Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Year's Classroom Focus

There's only a few days left until the holiday break.  I'm looking forward to a family focused vacation so before I start the festivities, I want to lay the groundwork for the next leg of the school year.  With goals and standards outnumbering hours in a day, it takes careful planning to meet the requirements in a student-friendly, motivating way.  Here's the plan:

Assessments: Despite one's feelings about assessments, they're a reality for public school teachers.  Hence, I'll set aside days for assessment prep and test taking.

Reading Response: A priority goal for fourth graders in Massachusetts is the ability to respond to text questions with well written, lengthy paragraphs using specific evidence from the text as well as the student's own synthesis.  We'll work a lot on this skill using a variety of genres, short text and books.

Reading Comprehension, Fluency and Enjoyment:  We'll begin the year with a class book, Letters From Rifka, related to our immigration unit.  Each day we'll read a few pages in school and a few pages at home.  Students will respond to the book mostly on our class NING social network.

Personal Narratives: Students will edit and write a final copy of their first personal narrative, then they'll embark on their second personal narrative: a family history/immigration "small moment" story. We'll continue to focus on writer's craft as we write.

Math: Students will continue to practice and develop computation skill using That Quiz for typical practice and enrichment.  Videos will be posted to support enrichment.  Our class project will focus on immigration data and statistics.  Students will learn to survey, graph, organize and analyze data.  Students will also learn and practice the partial quotient division algorithm and apply that learning to word problems.

Immigration/Family History Museum Project: Students will create their museum project exhibits.  Reading response, geography skills and personal narrative work will be integrated into this project.

Science Rotations: Students will rotate from class to class to participate in science rotations topics: animal adaptation, weather/water cycle, magnetism, and land forms.

Just Like Me: Students will continue participating in our third/fourth grade Just Like Me program that introduces students to many challenges individuals face including mental limitations and physical and learning challenges.

Routines: We'll also continue our helpful and familiar routines of epal correspondence, NING posts, Friday catch-up, music, art, physical education, library, tech lab, and instrumental lessons.

Wow!  It's going to be a busy six-week period from the start of January to our next break in mid February.  All the more reason to take a few weeks off at the holidays to enjoy family, friends and nonschool activities.