Ms. Becky's Grade 4 Class (October 2018)
“Sing it Out!”
Listening is an intrinsic part of our school curriculum. Students are encouraged to listen both in a group and to each other so that they have plenty of chances to improve their skills especially their ability to listen for detailed information and record it. Recently, in our listening lessons, we have been focusing on listening for the main theme of a text and listening then for detail.
An activity that has really helped students to develop these points is the use of songs in class. We discuss how to listen carefully to the words, then students try to understand what the song is about and have a discussion about the song’s meaning. They are asked to listen for important adjectives or verbs. The song is paused from time to time, to give students a chance to write down the words.
Students then wrote a short song on the same topic using the adjectives they heard. They then recite or sing it to the class, and the audience listens for the adjectives. The music is played if students decide to sing their songs. Students use this active listening and are very excited to repeat the adjectives or verbs they heard. Our listening classes have been very successful this year. Singing promotes better pronunciation of common words, and students are encouraged to sing and read lyrics online to improve reading and listening abilities further.
Ms. Doty's Grade 4 Class (October 2018)
In one of our grammar units we cover aspects of nouns. One of our favorite lessons is countable nouns and uncountable nouns. The students learned the types of nouns that we can count and the nouns we cannot count. A countable noun is one that we can count, like cup, table and book. An uncountable noun is one that we can’t count like cheese, tea and water. We can have one cup, two tables and three books, but we can’t put a number in front of cheese, tea and water.
First, the teacher shows the students visuals of the different types of nouns so they get to know the difference between countable and uncountable nouns. The teacher will discuss any new material with the students. The students and teacher go through an interactive power point together discussing how we use these types of nouns using correct sentence structure with “there is” and “there are” using picture prompts. This way we can practice our English communication with one another.
For a journal exercise, the students practiced correct sentence formation with “there is” and “there are” using the countable and uncountable nouns as a listening activity, the teacher read the students the story “The Fisherman”. The students were asked to raise their hands when they heard any of the nouns. We all had a fun time wrapping up this grammar unit with a review game using the whiteboards. The teacher named a noun, and the students were to write what kind of noun it was on their whiteboards. What nouns can you count?
Mr. Little's Grade 4 Class (October 2018)
Read to Succeed
Guided reading groups are the core of learning reading in grade four. It is essential that the guided reading group time is used as effectively as possible. Here is
how our class uses the reading time to the greatest effectiveness: First, in the room there needs to be peace and quiet. Everybody is following with their eyes and their finger. Only one person
in each group is reading aloud at any one time. Second, we need to treat the books with love and respect. We learn how to turn the pages properly and how to hold the book so it doesn’t get
damaged during normal use.
Once the basic procedures are followed, each child reads an entire page, or even two pages. Reading such a large amount means their fluency won’t be interrupted. Fluency is what makes reading possible. If you aren’t a fluent reader, then reading is just hard work, and it will never be enjoyable. The students who aren’t reading will follow with their finger, listening carefully and think about the words as they are read aloud by the classmate.
After reading the story, students work through the written comprehension questions, writing full sentences. Using this method the students do two things at once: they think seriously about the story, improving their memory of it and their understanding of it; and they practice writing full, descriptive sentences. When you can learn two things at once, your time is twice as effective!
Mr. Adam's Grade 4 Class (October 2018)
Recipes for Successful Speaking
In Grade 4 we have some amazing recipes for success. One of our favorites is how to create the perfect speaking presentation. This semester we have used the theme of the children’s novel by Roald Dahl called “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”.
Firstly, the students listened to the story and discussed the answers to questions that were projected on the board. Then, they drew pictures and wrote captions that demonstrated their understanding of the plot, setting, character development, conflict and resolution. The next ingredient for the recipe was to give each of the students a chapter of the book to read in detail then summarize and practice how to present it in front of the class. Some students did this alone, and others did it in pairs.
