Fascinating Fourth Graders

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

Winter Time Fun


Kids enjoying looking at the various unique snowflakes that were falling this morning.

We also had a great time working on our math skills through our guided math rotations.




It’s so hard to believe that we only have 13 school days left in this calendar year!  This year is flying by!  With this year quickly coming to a close, we have a lot of things that need to be completed and a huge list of “dates” to get together.  So, without further time, here’s what we have going on this week!

Math – we will be working on reviewing our multiplication strategies.  There are many “Multiplication How To” videos listed on the Math “How To” Video Page.  I encourage you to go over to the page and watch some of the videos with your students.  When it comes time for the “GA Milestones” test, the students will be able to choose their favorite method of solving the problems that have multiple choice answers, but there could be an instance or two where they are going to have to use the “area” model, or the “distributive model” to solve some “constructed response” questions, so the students will need to know how to use those strategies to solve the problems and that is what we are going to be working on this week, as well as some problem solving strategies.

Writing – we will be working on beginning to draft some our persuasive essays.  Last week, the students had the opportunity to research about their topic, as well as learn that the evidence that is included in the persuasive essays doesn’t necessarily mean that they use a book, magazine, or the internet.  The students learned that they could also be polling other students, interviewing others, etc. to add to their essays.  The students have some really great ideas on what they are passionate about and I can’t wait to hear what they write.

Grammar – we will be working with similes again this week.  We introduced similes in past weeks, but this week, we will be focusing on adding similes to our writing to help boost our mental images.  We will be using the book The Honest-to-Goodness Truth as our mentor sentence text to identify and use similes in our writing.

Spelling – we are still working on Sort 8.  We will be having our test on sort 8 on Friday.  Please be sure to study your words and complete the 6 activities from your spelling contract.  I would like to give another “assessment” to see how many students have improved from the first week of school, so that I can adjust their spelling groups.  I will probably give that later this week or early next week.  We will also be having our classroom spelling bee this week.  The winners of the classroom spelling bee will be invited to participate in the school spelling bee during the early part of 2018.  Good luck to everyone!

Science – we have just completed our unit on the Original 13 Colonies and will be moving into light and sound energy this week.  We will also have a visit from our “WellStar” ladies, who will be coming to talk to us about “Temper Tamers” on Tuesday.

Reading – we will begin focusing on some informational reading this week, by referring to details in text as well as determining the main idea of a text and supporting our thinking using details from the text.  This skill goes hand in hand with our writing unit on persuasive essays.  In our persuasive essays, we use a graphic organizer called “Boxes and Bullets” that helps us to get our ideas down on paper and support our topic using evidence.   Well, in reading we will be using boxes and bullets to help us determine the main idea of a paragraph/topic and write that in the “boxes” section, then support our thinking by providing details (the bullets under the topic/box).  Please encourage yours students to check out some non-fiction text from my classroom or the media center when they get ready to check out books.

Upcoming Events:

Monday, 12/4 -BYOD day – Ms. Prather will be coming in to teach us how to use our devices to log-in to Office 365 and how we can use Office 365 to create new presentations to present information or book reports.
Tuesday, 12/5/17 – WellStar is coming to teach us a variety of ways to tame our temper with a lesson called “Temper Tamers.
Friday, 12/8/17 – PTSA’s Dinner with Santa from 5:00-8:00 p.m. – information was sent home last week.
Thursday, 12/14/17 – Fourth Grade field trip to AMC Barrett 24 Theaters to see the movie Wonder.
Thursday, 12/14/17 – Holiday hat day – wear your favorite seasonal hat – reindeer, elf, Santa, etc.)
Friday, 12/15/17 – Holiday Sweater Day – wear your favorite holiday sweater.
Monday, 12/18/17 – Holiday Party – we will be having an afternoon of craft making and a special snack.  Please be sure to look for an email/letter coming home soon asking for donations.
Monday, 12/18/17 – Holiday Character Day – dress as your favorite holiday character – from your favorite story, movie, or cartoon.
Tuesday, 12/19/17 – Candy Cane Day – wear your favorite red and white or striped outfit
Tuesday, 12/19/17 – Early Release Day – Students are dismissed at 12;30 p.m.  Please make sure to send in any notes regarding changes in dismissal.
Wednesday, 12/20/17 – Pajama day – Wear your favorite pair of warm pajamas.
Wednesday, 12/20/17 – Early Release Day – Dismissal at 12:30 p.m. – last day of 1st semester/second quarter


Week of 11/27-12/1/17


Welcome Back!  I hope everyone had a wonderful, restful break last week.  Only about 3 and 1/2 weeks until our next break!  We can do this!  It’s so hard to believe that Christmas is right  upon us already.  Here’s what we have on our schedule for this week.  It’s going to be a busy one, because we have a field trip, as well as a number of other things going on this week.  I’m hoping to begin using the students’ devices more this week.  Please be on the lookout for students to have a note in their agendas for the days they can bring their devices to work on in class.  It’s my goal to try to get some math going in a class notebook, using Office 365 in order to save some paper and engage the students a little more.

