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Mr. Baken's 4th Grade Class

English/Language Arts with Mrs. Miller:
    For the next few weeks writers are using their research from Social Studies class to write an informational, research based essay on a group from Colorado history. We are working on developing our body detail paragraphs with facts, details, and examples and ensuring our information connects back to the sources and information from the text. We are continuing to practice essay structure and communicating our ideas clearly to our readers, as well as editing and revising skills.
 "A writer is someone who has taught their mind to misbehave." -Oscar Wilde
Reader's Workshop:
    The students have been working on using thinking strategies to help them understand what they are reading. I usually model one of the strategies during our read aloud, then the students go and practice using the strategy while they are doing their independent reading. The students are asked to share their thoughts by writing in their response journals, and include evidence from the text that supports their thinking. Another way to support our reading program is to have your child read at least 20 minutes per evening. Once they are finished, they should write a couple of sentences in their planners summarizing what they read and getting their parent's initials. 
 “When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.” — Maya Angelou
Social Studies with Mr. Alderton:
  Beginning next week we will start research on projects that connect to the National History Day competition put on each year in Colorado. The theme of this year for History Day is "Triumph and Tragedy." Students will research Colorado history topics (people, events, or groups) that experienced triumph and tragedy and create a poster about these groups. This project requires a lot of research and will take up the majority of our time from now until we present on December 21st. The research, creation of posters, and writing of the process papers will all be done in school. I am trying to provide ample time so this does not become an at home project. If you have any questions, please let me know. For more information on this, you can visit the official website for this contest at....
 Math with Mr. Baken:
    The students have looked at the math goals they have so far, and after thinking about the data they came up with two math goals that will help them achieve success as mathematicians. Please take a few minutes to have a conversation with your child so that you can support their efforts toward achieving their math goals.  Also, don't forget that I (Mr. Baken) am available most days at 3 PM when school lets out. I can sit with any students and help them with understanding math concepts. 
Finally, we are moving into generating and analyzing patterns (Topic 2) in order to ready ourselves for all of the multiplication work that we will be getting into. One way to support you child is to take 10 to 15 a night to start practicing their multiplication facts. Take turns sharing your thinking about how you got your product for the two factors. Thanks for taking the time to support your child! 
In case your child has Mr. Shipp for Math: https://riverview.durangoschools.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=662850&type=u&pREC_ID=1276785 
Science with Mr. Love:
    In science, Mr. Love and the 4th grade students have been melding life science standards (related to ecosystems and plant and animal adaptations) with physical science standards (related to energy transformations) through investigations in our school garden. These investigations have been based on making observations, asking "snap" questions, and then growing these into "inquiry" questions that challenge us with possibilities for further investigation and experimentation. Moving forward we will extend our application of the scientific process as we head to the Animas River to investigate both the organisms and nonliving components of our river ecosystem. We will also rely on our many classroom animals to help us navigate these complex scientific concepts. 
Before the winter break, we are hoping to complete a Summative Demonstration of Learning (SDL) that allows students to choose 1.) a current event, problem, or challenge that affects us locally (such as forest fires and their aftermath), 2.) a plant and animal from our lovely San Juan Basin, and 3.) a project through which they can show how #2 has been affected by #1.  Our goals are to create an authentic scientific inquiry experience, align to our school district's goal of developing and implementing Personalized Competency Based Learning (PCBL), and provide challenges for all of us along the way.