Welcome to 4th grade!

Week of November 6, 2017

  • The spelling test that would have been given Friday, 11/3, will now be given on Monday, 11/6. The week 6 spelling list will be sent home on Tuesday, 11/7, and tested on Friday, 11/10.

  • Report cards will be sent home this Monday, November 6th. Please sign and return report cards on Tuesday. I will send home a copy of the report card once its returned.

  • Reading - This week we will focus on fact and opinion. Students need to be able to both write fact and opinion statements and identify given statements as facts or opinions. They should be able to explain why a given statement is a fact or opinion. In an opinion statement, what are the key words that make it an opinion?
  • Language Arts - Students will review rules used to spell plural nouns. This week we will focus on 1) adding -es to words ending in s, ss, x, ch, and sh; 2) changing y to i before adding -es to words ending in a consonant and a 'y'; and 3) changing f to v before adding -s to words ending with 'fe'.
  • Writing - I will introduce the students to the "How and Why CAFE" this week. This is a "menu" of strategies to help students develop their ideas when working on expository writing.
  • Social Studies - We will be begin looking at European exploration to Texas this week and the motivations these explorers had when they came to Texas. (lesson postponed from Friday)

Week of October 30, 2017

  • A reminder that this Tuesday, October 31st, is our Book Character Parade. Students may dress up as a favorite book character.

  • Report cards will be sent home this Friday, November 3rd. Please sign and return report cards on Monday. I will send home a copy of the report card once its returned.

  • Reading - We will continue reading A Paradise Called Texas. The students will work on making inferences this week. When making an inference, a student should think about their personal knowledge (schema) and 'clues' from the text to figure out information that isn't explicitly stated by the author. For example, you could infer the mood of a character based on his/her actions or the setting of a scene based on given descriptions/actions that are taking place.
  • Language Arts - We will be reviewing common and proper nouns this week. It is important that students recognize proper nouns and remember to capitalize them in their writing. Conversely, it is important that they do not capitalize common nouns. Some examples of proper versus common nouns can be found here: Proper Noun Capitalization Rules.
  • Writing - I will show the students how to use a sun web to brainstorm ideas for their expository compositions. I will then show them how to edit/organize their ideas using "OCTO surgery". Your child should be able to explain this to you by the end of the week. Ask them to show you their writer's notebook for more information.
  • Social Studies - We will be begin looking at European exploration to Texas this week and the motivations these explorers had when they came to Texas.

Week of October 23, 2017

Be All In
Dress in red from head to toe.
Follow Your Dreams
Dress in pajamas.
Teamwork Rules
Dress in your favorite team's gear.
Be a Superhero
Dress like a superhero.
Kolter Kids Rock
Dress in red, white, and blue.

  • Reading - We will continue reading A Paradise Called Texas this week. Students will pick character traits that best describe a character from the novel. They will have to justify their choices using text evidence. This can be character dialogue or actions or what other characters say about him/her.
  • Language Arts - Students will be tested on the different types of sentences we have learned the first few weeks of school. This includes declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, imperative, compound, and complex sentences. A good website that contains worksheets and links to games to practice differentiating between the first 4 types of sentences can be found here: Types of Sentences Information about compound and complex sentences can be found here: Compound and Complex Sentences It is important for students to remember that compound sentences always need a comma, and complex sentences need a comma only when the dependent clause comes first.
  • Writing - Students will be introduced to expository writing this week. While a personal narrative tells a story, expository writing gives information. I will teach the students three good ways to start expository writing: funnel (beginning with a broad idea and then narrowing to the one idea being focused on), quotation (using a quote to hook the reader, which supports the topic), and turnabout (mentions one idea, and then turns the attention around to the idea the essay will focus on).
  • Social Studies - This week, we are focusing on some of the early Native American groups that settled in Texas. We will begin by reading about the Caddo, Karankawa, Jumano, and Coahuiltecan tribes. Students will be applying the reading skill of compare and contrast to tell how the various tribes are alike and different. Then students will read about the Comanche, their enemies (the Lipan Apache and Tonkawa), and their allies (the Wichita and Kiowa). Students will compare two of the tribes by creating either a T-chart or a Venn diagram.

Week of October 16, 2017

A reminder that a spelling test will be given each Friday. There will be 15 words from the current week's list and 5 review words from any previous list.

