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Monday, September 28, 2009

Week of September 28 - October 2

Happy Weekend!

Terra Nova testing is done except for the people who have makeups. We'll take care of makeup testing this week.

We'll also begin using the two writing books this week so if you did get them, make sure and bring them to class. If you didn't get them, no worries. They were optional.

No homework!

NIA classes start this week - Tuesday and Thursday. Everyone pretty much got the day they asked for, but I'll send a note home on Monday so no one is confused about which day to come.


And another day of testing. Just one more to go.

For tonight I want you to write a revised and edited draft of your pet story. Do it on looseleaf and skip a line at the end of each line you write the way I showed you in class. I will collect them and review them before you do your good copy.

Tomorrow is a Dress Down Day for Breast Cancer awareness. There is no specific color to wear but the day is sponsored by Lee jeans as Denim Day and the color for breast cancer awareness is pink so if you'd like to wear jeans or pink, that would be great!  Donation is $2.00

PIZZA starts tomorrow for those who ordered.

Edited to explain (in answer to comments):

1)  Use the following heading:

Your name                             October 1, 2009
4-208                                     St. Ephrem School

2) For those who were absent and are not clear on what we're doing. You had a draft of your pet story in your Writer's Notebook. You were supposed to have already revised it. Today you are supposed to edit it and then rewrite the piece on looseleaf, skipping lines, and hand it in to me for review before you finish the final draft.
If you were absent and don't understand, do the best you can and we'll figure the rest out when you return.

Wednesday -

Still in Terra Nova mode so homework is light.

Read for 15 minutes and respond in RRJ to the question about Fourth Grade Rats.

In the part of the story we read today, something happened that made Suds snap and begin to act like a really bad rat.  What happened? How do you feel about his behavior? Use examples from the story to support your answer.

Extra - if you'd like, respond to the question Nicolas asked. If you were one of the people who had chosen Suds as the friend you'd prefer, how do you feel about the choice now? How about the people who chose Joey. How do you feel t your choice now?

NOTE:  Quite a few notices went home today including an important letter from Mrs. Bartone and the October calendar.

Tuesday -

We had a long morning of testing today so the homework is light.

Read for 15 minutes and complete the Religion sheet.

Remember to have your sharpened pencils!!


Terra Nova testing begins tomorrow.

Please be sure to get a good sleep, eat breakfast, and bring several sharpened #2 pencils and an eraser.

Please note - if you are not feeling well, it is much better to stay home and rest rather than come in and take the test when you are not thinking clearly. You can take a makeup when you return and the results will likely be much better.

Homework will be lighter for the rest of the week because of testing.

For Monday -

Read 15 minutes and record on log.

Math - practice expanded form.  page 6 in text  # 12 - 19 on looseleaf. I will collect.

Religion - read page 18 and share with your family. Read and complete 19 - 22.

Remember - sleep, breakfast, pencils, eraser and RELAX!!!!!!!!

Also remember - there is Spanish class tomorrow so remember your homework and books.

BOOK ORDERS (online or paper forms) are due tomorrow.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Special Subject Homework week of 9/21 - 9/25

Art - bring in a picture of a Hudson River landmark to use in your Halloween poster.
According to Mrs. Bardo, the students are supposed to research a landmark or part of the Hudson they want to focus on (any time period) and do thumbnail sketches of their ideas. They are to bring in their research (reference/picture) along with their sketches.

Spanish - pages 31 - 35 in your Spanish book

Gym - study the Gym rules

Library - Index cards

Please note - because of Terra Nova testing, there will be limited special subject classes from Tuesday - Friday next week.
*****You will have Art and Computer on Monday and Spanish on Tuesday.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week of September 21 - 25

Homework -
Thursday - 9/24

Tomorrow is the Walk-a-Thon. Students should wear their gym uniforms.

Read for 15 minutes and record on Log.

Math - sheet

Reading Practice Book - page 3

Science - finish your observations from the park.  Be sure to include the weather conditions, what the sky looked like, what you observed about the ground, etc. Color your sketches if you like.

Also, list the things you observed in two columns - one for living things and one for non-living.

Wednesday - 9/23

Reminder - Students should wear their gym uniforms tomorrow because of our trip to the park.

Read for 15 minutes and record on Log.

RRJ - 2 options:
In the chapter we read today, Suds began to describe what his family and life is like. Either make text to self connections between his family and your family or make a list of your favorite treasures like Suds did.

Word Study - Finish glossary definitions for the words if you didn't finish them in class. Study the words and their meanings.

