The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

… And We’re Back!

After a fabulously relaxing and restful two-week winter break, we are back! The winter break was wonderful. We didn’t get much snow around here, but that doesn’t usually happen in East Central Illinois around this time, anyway. Our snow usually comes in mid-January, just in time for my birthday.

There was a lot to do today, and we hit the ground running! The day started with journal-writing. For the first half of the year, students wrote in their journals each morning, but I never checked it. Sometimes they shared what they wrote, other times they did not. This is changing this year. The students will still do journal-writing, but I am going to start checking journals each week to ensure that they have all been actually writing.

After reviewing expectations and procedures in the classroom, we went to a Coyote College assembly for “Reboot Camp.” (At the beginning of the year, we have an assembly we call “Boot Camp” where we teach all students in the building all of our expectations. This was a review session.)

Following Reboot Camp, the students went to art, and then we tackled some math work. I’ve been concerned that my class has struggled to demonstrate mastery of adding and subtracting greater numbers (numbers in the thousands, ten thousands, and so on). Most of them “get” it, but they are getting sloppy in their work and, as a result, make silly mistakes. So today we started our last major re-teaching of the operations.

I started with really simple problems, such as 4 + 9, 8 + 5, 7+3, and 2+ 0. Then I put the numbers together to create greater numbers, such as 4,870 + 9,530. We did a few problems together and then I handed out sets of 12-sided dice and had the students work in pairs to create a variety of addition problems. Each partner would roll the dice to come up with a number and then the partners would add their numbers together. For example, one student would roll and 11 and 12, getting 1,112. Another rolled 5 and 9, getting 59. Then they added 1,112 + 59.


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As they worked, I walked around the room, monitoring students’ as they worked and checking their answers. Some of the students decided that using two dice at a time was too simple, so they started using all of their dice at once. It was great to hear them figuring out the numbers, reviewing place value as well as addition!

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We will spend more time on addition tomorrow and then tackle subtraction on Wednesday and Thursday before taking a quiz on Friday.

The afternoon was a return to our regular literacy block: the students listening to me read aloud from Anne of Green Gables, reading a story from our Houghton-Mifflin Reading anthology and responding to the selection, going outside for a brief afternoon recess, and then guided reading.

Our day ended with writing Today’s Topics, which we have also been doing as a class each day since the beginning of the year. Just as I am going to start checking the students journals each week, I am going to start checking their C.O.Y.O.T.E. binders to make sure everyone is writing down Today’s Topics.

And then the day was done! It is good to be back!

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One response

  1. Pingback: A Little More On Subtraction «

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