• Informational Writing Scale

    Posted by Jennifer Larocque on 3/3/2017

    Apologies about the goofy formatting. If you want a paper copy, I am happy to provide it!

     

     

    ACSU ELO: ELA4. I can write clearly and effectively for a variety of tasks, purposes, and audiences using an appropriate process.

    ACSU Learning Target(s): 4b. I can write informative or explanatory texts to examine a topic, convey ideas and information clearly, and organize my writing well.

    Getting Started

    Making Progress

    Proficient

    Going Beyond

    I can write about a topic.


    I am learning how to show understanding of content.

    I can show a partial understanding of content.


    I am working on teaching readers different things about a subject.




    I can show a solid understanding of content.


    I can teach readers different things about a subject.

    I can show an advanced understanding of content by writing with depth of knowledge that teaches readers in an interesting way.

    I can write a beginning that names my topic.


    I am learning how writers catch readers’ attention and get them ready to learn about the subject.

    I can introduce a topic and get readers ready to learn about the subject.


    I am working on writing a hook to catch readers’ attention and teach them about the topic.



    I can introduce a topic clearly.

    I can hook readers by explaining why the subject matters, telling a surprising fact, or giving a big picture.

    I can let readers know what my writing will teach them about the topic.

    I can introduce a topic clearly by making a general observation and providing a focus statement.

    I can hook readers with a unique, creative opening.

    I can give readers a preview of the information my writing will teach and the way it is organized.

    I can list some facts, definitions, and details on a topic.


    I am working on adding some detail to my topic.

    I can use some facts, definitions, and details to develop the topic.


    I am working on explaining the topic in more detail using concrete details and quotations.



    I can develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.

    I can use a variety of information, including facts, examples, concrete details, and quotes to explain my topic in depth.

    I can use multiple sources and give credit when appropriate.

    I can write about the topic.


    I am working on organizing my writing by grouping related information.

    I can group related information together.


    I am working on using paragraph structure to organize information.



    I can group related information in paragraphs and sections.

    I can group related information logically into paragraphs and sections and include headings when useful.

    I can use linking words in my writing.


    I am practicing using linking words to connect ideas within categories.

    I can use linking words and phrases that I have learned* to connect ideas within categories.


    I am learning how words and phrases show order and relationship between ideas.



    I can use transition words and phrases that I have learned* to link ideas and show how pieces of information are connected.



    I can use a variety of transition words and phrases to connect ideas within and across categories, and to create a specific effect for readers.

    I can describe information about the topic in words I know.


    I am learning how to use content-specific words to teach readers about a subject.

    I can use content-specific words to teach readers a lot about a subject.


    I am practicing including definitions or a text feature such as a glossary to support my readers’ understanding.

    I can use precise language and specific vocabulary* to inform or explain about the topic.

    I can include definitions or a text feature such as a glossary to support my readers’ understanding.

    I can use deliberate words that have an effect on readers.

    I can provide a concluding statement.


    I am practicing reminding readers about the main topic.

    I can provide a concluding statement that reminds readers about the main topic.


    I am practicing sharing my thoughts and feelings about the subject.

    I am learning how to suggest a follow-up action for readers.



    I can provide a concluding statement or section that reminds readers how all the information in my writing relates to the main topic.

    I can share my thoughts, feelings, and questions about the subject.


    I am working on suggesting a follow-up action or leaving readers with a final insight.

    I can provide a concluding statement or section that ties all the information together, shares my thoughts and feelings (when appropriate), and suggests a follow-up action or final insight.

    Comments (0)
  • 3/317

    Posted by Jennifer Larocque on 3/2/2017

    Dear Parents,

           On our first week back was an adjustment for all of us! Maybe the unusual weather had something to do with it?

