Mr Little Grade 4 (March 2021)
The Importance of Listening Carefully
If you are a student, a parent, a philosopher, a warrior, a police officer, a teacher, or whatever, what could be more important than listening carefully? In Grade 4, we began our study of listening with the auditory nerve, the ear. But let us be careful not to mistake “hearing” for “listening!”
We learned that hearing is the action of the ear, but listening is the action of the mind. Hearing happens automatically when sound enters the ear. But listening requires a lot more. It requires THINKING, which is shown as attention, patience, self-control, and being quiet.
March is a great time to practice listening, since we have dozens of guest readers coming to our room to read us stories. We practice looking at the speaker—not hard. We practice being quiet—not very difficult. We practice paying close attention—this can be a challenge. We practice self-control—oh, that’s hard! We practice being patient—this really challenges us! But still we practice, practice, practice!
We don’t give up, because the reward of listening is that we have a never-ending stream of information coming into our ears, and when we pay attention to it, we learn so very, very much! We keep safe when we’re on the street. We enjoy the symphony of nature when we’re outdoors. We find school much easier, and we stay out of trouble as well! One great benefit from listening carefully is you are ready to answer questions whenever they pop up! Reap the rewards!
Mr Frank Grade 4 ( April 2021)
Directions and planning a project
In our themed unit on directions, the students learned about the cardinal directions of north, south, east, and west. Our discussion led us to talk about where we were most likely to see and use the cardinal directions then we arrived at the topic of maps.
The students seemed very excited to contribute to the conversation. We decided to dedicate a few class periods to making a map as a group project as it allows for communication and creativity from the students. We talked about the different types of maps and some of the features that maps have such as a compass, different colors, a legend or key box, symbols and labels.
Next, the project was broken down into three phases for the students – Planning stage, Creation phase and Presentation stage. Then, students generated the language that the students would need to use to communicate tasks and responsibilities within the groups at each of the three phases of the project. During the planning phase, the students assigned tasks to each member of the group. They also discussed the features of their map, and the placement of those features on the map.
During the creation phase, the students worked diligently to draw, cut and glue their features to the map as they communicated what needed to be made and where features would be placed. During the presentation phase, the students put the finishing touches on their work. They also decide who would talk each feature of their map and what they would say before they presented their finished work to their classmates. The students really enjoyed this project, and as well as reinforcing their knowledge of the cardinal directions, they also learnt how to plan a project using three phases.
Mrs Doty Grade 4 (April 2021)
Word Study-Breaking Down of Words
In Grade 4 we cover a word study unit every week. The main objective of our word study is to go over the importance of prefixes and suffixes and how they can change a words meaning. The goal in each word study lesson is to help the students understand the English words and their parts and how they get their meaning.
Each lesson begins with an interactive PowerPoint that encourages the students to discuss the words as well as helping them pronounce the words correctly. There is visual representation of all the vocabulary to help the students conceptualize the words better. The students first learn the words meaning and how we say them in sentences. After discussing the new vocabulary we play a game of round robin and the students are given an opportunity to make up their own sentences with the learned vocabulary. Once the students start to get comfortable with the words we play “Guess the Word” where I give the students a sentence or a definition and the students have to write the word on their whiteboards. This encourages the students to feel more comfortable with their new words and to help students participate more.
Lastly, the students are to write their own creative sentences with their new words. This will show the students can comprehend the material just learned and use the new vocabulary correctly in their journals. They can use their new words in their daily conversations with the teacher and their friends. Through this variety of activities the students are able to practice the words through the week, as well as during revision weeks that follow.
Ms Becky Grade 4 (April 2021)
Writing - Planning and Creating
Writing can be a very dry subject, so to add interest to the writing project, and to motivate the students more, they were asked to think, speak, write, re-write and also to create a “great illustration” of their work. This learning process took a few weeks to complete.
First, we talked about Chinese New Year and some favorite moments or days that they had at that time. We talked about how to create their ‘story map’. Students carefully planned their stories, and began to draft their writing. At this stage, we spent time looking at helpful ways to begin sentences and use paragraphs. Students also started their illustrations over this time. These would become the background for their final published work. Students had time to paint and cover their paper to illustrate their day clearly. Meanwhile, during the writing lessons, students were encouraged to check their own work carefully.
Finally, students published their work on a white template of a cow, to reflect the image of this year’s Chinese animal. They glued it onto the illustration painting in a creative way. These finished creations were displayed on a board that looked like a field. Writing with purpose to create something meaningful allowed students the opportunity to express themselves and gave them a finished product to be extremely proud of.
Mr Nathan Grade 4 (March 2021)
First we reviewed the vocabulary we would need for the activity. As a class we practiced our prepositions of location: “across from”, “next to”, “between”, and “near” using pictures on the projector demonstrating each preposition.
Next, as a class we repeated the phrases that were important. “It is on 1st Street”, “It is on 2nd Avenue”, “It is on the corner of 1st Street and 2nd Avenue.” Individual students were called on and asked to give directions on a map with the help of the teacher, to show that they understood. Once they were familiar with each phrase they could answer where anything was on a map.
Finally, the class was divided into 2, group A and group B. Each group had half the information on a map and had to ask their partner from the other group to give them details on where things were to complete their map. Both children had to give directions on where the place was located then they could write it down on their worksheets.
In the end, pairs of students were called in front of the class to demonstrate how well they were doing.
We are thinking to have the students make their own maps and tell their friends where things are on it.