Math – we will be reviewing how to find factors, multiples, as well as prime and composite numbers.  Once we’ve had a chance to review factors and multiples, we will be moving on to division.  This week, we will be working on division with remainders.  It’s very important for students to realize that when they encounter remainders, many times we need to “up” the number of what we’re looking for.  For example, if we are working on dividing groups of students to ride buses, we would have to have an extra bus for those “remaining” students.  We wouldn’t want to leave anyone behind.  We will be working in our “M.A.T.H.” groups beginning back on Tuesday.

Writing – we are continuing our unit on persuasive writing.  The students have been working very hard to form their claims and then using evidence to convince their readers to side with them.   The evidence that we are including in our writing may vary.  We are working on including some research, statistics, and a micro-story, just to mention a few.  The students are working hard and I can’t wait to read their final drafts.

Spelling/Grammar – we are going to be working on Unit 8 for spelling.  I’m attaching the spelling list/contract for you to download if your child doesn’t bring home his/her spelling list and contract.  

  As far as grammar is concerned this week, we will be focusing on subordinating conjunctions.  Complex sentences are usually made up of two clauses (partial sentences).  One of the clauses will be an independent clause – meaning it can stand alone and a dependent/subordinate clause.  According to Grammar Bytes!  (http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/subordinateconjunction.htm), the subordinate conjunction has two  jobs. First, it provides a necessary transition between the two ideas in the sentence. This transition will indicate a time, place, or cause and effect relationship.  Here’s a video that you can use to review subordinate conjunctions.  

Social Studies – we will be having our vocabulary test on the Thirteen Colonies vocabulary on Wednesday, 11/29.  I had originally said that our test would be on 11/30, but I forgot about our field trip on 11/30.  Your child should have brought home their study guide back on 11/15.  In case your student didn’t bring home his/her study guide, you can download a copy here.

Reading – we will begin working on using the RACE method to help use write a constructed response based on the reading of a passage.  This RACE strategy is an acronym for “R-Restate the question, A – Answer the question – make sure you are answering all parts of the question, C-cite the evidence – ‘The text says…’ or ‘The author of the passage states…’, E-Explain and Extend – explain how this evidence supports your answer, give examples from connections you’ve made.”  Hopefully this strategy will become  “second nature” for the students.  We will be revisiting this strategy many, many times throughout the year and prior to “the test” (aka – the GA Milestones).


Thirteen Colonies vocabulary test on Wednesday, 11/29 – this is updated from previous blog entries.
Field Trip to the Cobb County Fire Safety Village – Thursday, 11/30/17
Dinner with Santa – Friday, 12/8/17 – 5-8 p.m. (More information to come home soon)

Week of 11/20-11/24


I hope everyone is enjoying their week off!  Get some rest and give thanks!  We’ll be hitting it fast and hard when we return.   Only about 3 and 1/2 weeks until the Winter Holidays break!

Week of 11/13-11/17/17


Wow!  Just this week and we’re out for Thanksgiving Break.  This year is flying!  I don’t know where the time is disappearing to!  If I don’t happen to see you prior to the weekend, I hope you all have a wonderful, restful Thanksgiving break.  I’m so thankful for all the wonderful kids in my class this year.  I have truly been blessed!  Well, enough about me.  Let’s find out what we’re doing this week!

Math – we have come a long way in a short time.  We have moved from multiplying multi digit numbers by 1-digit to multiplying two-digits by two-digits.  The students are really beginning to get the hang of if.  This week, we have a relatively normal week, so we will be getting back into the usual routine of whole group instruction on Monday, followed by groups the rest of the week.  This week, we will continue working on two-digit by two-digit multiplication.  We will have an opportunity to play with some manipulatives and maybe even start a project.  Please be on the look out for a project to come home over the break.  This is not a project that students must do over the break, but if they’re bored, it will give them something to do.  There might even be some extra credit available for those who do it and do it well.

Writing – we will continue working on our persuasive essays.  The students have been working hard to form claims about things they are passionate about.  This week’s focus will be on transition words, as well as researching “evidence” – the details, facts, reasons, statistics,  research, and personal stories that directly relate to and support reasons and back up claims (Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators and Oakland Schools).  We will also be working on common transition words/phrases to connect/link multiple sentences.  The students will also begin to work on a micro-story to add to their persuasive essays (short mini-stories that relate to the evidence).