    Students revisited subtraction strategies and spent a lot of time trying to master the standard algorithm for subtraction. At this point in fourth grade the addition and subtraction strategies you use and are familiar with have been introduced and should be accessible to your child. As you can predict, some children are still practicing regrouping and keeping all of the steps and routines straight. Frankly, the additional strategies we have taught, such as a number line or constant difference, are often times easier and more efficient for students. If you would like a quick lesson with these strategies, let me know!

     

           Students also began a small dialogue unit. This week students learned how to notate quotation marks when the sentence begins or ends with a direct quote. The rules for using dialogue in writing are all brand new and students are working hard to apply the punctuation rules accurately. While reading students began collecting words that indicate dialogue such as: said, exclaimed, pouted, screamed etc. We will use this bank of words to help us create our own dialogue project!

           Students also began an informational writing unit by looking back at a piece of writing we did in January and comparing it to a learning scale. A learning scale basically tells students what they have to do in order to achieve the next level of proficiency and supports each learner where they are at currently. Teachers have recently begun working on developing learning scales for many aspects of learning. The learning scale that was provided to them is available on my webpage if you are interested.

     

    Lastly, students began attending a STEM science class on Earth’s Materials with Mr. Flint. This class will happen daily for the next 3 weeks and offers a great deal of inquiry and hands on learning. So far the students are very excited!

     

    Comments (0)
  • 2/2/17

    Posted by Jennifer Larocque on 2/1/2017

    February 2, 2017

    Dear Parents,

    Students were eager to begin the month of February! Many are excited about the upcoming Biography Breakfast open house. Students have been using close reading skills to locate actual evidence within the text they read to support a character trait they have identified about their person of study. Students have been asked to identify two traits and 3 pieces of evidence about each trait. It has been hard work! On Thursday we began writing our first paragraph in which we cited evidence from the text. If you haven’t talked to me before, the standards for fourth graders are incredible! Your students are working hard to grasp new learning and apply it to what they are reading and writing about!

           In math students continued learning about the standard algorithm for addition of larger numbers. We practiced looking at a problem BEFORE launching into solving it. For instance, students should be able to think of an accurate answer to problems like (99+47) and (1,999+234) before writing out and completing the standard algorithm for addition. Getting kids to slow down, stop and think is some of the more challenging work I do. It feels as if we are all innately programmed to race through or rush. Students continue to review their own work and compare it to learning scales or rubrics for a sense of their own learning and progress. It is a powerful way for students to reflect and gain an understanding of what they need to practice and what they are already pretty good at.

           Coming home today is the January Report card. This report reflects the most recent assessments your child has completed and their current abilities to work independently and with their peers. Please use your discretion as you discuss the report with your child. I do share that this is information I share with you, the parents. Children, for the most part, are working hard to please all of us. If you are looking to begin a conversation with your child about the role they have in our classroom, you could ask about whether or not they contribute to an effective learning environment. This is identified on the behavior checklist. In short, many students spend a great deal of their time chatting with friends and it has been hard for me to get a handle on. When I am in close proximity, the conversations seem to dissipate… you know how it goes. I would appreciate your support in at least having a discussion about it and, perhaps, future check in conversations. If you have any questions regarding the Report Card please contact me and we can set up a time to meet.

     

    Best,

         

    Here is a list of names for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. If you choose to send in Valentine’s, please send enough in that every child in our class receives one.

    James

    Will A

    Sarah

    Beck

    Lucas

    Kassidy

    Aiden

    Savannah C

    Will D

    Jillian

    Hailey

    Lauren

    Meredith

    Savannah L

    Sophia

    Thomas

    Maggie

    Heath

    Alden

    Cooper

    Camden

    Alexxis

     

    We will have a small exchange on Valentine’s Day!

     

    Upcoming Events!

    ·       February 3rd – January Reports go home

    ·       Wednesday, February 15th Biography Breakfast 9:00 a.m.

