Fascinating Fourth Graders

What's going on in Mrs. Poulos' class.

Week of 4/23-4/27/16


I don’t know about anyone else, but I am glad to be back on a regular schedule.  Sometimes, it’s nice to change things up a bit, but I’m glad to be done with testing.  With that being said, we do still have several weeks together.  Let’s make these weeks the best ones yet!  We will be doing more “projects” in class, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t still have quite a bit of learning to do.  With that being said, let’s get on with what we’ll be learning this week.

Math – we will be working with measurements – customary and metric units of measurement.  We will be converting from inches to feet, feet to yards, and from millimeters to centimeters to meters.  This should be a little easier and more “concrete” than the geometry unit has been.  We will still be revisiting some of these geometry standards through our group work, so keep working!

Writing – we will be continuing to write our own myths, based on some of the mythical gods and monsters that we have been talking about in reading.  I’m very excited to read the stories that you are working on.  Don’t forget to include/introduce the characters, include dialogue among the characters, include a setting, and have a problem and solution.  This is your chance to shine and show what all you have learned about writing a narrative from throughout the year.

Science – As you may recall, when we were working on our solar system unit, we explained that we wanted you to have a chance to create a brochure to encourage people to come and visit your planet.  You all expressed an interest in creating this brochure after “the test,” so that’s what we’ll be doing.  We will have access to our new tablets as well as bringing in your own devices to work on your groups’ project.  We’ll also be utilizing office 365 for everyone to be able to work on the project together at the same time.

Grammar – we will start back up with our mentor sentences.  I have missed doing these.  We are introduced to so many great new stories through these mentor sentences and you have really learned a lot.  It’s amazing to see the transformation from the simple sentences you all were writing at the beginning of the year to the nice, compound and complex sentences you are now including in your writing.  We will be reading a book called Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher and focusing on personification.  Personification is the figurative language in which “personal” characteristics are given to inanimate objects, such as trees or desks.

Spelling – You will be receiving a new spelling contract this week.  This is the next to the last spelling contract for this year!  Woohoo!  I know you are excited about that.  Please be sure to complete 6 activities over the next two weeks.  If you have forgotten your spelling contract or if you can’t find it, you can download it below.  

Reading – we will be starting our Author studies this week.  I’ve created a list of authors that I think the students would enjoy reading and we are going to be reading some of their works, as well as researching about them.  Then, we will create a SWAY to share our information with our classmates.  I’ll be sure to post the sways here on the blog, when they’re done.  With that being said, please encourage your child to bring his/her device for the next several days.  We will be working on these projects using their devices.  If they don’t have a device, no worries.  I have 10 new Samsung tablets waiting to be used, that I had donated through Donors Choose.

I have really enjoyed working with this group of students this year!  It has truly been a pleasure.  I know that there have been some days that were better than others, but the students have really learned a lot this year and I’m very pleased with their progress.  Keep up the great work!  We’ll keep trucking along at school to make sure we cover all the things we need to before the end of the year.  It’s so close.  I just keep asking myself, where has the year gone!?  Thank you for the opportunity to work with your children this year!  I will miss them next year!

Tuesday, April 24th  – Cobb County Library Summer Reading Program Kick-off
Wednesday, April 25th – Jump Rope for Heart – Information sent home last week
Friday, April 27th – Color Fun Run fundraiser
Friday, April 27th – Zoyo Cup fundraiser at Zoyo at the corner of Baker Road and Jiles Road
Friday, April 27th – last 4 1/2 week progress reports to go home.
Monday, April 30th – WellStar Visit – 11:00 – 11:45
Tuesday, May 1st – Kindergarten Orientation
Wednesday, May 2nd – Kell Orchestra Performance for fourth and fifth grades
Thursday, May 3rd – Last day to turn in PNN applications and Reference forms
Friday, May 4th – Career Day
Friday, May 4th – Zoyo Cup Fundraiser
Monday – Friday, May 7 – 11th – Teacher Appreciation Week – info coming soon.
Monday – Friday, May 7 – 11th – PNN try-outs/interviews
Monday, May 14th – Field Day for fourth and fifth graders
Friday, May 18th – Talent Show
Tuesday, May 22nd – Early Release Day – release at 12:30
Wednesday, May 23rd – End of Year Class Party, early release at 12:30, and last day of fourth grade!

