. Kendall if you have questions about this program: firstname.lastname@example.org
Link TO ON-LINE MATH GAMES. The best site for 4th graders is Johnnie's Math page (www.jmathpage.com) because it is organized by skill area and includes games relevant to many fourth grade SOLs. Another game on my list that is a good challenge in manipulating numbers is "Power Lines."
Curriculum Update - August - January
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:
Each “deck” in the TOPS series has 200 questions. For a sense of challenge level in the series for 5th grade students here are some descriptions:
Deck A problems are designed to be a good challenge for high-ability 2nd graders and 3rd graders.
Deck B problems are designed to be a good challenge for high-ability 3rd graders and 4th graders.
Deck C problems are designed to be a good challenge for high-ability 5th graders and 6th graders.
Deck D problems are designed to be a good challenge for high-ability 6th graders and 7th graders.Most 4th grade students this year are working in Deck B or Deck C. Any students working in Deck C are doing exceptionally well.
Students also take on additional challenge problems that are more complex. 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.
During the fall students had some "reward" days when they have a chance to play challenging math games like Muggins, which uses all four operations and order of operations. This game one a Mensa award because of the unique challenges it provides in manipulating numbers. The other game students enjoy is "Set" in all fourth grade classes will get some experience with matrix logic problems of progressing levels of difficulty.
Curriculum Update - February - March
In February and March students in all fourth grade classes resumed work in the Hands-On Equations pre-algebra program (www.borenson.com) and worked at their own pace. As students reached new lessons they were given indidual and small group instruction to advance through the next set of necessary skills.
Curriculum Update - April - June
For the final nine weeks of the school year students will have a choice to continue in Hands-On Equations or return to TOPS word problems in early April. We will also enrich the curriculum with matrix logic problems and more advanced word problems. We will continue to work on more efficient and effective problem-solving strategies.
LANGUAGE ARTS ENRICHMENT
Reading enrichment in fourth grade occurs through ability grouping in reading within each regular classroom and sometimes with high-ability readers from multiple classes. Students read appropriately challenging novels from such authors as Roald Dahl, Avi, and Katherine Paterson, who are highly recommended for gifted students. Students engage in active discussions of the literature using the vocabulary of literary analysis. Students also do critical and creative writing assignments inspired by the literature they read. In addition, the fourth grade teachers have created a wonderful poetry unit that includes Sharon Creech's novel, Love That Dog, which traces a boy's development of his poet's voice from a highly reluctant and resistant writer to a student willing to share his creative thoughts with his peers. I highly recommend this book to any parent, especially those who have children who are reluctant writers. It is a quick and wonderful read written through a diary of poems and it has an appendix of the poems the teacher uses to inspire her students.
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