• May 2019

    Posted by Chelsea Henderson on 5/3/2019

    Happy May!

    It is hard to believe that we this year is almost done. It seems like our class had a great break, and everyone came back ready to re engage in their learning and community.

    Thank you to everyone who has returned the permission slips! Lunch order forms will go home next week.

    Reading

    We wrapped up Number the Stars before break, and we are coming to the end of our historical fiction unit. It has been awesome to watch the class engage deeply in some of the bigger reading skills we are asking them to try, such as determining theme. Almost every member of our classroom found a book that sparked their interest during this unit. Next up: Mythology!

    Math

    This week we began a math unit that looks at efficient strategies for solving bigger multiplication and division problems. We did a number of problem strings (ask your child what those are!) as a class this week in order to look at different strategies. We had our best week of math ever! Everyone engaged, took risks, and shared mistakes. This hard work showed when students showed more confidence during independent work times. Again, please make sure your child studies their multiplication facts!

    Writing

    We have been writing literary essays around Number the Stars. Each student chose a thesis (big idea) for their essay, picked out three strong ways to support their thesis, began gathering evidence, and then started to put it all together in an essay. I have been so impressed with the way their writing is turning out. I am noticing students paragraphing more without reminders, using transition phrases to introduce evidence, and punctuating sentences. They have really grown as writers this year!

    Science

    We have a couple more weeks of our Energy unit. Today we visited the stem lab to test out how heat can help objects move. We began our inquiry by thinking about how long it to people to travel the world before we had things like planes, cars, trains, etc.

    Our class is taking a completely hands on approach to this unit, and we have, and will continue to, visit the STEM lab every Friday. Each week, we engineer a new design that allows us to see the big ideas around energy in action!

    Social Studies:

    This week we started our US Geography unit. Our essential question for this unit asks us to investigate how where you live affects your experiences and life? We are beginning this unit by taking some time in research groups to study the regions of the United States.

    Read Aloud:

    We are currently reading a realistic fiction book entitled Fish in a Tree.

    Questions to begin conversations at home:

    • What historical fiction books have you been reading about in class?
    • What is your thesis for your essay?
    • What did you feel successful about in class right now?
    • What was theme of the book you read in library this week?
    • What is going well in your class?
    • What are you liking about your work in math right now?
    • Show me some of the strategies you are trying!
    • What is your new Number Corner pattern like?
    • Tell me about your read aloud.
    • What did you do in the STEM lab this week?
    • How does heat help move objects?
    • What region did you spend time studying this week?
    • How are states in that region similar or different from Vermont?

    Reminders:

    • Please make sure your child is getting enough sleep - we have had a lot of tired kiddos!
    • Any family member is invited to join us for a morning meeting. Just get in touch with me, so I can make sure they do not get too crowded!
    • Parent Volunteers: I encourage you to fill out your forms ASAP. These background checks are good for two years, but the Parent Volunteer form needs to be updated every year. The volunteer form and pertinent information can be found on the district’s website.  

     

    Thank you for your support and communication!

    Have a great weekend,

    Chelsea Henderson





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  • April 2019

    Posted by Chelsea Henderson on 5/3/2019

    Happy Spring!

    This newsletter is long overdue - thank you for your flexibility! Thank you to all of the families that came to conferences. I love getting the time to talk about all of the hard work our class is doing - academically and socially - every week. Thank you for all of the trust you place in us to work with your children.

    Today your students will come home with a couple of handouts. One will be information about a new math website we are trying called Prodigy. So far, most students are loving the game! The game allows for parents to sign up and look at their child’s progress. Let me know if you have any questions!

     

    Also, SBAC testing will take place during the two weeks before April break. Students may seem extra tired or stressed during this time. Please reach out with any questions or concerns!

    Reading

    We have just begun our Historical Fiction unit! The students are working in partnerships to practice reading intensely and paying attention to setting, characters, and the historical context of their books. Historical fiction allows students to meet courageous characters, such as Annmarie in our class read aloud, Number the Stars.