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Week of 4/16/18


Just two more days of our End of Grade (EOG) testing.  Whew!  We’re almost done with the hard part, but please understand that the school year is not over, even though we’ve taken the “End of Grade” test.  We still have a lot of work to do and many more standards to make sure we cover prior to the end of the year.  Thank you for making sure your students are at school on time, with a good breakfast and a good night’s sleep prior.  Thank you also for your understanding of not having visitors during lunch during our testing.  We will continue to have the “no visitors” policy through Friday, April 20th, to make sure all testing is complete and make-ups are finished.  The students worked very hard last week and if they continue to work hard on the test the next two days, there may be a special treat for them on Friday.  Please continue to encourage your students each morning.  Please encourage them to use the scratch paper that is provided.  It’s important that they actually try to work out the problems and not try to work them out in their head.  They have a variety of ways to solve the problems, so please encourage them to use those strategies.  Now, on to what we’ve got on our agenda for the rest of the week, following testing.

Math – we will be continuing to work on geometry to discuss lines of symmetry, as well as classifying shapes, such as quadrilaterals and triangles.

Writing –  we will be working on writing personal narratives – taking what we know about writing narratives (stories) and writing about a personal experience.  We will be focusing on “small moments” and really beginning to use more elaboration in our writing.

Science – we will begin our unit on animal habitats, as well as completing a project on a planet of their choice.  Stay tuned for more information coming soon.

Grammar/Spelling – we will be picking up with our mentor sentences and spelling contracts beginning back next Monday, 4/23.  Our next spelling test will be Friday, May 4th.  Be sure to check back next week for the spelling contract.

Reading – We will be working on various reading standards using Greek  Mythology Stories.  The standards that we will be covering are:  describing in depth a character, the setting,  or event drawing on specific details in the text.  We will also be determining the meanings of words and phrases as they are used in the text.

Monday and Tuesday – GA Milestones Testing
Thursday, 4/19 – Kindergarten Registration – Take 2 beginning at 2:45 p.m.
Wednesday, 4/25 – Jump Rope for Heart – information came home on Friday.
Friday, 4/27 – Color Run and Zoyo Cup Fundraiser and last 4 1/2 Week Progress Reports come home
Monday, 4/30 – WellStar visit 11:00 – 11:45
Tuesday, 5/1 – Kindergarten Orientation
Wednesday, 5/2 – Kell Orchestra Performance for 4th/5th grades
Friday, 5/4 – Career Day and Zoyo Cup Fundraiser
May 7 – 11 – Teacher Appreciation Week – More details to come home soon.
Monday, 5/14 – Field Day for 4th and 5th grade
Friday, 5/18 – Talent Show
Tuesday, 5/22 – Early Release at 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, 5/23 – End of the Year Class Party
Early Release at 12:30 p.m.
Last day of fourth grade!


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Week of 4/9 – 4/13


I hope everyone had a wonderful Spring Break and you’re ready to finish out this year!  As you know, we have “The Test” beginning on Tuesday of this week.  We will be testing in the mornings from 8:00 – around 10:00 or 10:30.  If at all possible, please do not schedule appointments until after 11:00 this week and next.  Testing is stressful enough without having to take it in a different place, at a different time and with a different teacher, because of not being here.  We will not be having homework this week or next, due to testing.  I want the students to enjoy their afternoons and get out some energy, as well as go to bed early to get a good night’s rest.  Please be sure that your students eat a good breakfast each morning.  Getting good rest and eating a good nutritious breakfast will help ensure good testing habits and hopefully will help to relieve some of the stress.  The students have worked so hard this year to make sure they are learning as much as they can, now is the time to show what they’ve learned.

