Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Science Review & Other Info

Here is a link to a Power point review for Friday's science test over forces.  Feel free to use this, in addition to the study guide that went home on Tuesday, to help your child study.  The test is mostly application of concepts in specific scenarios.

Don't forget about the spelling test Friday.  We also have our school store open this Friday morning at 7:15.  We have an 8 point AR goal for November.  Make sure your child is reading at least 20 minutes each night to reach their goals. 

The students were able to browse the Book Fair today in the library.  Students created wish lists and brought them home today.  The library will be open all day tomorrow, and for a little while after school Thursday for purchases.  Mrs. Preas will also be selling for the first hour Friday morning. 

STUCO is accepting book donations for an LCISD campus.  We are collecting gently used or new books for elementary school kids in the front of the building during the month of November.

I enjoyed meeting with everyone on conference days last week.  Thanks for being involved parents.

Mrs. Atkins  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Field Trip Fun

We all had a great time today at George Ranch Historical Park.  We spent all day outside in this gorgeous weather.  Your kids should be tired after today, and are probably pretty dirty too. 

We started our morning with Mr. Jones as we visited his homestead from Stephen F. Austin's colony in the 1820's.  The boys and girls carried wood, cleaned cotton, saw a pig, ate campfire cornbread, and learned about pioneer life.  I don't think any of them will be complaining about their modern day chores any time soon.  Mr. Jones even shot his rifle for us and made our ears ring a bit. 

After a very calm picnic lunch, we took a nice walk and saw turtles, dragonflies, and even a giant alligator.  The children were excited to play in a treehouse while we waited to visit The George House from the 1930's.  The students were filled with questions about what life was like way back then.  Next, we learned about modern day cowboys, horses, and cattle.  We even saw Big Tex, the longhorn bull.  The cowboys taught us about dipping cows for ticks as we watched them run through the dipping pond.  Some of us even got a little splashed, but we had a blast. 

There were many things we were not able to see and do today, so if you have the inclination, take your family to the park for a visit some time.  It is very interesting, fun, and educational.  The students were praised many times today by the staff for their excellent manners and good behavior.  Thanks for raising them right!  To all the parent helpers today, a big thanks for coming with us and helping out today.  I hope you enjoyed our trip. 

Tomorrow is field day.  Students should wear a clean class shirt or spirit shirt, and bring a COMPLETE set of dry clothes in a bag with a towel.  We plan to have a picnic lunch with the grade level tomorrow. 

Mrs. Atkins

Already a pioneer in spirit

Learning about the smokehouse

Carrying wood to the pile-Everyone works on a ranch

The barn of farm tools and hide tanning

One of many Texas pigs that provide food for the Jones family


The kids enjoyed watching the pig eat his lunch

We learned that there are no "boy" or "girl" jobs-everyone who wants to eat has to work

Learning how to clean cotton

Carding, or brushing the cotton

Twisting the cotton into long thin strands for the spinning wheel

Mr. Jones taught us about pioneer cooking



And pioneer kitchens

And money, like bits and bucks 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Red Ribbon Week

Next week, October 27-31, Dickinson will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week.  Our theme this week is "A Healthy Me Is Drug Free!"  We will be emphasizing that making healthy choices is the way to a successful future.  The theme days for the week are as follows: 

Monday:  "We are RED-y to be drug free"  Wear a RED uniform shirt.
Tuesday:  "Too bright for drugs"  Wear neon or other bright colors.
Wednesday:  "Team up against drugs"  Wear team jerseys.
Thursday:  "Say boo to drugs"  Wear our class shirt because it is field trip day!
Friday:  "We have better things to do"  Wear your washed class shirt or spirit wear to Field Day!

Enjoy your weekend and all this beautiful weather.  Please encourage your child to read over the weekend to reach their 10 point October AR goal. 

Mrs. Atkins

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Field Trip

Next Thursday, we will be going to George Ranch Historical Park for our annual 4th grade field trip.  This field trip closely aligns with our Texas History Social Studies curriculum, and is always a very informative and fun day.  We will be doing quite a bit of walking, and the field trip is almost all outdoors, so please be sure your child is wearing comfortable shoes that day.  Students need to wear their green class shirt, and shorts or jeans.  Students should bring their lunches in a clear, labeled Ziploc baggie. They are allowed to bring water bottles, but they will need to keep up with them during the day.  If your child requires sunscreen, please apply it before leaving home in the morning.    We will be leaving Dickinson after the buses return from their morning routes, and will return right before the dismissal bell rings.  Parents are encouraged to attend the field trip with us on Thursday.  Parents wanting to attend the trip with us are asked to provide their own transportation and ticket. The ticket is usually about $8.  Parents may choose to follow the buses, or simply meet us at the gate to the park.  I am looking forward to a wonderful day outdoors.