Reading Practice Book - page 2 (it's about the same vocabulary words).

Math - study the word forms of the numbers one to one hundred on the sheet I gave you. You should be able to spell them all correctly. Be especially careful to include the hyphen in numbers like twenty-three.  Quiz on the numbers on Monday.

9/22 NOTE:

I received a very good question in the comments section about whether or not you have to describe the room you draw.

I know we did that in class today, but no.  For homework you only have to draw and color the room. You can start thinking about what things in the room are living and what are non-living. We'll be discussing that tomorrow.

Homework -

Tuesday - 9/22

Reminder - Walkathon envelopes are due tomorrow. Also, please send in the Science trip permission slip if you haven't already.

Read for 15 minutes and record on Log.

RRJ - respond to the question in your RRJ.  From the story Fourth Grade Rats, who would you prefer to have as a friend, Joey (the rat) or Suds (the angel)?  Explain your choice.

Math - sheet on expanded form.  NOTE:  The sheet says expanded notation. That's the same as what our book calls expanded form.  I filled in some of the blanks for you as an example. You should fill in the rest.

Science - In your Science notebook (on page 2) sketch a detailed drawing of a room in your house.

Homework -

Monday - 9/21

Remember the Home School Association Meeting and Meet the Teachers Night is Monday, September 21st. The Walk-a-Thon is Friday September 25th.

Because of the HSA Meeting tonight, the only homework is:

Read for 15 minutes and record on Log.

Write a prayer for peace.

In answer to the question someone posted, yes, the prayer should be on looseleaf unless you prefer to type it on your computer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Special Subjects Homework for week of September 14 - 18

Please note - homework will be added in here as I receive it from the Special Subject teachers. If you have any questions, please let me know right away and I'll try to check it out with the teachers before it is due.

Art - please read and sign the letter from Mrs. Bardo and return by 9/21.

Spanish - due Tuesday 9/22
1. Sign note and keep in folder for the whole year.
2. Cover book
3. Get supplies listed on note
4. Study for test next week on pages 26, 27, 28.
5. Copy words in notebook.

Library - due Thursday 9/24
1. Study Glossary words 1 - 3
2. Review Library Rules
3. Parents read all notes
4. Library Card form due Thursday

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week of September 14 - 18


Friday 9/18

Reading -  Read for 15 minutes each day and record on Log.

Monday, September 21st is International Peace Day. I've asked the children to think about what they can do to help create peace in their small corner of the world.  Some of the children asked if they could make posters about it and I think that's a wonderful idea. Anyone who makes a poster can bring it to school on Monday for extra credit.

Thursday 9/17

Reading -  Read for 15 minutes and record on Log.

RRJ - Would you recommend your book? Explain why you would or wouldn't and who might like to read it.

Math - Millions sheet

SS - Image sheet.  Look at each image and complete the sheet by writing in what you observe in the picture, what you think about it, and anything you may wonder about it. I'm looking forward to hearing all the things you wonder about.

*** 3 notices went home today - a reminder about the home school meeting for Monday, a correction about the Walk-a-Thon, and a yellow bowling paper.

Wednesday 9/16

Reading -  Read for 15 minutes and record on Log.

RRJ - Write about your favorite (or least favorite) part of your reading tonight. Tell why it is your favorite (or least favorite) part.

Math - DHP (Daily Homework Practice Book) p. 2

SS - Imagine what Henry Hudson saw when he arrived here on September 11, 1609 and draw it.
Ship captains kept logs (which are similar to diary entries) that tell about their journeys. Write a log entry to go along with your picture describing what you think his reaction would be to what he saw.
REMEMBER - this is not a research project. You are supposed to draw what you imagine it was like. Tomorrow we will look at images and read his real log entries.


Tuesday 9/15

Reading Read for 15 minutes and record on Log.
There is no RRJ homework for those who did their RRJ last night. Those who did not do it last night need to make it up tonight.
Writing - 
1)  Draw a pumpkin on the last page of your Writer's Notebook and fill in at least 10 "seed ideas". You may use some of the ones we discussed in class if they are topics you would enjoy writing about.
2) Begin a draft of your pet writing piece. Remember it can be a story, a poem, an article, a persuasive essay - whatever seems to fit for you and your pet (or your wish to have or not have a pet).
Math - Daily Homework Practice Book (DHP) p. 1 numbers 1 and 2 only.
Social Studies - Read the fact sheet about Henry Hudson. Complete the chart in your NB by filling in 3 or more facts you learned about Hudson and his journey and 3 or more questions you have about him or what happened.