We will be testing in the media center on the computers.  What does this mean?  This will hopefully mean that we get the test scores back earlier.  This year does not “count” toward advancement of the grade level, but we do want the students to show what they’ve learned and try their best on the test.  Please encourage your students to do their best, but don’t overwhelm them.  I want them to do the best they can, that’s all I ask for.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at [email protected]  Be sure to check back next week for upcoming events.  I hope you have a great week!

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Week of 4/2 – 4/6/18


Greetings from New Orleans, LA!  I hope everyone is enjoying their spring break.  Be sure to get lots of rest and begin going to bed earlier, so that you’ll be ready for “THE TEST” next week!  I hope you are working on those test packets that were sent home last week!  I’ll see you on Monday, 4/9!

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A huge thank you goes out to Donors Choose (www.donorschoose.org) and Ripple.com (www.ripple.com) for making this the best school day ever!  Ripple.com funded every single Donors Choose project that was on their site last night!  We are now going to have several new iPads and cases that got donated!  I’m one happy teacher today!  If you are happening to look for some way to donate, please go to www.donorschoose.org and find a project here in our area to help fund.  Teachers really need the support!  Thanks again Donors Choose and Ripple.com!  You’re the best and made me one happy teacher!

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Another Testing Practice Site


Good evening!  I was told about another practice site that students can use to help them become more familiar with the style of the Milestones that the students will be taking in just a few short days.  I will be going over the website with the students in class, but I think it would be beneficial for the students to have some practice as well.  I’m hoping to give the students an opportunity in class, but in case that doesn’t happen, I thought I would put it on the blog as well.  The web address is http://gaexperienceonline.com/.  There is a tutorial that your student can watch, in case they get confused.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me.  I will be checking email occasionally during the break next week, so please don’t hesitate to send me an email and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

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Week of 3/26-3/30/18


Only five more wake-ups until SPRING BREAK!  We can make it!  This is going to be a very busy week!  We will be getting ready for the upcoming GA Milestones that begins the Tuesday after spring break.  I know many people travel for spring break, I’m included, but please try to get some rest and begin getting into the habit of going to bed earlier, so that you can get a good night’s sleep for the test.  This week, I’ll be sending home some practice pages for you to do over Spring Break.  These practice pages will give you an idea of what the test will look like and the types of questions they will be asking.  If you complete the packets and bring them in, I’ll give extra credit!  Who doesn’t like extra credit!?  Well, that’s enough about what’s to come, let’s get on to what we’ve got going on this week.

Math – This week we will be beginning our unit on geometry.  This week, we will be working on lines, rays, points, intersecting lines, parallel lines, and symmetry.  We will also be reviewing the ways to multiply and divide to make sure we’re ready for “The Test.”  Please consider working through the problems that will be coming home in packet form this week.

Writing – this week we are continuing to work on informational writing.  We are working on a piece to enter into a writing contest.  Hopefully, one lucky student from our class will the prize, if not the grand prize.  More details to come, as we find out the results.  Stay tuned!

Social Studies – we are continuing our discussion on the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.  This week, we will participating in a webquest, so I’m asking that students bring their devices on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of this week, if they are able.  If not, we will use the laptops and desktops in the classroom.  I think the students learned quite a bit about the constitution last week, please be sure to ask them about what they learned.

Grammar – This week’s mentor text is Pinduli.  It’s a great book about treating others with respect as well as taking pride in who you are.  We will be continuing to work with simple, compound, and complex sentences as well as relative adjectives.  Remember, a simple sentence is a normal sentence – it contains a subject, predicate, and expresses a complete thought.  A compound sentence has two independent clauses that are connected with a conjunction.  Finally, a complex sentence is a sentence that contains an independent clause, as well as a dependent clause.  I would really like to see the students begin to use more of these types of sentences in their writing.

