Mrs. Winsett's Blog

October 11th Blog Update

Posted on: October 11, 2014

Dear Parents,

I am so proud of our students! Our class won the silver clock award for the first nine weeks.  This award is given to the class with the highest percentage of attendance.  We had the highest percentage of attendance out of all of the fourth grade classes.   Thank you for being dedicated to your child’s education.

Friday was an amazing day! We celebrated our learning about the Native American tribes.  The students dressed up in their Seminole vests and shook their noise makers as we went to the Field of Dreams.  We shared Native American poetry and dances with the other fourth grade tribes.  The arrival of the famous explorer, John Smith wrapped up our bonfire.  Mr. Smith helped us to preview our next unit, early explorers.  Later in the morning, the students participated in Native American centers and enjoyed snacks that were indigenous to each tribe.  Thank you to each of our parents who volunteered!  We also collaborated with Ford Elementary through video conferencing technology to share our dwellings and the events of the bonfire.  The students did an outstanding job on their Native Americans dwellings.  I can’t wait for you to see all of their projects when you come for conferences.

Conference scheduling slips went home in your child’s Friday folder. The teachers worked hard to schedule sibling conferences during the same time frame. Please return the bottom portion at your earliest convenience.  Conference week starts on Monday, October 20.  If you need another time, please don’t hesitate to let me know.  I am looking forward to sharing each child’s progress.

Upcoming Dates:

Monday October 13– A Long Walk to Water study guide will be sent home

Monday, October 13- Friday October 24—Bookfair

Tuesday, October 14–  Teal Tuesday (Students may dress down for $2. Proceeds benefit Relay for Life.)

Friday, October 17– Spelling and domain specific words tests

Friday, October 17– Fall Festival and Camp Russell

Monday, October 20- Friday October 24–  Conference Week

Wednesday, October 22– A Long Walk to Water test

Friday, October 31—Students may wear their Halloween costume for $2.  Proceeds benefit Relay for Life.

Tuesday, November 4—Teacher Workday, no school for students

We are diving deep into the Fourth Grade Curriculum!

Content Essential Question: How do I describe the reasons for, obstacles to, and accomplishments of the Spanish, French, and English explorations of John Cabot, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Juan Ponce de León, Christopher Columbus, Henry Hudson, and Jacques Cartier?  How do I describe examples of cooperation and conflict between Europeans and Native Americans?

The students will be learning about the early explorers. They will be using the internet and our Social Studies text to research the reasons, obstacles, and accomplishments of each of the early explorers.  Our culminating activity will be the creation of explorer trading cards.  Each student will create a trading card (similar to a baseball card) for each explorer.

STEM Essential Question:  How can we use what we know about materials and their properties, our creativity, and the Engineering Design Process to design windmill blades that will catch the wind?

The students are super excited about STEM! Last week, the students used the Engineering Design Process to build, test, and improve sails.  Each student chose materials to construct a sail.  I set up two test tracks for the students to compete against each other.  After the first run, the students were allowed to make improvements and retry their sail.  This week, we will apply our knowledge of wind and sail design by creating a windmill that will move weights.

Reading Essential Question: How do I describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details from the text?

The students are learning how to support their answers with evidence from the text. This week we will be wrapping up our lesson on the literary element of setting.  The students will use the information from their graphic organizers to write a paragraph on the setting of their book.  Then, we will learn about theme.  Theme is the message or the lesson that is learned from a text.  We will be reading the book, Encounter, by Jane Yolen.  This is a wonderful book for fourth grade because of its depiction of the interaction between the Native Americans and early explorers.  We finished the book, A Long Walk to Water. It was so good!  The students will be receiving a study guide this week.  Our next read aloud will be The One and Only Ivan.  You are welcome, but not required, to purchase this text for your child to read along in class.

Language Arts Essential Question:  How do I write an expository essay to share information?

The students finished their Native American essays on Friday. I am looking forward to sharing them with you at conferences.  We are moving on to procedural or “how to” writing.  We will begin our exploration of procedural writing with a bubble gum activity.  In grammar, we will be discussing subjects and predicates.

Math Essential Question: How do I multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a one digit whole number, and multiply two two-digit numbers, using strategies based on place value and the properties of operations?  How do I illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models?

We are rolling right along with math! The students will be learning the different strategies to multiply multi-digit numbers.  The strategies are traditional, partial products, area, and distributive property.  Your child will have notes on each of the properties in his or her math journal.  There are also links on the blog that will illustrate each property.

Volunteer Opportunities:

I look forward to working with your family and like family, the door is always open to come and help. If you are able to help out in the classroom via volunteering in the class, help with materials (cutting out materials, gathering, assembling etc), room parent, or any other means of helping out in or out of the classroom please let me know.

It is my pleasure to serve your child, if you have any questions, please contact me at



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