Sunday, September 14, 2014

Busy Couple of Weeks

We are slowly getting into our usual schedule, and the students are learning routines and expectations.  It looks like all the students are finally getting used to being awake so early, and are establishing good homework patterns.  We have started reading and math groups in class, but are taking gradual steps toward full group rotations.  The students began our first novels in class reading groups, and are using them to learn about summarization, visualization, characterization, and making connections with our text.  We started our matter unit in science, and completed our first science lab last week, as we explored the concept of magnetism.  After breezing through the first half of our Geometry unit in math, we struggled this past week with measuring angles.  Protractors are difficult tools for 4th graders, but the students got a little more proficient each day.  Thanks to everyone who sent a protractor!  We borrowed the rest from an upper grade teacher so that each student had their own tool to work with. 

Of course we also had our first tests as fourth graders this past week.  Thank you all for helping your child prepare and study for the tests.  We will have a Math test over Geometry this coming Tuesday and our first Wordly Wise and Grammar tests this Friday. 

As parents, please continue to sign the agenda each night, and sign the blue behavior chart each weekend.  Help your child to complete the reading log each night, and to memorize multiplication facts. Graded work comes home each Monday in the Dolphin/Homework folder.  The best way to help your child improve is to go over their graded papers with them.  Point out inaccuracies, help with difficult topics, and show them how work habits directly affect grades. I truly appreciate your support at home, and as a parent, I do realize how limited and crunched time at home can be. 

In the upcoming week, we will begin place value in Math, our matter unit in Science, a study of Native Texans in Social Studies, and narrative writing in Language.  In Reading, we will explore point of view, characterization, and roots and affixes. 

I have really been enjoying getting to know all the students as individual learners these past few weeks, and I look forward to seeing all of their parents on Tuesday night for Parent Information Night from 6-7:30.  The PTO will have a brief presentation in the gym at 6, and we will begin the first of 3 repeating presentations in the classrooms at 6:30.  There truly is a lot of new information this year, especially with grades, so I hope to see each of you there. 

Thanks for sharing your child with me.

Mrs. Atkins   

Monday, September 1, 2014

First Week a Success!

We survived our first week as fourth graders together!  It was a really great week.  I enjoyed getting to know everyone, and I can tell we have a great group of students and parents this year.  I hope you are all enjoying your three day weekend, and will be ready to get back to work on Tuesday, because we have a busy week planned. 

As I am sure you could already tell, last week we got into curriculum and learning pretty quickly, by the second day in some subjects.  Thanks for returning all forms, filling last minute supply requests, and getting a good homework routine started already. 

Last week in math we kicked off a unit in Geometry.  Students learned about lines, angles, and triangles.  We focused on how to identify them and what they are called.  Next week, we will identify plane figures and use protractors to measure angles.  Please send protractors if you can.  They do not have to be new.  Next week, we will learn about math groups, rotations, and workstations.  Students usually love the games, and working with the I-Pads in the fluency station.  If you haven't already, please begin reviewing basic multiplication facts through 12's.  We will begin timed multiplication fact tests Tuesday.  There are many helpful internet links on the page at the top of this blog to help you study multiplication. 

In reading this week, we will learn all about how reading is thinking, and that real reading is an active process.  Some new buzzwords in your child's vocabulary by week's end should be metacognition, personal connection, visualization, and schema.  We will begin discussing reading groups and summarization this week as well.

After last week, your child should be able to tell you tons of information about nouns.  We learned that there are common, proper, concrete, abstract, compound, and collective nouns.  We also learned about singular and plural nouns.  Students made a foldable to help us remember all the rules for making nouns plural.  Next week, we will move on to verbs.  Students will identify verbs, classify verb tenses, and focus on subject verb agreement in sentences.  Be sure to check out the "Internet Links" page on this blog to review our grammar songs. 

Last week, we learned what a scientist is and what they do.  This week, we will investigate science tools and review lab safety rules.  We will also begin our study of Texas History by learning about the four geographical regions of Texas.  After learning "Where in the World is Texas" last week, we will learn more about latitude and longitude this week.

Our first visit to the library will be on Wednesday, and check out should begin the following week.  AR testing will begin September 8th.  Please remind your child to only take tests on the books they have read during this school year.  Last week, students had the chance to check out our classroom library, and we discussed Bluebonnet goals.  Some students are already off and running to reach their reading goals.  Thanks for helping your student to log their reading each night in the agenda to the right of the Friday section.  The minimum expectation is for your child to read at least 20 minutes each night as part of their homework all year. 

I am excited to begin another week with my new class tomorrow.    Thanks again for a great first week.

Mrs. Atkins

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Welcome to my new class of students and parents!  If you have found your way here, congratulations. I am excited to start our fourth grade adventure for 2014-2015.  I can't wait to meet everyone and to get started learning new things together.  I use this blog to share information about important dates, topics we are learning each week, photographs, websites, and any other interesting information that may help you as parents stay connected to your child's classroom.  Please click on the button at the right to get connected via e-mail.  Every time I make a new blog post, you will be alerted via an e-mail, so you won't miss a thing.  The pages at the top of the blog show classroom wishlists, important dates, helpful websites, and soon our class schedule. I am glad to have you here, and I hope you find this blog helpful throughout the year.  

Mrs. Atkins