     

    Math

    We are working on finding efficient strategies for solving addition and subtraction problems.  Additionally, we are working on gaining an understanding of numbers up to the millions. Our strategies in class focus on students using strategies other than the “standard algorithm”. As a class, we will not spend a lot of time focusing on the standard algorithm, but instead focus on students gaining a strong understanding of number, mastering basic addition facts, and using other strategies to understand why the algorithm work. A sheet is coming home today with this information. Again, please make sure your child studies their multiplication facts!

     

    Writing

    Last week, we published our American Revolution information books! These books will be on their way home soon. This week we began preparing to write Literary Essays. This unit begins with students taking a close look at a collection of short stories to practice close reading. From there, we are using thought prompts to help build big ideas about characters and themes.

    We are taking a break from the traditional word study approach we were using, and working on word study in a more interactive way during our reading.

    Science

    We are currently in the middle of our Energy unit! Our class is taking a completely hands on approach to this unit, and we have, and will continue to, visit the STEM lab every Friday. Each week, we engineer a new design that allows us to see the big ideas around energy in action!

    Read Aloud:

    We are currently reading a nonfiction book called Number the Start by Lucille Penner. We are learning about a ten year old named Annemarie Johansen who is living in Copenhagen during the Nazi occupation.

     

    April 5 - Dress like your favorite book character day!



    Questions to begin conversations at home:

    • What historical fiction books have you been reading about in class?

    • What short stories are you building ideas about in writing?

    • What did you feel successful about after publishing your information book?

    • What was the topic of your information book?

    • What is going well in your class?

    • What are you liking about your work with addition and subtraction so far?

    • Show me some of the strategies you are trying!

    • What is your new Number Corner pattern like?

    • Tell me about your read aloud.

    • What did you do in the STEM lab this week?

    • What is energy?

    • What did you focus on in library this week?

     

    Reminders:

    • Please make sure your child is getting enough sleep - we have had a lot of tired kiddos!

    • Any family member is invited to join us for a morning meeting. Just get in touch with me, so I can make sure they do not get too crowded!

    • Parent Volunteers: I encourage you to fill out your forms ASAP. These background checks are good for two years, but the Parent Volunteer form needs to be updated every year. The volunteer form and pertinent information can be found on the district’s website.  

     

    Thank you for your support and communication!

    Have a great weekend,

     

    Chelsea Henderson

    Comments (-1)
  • January 2019

    Posted by Chelsea Henderson on 1/18/2019

    Happy New Year! Today we published our persuasive essays! A copy of our class book should be coming home with each student today. Please check it out, and make sure to compliment what you notice! Each student is working on different goals. I do not go through and edit all sentences and spelling - that is not how students learn to write. Each student sets individual goals during the editing process - let me know if you have more questions about our process!

    I have signed the class up for Epic! Books. It is an awesome, FREE, resource for kids with SO MANY books. Let me know if you need help signing in!

    We have been working hard as a class to set new academic and social goals to help bring in the New Year. Just so you know, the new format EWSD Report Card will be coming home on Friday, January 25. We are also in the midst of Winter Assessments, all students will be taking spelling, reading, and math district assessments. Not all assessments will be completed by the time the report cards are sent home, so please be in touch if you would like additional information about your child’s progress, or if you have any questions. Family conferences in March will also be a great time to check in more thoroughly.

    Reading

    We have been working on building up some of the bigger non fiction skills fourth graders need during the past couple of weeks. As a class, we have been reading about the American Revolution, and practicing pulling out the main idea, noticing text structure and text features, and putting it all together to tell a strong, brief summary. A lot of our work has focused on what is important information in a nonfiction text, and what is not important. At home, you can practice these skills by reading with your child, or asking them about their reading.

    Math

    We are working on finding equivalent fractions and adding fractions right now. We have just begun looking at the relationship between fractions and decimals. Students are also working on placing fractions on number lines. You can help your child notice fractions or decimals in the real world, and also practice some of these skills together. Baking is a great way to notice equivalent fractions, or practice addition. Again, please make sure your child studies their multiplication facts!