Spelling – Our contracts are due this Friday, 3/30/18.  We will be taking our spelling test on Friday as well.  Many of the students are not completing their contracts and their spelling grades are not as good as they could be.  Please understand that students don’t need to turn in all the activities that they complete, they just need to get you, as their parent/guardian, to sign off on their contract that they completed the activities.  The best part of the contract is that students have a choice in how they learn their spelling words.  You can find a copy of the spelling contract below. 

Reading – We will be continuing to work on “Close” reading – where we read a passages multiple times and begin to dig deeper each time we read the passage.  Each time we read a passage or text, we get more and more information from the text.  I’m encouraging the students to go back and reread the passages while answering the questions.  It will be so important for the students to go back into the passages and find the answers to the questions when it comes to “The Test.”  We have also discussed using a strategy called “RACE” to help us answer those constructed responses.  “RACE” is an acronym to help students know how to answer constructed responses a little better.  “R” stands for restate the question – take the part of the question that makes it a question and change it to a statement.  “A” stands for answer the question – this is to help remind the students that they must answer the question.  Many times, students don’t actually answer the questions.  “C” stands for cite your evidence.  This means that the students need to go back into the text and find the part of the text that answers the questions and use sentence starters like, “the text states,” or “in paragraph … the author mentions…” This will lead the person reading the constructed responses back to the passage where the students pulled their answers from.  Finally, the “E” stands for explain your thinking.  Many times, the person reading the constructed responses are not educators and don’t always follow what the writer was trying to say.  By explaining their thinking, the writers are explaining what they were thinking and how it relates to the question.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email anytime at [email protected]  If I don’t see you before Spring Break, I hope you each have a wonderful, restful break.  Get some rest!  Question of the week for a “NO Homework” pass – what is the special activity we have going on at 11:00 on Friday?

Friday, 3/30/18 – March reading logs are due.

Friday, 3/30/18 – March Madness Assembly where we tape Mrs. Bristow to the wall.  Keep reading and filling out those tape sheets!  We have four more days to turn in more sheets and earn more tape!

Friday, 3/30/18 – Our first Mystery Skype at 11:00!  I’m excited for our new opportunity to meet with another class from somewhere outside of our community!

Friday, 3/30/18 – Spelling test and Pinduli Invitation to Edit quiz 

Monday, 4/2/18 – Friday, 4/6/18 – Spring Break – No school for students or teachers

Monday, 4/9/18 – Last day to turn in Color Run fundraiser money.  We’ve already had two friends turn in their forms and money.  Let’s try for 100% participation.  Remember, this is a fundraiser for the school.

Tuesday, 4/10 – Monday, 4/16 – GA Milestones Test – there will be no homework this week.  Be sure to get some rest and eat a good breakfast each day, so that you’ll have the energy you need to get through the test.

Friday, 4/27 – Color Run – Time TBD.

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Spring Picture Packages



As you know, your child’s spring pictures came home on Friday, 3/16 in their graded paper folder.  They are some good looking kiddos!  Please take a minute to look at the directions inside the picture envelope.  If you decide you don’t want to keep the pictures, then please send them back with your child.  If you decide that you do want to keep them, please be sure to fill out the money envelope and return that with your student.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding with this.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email Mr. Traster at [email protected]

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Week of 3/19 – 3/23


Wow!  It’s so hard to believe that in just 10 short days, we will be on Spring break.  Please remember that students will be taking the GA Milestones the day after we return from spring break.  I’m asking that students spend just a little bit of time during their spring break to help prepare them for the upcoming GA Milestones.  We will be covering as much information as we can in the classroom, but the students will have an opportunity to work on some reading and math practice to help them prepare for the test.  I will have assignments posted on www.readworks.org that they can complete for extra credit.  Students can also go to Prodigy to work on skills, as well as XtraMath.org and USA Test Prep.  I will be out of town during spring break, but will have my laptop, so I will be checking in to see what they’re working on.  Please encourage your students to work for as little as 30 minutes each day.  Well, enough about what’s to come, let’s move on to what we have on the agenda for this week.