  • Reading - This week, the students will be introduced to the literature circle role of 'Word Wizard'. This role involves finding two challenging, interesting, or useful words in their novel and using a dictionary to define them based on the context of the sentence. The students will also take a literature circle roles test. The students have been introduced to the five main literature circle roles: Connector, Discussion Director, Summarizer, Illustrator, and Word Wizard. After reading a chapter of the book A Paradise Called Texas, the students will complete a brief activity where they will assume each of these roles. (We will review the roles before the test.)
  • Language Arts - Students will identify and write complex sentences. Complex sentences are formed when a dependent clause (a phrase/incomplete sentence) and independent clause (complete sentence) are joined together with a conjunction. It is important for students to understand that a comma is necessary only when the dependent clause comes first. For example, in the sentence "Before I play, I have to do my homework.", the dependent clause is "Before I play". This can't be written by itself as a sentence. However, when the independent clause ("I have to do my homework"), comes first: "I have to do my homework before I play", no comma is necessary.
  • Writing - Students will write a personal narrative this week. Focus will be on having a strong introduction and conclusion, using show me, don't tell me descriptive language, staying narrowly focused on one topic, being well organized, and trying to "pump up" vocabulary.
  • Social Studies - We will continue to read about the first American Indian groups in Texas and how archaeologists learned about these groups of people.

Week of October 9, 2017

  • Information can be found at the bottom of this page regarding Scholastic book orders. You can place a book order for your child at any time during the year. I will submit orders approximately once a month or when a large number of orders have been submitted.

  • Reading - This week, the students will be introduced to the literature circle role of 'Illustrator'. This role involves drawing a detailed picture of a scene from the novel. Students will share their illustrations with others and explain what is happening in their picture and why they chose that part of the novel to illustrate. The students will also be introduced to the literature circle role of 'Summarizer'. I want them to focus on retelling the key events in order while making sure to include items from the beginning, middle, and end of the portion of the story that they read.
  • Language Arts - Students will identify and write compound sentences. Compound sentences are formed by joining two complete sentences with a conjunction. I use the term FANBOYS to help students remember the list of conjunctions that can be used to join sentences. They are: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. It is important for students to remember that there has to be a comma before the conjunction in a compound sentence. Some examples of compound sentences are: I was going to play baseball, but it started to rain. She had a lot of homework to do, so she couldn't play with her friend.
  • Writing - Students will work on using "show me, don't tell me" language to describe emotion. For example, instead of writing "I felt angry.", it is more effective to write "I slammed the door shut, flung my backpack on the ground, and stomped upstairs to my room."
  • Social Studies - This week we will learn about the first American Indian groups in Texas. We will also read about archeologists and the discovery of the Horn Shelter.

Week of October 2, 2017

  • Thank you for returning the first week packets so quickly. I appreciate your help with this. If you still have not returned the packet, please do so as soon as possible.
  • Homework - A reminder that, through December, students will be given time to complete homework during the last hour of the day. This should be enough time to complete the work assigned. (Students may still need to study for tests at home.)
  • Spirit Night is Monday, October 2nd at Escalantes.

  • Reading - In a few weeks, students will be placed in literature groups based on their individual reading levels. In the meantime, I am establishing guidelines and procedures for independent and group reading activities. Our focus this week is on learning two of the literature circle roles. Students will be expected to engage in meaningful discussions about what they are reading when they meet with their reading group. Literature circle roles gives the students structure for these discussions. The first role students will learn is "Connector". When students are assigned this role, it is their job to make connections to what they are reading. They can make connections to their own life, another book they have read, or events in the world. Students will also be introduced to the literature circle role of "Discussion Director" this week. The discussion director comes up with open ended questions related to events in the novel. Examples of questions that could be asked include "How did you feel when...?", "How would the story be different if...?", "What would you have done if you were in the same situation as...?", etc. I will also be working with the students on the importance of finding text evidence to support their answers when answering reading comprehension questions. We will practice these roles by reading the novel A Paradise Called Texas. This will be connected with our social studies content which focuses on Texas history.
  • Language Arts - Students will identify and write 4 kinds of sentences: declarative (statements), interrogative (questions), imperative (commands), and exclamatory (exclamations). You can find more information and practice here:4 Types of Sentences
  • Spelling - Spelling begins this week. Students were assessed on their spelling last week. They have been put in spelling groups and given lists at a level that will help each individual student improve their spelling skills. A list for the week will be sent home with students each Monday.
  • Social Studies - The students are learning about the 4 regions of Texas. They are reading brief articles about each region and using this information to answer questions about the region. Our focus is on the characteristics of each region and how they are similar to and different from each other.

Week of September 25, 2017

  • I enjoyed having the opportunity to see many of you at Open House. I look forward to the exciting school year ahead!
  • At Open House (or Monday if you were unable to attend), you received your child's "first day" packet with all the annual forms that need to be filled out. It is essential that every student returns the signed materials by Friday, September 29th. (A reminder that we need 100% of parents to return the yellow lunch application. If you are not applying, you can write "Do not wish to apply" across the form, fill out your child's name at the top, sign, and return.) As a former Kolter parent as well as a teacher, I know it is a time consuming process but a very important one as well. Thank you for your cooperation with this.