Parent information - March 16, 2020

Hi Parents,

    We hope everyone is doing well and working through the challenges of being home as much as possible.  Our plan is to communicate frequently, both with you and with our students, so please check your email regularly.

    We thought we would send you a little bit of more specific guidance / information about the folder of work we sent home.  Since there was a whole lot in there and we didn’t have time to put together a schedule or order of pages, we wanted to be sure we got that to you to help you organize your child’s work and time.  Please note that, as we individualize much of our work, and our students work at their own pace, not everything on this list is going to be in your child’s folder.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

    We will be making and sharing video lessons for much of the work that we have sent.  We’re experimenting with the best ways to do that and will be sharing them with you as soon as we can.  If you have any specific requests for topics you’d like us to cover, please let us know.  Until then, Kahn Academy is also a great resource.

    Of the math that we sent home, only the skillsheets, area and perimeter work, and fraction work have an order to the pages that matters in terms of your child’s learning.  The rest of the material can be done in any order and still make sense.  To help you prioritize, everything except the fractions work is material we are currently working on in class (though when we went through the students’ math folders, we also pulled out some past work that should have been finished but wasn’t) and should be done before the fraction work.  That includes the measurement (length, capacity, weight, including converting from larger to smaller and smaller to larger units of measurement), telling time, geometry, and multiplication, as well as skillsheets.  The fourth graders (and some third graders) also have some division work if they hadn’t already finished it in class.  (The division work the third graders were doing wasn’t something we could send home.  We’ll be working on that for later.) Fourth graders also have some work about reading a protractor, which has not been taught yet, so stay tuned for some video lessons there.

    Here is the order for the area and perimeter work.  We have fully covered, with hands on practice, how to find area and perimeter of squares and rectangles.  We have also discussed, and done some practice, of the missing sides work.  The rest has not been covered in class yet, except for students who got that far during our work times.  Most of the packets have a label written on the bottom right front page saying what topic it is, with the exception of review packets that I made for students who had done the regular packet already but didn’t fully remember how to do what it was covering.  The bold words are what is written as the label.

(By the way, we talk about area being the rug and perimeter being the fence.  They have a hard time remembering which one is which.)

  • Counting: This is irregular shapes made of squares and the students need to actually count the squares and the sides to get the area and perimeter.
  • Multiplying: Using the formula of length times width to get the area of rectangles and squares.
  • Add and Multiply:  This is using the formula for the perimeter of rectangles - length plus the width times 2   [ 2 x (l + w) ]  The students don’t have to use the formula, they can just add up the four sides, but facility with the formula is extremely helpful for the next few assignments.
  • Story problems (not labeled): This requires the students to read and understand the problem and solve for the area and/or perimeter.  Drawing and labeling pictures is a great strategy for this.  Remind them to read carefully and include the units they are measuring with.
  • Drawing (not labeled):  This asks the students to first draw rectangles with a given area of perimeter (1st page) and then, given a rectangle, draw a different one that has either the same area and different perimeter, or same perimeter and different area (2nd page).  Using the formulas here makes this much easier.  So, for example, if I need to draw a rectangle with an area of 28, what times what makes 28.  If it is a perimeter of 28, then I cut it in half (to account for the 2 times part of the formula) and then think what plus what equals 14.  On a couple of the spaces, there aren’t enough dots to make a solution that works, so they can just add a row of dots.
  • Missing information (area): Given the area and one side, what does the missing side measure?  So if the area is 18 and one side is 3, what times 3 equals 18?
  • Missing info perimeter: Given the perimeter and one side, what does the missing side measure?  Again, using the formula makes this much easier.  So if the perimeter is 20 and one side is 4, what plus 4 equals half of 20?  Another strategy is to add the two known sides together (4 + 4) and subtract that from the perimeter (20 - 8 = 12) and then divide that answer by 2 to account for both sides (12 divided by 2 = 6).  
  • Combining area: This is about how to find the area of shapes that are made by combining two or more rectangles/squares.  There are two different strategies for this that will be shared via video, as it’s much easier to show that way!
  • Missing labels / complex (perimeter): This is about how to find the perimeter of shapes that are made by combining two or more rectangles/squares.  The strategy here is to just add up the sides, making sure to mark each side as you add it in to be sure you get them all.  What makes these a little more challenging is that frequently not all of the sides are labeled, so if you just add up the given numbers, you won’t have found the full perimeter.  So they need to be sure they get all of the sides labeled before they start.  They usually want to guesstimate, but we teach them to use what they know about rectangles instead, which is that opposite sides are equal.  Again, this is easiest shown with visuals.

    The work above is what is expected for third and fourth graders (mostly, they need to know most of the same concepts, with fourth graders having more of an emphasis on the story problems).  For our students who were already close to mastering those concepts, we sent home work with area involving right triangles (halves) and measuring volume.

    As far as pacing goes, different students work at different speeds.  We usually do math in 45 minute chunks and expect the students to finish at least the back and front of one page in that time, depending on how much is on a page.  Many students can finish an entire packet of area and perimeter work in that time, at least up until the last couple of assignments that are more complex.  

    A special note about skillsheets for anyone who has a multiplication 5 packet in their folder.  That particular set of skillsheets is usually done in sections, with Ms. Denise teaching each section and building a deeper understanding of how two digit by two digit (and higher) multiplication works.  These will definitely be part of the video lessons that get posted, but you are welcome to show your child how to do it as well.  It is really important, however, that you check in with your child during the first few problems of each page to make sure he/she is understanding what to do so that he/she doesn’t get frustrated by doing the whole page wrong.  

    Since this is quite long enough, we will send home the information about fractions in a later email. 

Stay well everyone!

Denise and Lauren

Expiration Date: 
Jul 31