Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Swimming and A New 9 Weeks

Welcome to the 3rd 9 weeks.  Report Cards will be coming home on Thursday, but grades are always accessible online at Skyward.  Please be sure to check the Newsletter tab, and the Important Dates tab at the top of the blog to keep up with important dates, such as tests and swimming. 

We will begin swimming on January 26.  Our class will be at the natatorium daily from 8:15-9:45.  Please refrain from scheduling any appointments during that time, as your child will not be in the building to get picked up.  All students need to bring a swimsuit in a plastic bag daily from January 26-February 5th.  Towels are provided, and extra supplies and toiletries are not allowed.  The students will be getting on a bus in their normal uniform at 8:15 daily, and traveling to the natatorium.  They will change into swimsuits in gender specific locker rooms and proceed to the pool.  Coaches will be present at all times at the natatorium.  Students will be earning Red Cross Swim Certificates, and students are placed into ability groups on the first day, after a swim test.  Students will be led back to the locker room after instruction to change quickly, and then to get back on the bus. We will then have a regular day of school with a very modified schedule.  Students will not have specials during these 2 weeks, because the swim program is their PE credit.  The students are looking forward to swimming, and I know they will enjoy it.  The swim program is always a favorite part of 4th grade at Dickinson. 

This 9 weeks finds us exploring expository further in Writing class, beginning a study of natural resources in science, and exploring The Republic of Texas in social studies.  This week, we are practicing inferencing in Reading class while we begin an author study of Roald Dahl.  In math, we are using division to solve problems this week. 

In February, we will be taking district benchmark tests in reading, math, and writing. See the Important Dates tab for specific subjects and dates.  These are STAAR like tests to determine who needs after school tutorials, and are not entered into the gradebook. 

Mrs. Atkins

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy Holiday Season

November and December have been very busy in 4th grade.  In reading, we finished our expository unit, where we learned about author's purpose, text features, patterns of text organization, and how to find meaning in context.  We then went on to a unit on reading poetry.  Students can now identify different forms of figurative language, and apply terms such as imagery, rhyme scheme, and meter to comprehend poems.  This week, we will finish up our Winter themed novels, and have a test over poetry on Thursday. 

In math, we have completed the beginning multiplication unit in module 7, where we learned about multiplying by zeros, multiplying one digit numbers by 2, 3, and 4 digit numbers, and rounding to estimate multiplication.  We then learned 2 different ways for solving multiplication problems, the traditional, or butterfly algorithm, and the breaking apart, or partial product method.  Next, we reviewed finding perimeter and area.  We will have a math test on Wednesday over these concepts.  As with all previous math tests this year, application of concepts in word problem situations will be the focus of the assessment, not straight calculation. 

In language, we are completing our editing and revising unit and are putting the finishing touches on our first expository writing piece.  Students have been writing for weeks to explain what their one dream is and the 3 main reasons why that is their dream.  In expository writing, the purpose is to explain, and organization is the key to success. 

On Tuesday, we will have a Social Studies test over the Texas Revolution, or Chapter 6 in our textbook.  Study guides went home last Thursday for this test.  Students will need to know relevant people in the battles, and be able to put important events in sequence, as well as crucial vocabulary terms from the unit.  We will be starting a project this week in class over one of the battles for Texas Independence as well.

Thursday, we have a Science test over soil, weathering, and erosion.  Students will be using their science notes as study guides, so be sure your child is bringing home their interactive science notebook each day.  We will also be visiting the science lab this week to learn about erosion with Skittles. 

As you can see, we are very busy, and students need to keep their focus on academics as we wrap up this final week before our 2 week break.  Remind your child to, "be the boss of their own brain," in class daily (focus), and try to keep routines as normal as possible in the evenings this week.  Students need to be sure to get regular sleep this week, regular breakfast, and do all homework and studying each night in order to do their best in class. 

Don't forget that our class party is this Friday from 12:30-1:30.  All parents are welcome to attend, and students may be checked out of the classroom at 1:30 for the holiday break. 

Mrs. Atkins

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holidays Approaching

The holidays are rapidly approaching, but we are hard at work in Mrs. Atkins class.  Our party will be on December 19th, from 12:30-1:30.  The kids love it when their parents attend our party, and you are welcome to take them home when the party is over.  If anyone would like to organize the winter party for our class, please e-mail Mrs. Atkins ASAP. 

We have been very busy these last couple of weeks.  The students have been working on creating "Come to Texas" projects.  Students could choose a newspaper, a brochure, or a poster to advertise for new settlers to join Austin's colony of the first 300 families to come live in Texas.  Students worked very hard on these projects, and they will count as a major grade.  Ask your child if they have completed theirs, as they were due last Tuesday.  Students will now begin studying Texas' fight for independence. 

In reading class, we began a winter themed novel study.  Students are reading either, The Lion, The Witch, and The wardrobe, Stone Fox, or The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in guided reading groups.  Our whole group lessons are centered around poetry terms and analysis. 

In math we started a multi-week unit learning multi-digit multiplication.  We will be exploring many ways to solve multiplication problems, including zeroes, the distributive property, partial products, rounding, and standard algorithms.

In writing, we learned about adverbs, and are analyzing the organizational structure to expository writing.  We will soon begin planning and writing our first expository piece after Thanksgiving. 

Soil has been the focus of science in our class. We have explored the composition and characteristics of different types of soil in the lab. Students drew a soil profile and labeled information about each horizon in a foldable.  We are also learning why soil is such an important natural resource. 

Our class also really enjoyed the Eat the Rainbow challenge last week. Our class came in first place for our grade level, but lost to Mrs. Carver's 5th grade class for the school wide competition.   I think some of the students have a real competitive streak that I will take advantage of with AR next month.  Wait and see.....               Take a look at more classroom happenings below. 

Posters and Brochures

Hard at work!


Finished Products
More Finished Projects


Soil Profile Foldables

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 wrice@lcisd.org.