    Writing

    Today we published our personal persuasive essay Each member of our writing community has written a strong thesis, supported that thesis with strong reasons, collected relevant evidence, and put it all together into a well structured essay. As a class, we are focusing learning about run on sentences and adding transition words to our writing. We are so proud of the work they have published, and look forward to our next writing unit - informational reports!

    Social Studies

    We are continuing our study of the three branches of the United States Government, what each branch does, and why a balance of power is important. We have split up into the three branches of government, and created some possible “laws” for our school. Next week, we will learn about how a bill becomes a law!

    Read Aloud:

    We are currently reading a nonfiction book called Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began by Lucille Penner. We are learning a lot about the reasons leading up to the Revolutionary War.

    Book Fair!

    The FMS Dino-Mite Book Fair is coming from February 6-11, 2019.  This is an essential fundraiser for our school library program.  Your help is needed to make this awesome event happen. Please consider volunteering an hour or more of your time!  Click here to view the volunteer sign-up.  All FMS students receive a $2 book coupon to be used at the book fair toward the cost of a book.  This is part of our fair give-back program, and we encourage your child to use it! Also, did you know that a book fair e-wallet is a safe way for your child to shop at the book fair?  Please contact Sara Jablonski at sjablonski@ewsd.orgor 857-6306 with any book fair-related questions!

     

    Questions to begin conversations at home:

    • What nonfiction topics have you been reading about in class?
    • What are you learning about the Revolutionary War?
    • What did you feel successful about after publishing your essay?
    • What was the hardest part about writing your essay?
    • What is going well in your class?
    • What are you liking about your work with fractions so far? What supports do you need?
    • Are you understanding your work with decimals so far?
    • This week you read a Scholastic News magazine. What were some of the articles you read?
    • What is your new Number Corner pattern like?
    • Tell me about your read aloud.
    • Which branch of government are you in?
    • What laws did your class come up with?
    • What did you focus on in library this week?

    Reminders:

    Thank you for your support and communication!

    Have a great weekend,

    Chelsea Henderson





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  • December Update!

    Posted by Chelsea Henderson on 12/14/2018

    We had such an amazing end to the week today! It all began with some amazing presentations on Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters. It was amazing to see the research groups work and present together. As a class, we have been focusing on respectful behaviors, and those behaviors were on display during the class presentations!  

    Reading

    Today was an exciting day in Reader’s Workshop - our extreme weather and natural disaster research groups presented their final projects! This unit focused on growing our nonfiction skills, specifically around taking structured notes, synthesizing information from multiple sources, and pulling out the important information. Research groups worked together, chose subtopics to study, collected information, and created a poster that they used to teach the class. Topics included floods, blizzards, wildfires, tornadoes, and tsunamis. Their presentations were very impressive, and we will continue to grow our nonfiction skills in 2019 with a historical unit on the American Revolution!

    Math

    Last week, we wrapped up Unit 2. Every student in our class showed growth from the pre assessment to their post assessment! The class has walked away from this unit with more strategies for multiplying big numbers, as well as patterns around multiplying by 10, 100, and 1,000. This week we began Unit 3, which focuses on fractions and decimals. During math this week we looked at equivalent fractions and wrote equations using unit fractions. The class is showing that they already have a strong base and interest for the work we are beginning to do!

    Writing

    We are in the drafting stages of our personal essays! Each member of our writing community has written a strong thesis, and supported that thesis with strong reasons. This past week we collected evidence to support our reasons in the form mini stories or lists. Now, we are taking all of our evidence and putting our work into the essay structure we have been studying. We hope to publish next Friday!

    Social Studies

    We have been studying the three branches of the United States Government, what each branch does, and why a balance of power is important. Each student is currently drafting a persuasive paragraph explaining which branch of government they would like to work in most, and why. If time allows, next week, we will split up into these three branches and model what it would look like to pass a law!  

    Read Aloud:

    We are currently reading a nonfiction book called Trapped by Marc Aronson. This book tells the story of the 33 miners that were trapped below the Chilean desert. We have been noticing the different features of nonfiction texts, and the tools authors use to help keep their readers interested. This book has us on the edge of our seats at the end of most chapters!

