Friday, September 29, 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

October Happenings

What's Happening in 4th Grade for October! 

We finished our study of arrays, factors, and multiplicative comparisons in Unit 1.  We are currently working on our second unit pertaining to data and measurement.  Our investigation of measurement began by gathering data on the height of fourth graders and first graders.  The students then learn how to represent and compare the data they collected using bar graphs and line plots (high, low, range, median, mode, outliers, and is the data clumped or spread out).  Finally, they worked on drawing conclusions based on the data collected. What was typical and what does the data truly tell us  regarding the information collected.  Within the next couple weeks, we will begin Unit 3 (multiple towers and cluster problems).  This involves multi-digit multiplication and division.

Students are currently researching their chosen endangered animal that exists in our world and how human behavior impacts their ecosystems and the animals and plants that live there.  Research includes the animals habitat, diet, adaptations, its place in the food chain, and the reasons it is endangered. Students are expected to include a call to action with ideas on how to save the species and what others can do to help with animal conservation.  The end product will be a brochure that the kids create and share with one another.

We have started implementing the comprehension strategy of questioning.  As a group, we have discussed the purpose behind questioning and why having a purpose is important.  Students are evaluating what types of questions are surface questions vs. deep questions. I am using non-fiction text as I model for students looking at questions I have and how that helps my understanding of the text, as well as, what I wonder and what I learned.  Students continue to use a variety of nonfiction/fiction texts while activating their background knowledge, connecting their new learning to their background knowledge, and creating new thinking on the subject matter.  Students are gradually release to apply the strategy learned on their own with leveled text.  Often times, the text selected connects to our scientific study of ecosystems.  They will either use a selected think sheet, sticky notes, or graphic organizers to keep track of their thinking.  As always, as the kids are reading and applying the strategy, I will be conferring with them individually and/or in a small group setting.
Writing                                                                                                                                         During Writer's Workshop in October, students will continue drafting and eventually finish their narrative story.  Lessons modeled include: how to write an effective ending, editing/revising (CUPS and ARMS), using dialogue, and incorporating figurative language. Once the lesson is taught and modeled, students are release to practice that one skill on their own.  Conferencing takes place daily,  where each student's individual needs are addressed.

Technology                                                                                                                                 Our next technology rotation will take place October 24th, 26th, and 27th.  We will focus on digital literacy using Discovery Education. 
Upcoming Dates
October 5th: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Field Trip AND Parent Teacher Conferences
October 9th-13th: Fall Break
October 16th: Return to School
October 31st: Halloween (more information to come)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September Happenings

September Happenings


As we move into our first full month of school, we will focus on activating and connecting to our reading.  Using fiction and nonfiction pieces of writing, students will be accessing background knowledge while we question, infer or synthesize the information read.   As students read more and more nonfiction writing, they will practice letting go of misconceptions they may have about a particular topic so that they are able to absorb new and more accurate information.  Students will also use strategies to help them recognize new information, think about it, and keep track of their new learning.


We will continue to develop our narrative writing in the month of September.  Students are in the process of choosing a seed idea to take all of the way through the writing process.  Students will establish a situation, develop a character within that situation, and write a story that follows a natural sequence of events.  Students will use dialogue, descriptive actions, thoughts, and feeling, as well as words that signal order of events, and finish the story with a sense of closure.  The goal of this genre of writing is for students to write well-elaborated realistic fiction stories.


After finishing our unit on Arrays, Factors, and Multiplicative Comparison, the second half of September will find our math focus shift to Unit 2: Generating and Representing Measurement Data. This particular unit develops students' ideas about collecting, representing, describing, and interpreting data.  Students will collecting data regarding heights of 1st and 4th graders.  This data will allow students to practice and fine-tune multiple ways to represent the information gathered. Data gathered will be analyzed and interpreted by students to show their understanding.  This is always an exciting unit for our students.


