Jan. 23, 2012

No homework this week. We’ll be doing a math assessment on Wednesday just to confirm what I think I already know for report cards, and we’ll be spending Monday and Tuesday prepping for it in class.

Dec. 15, 2011

The kids have been humming along on multiplication, long division, area, perimeter, logic problems, SET, and EasyCBM district testing. In the fall, 4th grade’s average score on EasyCBM was 39 correct out of 45. That put us in the 80th percentile in the district. That means that we’re higher than 80% of the students in the 4J school district. Our winter average was 41 out of 45, and we moved up one percent to be in the 81st percentile. Wahoo! I took a good look at the tests, and what people mostly missed was the material we haven’t yet covered, namely fractions and decimals. We’ll spend most of our time on that once we come back from the break. Also, several students need to work a bit more on place value.

I made some math packets available for those who wanted them over the break, but they’re not required. They will get them done at school if they don’t while at home!

My only advice…Keep practicing multiplication facts at home!!!

Nov. 28, 2011

Well, coming up are the District’s math EasyCBM standardized tests. I’ll post what day we will test. If your child wears glasses, make sure and help him/her get to school with them on those days! We will likely test on Tuesday, December 13 or Wednesday, December 14. The only other thing you need to do is help them get to bed in time to enjoy a good night’s sleep, and give them a good breakfast.

This week’s homework involves arrays, multiplication, long division, and area and perimeter. We’re beginning area this week. If your child struggles with the long division, don’t worry about it. It’s fine to reshow how to do long division; remainders, fractions or decimals are all acceptable. We will be working a lot on understanding and calculating area and will also be reacquainting ourselves with fractions and learning some decimals in the next three weeks.

The students have been enjoying writing their own division word stories. Tomorrow or the next day, when everyone has finished them, each student will do every other student’s word problem. That means that every student will do 19 division word problems. Each problem is on its own sheet, including artwork and a taped down flap that reveals the answer. Solutions have to be shown and questions answered in complete sentences.  The stories are quite entertaining, and the children are learning a lot writing their own problems and solving them. Plus, it really shows me who understands and who’s not quite there yet.

Yes, please keep practicing multiplication facts up to 10 or 12 at home. Five minutes a day with flash cards makes a huge difference. Remember that we’re going for automaticity on these facts, so accuracy and speed must go hand in hand.

We are, and will continue to play several math games:

• Autour du monde (Around the World) with multiplication and short division facts.

• SET, which is a fantastic game if you don’t already have it. The kids love it!

• Multiplication war, which you play with a regular deck of cards, minus the face cards. Aces can count for 1 or 11. You choose.

• Sudoku, Hidato, and KenKen.

Nov. 8, 2011

No homework over the five days off. However, I did make lots of extra credit math available: Sudokus, KenKens, lattice multiplication, grid multiplication. Plus, most of them have magic squares, KenKens, multiplication grids, etc. in their binders to do. Nobody should be at a loss.

We’re completing a unit on multiplication arrays and breaking them down into two smaller arrays. I also did an assessment today on multiplication skills (1-10 and some to 12), so you’ll get an update at your conference. We weren’t able to begin area this week, and we’re going into division, but we’ll keep doing arrays and work area in with that concept.

Oct. 31, 2011

We did a coordinates exercise that revealed a mystery picture and some other Halloween-related math today. We’re going to begin figuring area soon, maybe not until next week, but we’ll continue with multiplication and division throughout the year.

The students who have not yet mastered their multiplication have yellow multiplication cards to use for practicing. Or, if you have another method that works for your child, please go through all the ones that are giving them difficulty every evening.

Oct. 24, 2011

This week, we are beginning to switch gears from multiplication alone, to include more division. As I’m switching gears and assessing, the homework is a little different this week. Monday night’s homework is on its own. It’s a one-page, NOT on green paper (we’re out!), division assessment. PLEASE DO NOT HELP YOUR CHILD WITH IT!!!!

Tuesday, they will get the Tuesday & Wednesday night homework. Also, they will usually get most of their graded, returned papers on Monday, so please be sure to clean out binders so the students aren’t carrying around papers that should be at home. Merci!

Oct. 10, 2011

Maths

There are three main areas to cover in 4th grade maths:  1) multiplication and division up to 10 x 10, 2) area, and 3) comparing decimals and fractions. We will work on multiplication and division in all different kinds of ways throughout the year. It’s important for the kids to have their multiplication facts down really well by the spring.We’ll also begin studying area in November, and then we’ll begin tackling fractions and decimals after the beginning of the new year.

We are doing math in both French and English. This last week, we began doing magic squares, and now we’re doing lattice multiplication. We also built arrays with cubes, drew arrays with graph paper & colored pencils, played multiplication bingo, played around the world, and practiced skip counting around the class. We’re going to do a portion of the district math program now that involves splitting math sentences into alternative arrays, and we’ll be doing some word problems as well.

Every student has a copy of “Problèmes de logique.” This lives in their binders and is for them to do at school when they’ve completed their other work, not to be worked on at home. Parts of the process are understanding the French, learning new dictionary skills and strategizing to eliminate possibilities. The goal is not just to complete the book.

You’ve noted that I am a big fan of math games:  Sudoku, Hidato, KenKen, magic squares, problem solving. In class, I teach strategies. My goal is to teach them how to approach a problem, any problem, and be able to go through steps to solve it. If your child is hungry for more math than I’m providing, search the Web. There are so many online games to play out there. Also, there are lots of kids’ books full of brain teasers & math games of all kinds. If you want to do something more hands-on, bake with your kids. It’s a great way to work with fractions and to learn to follow directions. Try doubling or halving a recipe. Or build something together; measure twice, cut once is a great life skill.

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