Now the students had gathered the necessary knowledge that they needed for a successful presentation. They had listened to the whole story, demonstrated their understanding, focused on a specific chapter, summarized the important information of the story and with a seamless synchronicity; the whole class presented the story of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, in their own words. What a great recipe it was for covering all the important language areas - listening, reading, writing and speaking at the same time as enjoying a great story.
Mr. Andy's Grade 4 Class (October 2018)
Teaching From the Right Angle
Mathematics has begun to be a weekly priority in most classrooms with an importance of teaching students to speak maths terms correctly and clearly in English. In grade 4 we not only teach operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, but broader topics like graphs, decimals, and angles. Mathematics relies on logical thinking, counting, and calculation, and for this reason many students find maths engaging. They are intrigued to learn new ways at solving problems.
This semester we have been studying the different types of angles we can observe. The first step was to define the angles and identify them. After learning that angles are formed when 2 rays extend from a vertex, the students discussed how different angles are all around us; from the items in our kitchens, to the angles our arms and legs make.
The next step was to demonstrate knowledge and understanding by observing the angles in the classroom, measuring them with a protractor, and then recording the types of angles they were. Lastly the students formed small groups to create projects for the classroom display board. They were required to choose an angle as the title, write its definition, and design a picture that incorporated that angle into it. The results were of some fantastic and imaginative projects; with acute angles made from dresses, straight angles forming bridges, and some right angles as mountain peaks.
Math is an integral part of students learning and can help them solve everyday problems. It is important they are confident speaking as many words as they can in English as the students will most likely travel abroad at some stage and need to use these communication skills.
Mr. Walker's Grade 4 Class (March 2018)
Grammar is a very important part of our English curriculum. We spend multiple classes a week learning the concepts and practicing them in all different aspects of our English learning. These include our reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Our grammar lessons begin with some simple, yet focused, instruction to introduce the new. Students take notes to help them remember the key concepts. This also allows them to look back on previous lessons to remember the material covered. We often will have some sort of writing activity wherein students are asked to use the new grammar concepts in a sentence, a particular scenario, or even in a story.
One activity our students really enjoy is using our class whiteboards to show what they’ve learnt. After the concept has been taught and practiced in written form, we like to get out of our chairs and do some interacting with each other. Each student is given a slip of paper with a word or sentence that incorporates our new grammar concept. They are then required to go and talk to as many of their classmates as possible and practice the new grammar idea which has just been taught. This allows them not only to practice inter-personal skills and speaking, but also solidifies the grammar lesson in their minds and allows them to put it into practice. To recap, we gather back as a class and share what we have learned. This often involves some funny encounters our students had with each other. Grammar is an important part of the English language and we work hard to improve our skills every day!
Ms. Doty's Grade 4 Class (March 2018)
This month in our Science curriculum we are learning about many systems of the body; the heart, the skeleton, the digestive system, as well as how we can take care of our body. During this month, we had a lot of opportunities to work on team building and listening and communication skills using the new vocabulary learned in this unit. The teacher can hear the students practice their English skills and new vocabulary learned throughout unit. Students practice speaking English during the interactive Power Point about the body and how food moves through the digestive system.
The students can interact with one another in class discussions with the teacher by answering questions during the lessons. The teacher ensures the students use the same vocabulary and comprehend the material learned in each lesson. The students made body books and listened to facts about the heart, the digestive system and the brain. The students had to finish filling in the blanks in their books by listening to the clues provided by the teacher.
It is always fun to actually see how our body works. We did a fun experiment to see how our stomach digests food with acid juices. The students put bread in a baggy and then put orange juice in the bag with the bread. They had to swoosh the baggy around and watch the juice breaks down the bread and makes it softer right before their eyes. This demonstrates what our stomach does with our food using its acid juices breaking down the food that we eat. In teaching the body, we also cover how to take care of the body. The students reviewed the five food groups and how each group strengthens our bones, heart, and some foods can even make our eye sight better and prevent us from getting sick. We made food charts and the students delivered speeches on how to take care of their body, practicing their verbal skills, as well as giving the students a chance to show the knowledge they learned during this unit’s lessons.