We have been progressing through our ecology unit, and will continue to do so for the remainder of September.  As a culminating activity, students will create a brochure showcasing an endangered species and the effect it would have on other living things and its environment if it were to go extinct. To solidify our learning, we will be taking a field trip on Oct. 5th to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo where we will learn more about current conservation efforts.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August Happenings

August Happenings

Language Arts

As the school year begins, we are setting the tone and foundation for Reading Workshop; we are practicing what it looks like to engage in sustained reading, to think about our reading, to share our thoughts in a clear manner while being active listeners as other share, and we are working on building our reading stamina.  As the month progresses, we will learn how to annotate our reading by leaving tracks of our thinking in the text.  We will ask question, identify important information, make connections, and share our annotations with one another.  As always, I will model this strategy first, guide the kids through practice, and give them ample time to independently practice the strategy.  


We begin fourth grade by studying the components of a paragraph; a topic sentence, detail sentences, and a concluding sentence.  In addition, we will work to elaborate on the details and add more meat to the text.  The kids had their first experience doing this as they chose a summer memory to write a few short paragraphs about.  During this process, we touched on figurative language, appropriate use of punctuations, and transition words.  As we move into September, we will begin our first writing unit.  The genre is narrative writing.  September's blog post will contain specific information regarding the crafting techniques taught in this upcoming unit.  


Our first unit of study is on factors and arrays.  Thus far, we have explored a large group of objects and used our background knowledge of multiplication and repeated addition to create a variety of arrays that represent that group of objects.  We have used manipulatives when needed to assist in the creation of arrays.  Throughout the month of August, we will continue to build the foundation for one-digit by one-digit and two-digit by one-digit multiplication through our creation of arrays.

The kids will soon receive their password and log-in information for Pearson Realize.  They will then have digital access to the student math handbook.  (Please note that the pages must be printed and can not be completed digitally.)  This may be used in case homework is left at school.  Again, as mentioned at BTSN, I will post a few links to videos from Pearson Realize that will give you examples of what we are doing in class.  Your child will have viewed/completed the majority of the videos/tasks in class.  You may use them at home to keep yourself informed of what we are doing in class and/or to support your child at home if necessary.


Toward the end of August we will begin our study of ecosystems.   We will start by investigating biotic and abiotic factors, studying the characteristics of all living things, as well as create food webs and food chains.  Check out next month's blog post for further details. 

Digital Citizenship Week

Friday, August 4, 2017

Welcome Back Families

Hi, Families!

I am Mrs. Dunker and I will be teaching your 4th grader this year. Teaching is an absolute passion of mine.  I'm very excited to be working with you and your child!  It's going to be a really great year full of fun, learning, and lot of adventures, and I can't wait to see what the year has in store for us!  I thought that you might like to know a little bit about me.

I have only been in Colorado for a little over a year.  Although I was born in Japan while my dad was stationed there in the U.S. Navy, I moved to Northern California before starting elementary school and had been there up until my move to Lone Tree. My husband Mike brought me to Colorado.  Between us, we have amazing 3 daughters named Lauren (age 19), Michelle (age 18), and Hannah (age 17) and one stellar son named Kyle (age 10).  My family is incredibly important to me. You'll hear all about them as the year progresses.  

I grew up with six siblings in a small town called Oroville.  After graduating high school, I attended and graduated from California State University, Chico.  After moving to the Sacramento area, I completed Chapman University’s teaching program and started my teaching career in a town called Citrus Heights.  I was very fortunate to teach at the same school in California for over 20 years.  After moving here, I spent this past school year teaching 1st grade in Aurora.  This will be my 22nd year of teaching.  I've taught 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.  However, 4th grade is my favorite!

I'm so excited to be at Gold Rush Elementary this year!  I have heard so many wonderful things about the students, parents, and school community.   It is my mission to instill a love of learning and to help students to be empathetic, kind-hearted human beings.  I teach with passion and commitment to your child's education.  I value the importance of open communication and am available to talk whenever you feel the need.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  

I'm looking forward to meeting you on Aug. 7th at Meet Your Teacher and can't wait to get to know your child.  We are going to have a great year together!

Have a beautiful rest of your summer,
Noelle Dunker