Team O'Connell/Chaffins 4th grade

Flames of Frey, AIM HIGH!

Field Trip

Our field trip to the Cobb Youth Museum is fast approaching (Friday, December 7th).  If you have not signed the permission slip and sent in the donation requested ($20), please do so as soon as possible. Payments are due by Friday, November 9th so that we can pay our deposit with the Youth Museum.
Here is some information on how you can pay online: MyPaymentsPlus

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Quarter 2

Ms. O’Connell and I would like to thank all of our families for taking time to come in and talk with us last week about the wonderful things we are seeing in our students!  It was such a nice week!

In Quarter 2 we will be shifting our focus in Reading and Language Arts to informational text.  Students will explore animal defense mechanisms as they will build proficiency in writing an informative piece, examining the defense mechanisms of one specific animal about which they build expertise. Students will also build proficiency in writing a narrative piece about this animal. We will build background knowledge on general animal defenses through close readings of several informational texts. Our skills focus will be to determine the main idea using specific details from the text, determine the meaning of academic words or phrases in an informational text, accurately synthesize information from two texts on the same topic, and write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and information clearly.

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If you have not already done so, please sign up for a conference next week!  Ms. O’Connell and I are looking forward to talking with you about your student 🙂


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Thank you Frey Foundation!!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to our wonderful Frey Foundation for generously supporting our math instruction this year!  The Foundation has made it possible for us to purchase TenMarks subscriptions for all of our fourth graders this year!  We love this resource for so many reasons, and are so grateful to the Foundation for providing it for us this year!

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Fall Break!

We hope everyone is enjoying some time with family this week!  We will be rested and ready to get back into our routine on Monday 🙂

Be on the look-out for information regarding Conferences (October 15 -19)!  We will be using Sign-Up Genius again this year to schedule our conferences – you will be able to choose a time that works for your schedule.  We will begin each day at 1:00 and go until 4:00 or 5:00 each day; be sure to look ahead at your calendar so that you will have an idea of times that will fit your schedule.  We look forward to seeing each of you during the week!  Please also know that we will dismiss 2 hours early that week.

Enjoy the weekend~

Ms. O’Connell & Ms. Chaffins

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September 10-14

In ELA:  We are currently reading Love That Dog;  students will engage in deeper analysis of Jack’s character and his inspiration through extended discussion prompts. Students will also learn to write informational paragraphs in order to summarize larger portions of the text.  Students are enjoying the different poems that we are exploring as they also try writing their own poems!  We are having so much fun using imagery to “create pictures with our words”!

As your student reads at home, encourage them to discuss how the character reacts to difficulties; help them to use text evidence to support their responses and when making predictions.

Reading Focus:  We will continue our Poetry unit.  We will be practicing a close reading of the book Love That Dog.  This week our focus will be gathering text evidence to support thinking.  We will also be analyzing the following poems: “Street Music”, “Apple”, and “Love that Dog”.

Homework: Students will receive a reading passage and comprehension questions on Monday which will be due on Friday.  There will be a comprehension check the following week on the concept from the homework (this week our focus is on  making inferences with informational text)

Writing Focus:  Our focus this week will be on writing an opinion in response to text.  Student will learn how to analyze a prompt, gather information from the text, determine an opinion, and cite evidence that helps to support their opinion.


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For the week of August 20th…

Important Dates:

Individual Pictures will be taken on Wednesday, August 22nd – information was sent home last week regarding packages available for purchase.

Wednesday, August 29 – Early Release – students will be dismissed two hours early (12:20)

Thursday, August 30 – Multicultural Night – Check your email or the school website for details.  We hope to see you there as we learn about all of the amazing traditions celebrated by our families!

Monday, September 3 – No School Labor Day

In class this week:

In math, we’ve been having fun exploring patterns (in Fibonacci’s Sequence and Pascal’s Triangle) and working side-by-side with our partners.  We’ve practiced addition with some very large numbers, and practiced collaborating to analyze our work and correct our “oops-es” with the encouragement of our partners.

Next up, we’ll begin working with place value, rounding, and addition and subtraction.

In Science right now, we’re exploring The Water Cycle and the sources of fresh water around the world.  This science unit blends nicely with A Long Walk to Water, a book that Ms. Chaffins’ is reading with her classes in Language Arts.

As we read A Long Walk to Water this week, we will continue to establish our routines and procedures related to class discussions and how to respond to reading in our journals.  We will also be introduced to  the expectations for writing through rubrics; students will be able to check their rubrics to determine what should be included in their writing.  There will be lots of practice as we work on reviewing the rubric prior to writing, make a plan for our writing, and then using the plan to construct a complete response.

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For the week of August 13th

What a busy first week!  We spent time each day discussing what it means to AIM HIGH as fourth graders; the discussion and activities included our whole class (homerooms combined) as we are working to establish consistent expectations and routines!  We are very impressed with the deep thinking and strong connections that are taking place 🙂

This week we will continue working to establish strong routines as we begin our grammar work learning how to identify parts of speech and how to revise a sentence to improve word choice so that we can apply these skills in our own writing.  In reading we will focus on making connections to what we are reading as we begin to learn how to take notes and connect our previous learning.

ELA homework will begin this week:  Homework will be given on Mondays and will be due on Friday each week.  This week students will have one passage to read and answer various questions throughout the week as well as a spelling list with the test on Friday.

In math students will continue to share their math thinking and demonstrate their problem solving strategies, we will begin to focus on number sense as we begin our work on Quarter 1 standards.

Please be sure to check agendas daily for important information and/or homework.  As always, thank you for your continued support 🙂

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Our First full week…

What a great start to the #bestyearyet !

We are so excited to get to know our students better as we begin our academic focus this week!  Our theme will center around the idea that we are all connected: How do I become a strong reader, writer, and mathematician within a supportive and connected community?

In Ms. Chaffins’ classroom we will be setting the stage for our Reader’s and Writer’s Workshops.  We will explore what it means to be an engaged learner in our classroom, how to contribute to discussions, and how to take responsibility for our own learning.  The lessons this week will establish the behavior and work expectations for our entire year as we strive to develop independent learning and foster those leadership skills in our students!

In Ms. O’Connell’s classroom we will continue the focus on developing a community of collaborative learning, we will begin to establish strong partnership skills as we work on developing problem solving strategies and how to have a growth mindset!

We hope that you will connect with our classroom through our blog, Twitter, ClassDojo (info coming home soon!), and email 🙂

Thank you in advance for your support, we are thankful for the opportunity to work with you and  your children this year!

Ms. O’Connell & Ms. Chaffins

Email:  kelli.o’[email protected]

[email protected]


On Twitter:  @4thTeamOC  and @PamChaffins

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Welcome to Our Blog!

We want to welcome you, fourth grade students and parents, to the Team O’Connell/Chaffins blog! Our hope is that our blog will keep you informed of school and grade level news and happenings throughout the school year.   We look forward to partnering with all of you for a successful year!

Flames of Frey . . . AIM HIGH!

~Ms. O’Connell and Ms. Chaffins

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