    Questions to begin conversations at home:

    • What extreme weather or natural disaster did you study?
    • What subtopic did you research for your group?
    • How did your presentation go?
    • What was the hardest part about your presentation? What was easy?
    • What is going well in your class?
    • What are you liking about your work with fractions so far? What supports do you need?
    • How did your word study assessment go?
    • What is your new Number Corner pattern like?
    • How did you feel about your post assessment? Have you begun your corrections?
    • What were some of your essay ideas you came up with? I heard that as a class you wrote some ideas about Mr. DeHond.
    • Tell me about your read aloud.
    • What is your thesis for your essay? What reasons are you using to backup your thesis?
    • Which branch of government do you want to work in? Why?

     

    Reminders:

    Thank you for your support and communication!

    Have a great weekend,

    Chelsea Henderson

     

    Comments (-1)
  • November 2018

    Posted by Chelsea Henderson on 11/9/2018

     

    Happy November! No pictures this week, but I will post some next week. 

    Reading

    In Reader’s Workshop, we have begun our first Nonfiction Reading Unit. In this unit we will talk about strategies for reading nonfiction texts well. This past week we have been practicing strategies around previewing and connecting to our text before we start to tackle the hard parts and determine what is important. Nonfiction is definitely a change from the strong character’s we reading about in our last unit, but the class is doing great job choosing high interest books.

    Math

    We have begun our November Number Corner! This month we have been noticing patterns in a series of clock faces, as well as talking about patterns in multiples of 5 and 10. A big idea that we are focusing on right now is Multiplying by 10, 100, and 1,000. There will be a check in on Tuesday. This week we practiced this concept through games, partner work, and building ratio tables.

    Writing

    We are in the beginning stages of writing essays! This week, students learned how to generate ideas for essays by thinking about a person, place, object, or issue that is important to them. We are looking at how authors build of their ideas with strong reasons. This has also been a big change from our narratives, but it looks like we have a lot of fourth graders with big ideas in C-117!

    Word Study & Menu

    This week we began a Menu style time during Word Study. This Menu has options for students to earn points towards an incentive, such as lunch in the classroom. The required pieces include Word Study and work on their math problem of the month. A lot of students were really engaged in this idea, and some earned over 250 points! The purpose is to have students time manage and work more independently during our word study time, so I can meet with small groups. Additionally, the choice offered allows students to engage in more powerful ways. Please let me know if you have questions!

    Science

    We have wrapped up our geology unit, and will be beginning our unit on U.S. Government next week! Let me know if we have any family members that have government positions - we would love to have you in to chat with the kids.  

    Read Aloud:

    We finished The Tiger Rising, and we are in the process of choosing our next book! One option for our next book is be George by Alex Gino. This book tackles issues of friendship and bullying, and is told from the perspective of a fourth grade transgender child. It is a powerful read, and in the past some family members have liked to chat about the book with me first, or give it a read themselves. As always, books offer us a mirror in which to see ourselves reflected, as well as a window into the experiences of others. I have had a c

    Questions to begin conversations at home:

    • Can you tell me about some nonfiction books you read this week?
    • What are some games you played in class this week?
    • What is going well in your class?
    • How many points did you get on your menu? Did you enjoy the Menu?
    • How did your word study assessment go?
    • What is your new Number Corner pattern like?
    • How are you feeling about the bigger multiplication problems in math?
    • What were some of your essay ideas you came up with? I heard that as a class you wrote some ideas about Mr. DeHond.
    • What number did you have when you built your ratio table? Can you show me how that works?

    Reminders:

     

    • Please make sure your child is getting enough sleep - we have had a lot of tired kiddos!
    • Field trip permission slips due next week! 

     

    • Any family member is invited to join us for a morning meeting. Just get in touch with me, so I can make sure they do not get too crowded!
    • Parent Volunteers: I encourage you to fill out your forms ASAP. These background checks are good for two years, but the Parent Volunteer form needs to be updated every year. The volunteer form and pertinent information can be found on the district’s website.  

    As always, thank you for your support and communication! I cannot believe how fast this year is going.