Mr. Andy's Grade 4 Class (March 2018)
Math has begun to be a weekly priority in most classrooms with an importance of teaching students to speak math terms correctly and clearly in English. In grade 4 we are teaching students to review and master operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Mathematics relies on logical thinking, counting, and calculation, and for this reason many students find math engaging. They are intrigued to learn new ways to solve problems. Students who finish their work early usually walk around the class to help and explain the process in more details to their peers.
This semester our class has been working hard at designing bar graphs to display in the classroom. They were required to collect data, record it, and present it as a project. The first step was to show some examples of bar graphs online and have the students discuss why the bars in the graphs were at different heights. After they had formed groups of 3, they came up with some ideas for a project title, drew and labeled the horizontal and vertical axis, and then interviewed the class to collect the data they needed for their project.
The students did a great job inventing clever titles and working in teams. Finally they presented their projects to the class and explained why the scale of number of students was different for each category. Math is an integral part of students learning and can help them solve everyday problems. It is important they are confident speaking large numbers in English as the students will most likely travel abroad at some stage and need to use these communication skills.
Ms. Lorey's Grade 4 Class (March 2018)
Guided reading is an important part of our school curriculum. Students are encouraged to read orally, both in a group and individually in a non-threatening setting with their classmates. It is also a great time for the teacher to be able to assess students reading abilities in a smaller setting. Lately in our Guided Reading we have been focusing on volume, sounding out words, expression and overall reading fluency. A practice that has been really helping students develop in these areas has been choral reading. In our groups we have been working on reading loudly and in time with one another. This has been a great way to take the stress out of just one person reading to a group and has allowed students who may be more reserved and naturally soft spoken to really try and use as much volume as possible.
Another aspect of Guided Reading that is very helpful for students reading development, and one that they really enjoy, is individually reading out loud. This is where a student really shows their abilities in the smaller group, in volume, sounding out words, vocal expression and overall fluency. The teacher models good reading techniques such as volume, sounding out words, and expression. When not working with the teacher, students individually read their guided reading book, and work on reading comprehension, by answering questions. Our Guided Reading classes have been very successful this year and have helped our students develop into more confident readers who read with good volume, expression and can sound out words well.
Ms. Becky's Grade 4 Class (March 2018)
Speeches for Life
Speaking is an intrinsic part of our school curriculum. Students are encouraged to speak both in a group and individually so that they have plenty of chances to improve their skills especially their confidence. It is also a great time for me to assess their speaking skills and give them one on one constructive, spoken, and written feedback. Students are given a chance to give peer feedback to each other as well. Recently, in our speaking lessons, we have been focusing on volume and expression.
An activity that has really helped students to develop these points is the Weekly Speech we give to the class as well as various speaking group activities. In these activities, students work on speaking loudly and carefully while passing a talking ‘object’; this also helps them to improve their listening skills. They must talk about that object or the subject for about thirty seconds, and we monitor and provide ideas to improve. This has been a great activity to take the stress out of speaking in front of the class and has allowed students who may be more reserved to really try and use as much volume as possible.
Another activity that involves the whole class is the Speaking Circle, where everyone puts their chairs in a circle and students come and speak either impromptu or present a practiced speech in the center of the circle. This has done a lot to improve the confidence of some students and the other students are encouraged to be as supportive as possible. We discuss how to listen carefully, give each other ideas, and to speak with poise and clarity.
The students seem to enjoy this activity and learn a lot and speaking skills have been improving as a result. I make sure I model good speaking techniques and explain carefully our goals, such as improving volume, expression and pronunciation. Our speaking classes have been very successful this year and have helped our students develop into more confident speakers who speak with good volume, expression and pronunciation.