The Week Ahead
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4-A & 4-24Jon Polly - Science

Justin Mazzola - Humanities

Lauren Gadie - Math
LeAnne Fowlkes - Literacy

February 27, 2017

It was a short but exciting week in fourth grade! In addition to the usual excitement in our fourth grade classrooms, we worked through some nervous giggles and with wide-eyed interest tackled the topic of puberty. We ended the week with a very fun field trip to SF Museum of Modern Art. We divided up into small groups and had a docent-led tour of several different artists’ work and engaged with the art pieces by creating art of our own or by participating in discussions about the works we were investigating. After our docent-led tours were complete, we were able to check out the rest of the exhibits on display in the museum as well. Several pictures from our field trip have been posted on our Instagram account (4thataltavista). Check them out! By now, you should have received an invitation from your homeroom teacher asking you to sign up for a parent-teacher conference slot. Conferences are scheduled for Friday, March 17 and Monday, March 20. We look forward to meeting with all of you soon to discuss your child’s progress. Students are now beginning to work on their research projects, and they will be presenting them on April 12. Please mark your calendars now.

Last week in science, we began the week with a fun game of Chemistry BINGO to review the material we have learned so far in our Chemistry unit. We reviewed the definitions of elements and compounds and learned about mixtures, solutions, and colloids. We worked to try to identify or create examples of each of those based on materials we had available to us in class. We ended our week in science playing an identification game--students would draw a card with words or phrases such as, “Element” or “Solution” or “Mixture, solids only”, and then they had to go to the supplies table and either select or create something to match the requested item from the card they drew. This week in science, we will investigate solubility and test the solubility of various powdered substances. We will also look into pH and test the pH of various substances in solution. These are the first labs in a series of labs that will help prepare our students for the upcoming mystery powders lab.

Last week in math students obtained their own set of fractions strips (ranging from one whole to twelfths)! This tool will be placed inside each student’s homework folder. We highly encourage that students utilize their fraction strips when feeling like support is needed, or when checking through their finished homework. The remaining of our week was spent working in pairs to solve a set of real life problems. These problems asked students to reason about equivalent fractions. As they progress through the problems students will use operations of fractions, investigate patterns involving fractions, and create generalizations. For example, they must solve problems involving feeding a dog different types and amounts of food, requiring them to explore multiplication of fractions. Students will be encouraged to use manipulatives, models and drawings to help them to problem solve. Later in the week we will play some whole group games, continuing to reinforce and spiral back around to simplifying and equivalent fractions.

Have you ever wondered why our state has so many cities with Spanish names? Last week in Humanities, we learned how explorers from Spain wound up in present-day California thanks to conquistadors such as Hernán Cortés and Sebastian Vizcaino. Next, students paired off to research various missions built in the 1700s. Tasked with identifying pros and cons of these Spanish settlements, students pointed out native tribes learned new skills such as blacksmithing and raising livestock, yet were also forced to renounce their gods and sometimes even enslaved! Partners then moved around the classroom to compare and contrast their mission with others’. This week we’ll continue focusing on California’s history as we move into the 1800s, launching our Westward Expansion research projects in Humanacy (Humanities + Literacy)! This student-driven, multi-week unit will culminate in our presentation day April 12 at 9 a.m. We hope you can make it!

Writing: During our shorter academic week, students worked to prepare for publishing their opinion essays on our classroom blog: Students are very excited to have a semi-public platform to share their opinions, the latest current events, as well as some featured Book Reviews. This week students will begin thinking about the research project that will have a “Humanacy” focus. We will begin to review the project’s rubric and other project expectations this week.

Reader’s Workshop and Book Clubs: Last week, we postponed Book Clubs so that we could participate in a grade-wide book-club called “Body Talks”. This week, Book Clubs resume, and students are either beginning the genre of historical fiction, wrapping up their final in-class culminating book projects, or reviewing non-fiction text reading strategies before diving into the humanities + literacy research projects.


Humanities: Please read the two assigned Newsela articles about the Louisiana Purchase and the Thomas Jefferson’s message on the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Be prepared to discuss tomorrow in class.
Literacy: Students please complete your posts on: Then read at least one other post (essay) and make a comment. Feel free to show your blog account to your parents!

Math: Students should complete ‘Simplifying fractions’
Science: Complete post-lab questions regarding solubility.

Humanities: Please watch this video and answer the questions in your homework folder. Literacy: Reading Response Journal Entry: How was/is the setting important to the story?

Math: Students should complete ‘Equivalent fractions’
Science: Type up your lab report using the template we created on Google Drive.

a progressive learning environment
an emphasis on science, math and technology
Alta Vista School 
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