    Have a great weekend,

    Chelsea Henderson

     

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  • October 12, 2018

    Posted by Chelsea Henderson on 10/12/2018

     

    Happy October! We have had a great start to the month! Thank you to everyone who attended our Open House. I hope you enjoyed seeing our space, our hopes and goals, and our learning.

    Reading

    In Reader’s Workshop, we have begun working with reading partners to lift the level of our thinking and our work. The partnerships began with a book that I chose, and now students are using some of what they know about themselves as readers to help them choose other just right books. As we wrap up our unit on character, we have been taking close looks at the characters in our books and thinking about their motivations, patterns, traits, problems, etc. This week we talked about how readers build interpretations, or understandings of books, by thinking about all of the parts together. This has led into our beginning conversations on theme! It has been a pleasure to watch the way the students in our room have grown as thinkers and readers!

    Math

    We have begun our October Number Corner! This month has a very different pattern that we are investigating. So far, we have done a lot of great thinking around fractions and decimals. Our week ended with an assessment from our multiplicative reasoning unit. It was great to see the positive mindsets in our room. Everyone really tried their hardest to show all that they know!

    Writing

    Many of us are in the revision stage with our fiction stories! This can be the hardest part, and students have been using their narrative checklists to help set goals and lift the level of their writing. A lot of students have been working hard to add more details, make their characters more complex, build up their setting, or strengthen their story arc.

    Community Building

    As a class, we have tried some new games at Morning Meeting, such as: Alibi, Pica Ferme Nada, and What are you doing? Our amazing field trip to the sailing center showed just how far our community has come in one short month. Fourth graders in our class worked together, engaged in their learning, and showed great self control!

    Science

    We began our geology unit last week, and we seem to have a lot of curious scientists in the room! We have been investigating how and why the surface of our earth changes. So far, we have looked at geologic patterns in volcanoes and mountains.

    Read Aloud:

    The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

    Questions to begin conversations at home:

    • Can you tell me about your read aloud?
    • What are some games you played in class this week?
    • What is going well in your class?
    • What book did you read this week during reader's workshop?
    • Tell me about the character in your book. How would you describe them?  
    • What is your new Number Corner pattern like?
    • How are you feeling about the math check in you did on Friday?  
    • How was the field trip to the sailing center?
    • How is your fiction story going? Can you tell me your story arc? Are you drafting or revising?
    • Can a volcano pop up in our backyard?
    • Does a mountain last forever?

    Reminders:

     

    • Please make sure your child is getting enough sleep - we have had a lot of tired kiddos!

     

     

     

    • Any family member is invited to join us for a morning meeting. Just get in touch with me, so I can make sure they do not get too crowded!

     

    • Parent Volunteers: I encourage you to fill out your forms ASAP. These background checks are good for two years, but the Parent Volunterr form needs to be updated every year. The volunteer form and pertinent information can be found on the district’s website.  

     

    I look forward to connecting with you at Fall Conferences. Thank you for all of your support!

    Have a great weekend,

    Chelsea Henderson

     

    Comments (-1)
  • September 2018

    Posted by Chelsea Henderson on 9/21/2018

    Wow! It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the autumnal equinox! The cooler air has been a welcome part of our days in school, but I am not so sure about the shorter days. The personality of our class is starting to show more and more as we continue to build community together. Morning meeting is a core part of our day, and during the month of October, we would like to invite family members to join! I will have a sign up at Open House next Thursday!

    We have begun to dive in to our first units of the year in Reading, Math, and Writing. Within the next two weeks we will begin word study, as well as your unit on Geology! During the past two weeks, our class has been super flexible and helpful during assessment times. Each student will be assess in reading, spelling, and math.

    Reading

    In Reader’s Workshop, we are making a lot of progress in our unit on Interpreting Characters. These past weeks, we have focused on taking what we know about characters (their motivations, their struggles, any patterns we notice, etc.) and building ideas or predictions based on evidence from the book. This is a new skill for a lot of us, so we are going slowly. We are practicing many of these skills with our read aloud, The Tiger Rising. Our class has also been participating in student led book talks about our read aloud. They do not raise their hands, or look at their notes. Instead, they practice listening, responding, and building on ideas. It really is amazing to watch!  

