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Ms. Wonkka



FEBRUARY 2020

    February, for 4th and 5th graders, has been spent plugging away at fraction concepts. Students have come a long way in their general understanding and abilities to work with fractions.  We've found equivalent fractions, added/subtracted with like and unlike denominators, converted improper fractions to mixed numbers and vice versa. Now, fourth graders are adding/subtracting mixed numbers and reducing to simplest form, and soon fifth graders will be multiplying them. 
    In ELA groups, when students are with me, we are working on verbs and have started a few novels (My Side Of The Mountain and There's An Owl In The Shower).  Both should prove to provide opportunities for some great discussions on vocab and different sides of issues.
    Our U.S. Constitution was studied via a Reader's Theater play and an Escape Room involving solving codes. For a complicated and important document, students came away with at least a brief understanding of the history of it. Now we move west and expand the country, but how?
    In Science, we have started talking about various ways we can classify living things on Earth. Who knew it could be so complex? We will break this down into small chunks and focus attention on classifying plants and animals. Wow! There is so much to learn about the world around us. 

Have a great vacation! Enjoy the snow and get outside!


JANUARY 2020
  

January was an electrifying month. Students proved they learned something about circuits when they had to build flashlights as part of a performance task. They were all successful. Way to go 4th and 5th grade!

Our unit on the American Revolution is drawing to a close and students have been tasked with doing a project about "anything" related to the time period. They each received a list of possible ideas or they could come up with their own. It could be pretty much anything. 

Due:  Wednesday, February 6, 2020

WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT EVERYONE COMES UP WITH!!!!




DECEMBER 2019








The best part of most students' school day is the all important recess. The SCS 4th/5th grade class is no exception. Our early heavy wet snow brought about some creative and fun-filled afternoon playtime. Their cooperative teamwork was impressive as they built a fort under the playground equipment, a snow fort complex complete with a bathroom and kitchen, and one big wall that eventually became more of a train that could almost fit everyone aboard. 


***Reminder***  Sound Project:   Build an instrument (guitar/drum/flute) capable of producing three different pitches and be played at three different volumes.

                                    Due--Thursday, January 2, 2020 or the day you return.



NOVEMBER 2019

ELA groups (grade 1 through 5) are working daily to improve our nonfiction reading exposure and skills. We build background knowledge, vocabulary, and our understanding of a wide array of topics related to history and the world around us—from dogs to spiders to ocean animals to the Dust Bowl, to African-American women who helped the United States get into space.

Our math classes have been extremely busy working diligently on the development of our multiplication skills on whole numbers and decimals and solving multi-step word problems. Fifth graders have just started reviewing their division skills and fourth graders will start soon.

Science topics, for the foreseeable future, will concentrate on forms of energy. We already discussed concepts of heat including conduction, convection, radiation, etc…We are currently learning about light and will then move on to sound and electricity. There will be several little activities for us to learn concepts that students will enjoy.

Social Studies can be a challenge since we cannot touch, feel, hear, and see it today. We can only try to comprehend the how and why things happened in the past. Students are now studying the original 13 English colonies. We are attempting to find out how they each came about and will soon learn about what life was like for the colonists, how they governed themselves, how their economies worked and so much more. There is so much to learn, so let’s have fun doing it!!!



October 2019

October has been a busy, fast-paced month. It started with Fire Safety Week and a presentation by the Beecher Falls Fire Department. Then we had two visits from US Border Patrol agents for Red Ribbon Week and we’ll cap the month off with our Halloween party.

We have also been busy with academic content. We have attempted to solidify our understanding of multiplication and expand upon it by multiplying larger numbers by one digit and two digit numbers. Fifth graders will soon be multiplying decimals and fourth graders will move onto division.

ELA groups are focusing on the features and structure nonfiction texts.  We read different articles or small books and identify the author’s purpose, the structure used (problem/solution, description, sequence, compare/contrast, and cause/effect) and build background knowledge. As for grammar, sentence structure, types of sentences, and identifying subjects and predicates are the topics we are concentrating on right now.

In Social Studies, it is difficult for many students to fathom what it was like to not have what we have now, to not know what we know now yet we are building a basic understanding of how exploration and colonization of the world started and spread across Europe, into Africa, and finally across the Atlantic Ocean.  We are learning that North America was explored and claimed by many and we’ll study as much of it as we can.

As for Science, well, there’s nothing like starting from the ground up—literally. We’ve been studying about the processes that shape the Earth’s surface to include weathering and erosion. We’ve also looked at minerals, the building blocks of rocks, and are now finishing up with the three types of rocks—sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. What on Earth is next?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!


***Halloween Party--October 31    1:15-3:00 

***Grades close--November 1

***No School ---Veterans Day---November 11




September 2019

Wow, have we covered a lot of material in 20+ days of school.  Our class has been hard at work reviewing place value, practicing estimating through rounding, comparing, and adding and subtracting. The fourth graders are doing all this with whole numbers and the fifth graders with decimals.

Because of the growth and success of students in the younger grades, fourth and now fifth graders are participating in the Walk-To-Read method of ELA instruction. Each teacher is responsible for teaching a particular topic within ELA and students switch every day through all the teachers to get what they need on their level. We are covering fluency, comprehension (fiction and nonfiction), grammar, writing, and phonemic/phonological awareness. We hope to see even more growth this year.

In Social Studies we’ve covered a great span of time from the first people who came to the Americas during the Ice Age to the early cultures and vast civilizations such as the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Inca, Anasazi, and the Moundbuilders. Now, we are taking a look at the Native American tribes who live throughout the United States.

In Science, students were flying high and low with our drone. They learned how these instruments can be so much more than a toy we lose in the trees. They learned about important safely rules, laws, and some basic vocabulary focused on the movements we ask the drone to perform. They were all able to show their understanding when they each had their turn at flying. Now we just need to figure out ways to use the drone more to enhance learning in other academic areas. Any ideas??

 ****Reminder***  

Native American Tribe--art piece that reflects the tribe is due Tuesday, October 1, 2019.


August/September 2019
 
Welcome back! I trust that everyone had as wonderful a summer as I did. This year we have a combined 4th and 5th grade class. I hope we have tons of fun together.  Bring an open mind, a willingness to try, a good sense of humor, and a slight touch of "craziness". 

~He who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning~
(Chinese fortune cookie)