    ·       Thursday, February 15th – NAEP Assessment

    ·       February 20th-24th – Winter Vacation

    ·       February 27th- March 24th – STEM class w/Mr. Flint

    ·       Thursday, March 9th – Early Release – 1 pm

    • Sunday, March 12th – Daylight Savings – Spring ahead

     

    Comments (0)
  • 1/27/17

    Posted by Jennifer Larocque on 1/27/2017

    A-3 Family Newsletter

    January 27, 2017

     Dear Parents,

           It was another wonky week! Thank you for remembering to send in ice skates and the appropriate clothing on Wednesday. Students skated at the rink for an hour on Wednesday. It is a great way to access a facility so close to the school and a fun opportunity for kids at all skating levels. There is public skating every Sunday and skates available for rent for $4 or $5. Students began a new unit in math this week, which will focus intensely on computation of larger numbers, rounding numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, thousand, ten-thousand, and use of the standard algorithm for both addition and subtraction.

    Students continue their work on opinion writing by going to the computer lab and working on a piece they began last week. Students are using a scoring guide to help them as they write. They also continue to practice using technology as a tool to help them write. During our language arts block we read Harriet Tubman’s biography and worked together on identifying character traits she possessed. We then looked for evidence within the text to support the trait we identified. Students then went to the text they recently read on their person of study and identified traits and found evidence. This work requires a deeper level of thinking and is difficult for many. We have been engaged in good conversation about how people treat each other and what traits are most beneficial. Hailey’s mom Kelly and her daughter Caitlin have been joining our room in the afternoon to help students create life-sized puppets of the person they studied. We all appreciate their support in this fun project!

           Lastly, the staff on recess duty has shared concerns about appropriate clothing. Encourage and support your child in following the school rules for outside play. I know the weather has been unusual, but all students need to have a coat. It can be unzipped, but they need one. Students also need winter boots. If they want to play off the blacktop, they need snow pants, hats and mittens.

     

    Best,

     

     

    Here is a list of names for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. If you choose to send in Valentine’s, please send enough in that every child in our class receives one.

     

    James

    Will A

    Sarah

    Beck

    Lucas

    Kassidy

    Aiden

    Savannah C

    Will D

    Jillian

    Hailey

    Lauren

    Meredith

    Savannah L

    Sophia

    Thomas

    Maggie

    Heath

    Alden

    Cooper

    Camden

    Alexxis

     

    We will have a small exchange on Valentine’s Day!

    Comments (0)
  • 1/20/17

    Posted by Jennifer Larocque on 1/20/2017

    A-3 Family Newsletter

    January 20, 2017

     

     

    Dear Parents,

           The week felt slow moving for some reason. Students completed the last of the winter assessments, which did shift our schedule a bit. Now that all assessments are completed I will compose report cards. Report cards will come home on February 3rd. I do tell students that the information on report cards is communication between you and I. Students do set goals in our classroom and I do feel like they know what they are practicing and what they have become quite good at, but I would appreciate your discretion when sharing information with your child. While discussing the results be sure to find places to celebrate and find places to have discussions and set new goals.

    Students worked on making connections between multiple texts we have read so they could compare more than one book in their writing. They also looked at the text structure and discussed the causes and effects of decisions.

    We also finished reading a book on the Underground Railroad. We continue to investigate how humans treat each other through reading about our history and reading current events. Children are interested and thoughtful when thinking about the injustices that have occurred in our history and the reasons different sides acted as they did.

    Best,

    Comments (0)
  • Interesting Video Clip

    Posted by Jennifer Larocque on 1/12/2017
    Comments (0)
  • 1/13/17

    Posted by Jennifer Larocque on 1/12/2017

    A-3 Family Newsletter

    January 13, 2017

    Dear Parents,

           Students looked at converting decimals to fractions and then converting fractions to decimals this week. They also previewed the end of unit assessment and took a quiz in an effort to be sure they had achieved the learning targets for this unit. We continue to work on mastery of multiplication and division facts. When a student has worked their way through all of the facts, they can take “The Monster”… That is simply an oral facts test with me that runs through all multiplication and division facts. It takes a great deal of stamina and focus to pass the monster. Many students are working toward passing now. Practicing, orally with your child could really help them prepare for this event. I present kids with a certificate and a treat when they pass.