    Math

    We are making a lot of progress in our September Number Corner and our Multiplicative Reasoning Unit. We have continues to talk about efficient strategies when solving multiplication problems, and we spent a day looking at the relationship between multiplication and division!

    Writing

    This week we began our first writing unit: fiction stories!! As a class, we discussed the habits of real fiction writers. They don’t just write a story out of thin air. Instead, they spend time developing ideas, and strong characters that they know really well. We spent a lot of time coming up with story ideas and developing believable characters. Next week, we will work on building our story arc.

    Community Building

    This week we finished our final drafts of our hopes and goals, along with creating self portraits. The self portraits do not have names. They just include personality traits that we would use to describe ourselves. On top of that, we have been practicing sharing, questioning, and cooperative play.

    Read Aloud:

    The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

    Questions to begin conversations at home:

    • Can you tell me about your read aloud?
    • What are some games you played in class this week?
    • What is going well in your class?
    • What is a social or academic hope you have for this upcoming year?
    • What book did you read this week during reader's workshop?
    • Tell me about the character in your book. How would you describe them?  
    • I heard about the Ancient Egyptian Numerals on your calendar. How do they relate to modern numerals?
    • How are you feeling about multiplication?
    • Who won the math game you all played on Friday? How did the game work?
    • What is your fiction story idea? Who is your main character? Describe them!

    Reminders:

     

     

    Thank you so much for getting those field trip permission slips in! The remaining two trips will be twenty dollars. I will send something home, but also feel free to send that money in smaller payments if that is easier for you. Thank you for your support, and I look forward to seeing you next week - Happy Fall!

    Have a great weekend,

    Chelsea Henderson

     

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  • First Two Weeks!

    Posted by Chelsea Henderson on 9/7/2018

    These first days of school have flown by! We have spent a lot of time getting to know one another through games and several other activities! 

    During these first days of school we have spent time learning and practicing the routines of our classroom, such as: how to move safely around the room, morning meeting routines, accessing our classroom library, using our computers, etc. 

    This second week of school, we have begun to incorporate more academic routines. 

    Reading

    We began our reader's workshop this week! In this unit, we are going to read intensely in order to build strong, significant ideas about characters. In order to do that, we need to have access to within reach books. This week, we talked about how to know when a book is too hard. Help make sure your child is reading within reach books at home! 

    Math

    This week we began Number Corner and our Multiplicative Reasoning Unit. We talked about efficient strategies when solving multiplication problems, and a lot of students benfitted from trying out skip counting on the number line! 

    Writing

    As a class, we have been wrtiing our Googly Eye stories, as well as our Hopes and Goals. Students should feel free to bring their free writing notebook home! 

    Community Building

    We have been building our own personal iPad, as well as playing a lot of games, such as: A Warm Wind Blows, Just Like Me, One Missing, Tag, and Group Juggling. 

    Read Aloud: 

    The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

    Questions to begin conversations at home:

    • Can you tell me about your read aloud? 
    • What are some games you played in class this week? 
    • What is going well in your class? 
    • What is a social or academic hope you have for this upcoming year?
    • What book did you read this week during reader's workshop? 
    • How can you tell when a book is too hard? 
    • I hear you are looking at some patterns during number corner. What are you measuring? What is your calendar pattern showing? 
    • How are you feeling about multiplication? 

    Reminders:

    • Field Trip Permission Slips and Money due September 21
    • Please make sure your child is getting enough sleep - we have had a lot of tired kiddos! 
    • Interesting Read: Interesting Read about Adults, Children, and Technology
    • Founders Open House is scheduled for Thursday September 27, 5-7:30 pm.
    • Parent Volunteers: I encourage you to fill out your forms ASAP. These background checks are good for two years, but the Parent Volunterr form needs to be updated every year. The volunteer form and pertinent information can be found on the district’s website.  

    I am so excited about our group this year, and I cannot wait to get to know all of the family members in our community. Thank you for all that you do! 

    Have a great weekend, 

    Chelsea Henderson

     

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