All About Miss Nicholson
Letter to Families
Dear Jaguar Families,
Welcome to our class! I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up here in the Kansas City area, and I attended college at the University of Kansas. I was a substitute teacher for a couple of years in Kansas City and also in Napa, CA. Since then I have been teaching fourth grade at Heartland Elementary. I am really looking forward to getting to know all of my new students and to have a great school year together!
We have many exciting things ahead of us for this year. Fourth grade will be a time where the kids are gaining some independence, and learning many new concepts. I plan to give my students opportunities for differentiated instruction and learning in our class. This means that all of my students will have an equal opportunity to showcase their learning in a way that suits them best. I will take the time to assess their learning profiles throughout the year in order to determine what activities would be best for them. For example, if it is determined that a student learns best visually, then they will be given an activity that caters to that.
Another example of differentiated instruction in our classroom will be through math. This year I will continue to implement guided math in our class. For each topic, the students will be given a pre-test so I can see what they already know, and/or what their focus needs to be throughout that topic. I will use the data from the pre-tests to create various math centers that would help each students’ needs. I will have activities for every learning profile, and I will also give the students some choices in what they do during math centers. The goal is to maximize learning for each student in my class, and giving them learning opportunities that work best for them individually.
I hope you are as excited about this upcoming year as I am. I am truly grateful to have all of the kids in my class, and I am looking forward to learning more about them. Please reach out to me at anytime with questions or concerns. You can also leave comments below that I can respond to. It is going to be a wonderful year!
Differentiation With Technology
Last year I began having my students blog, and they were given many opportunities to choose what they would like to blog about. One thing I have learned is that when students are given choices in what they are doing, they have potential to extend their learning even more. Allowing students to choose is another example of differentiation in the classroom. In addition, the kids were able to connect with many classes all over the world. I would like to continue with a classroom blog this year that the students would contribute to, relating all subject areas to the blog in various ways. This will allow them to showcase their learning in various ways. Blogging not only includes writing, but various forms of media can be added as well. Please click the button below to take a look at last year's blog to get an idea of what your kids will be doing this year.
This year we will have access to more technology than ever before. Last year, the 4th grade team was rewarded a grant that gave us 16 iPods to share as a team. In addition, my classroom will be an Innovation Spaces classroom this year, so I will have 12 iPads in my classroom. I am thrilled to be able to use all of this new technology in our guided math and reading rotations in which the kids will be doing activities that work best for them. We will also be using these devices to create presentations, to do various forms of assessment, to create QR codes, etc.