Dear Parents,

      We are enjoying the novel Because of Winn-Dixie.  Students are learning what it means to be actively engaged as they read with a partner and work together to create thought-provoking questions, as well as make predictions and connections to the text. As they participate in class discussions and write responses to questions, the students are realizing the importance of elaboration and referring back to the text for support.  
      We are also about to begin research on biographies.  Students will be learning how to utilize an outline to extract meaning from the text.  Since some class time will be allotted for working on reading and note-taking, students will be required to bring their materials to class every day.  There is excitement in the air as students search for the perfect person to study and decide upon the form of their presentations.  Having the opportunity to select from four book report options, students will turn in their written projects by April 3rd and be ready to orally present the information in a creative way.  Although it is not a requirement, they can also dress like the person, as well as bring in different props if they so choose.  
      Also on the horizon is a persuasive writing piece that will not only help to reinforce strong writing skills but will help to reinforce career/life skills as well.  The purpose of the writing piece will be to convince others to "hire" them to pet-sit while they are away.  Because "53 people will be vying for the same job", it will be critical for students to provide specific details and examples of experience in order to be strongly persuasive and to help them to stand out from the rest.  Papers will be judged anonymously by some of our staff members, creating a tally that will determine a final winner. It will be a hard decision since all of the students will be doing their best to be very convincing. 
      In addition to practicing their writing skills, our fourth grade students are working very diligently on acquiring grammar knowledge.  After completing our unit on adjectives, we will embark on a study of verbs which will further help the writing to come alive as students learn to  make rich word choices.   
      It has been a pleasure working with these sprouting readers and writers.  Thank you once again for your continued support and encouragement. 
Mrs. Oliver