Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Classroom Notes

Greetings,

We had another busy and productive week in room 20.  As always, you can find photos from our week on Twitter.

The total is in...Lewis Elementary kids collected 813 food items for Project Second Wind and the Oregon Food Bank. Here are some photos chronicling our food drive project.

We began a survey project this week.  Kids brainstormed possible survey topics and questions, conferenced in small groups to refine their question for survey, and began writing a rough draft survey using Google Forms.  Stay tuned…our surveys will go live soon and you will be welcome to dive in and share these surveys with friends and family.  They will love to hear from you!  After that kids will analyze their results and publish their findings as a classroom zine.

During math, kids are beginning bi-weekly multiplication quizzes each Monday and Friday for the rest of the school year.  It is a fourth grade math standard to have their times tables 2 through 12 memorized with a goal of speed and accuracy (2 minutes to complete 40 problems on a single number).  Please help your kid practice at home by studying for ten minutes each evening.  Since kids will take a quiz on one number at a time of their choosing, I suggest studying one number at a time.  You can practice together in the car, while standing in line at the grocery store, while cleaning up from dinner, and so on.  Some kids find success with flash cards, which you can make at home or purchase at the dollar store.  Kids who complete their times tables by the last day of school will get to participate in an ice cream sundae party.


Sometime after spring break, third, fourth, and fifth graders will begin several weeks of federally-mandated tests from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium in reading and math. 

Rather than seeing the test as a one-time, high stress event, I will try to fold the experience into existing classroom knowledge.  I will talk with the kids about different types of genres in reading, establishing “the test” as a unique type of genre.  We will talk about how we can change our reading strategies to match the genre.  This emphasis on strategies has been and will continue to be an important part of our classroom throughout the year. 

If you have any questions about the tests, do not hesitate to ask.  Here is PPS’s overview of the tests and here is the State of Oregon notice about tests that includes Opt-Out information.

Mark

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