Monday 9/14

Reading -  Read for 15 minutes and record on Log.

RRJ - Respond in RRJ. Try to make connections between what you are reading and something in your life (text-self) or another book you've read or movie you've seen (text-text) or anything happening around you in the world (text-world).  Choose whichever connection works best with what you are reading.

Math - 1) Place Value sheet
             2) Think about what the word million means to you. In your notebook write down your thoughts when you hear the word million.

Religion - look through your new book. Read pages 12 - 15. Share with a family member.

Note - there were a lot of new notices today. Please especially look for the one from Mrs. Bardo about what is expected from the students for art. The paper needs to be signed and returned next Monday.

Friday, September 11, 2009

First week notes

Dear parents,

Happy weekend!

I'll fill you in on all the policies and procedures at our meeting on September 21st, but there are a few things I thought might be helpful for you to know before then.

~  Schedule for Special Subjects

Monday - Art* and Computer
Tuesday - Sr. Rosela and Spanish
Wednesday - Gym
Thursday - Music and Library
Friday - Mass and Olweus (anti-bully program) meeting

*This week we have a school Mass on Monday so the 4th grade will miss Art.
Mrs. Bardo will be letting them know what they need for art class but they will not need art boxes.
Also, we will generally attend 8:45 Mass with the 5th grade on Fridays. However, this week we have the school Mass on Monday instead.

~ Reading Logs

The reading log policy is for the students to read every night (including weekends) for 15 minutes (increasing as the year goes along). However, they are allowed 4 FREE nights per month so if there is a night you have obligations or too much else to do, simply enter FREE in that date on the reading log.
There was some confusion amongst the children about the difference between having to do the RRJ and the Reading Log.  The Log is every night - the RRJ response is only when I assign it as part of the written homework. If I don't write Respond in RRJ, then they just read and fill out the log. Of course they can always write in the RRJ is they choose.

~ Gym Health Forms

Please return the Gym health forms as soon as possible. Ms. D. had asked for them back for today and most people brought them in. If you haven't please try to have it by Monday.

~ Books

If you're wondering about books, I'll be giving them out over the course of next week as I introduce them to the students.

~ Work

Finally, fourth grade work is substantially different for the students from what they've done before in that they are asked to look at things in a different way than they may be used to. I am working with them on focusing their thoughts on how they are working and what they are thinking. These skills will be crucial for them to do well on the NYS exams. So, if they (or you) seem confused at all now, please don't be concerned. Everything starts to gel pretty quickly and soon it will all become natural to them.
But, if you're concerned or confused by anything, please let me know and I'll be happy to talk with you.

Notes about weekend reading HW are posted below.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Something to do on a rainy weekend

The weather report for this weekend isn't too promising if you love the sun
but if you're looking for something interesting to do on a rainy weekend, The Museum of the City of New York has an exhibit called Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson. I took a workshop there over the summer in preparation for our fourth grade unit of study on the Dutch in New York and I was really impressed by the museum.  They have an extraordinary collection of artifacts, old maps, paintings, seafaring tools, etc.
There's no written homework tonight since it's Friday, but there is reading homework. See above for the Reading Log policy.
Have a great, soggy weekend!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The First Week of School

Homework - Thursday 9/10/09

Since this is the first week of school, homework this week is most an introduction to the types of work that we'll be doing. Real homework will start next week.

Tonight's homework is to read for 15 minutes or longer, complete the entry for 9/10 on your reading log, and do one entry in your RRJ.  For your entry, please write today's date, the title and author of your book. Your entry can be about any of the things we discussed on the RRJ sheet. Some examples might be to make a prediction about what will happen next in your story,  write down some questions you would like to ask the author or one of the characters, draw an illustration of what you imagine the scene in the book looks like, write down any vocabulary words you didn't know, describe your favorite part of the book, explain whether you like or dislike any of the characters.

If you're still confused, don't worry. This will become much more clear as you get used to working on your journal.

Also - you don't have to do all of the thigns I listed. Just choose one or two that seem to fit with what you're reading.

Don't forget to glue or staple the RRJ sheet onto the first page of your RRJ.


Welcome back!  It was so wonderful to meet everyone this morning. I think we're going to have a fabulous year together.

Homework - Wednesday 09/09/09

Reading - the homework for reading is going to be to read for at least 15 minutes every night. The time will increase as the year goes on, but we start at 15 minutes. Of course you're welcome to read much much more. :)

Reading for tonight is optional as I know the first night can be pretty hectic. I'll hand out and explain reading logs tomorrow.