           We continued our biography reading work and children began to take notes on the person they are studying. As a class we took Martin Luther King Jr.’s biography, each read a chapter and wrote a chapter summary. We then sat in a circle and read our summaries, in order, to learn more about his life. This was the first year I had questions about reading about MLK. Children voiced that they are sick of learning about Martin Luther King because he “lived a long time ago” and “people aren’t racist” anymore. I was caught off guard a bit. We did discuss it and even talked about Donald Trump and how some felt he was racist. As a teacher it is delicate to get into these conversations. I want the discussions to be thought provoking, relevant and informational, but often times, I wonder if I am well informed enough to lead them. The students are so insightful. WCAX ran a news broadcast, the very day we had this discussion, on a study UVM did on police and racial bias. I did share the study with the children and it helped us to think about how differences are still present. I also noticed President Obama spent quite a bit of time discussing his thoughts on the subject in his farewell speech. I would encourage you to enter discussions about this topic with your children, even if for the opportunity to hear their opinions and knowledge.

           In light of MLK Day and our upcoming Civil Rights/Biography unit, we began reading, Heart and Soul, by Kadir Nelson. This is a beautiful book about the history of African Americans through their perspective. It was the driving force behind the beginning of a large timeline we are creating in the hallway.

           Lastly, I had a record number of students take the math league test. Math league is an enrichment time offered to 4th-6th graders at Mary Hogan, but you have to pass an entrance test. I have taken the test and it is very difficult. I was especially proud of the students who took the risk to even take the test. It demonstrates their interest in math and their willingness to a risk. We had many discussions around the opportunity and how to support each other when the results came back. If your child did not get enough points on the assessment to get in this year, I encourage you to check in with them and have them try again next year.

           Thank you for letting me share your children. I am always learning, always thinking and always trying to get better at this complex job!    

    With Respect,

    Comments (0)
  • 12/9/16

    Posted by Jennifer Larocque on 12/9/2016

    A-3 Family Newsletter

    December 9, 2016

     

    Dear Parents,

           Students continued to build their knowledge of fraction understanding this week. I am working hard on trying to convince students to “think simple.” Many students are trying to challenge themselves by making really complex models for fractions, which in turn is causing a lot of confusion. This group continues to reflect on our goal this year of “deciding who you are…” This week we talked about how it feels when learning is confusing and how we, as learners, can contribute to that feeling. Sometimes taking the simplest approach makes the most sense especially when learning something new.

           Students continued reading historical fiction. Everyone is reading Sarah, Plain and Tall and has been actively engaged in discussions about the conflicts, connections and character’s feelings in the story. Students also worked in partners to write a response. We then compared our response to the scoring rubric that was introduced last week. Kids excitedly wanted to score the results. It was fun to see their interest in writing growth. By the end of the week we were using the rubric to write responses independently.

           Students also began thinking about the structure of an essay and know they will be practicing writing them more. Right now, we are practicing typing fluency and identifying parts of our writing using colors. It is a great amount of work and kids are supporting each other as they begin to master this concept.

           The next few days will fly by. I will be trying to keep our days regular, structured and low key. We look forward to seeing you on the 21st!

    Comments (0)
  • 10/7/16

    Posted by Jennifer Larocque on 10/6/2016

    Dear Parents,

           Paired with the early release day, our academic work-week, seemed short! On Monday we participated in two interesting events. First, we attended an event sponsored by our annual read-a-thon, a visit from Susan Hood. During the afternoon, we learned about an upcoming Town Hall Theatre presentation called, The Magic Flute. In this presentation some Mary Hogan students helped to design and build some props. We will attend the show in a few weeks.

