Monday, April 18, 2011

46 to go... unbelievable!

I was making up my plans for the rest of the year over the weekend, and was shocked to find out that there are only 46 days of school left in Grade 4. I was a bit taken aback, for two reasons. First, it seems like the beginning of school was just a few months ago. Second, I'm not entirely sure how everything is going to get finished! After some hyperventiation and a chat with another Grade 4 teacher, I was satisfied that I was going to be able to take care of business and get things to where they need to be in plenty of time. That being said, things are advancing quickly for sure.

We are moving along quickly in our Fractions unit, since there is a lot of crossover with the previous unit on grouping and multiplication/division. The class is enjoying fractions, particularly because it is a topic that lends itself well to visual and tactile examples. I think we will get an opportunity to do some fun activities later that incorporate food - Pizza anyone? That being said, it is still worthwhile to keep looking over things at home. There are a number of links on the sidebar (to your right) that have fractions quiz/study/practice pages, all of which will provide your child with valuable practice on which to build their projects and in-class work.

Another interesting things we have coming up is an International literacy test. We were randomly selected by the Council of Ministers of Education (Canada) to participate in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). This is a test given every 5 years around the world, meant to measure trends in reading, as well as school policy on reading and literacy. I have decided that the class will write the test on May 4th, in the week after we return from Easter Break.

This test is not an evaluation, and will not count toward student grades. It will be confidential and goes directly to an international evaluation committee, with no results available that would reflect school/student/school board achievement. Even though it will take some class time to administer, I think that participating in research that will increase our understanding of literacy trends worldwide is incredibly valuable. This is information that I use frequently, and helps us make better decisions about how to increase literacy and refine students' reading, writing, speaking and viewingn skills.

I will be sending home a pamphlet that explains more, as well as a survey to be completed by parents. Again, this will be confidential. If you have any questions, you can let me know.

In other news....
  • I have rescheduled the health test that was originally meant to be written tomorrow. It will go ahead Thursday instead, and students have already brought home a study guide to help them review. This will be a short, fact-based test on legal and illicit drugs. There are a few opinion-based questions (to be supported with fact) that I have already given them to study.
  • I am very happy with the progress students are making in their personal projects. I will be giving another block of time to work on them tomorrow, and I am still helping many students make final revisions on their written work. Some students have made it clear that they want to work on them a bit over Easter, which I encourage. I will be available by email over the break, so please contact me with any questions.
  • For the parents of children who are going on vacations during instructional time: Please double-check that I have exact dates, so I can assign relevant tasks to be done while/before they are absent.
  • I will be assigning some light reading over Easter, with the expectation of them doing some reflection as they read daily. If this will be a logistical problem, please let me know.
  • ArtsSmarts projects (interviews/memory maps/pictures) are due TOMORROW! Also, I am looking for a few parent volunteers to help us out on Wednesday afternoon. If you are interested or available, please let me know. Sorry for the short notice, but I was only informed of this today.
Talk to you soon, and please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.

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