Spelling, Arrays & Patterns

Hello, families of division 4!

We started this week with a spelling diagnostic, which will help inform the focus our spelling program this year. The assessment had 106 standard words and a few extras I added from our recent units of study. We spread the assessment out over two blocks, and I involved students in marking and correcting their own work; so they could benefit from the learning experience and hear me talk through the nuances and rationales for various spelling rules. You can hear how the diagnostic sounds here: https://youtu.be/QYjGbehSmNA.

We have already been doing spelling lessons in the context of our cross-curricular studies (especially with our “Word Wall” vocabulary lists, which we used for our poetry writing). However, we will launch a regular weekly spelling program near the end of the month, and I will post our spelling lists on this blog.

In Math, we explored multiplication using arrays, which led to playing with fun manipulatives to help us understand fact families.

Here is a video we watched in class that students can review about arrays:

In Math, we are now also looking at identifying and creating one- and two-step number patterns with various operations. This kind of numerical sleuthing (“find the missing number”) is wonderful mental math practice and good for fostering a mathematician’s mindset. It can feel like fun detective work for students; and it becomes creative as students create and test the workability of their own pattern rules with increasing complexity. Please see the white board photos and example of worksheet questions below.

In Social Studies, students learned about the daring explorations of Earnest Shackleton through the story, “Ice Trap”—which inspired a rich “Career Ed.” discussion of the most important qualities of a leader with our guest teacher, Mr. Russell.

In Language Arts, students have continued with their independent reading, and explorations of “five senses” writing, poetic forms and conventions of writing. Now we turn to looking at expository writing, which is writing that exposes facts. Expository writing “explains and educates its readers, rather than entertaining or attempting to persuade them.

Today students worked in groups to analyze and discuss the merits of various samples of Halloween-themes essays. The challenge was this: “Imagine you are a teacher and these are the Halloween essays your students hand in to you. How would you assess these pieces? What specific feedback and advice would you offer?

Together we are creating a bulletin display board based around an assessment rubric that clarifies specific differences between expository writing at an emerging, developing, proficient, and extending level. I will post more on this next week.

We also enjoyed time with our Little Buddies again today! These connections are so special. I love seeing how students worked hard to help focus and teach the kindergarten students during their preferred play and learning tasks. Families, you would be so proud to see your caring kids in action! I’m happy to report that our grade 4/5 students growing in their confidence as leaders of the school.

Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences will happen on Wednesday, October 26th in person. I have now emailed you a link to the online appointment booking app. I strongly encourage families who are able to take advantage of the in person meeting on October 26th. This in person meeting is a chance to see and review a student’s portfolio, notebooks, and work bins—which is not possible over Zoom. Zoom or phone meetings will still be a possibility to accommodate families with extenuating circumstances.

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