September 28, 2010

Our First Novel Study!

Today we began our first novel study. A "novel study" is an in depth, project based approach to learning, practicing and mastering the reading comprehension skills fourth graders need. Novel study topics are usually integrated into the curriculum and will often match up with what we are doing in science and social studies. Students read a certain genre of novel, matched up to our class topic, at their own appropriate reading level. Although reading different novels, all students follow the same criteria sheet handed out in class. The criteria sheet contains all the skills we are working on as a class during the novel study. These are also the skills the student will be expected to showcase in the final copy of his/her novel study. A novel study is a long term project. Everything mentioned on the criteria sheet will have separate due dates. Everything will first be completed as a rough draft, revised by teacher and student and then taken on to a final copy. I will always post due dates as they come up on our Daily Planner.

Our first Novel Study is a compliment to our study of United States Regions, and is appropriately titled, "Mapping Our Way". This novel study will focus on the main elements of fiction: character, setting, plot and theme. Students had the option of choosing their own novels, approved by the teacher, for this novel study. If a student did not choose, I chose for them. Students have each completed a reading plan for their own novel. Reading plans are located on the first page of their Daily Planner in the calendar section. The reading plan has been signed and approved by me and also needs to be signed by parents as well. Students were also given the first part of their project today: a graphic organizer for taking notes on character traits. Students will track their main character's actions, quotes, feelings and motives as evidence of the character traits they will eventually label them with. We will gradually add more note taking as the week goes on. Stay tuned for due dates.

Here is a link to the criteria sheet students received today.
Mapping Our Way criteria sheet

Ask to see your student's reading plan and note taking organizer. Any questions...please email. The students are so excited for their first big novel study!

September 8, 2010

The School Year Has Begun!

We have such a great class this year! I have really enjoyed meeting and beginning to get to know all my new students. We are already hard at work on our first projects. The two big projects we have started are the "Cereal Box" project and the "Vegetation ABC's" project. The "Cereal Box" project is a writing project where students design a cereal box based on their life. Please make sure to take a look at your student's criteria sheet for this project to see what it entails. Each component of the project will have a separate due date. The "Vegetation ABC's" project is an integrated science, writing, and reading project where students choose a plant to research. They will create an informational page, including an illustration, on their plant. We will combine these pages to create a class book.

Students have all received a day planner. At the end of the school day we record what we have done that day and what we have for homework in our day planners. This is for students to learn to manage and keep track of their own work. If you follow the link to "Daily Planner" under "Important Links" on this blog, you will see what we wrote in our day planners that day. This is a great place for you to check and see what your student has for homework.

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