           The children completed the post assessment for our first math unit. They also began to delve into multistep problem solving. These problems typically are embedded in a paragraph of text and have 3-5 steps to them. In my experience, it takes students a little bit of practice to solve all of the steps accurately.

           The children are diligently working on 4 different projects in preparation for the open house. They have written their first narrative and used time this week to self edit and then edit with an adult. This is a fantastic learning experience, but takes a great deal of time. They are also working on an informational writing project that not only involves research and all the stages of the writing process, but also requires them to think like a graphic designer. I am excited to see the end results! Lastly, our class is working with our librarian and ACSU technology specialist to build slideshows from the photos they took on the TAM Hike. The final product may appear simple, but students were challenged by using Google Classroom to get the assignment directions.

           On Friday, we visited Middlebury College’s Biology Professor, Tom Root. Students got to visit his actual lab, learn about his work, view his (live!) tarantulas and then view the College’s insect collection. Tom mentioned the collection is one of the largest east of the Mississippi River. The collection was amazing!

    Comments (0)
  • 9/30/16

    Posted by Jennifer Larocque on 10/3/2016

    A-3 Family Newsletter

    September 30, 2016

     

     

     

    Upcoming Events!

    • Friday, October 7th - Visit Middlebury College’s Biology Department’s Insect Collection - 11:00 am
    • Tuesday, October 4th - Early Release Day - 1 pm
    • Thursday, October 13th - Visit to Mraz Apiary - 1:15 pm
    • Tuesday, October 11th – Character Dress Up Day
    • Wednesday, October 12th – Picture Retake Day
    • Monday, October 17th – Home Projects due
    • Tuesday, October 18th - Insect Research Open House - 6:30 pm
    • October 20th and 21st - NO SCHOOL
    • Wednesday, October 26th – ALL DAY trip to Mt. Defiance, Ticonderoga, NY
    • Thursday, November 3rd – Early Release 1pm
    • Friday, November 4th – NO SCHOOL
    • Week 1+2 in November – Parent Teacher Conferences (more info. Soon)
    • November 23rd- 25th – Thanksgiving Break

     

    Dear Parents,

    We completed our first STEM unit with Mr. Flint this week. Students have been engaged in 45 minutes of collaboration, planning and hands on circuit building for the last two weeks. As you can imagine, the building circuits with lights and buzzers is incredibly exciting. Working and collaborating with a variety of peers brings a set of challenges, but students persevered and had a good time. We will have a longer science unit this winter.

    During our math block, students practiced finding factors, solving multiplication and division problems and began learning about multiplicative comparisons (basically, using language like, ‘The giant is three times taller than I am’).

    In addition to all of the great special classes, we were able to access the computer lab and mobile lab four times this week with insect research as our focus. Students are in the process of completing notes in topic areas and will begin forming rough drafts next week.

    The field trip from Wright Park to Belden Falls was eventful as you may have heard! In addition to the yellow jackets, we had a beautiful fall day for a great hike along Otter Creek. Students were able to use digital cameras to document their observations. We have been working on a brief narrative about the trip and hope to have that published in time for the open house!

    On Friday, we attended the Read-a-thon kick off event! Students will be able to record their nightly minutes as read-a-thon minutes… but you will have to fill out both reading logs. Last year our class had over 90% participation and I hope we can do the same this year!

    Tuesday is the first Early Release day. School will be dismissed at 1 p.m. so that the entire ACSU faculty can participate in professional development. Please be sure you and your child know their afterschool plans that day.

     

    We have three more field trips coming up. Below you will find a permission slip for both! Please sign and return before next Friday.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

     

     

     

    I give permission for my child, __________________ to ride the Mary Hogan bus to:

    1. Middlebury College on Friday, October 7th
    2. Mraz Apiary on Thursday, October 13th
    3. Defiance on Wednesday, October 26th

     

     

    Signed: _________________________             Date:________________

    If you can attend, please let me know!

     

    Comments (0)