Next Friday is Halloween Field Day. Students may wear their class shirt again if you choose to wash it that fast (sorry), or they can wear a spirit day t-shirt.  Shorts, sneakers, and water bottles are appropriate for field day.  EVERYONE needs to send a COMPLETE change of clothes to school Friday.  Students may get wet, really wet, down to the bone wet.  Wet socks and undies for the rest of the day are no fun for anyone.  Please pack the extra clothes in a bag inside their backpack.  Students may also bring a towel to dry off with and to sit on during our picnic lunch.  If you would like to help out during field day, please e-mail Coach Rice at

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Parent/Teacher Conference Time

It is that time again. Time for the annual fall parent teacher conferences.  These are short meetings to discuss your child's progress so far this year.  These conferences are mandatory, and you will receive a copy of your child's report card at the conference.  Please use the Sign Up Genius link below to select your conference time.  I look forward to sharing information with you all. 

Mrs. Atkins

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What's Happening Pictures

I have so many pictures to share since I have not been uploading them regularly.  There will be no new information in this post, just pictures for you to enjoy.

Group work at mini research stations on Native American tribes in Texas.

Reading closely to find important information in Native American rotations. 

Dress Western Day was popular in our class.

Just another mad scientist hard at work in the lab.

Mixtures and solutions lab-look at those cool goggles

What happens when you dissolve sugar in water and alcohol? 

It is important to follow directions and measure carefully in a lab.

Buoyancy lab-will our clay boat float?

Why does a clay ball sink, while a clay boat floats? 

Future engineers hard at work constructing boats

Exploring magnetism

Are some magnets stronger than others?

What kinds of items are magnetic?

Using manipulatives to demonstrate angles

Foldables help us recall vocabulary

Our classroom library is a great place

Buddy reading is our favorite way to learn

We Survived September

What a great first month of fourth grade we have had.  We have been very busy getting to know one another, learning routines and rules, and going deep into the curriculum in every subject too.  Thanks for being involved and supportive parents for your children. 

Our first AR free dress was today.  Not as many students earned the reward as I would have liked.  If your child is reading 20 minutes each night at home, plus free reading during class time, the 6 point goal should have been easy to achieve.  Our goal for October is 10 points, since it is our longest month in school.  I would like to see EVERYONE earn a free dress reward this month.  Please continue to log your child's reading in the agenda each night.

I have started uploading the weekly newsletter to this blog on a tab at the top.  Please check weekly for updates and information.  There are also interesting and helpful websites on an Internet Links tab at the top of the blog as well for extra help, enrichment, or just plain fun.  I also keep a running tab for Important Dates and update it regularly. 

In science, the students are learning science lab techniques and procedures, and we have visited the lab a few times so far.  They get super excited by the hands on experiments and discoveries. We have completed a tools and safety unit, and a unit on matter, and have begun our study of the different forms of energy. 

We completed our study of geography, and now Native American tribes in Texas have captured our interest in Social Studies.  Students enjoyed learning about the Native American culture, and comparing and contrasting different tribes.  Our focus of this unit was to discover that the region a tribe lived in affected their food, shelter, clothing, and beliefs.  We heard songs, read information, made a foldable organizer, looked at maps and pictures, and did a short research station rotation to extend our knowledge of the Native Americans.  Next, we will begin learning about the early European explorers to Texas.

We are continuing our realistic fiction novel studies in class while we learn about main idea, summary, plot, character analysis, sequencing, theme, inferencing, point of view, and word analysis.  The children love to work in groups, and are enjoying the entertaining selections, The Kid Who Ran for President, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  We will soon learn about biographies and trickster folk tales.  Don't forget about the Wordly Wise test this Friday.

Math has taken a real leap with our new math textbook and curriculum.  We are really challenging the students and have jumped way ahead of where they were last year.  The pace and depth have really been amped up.  Please be sure to review all homework and graded work sent home, and lend a hand when you see your child hit a road block.  I hope you have all used the passwords in the agendas to access the online resources from the textbook.  We have covered geometry, rounding, place value up to the billions and down to the hundredths, and will soon begin work on fractions. (All in one month I may add.)  Continue to help your child memorize their multiplication facts through 12X12.  We are taking daily one minute fact drills daily.  About half of our students have already passed off their facts completely.  Keep working on the basic facts until they are automatic.

In writing, we are in the midst of composing personal narratives.  Students are going through each step of the writing process and seem to be learning a lot.  I have seen a lot of growth in my budding authors already.  Encourage your child to speak and write in complete sentences.  It will help their writing immensely.  Next week, we will be revising our compositions and learning about adjectives. We continue to have a weekly grammar lesson packet and a grammar test every other week. 

Stay tuned for an online conference sign up next week. 

Mrs. Atkins