Ms. Doty's Grade 4 Class (January 2020)
In our Water Cycle Unit we cover many aspects of our English
communication skills. First, we discuss the water cycle steps through an interactive power point with the students going over the vocabulary. This is where the students can get a grasp on the
vocabulary and apply it to the fun activities ahead.
Next, we will apply our vocabulary to a fun activity and make a water cycle diorama. The students draw the steps of the water cycle; transpiration, evaporation, condensation and precipitation. To help the students understand the process of the water cycle we use an experiment with evaporation. We observed a cup of water for about a week and monitored every two days how much water the sun evaporated. We discussed the difference and how much lower the water was the first day and second day.
Some students noticed that on some days the sun was more intense than others and the water evaporated more. Now, that they have some experience with the water cycle and showing their knowledge of each step of the water cycle in order, we are ready to give a presentation of the water cycle. The students created a poster of the water cycle and shared with the class the importance of keeping a clean water cycle. They all did a great job sharing how a dirty water cycle can affect individual’s lives, animal’s lives and the air around us. Keep it clean!
Mr. Nathan’s Grade 4 (January 2020)
Story Cubes are dice with pictures on every side. We use them in the class to practice vocabulary and to inspire creative stories using the vocabulary that the children already know.
Day 1: We roll the dice on the overhead and review the words associated with each picture, not just what the picture is. So a picture of a turtle can also mean slow, or a picture of lightning can mean fast or electricity. The most creative of the students will tell a short story using the pictures that are available. Day 2: Today the students will not only tell a story but also need to act it out. We got into groups of 6 or 7 students and each person made one sentence of the story and acted out their part. The students all had a lot of fun and came up with creative ideas. Day 3: The students picked six pictures, words that they knew, and then made a story using at least those six pictures. This was a rough draft that the teacher checked and would make necessary corrections. Day 4: The students received their final paper and wrote their final version which was laminated and placed on the display board.
Mr. Little Grade 4 (December 2019)
Speaking With Confidence
Speaking is one of the last and most difficult steps of language learning. After a student has built a foundation of vocabulary and a basic scaffolding of grammar, they must exercise their breathing, mouth, tongue, cheeks and vocal cords to form words and sentences in unfamiliar ways. Once all that is under control, there is the fear of making mistakes and feeling foolish, maybe even being laughed at or scolded. In grade four, we are really developing the speaking stage. To that end, we have something called, “round table.”
The round table is a place and time for discussion. All of the students gather around a big island of tables, and take turns sharing their thoughts about whatever the topic of the week is. The topic of this week is “Good Citizenship.” Students are rewarded for sharing, commenting or asking questions. The teacher noticed that there wasn’t much time for everybody to share, and the girls were especially quiet, which wasn’t ideal.
To help with this, each round table was split into two round tables, one for the boys, and one for the girls. There was an immediate difference in the participation level of the girls! They dropped their shyness and began to share their ideas enthusiastically. They speak louder and more confidently. The boys and girls now have all the opportunities to practice speaking that they could want, and they all confidently share without shyness. They love it.
Ms. Becky's Grade 4 Class (December 2019)
Grammar Unit: Plural Nouns
Grammar can sometimes not fill students with much excitement, so the teacher decided to motivate them to enjoy learning grammar with a variety of different lessons. We want students to speak, read, write and listen so they really understand the grammar concept. Through free use of the new grammar concept, and with a little guidance, we help the students to feel more confident using it by the end of the process. This learning process took a few lessons to complete and spanned two weeks. First, the students were encouraged to describe what they saw. The teacher pointed to one student, then to a few students, and elicited ‘this student’ and ‘these students’ compared to ‘that student’ and ‘those students’. Then they saw some pictures and they guessed how to say the plural nouns.
It was impressive to see how many plural nouns the students already knew. Then we reviewed the way the endings changed and the pronunciation of each ending. The students took turns to choose the ending sound using a fly swat, and they really enjoyed this chance for competition. The students then practiced these points in some teacher-student-created class sentences, and then wrote their own. The students read these to their table friends and shared them with the class.
The next stage was to listen to a song about plural nouns and then a chance to sing along with it, to review the points of using plural nouns. They had a lot of fun in this part! Then later, they had the chance to see a picture with many things happening, and to write about it, using at least four plural nouns. To finish, students called out their plural nouns and another student made a sentence with it. Thanks everyone for participating so enthusiastically in a grammar lesson!
Mr. Adam’s Grade Four (December 2019)
To what degree are you a cute angle or an obtuse angle?
Although it can be argued that English is the international language of communication, sometimes Mathematics transcends language with less than fifty key words. Across the globe children love primary school Math, and teachers love teaching it, too. Recently, in Grade Four we embarked on our theme of learning about angles.
First, we learned the vocabulary of right, acute and obtuse angel. Then, students demonstrated their understanding by identifying these angels from images of houses and animals. In the next lesson, the students brought their protractors to class and they learned how to measure angels accurately by placing the center on the vertex of the angle, and counting the numbers from right to left, or left to right depending on the direction of the angle. Students eagerly participated in answering questions about how many degrees each angle was. Then, each of them used their protractors to measure acute and obtuse angels. Next, the students were shown how to measure an angle greater than 180 degrees.
The final stage of our learning process was for the students to put their newly learned knowledge to practice. In their groups they chose what picture they wanted to make, how to make it with the least amount of shapes, and show all of the angles with accurate degrees measurement of each. Now they have mastered using a protractor to measure angles as well as learning and practicing a lot of new vocabulary too!
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.