Math – We will be finishing up our unit on fractions and decimals.  With decimals, we only go to tenths and hundredths.   We will be discussing decimals much like money.  Hopefully this won’t be too painful for you students.  I have noticed that we are still having a little bit of a difficult time remembering how to switch from an improper fraction to a mixed number and from a mixed number to an improper fraction.  Please continue to work with your students on these topics.  In our various math groups this week and before school, we will continue working on fractions to help solidify these skills.  Please encourage your students to come and ask for help if they are still confused about something.  My table is always open first thing in the mornings for extra help, but I am not going to force anyone to come and work with me other during the morning times.

Writing – We will be continuing to work on our informational writing.  We have had an opportunity to research (as part of homework last week).  This week, we will be completing our post assessment and completing a final draft using all the strategies we have been talking about throughout the third quarter.

Grammar – We will be working with a mentor sentence from the book Crickwing.  We will be focusing on writing complex sentences.  Complex sentences are sentences that contain one independent clause (fragment that can stand by itself) and at least one dependent clause (a fragment that can’t stand by itself).  I’m including a website that will help you understand what complex sentences are and give you some examples.  Please find it here.

Spelling – We will be having our spelling test the week of Spring break (just 10 days away).  Below, please find a copy of this sort’s spelling lists that you can easily download, in case your child doesn’t bring it home on Monday.  Please understand that although we are not asking to see actual activities, it’s important that you as parents are having your students choose at least 6 activities during the two week “study” period.  I’m finding that many of the students are not completing the tasks and therefore are not performing as well on the bi-weekly spelling tests.  I do ask that the contract come back each week and that goes towards the “Work Study Habits” section of the report cards.  If your child isn’t completing the activities and returning the contract, then he or she may earn a “N” (needs improvement) in the area of work study habits and then in turn not be placed on the honor roll or the principal’s list for having all A’s and B’s or all A’s.

Science/Social Studies – We will be finishing up our Moon Phases and study of the planets and moons this week.  Next week, we will be moving back into Social Studies, in which we will be studying about the US Constitution and Westward Expansion.

Reading – we will be reviewing for the upcoming GA Milestones that we have the week we come back from Spring break.  I hope everyone will take heed and begin to review on their own at home during Spring break.  I’m going to send home an information sheet that will contain the information on logging into readworks.org (www.readworks.org) where your child can go in and read the passages and answer questions regarding the passages for extra credit.  If you aren’t able to log-in using  this information, please feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to explain what to do via email.

Question of the week for a “No homework pass” – what websites can be used to help you review for the upcoming GA Milestones that will provide you with extra credit?




Happy Birthday Mrs. Homer, 3/18
Wednesday, 3/21 – Third Quarter Report cards go home
Wednesday, 3/28 – STEAM Night (Performing Arts + STEM) 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Friday, 3/30 – March Madness Conclusion – Tape Mrs. Bristow to the wall!
Our first Mystery Skype – 3/30/18
Spring Break – 4/2-4/6
Tuesday, 4/10 – Beginning of GA Milestones EOG test

Cherrydale Fundraiser ends – 4/9
Fourth Quarter 4 1/2 Week Progress Reports go home


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Your child should have brought home a flyer about our upcoming “STEAM” night.  STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering,  art, and mathematics.  We have our own specials STEAM night coming up on Wednesday, 3/26 beginning at 5:00.  On this night, you will have the opportunity to come and see your child’s art framed and hanging in a gallery.  You will also have the opportunity to hear our wonderful chorus sing and even experience some STEM Activities.  It’s a night you don’t want to miss.  Be sure to look for the flyer your child brought home in his/her graded paper folder.

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