Math - the math homework tonight is very simple. Figure out how many toes there are in your family. Parents, please don't be concerned about the simplicity of the problem. The purpose of this problem is to focus on all the different strategies people might use to figure out the answer. We'll be discussing those various strategies in class tomorrow. So, for this problem (as with many in 4th grade) HOW you solved the problem is as important as what your answer is.

THINK about Henry Hudson and the anniversary of his arrival in NYC 400 years ago this week. If you find any information or see anything in books or newspapers, please bring it in to share.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's arrival

Fourth grade Social Studies focuses on the geography and history of New York. One of the units is all about Henry Hudson and his explorations and the subsequent Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (later to become NY).

This coming week marks the 400th anniversary of Hudson's arrival and discovery of the river later to be named after him. There are many celebrations going on that offer us excellent learning opportunities. One such celebration that begins this weekend sounds like a fun family activity.

A model colonial Dutch village has been created in Bowling Green Park in lower Manhattan and will be open from September 4th to 14th. The village is made of 12 traditional houses, a windmill and a greenhouse. There will also be workshops, craft lessons (such as making wooden shoes) and Dutch food available for sampling. Admission is FREE. 

You can find out more about the entire NY400 celebration and events at the NY 400 Site.

Editing in an opinion here on Sunday 09/06/09
My family and I went to visit this today and it wasn't quite what I expected. The houses are really only wooden facades/booths. The windmill was pretty cool and each "booth" features something like glassblowing, wooden shoes being carved. tulip bulbs. There's a booth selling what seem like mini-pancakes with butter and sugar and another one selling various kinds of herring and salmon sandwiches.  The greenhouse, a tribute to modern Amsterdam's ecology-mindedness, did have a fascinating display of bees inside a plexiglass case. I took lots of pictures!

Overall, it's a nice part of a day spent in Battery Park, but not enough of a destination by itself.

We did go on to walk through the Irish Hunger Memorial. If you've never been, it's a simple yet very touching tribute to those who fled Ireland during the Great Famine. It's built around a tumbledown stone cottage that was brought over from Ireland.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Welcome back!

Dear Caroline, Dean, Alexandra, Jason, Isabelle, Anthony, Ryan, Stephanie, Michael, Isabella, Michael, Kaylin, Gabriella, Charlie, Victoria, Joseph, Brandon, Amanda, Sabrina, Patrick, Thomas, Nicolas, Bobby, Teressa, and Aisling,

I've been re-reading the letters you wrote to me last June and I thought I'd try to answer some of your questions and address some of your worries.

First of all, I can't wait to meet you! I've been in school all this week getting our classroom ready and planning some of the things we'll do next week. I've got some wonderful books to read with you and some exciting projects for us to work on. I have a feeling we're going to have a really great year together!

Quite a few of you mentioned being worried about how hard the work in 4th grade might be. I'll be honest with you - we work very hard. But - we have fun doing it and we learn a lot. No one should be at all worried; I can tell just from reading your letters that you are ALL up to meeting the challenge of 4th grade.

We do have some changes. In the past, the NYS tests that you've probably heard so much about have been in January (ELA), March (Math), and April-May (Science). This year NY has changed the schedule so that ELA will be at the end of April, Math will be the beginning of May, and Science the end of May. That gives us plenty of time to be sure you're well prepared.

Several of you mentioned your pets. For most of my life I never had any pets except for fish, but last year we got a puppy (Fenway) and a kitten (Bart). I've spent a lot of time playing with them this summer. I'll show you pictures when you come to school. If you have a pet, please bring in your picture so we can share. If you don't have a pet, is there something else that's special to you? I'd love to see a picture or hear about that too.

It sounds like many of you had great vacations planned. I can't wait to hear about them. I went to Maine at the end of the school year for my daughter's graduation from college but I spent most of the summer in Brooklyn. with my dog and cat. Remind me to tell you about my dog's adventure at camp!

You told me lots about your families - some of you are only children, some are oldest, and some are youngest. I was the oldest girl and I had three younger sisters but no brothers. I always wanted a brother. Now I have a husband and two daughters, but the kitten and dog are boys!

I hope you've all been reading this summer. Reading is one of my most favorite things to do. I love talking about books too. I'm really looking forward to hearing about what books are your favorites. I have a bulletin board ready for us to post about books that we recommend, so start thinking about what books you read this summer that you might like to recommend to others.

Enjoy your last weekend of summer! I'll see you all on Wednesday morning.

Mrs. Curry