Grammar/Spelling – we will be taking our Sort 7 test on Friday of this week.  Please be sure you are working on completing six (6) activities.  I have bumped up the numbers, just a little bit.  Also, in Grammar, we will be working with a mentor sentence from the book Tikki Tikki Tembo.  We will be focusing on simple and compound sentences.  Hopefully, your child will be able to recognize a compound sentence vs. a simple sentence and will begin to use more compound sentences in his/her writing.

Social Studies – we will be continuing our unit on the 13 Colonies.  We will be reading about the first “official” colony – Virginia, and also discussing the reasons why the colonists came to what is now present day United States.  We will be having a quiz on the vocabulary that we discussed on the Wednesday following Thanksgiving Break.  I will be creating a game of some sort to help them practice their vocabulary terms.

Reading – we will be working on our upcoming fictional book reports, as well as story elements.  I’m looking forward to what the students are going to present.  I know the form says that projects are due 11/15 and 16, but I’d like to push them back to 11/16 and 11/17, if you all are okay with that.  If your student finishes his/her project prior to those dates, they are welcome to go ahead and bring them in.  I’m attaching copies of the grading rubric, the original form that went home, as well as the Story map.  Your child is able to present their book anyway they choose.  They can use Office 365 to create a sway, or a powerpoint presentation, or they can create an old-fashioned poster.  Please allow them to make whatever they are happy with.



Good morning!  This evening, I’ve asked that your students try a new “game” for homework.  It’s called Quizizz!  Here is a link that you can use to get to it.  www.quizizz.com.  Your child can even make their own quizzes.  It should be fun. They have until tomorrow night to complete this assignment.  The code is 630732.

Week of 11/6-11/10/17


Only nine more wake-ups until the Thanksgiving holiday break is upon us.  I really don’t know where the time is going.  It seems like just yesterday that we started school!  Wow!  Here’s what we have going on this week.  It’s a relatively calm week, just no school for students Tuesday, due to a teacher work day.  Below, you will find all the exciting things that are planned for this week. Math – let the fun begin.  We have begun the exciting time of learning a variety of ways to multiply larger numbers, as well as 2 digits by 2 digits.  We started last week by introducing them all, but now we are getting into practicing with each of the strategies.  We will be starting with the traditional algorithm and working toward the “box” method.  Please feel free to check out the blog to see all the videos to help you better understand each strategy.

Writing – We are continuing on our unit of persuasive writing.  We have been focusing on writing claims and now, we’re working to provide evidence to go along with each of our claims.  We will continue working on persuasive writing throughout the entire quarter.  Over the next few days, we will be focusing on evaluating our reasons with an audience in mind, how to use boxes and bullets to help organize our writing, and how to choose convincing evidence from research and paraphrasing.  This will be great, because we are talking about paraphrasing with Ms. Stanley this week.

Social Studies – This week we have moved from Science into Social Studies.  We have begun our unit on the original 13 colonies.  We unfortunately have so much to cover this year in social studies, so we will be moving very fast through this unit.  We will color a map of the 13 colonies, create a map key to go along with our colors on our map.  We will also be discussing quite a bit of vocabulary with this unit.   As we progress through the unit, we will be comparing/contrasting the three regions (southern, middle, and new England colonies).  We will be talking about the jobs, as well as growing season among the regions.

Spelling – the students will receive their new spelling list this week.  Please notice that I have “amped up” the expectation this week.  I would like for the kids to complete at least 6 activities over the next two weeks.  I’m attaching the contract and the spelling lists below.  Students don’t need to return all their spelling activities, if you as a parent signs the contract saying they have actually done what they were supposed to have done.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  We will be having our next spelling test on Friday, 11/17, which is the last day prior to the Thanksgiving holiday break.  

Reading – We are finishing up our unit on inferences, and we will be moving into point of view (Point of View).  This task is not nearly as difficult as the inference skill.  We will be able to read a passage/book/novel and determine what the point of view is.  This can be first person or third person.  First person would mean that the narrator is there and in the middle of the action.  Third person would mean that the narrator is “looking through a window” to explain what they are seeing happen. With third person POV, the narrator will use terms like “he/she,” “his/hers,” etc.  When you are reading with your child, or as soon as your child is finished reading, please ask him/her what POV they feel the book was written in.  Don’t forget your Fiction Book Reports – they’re due on Wednesday or Thursday, 11/15 and 11/16.  Please see the attachments below.  


Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, 11/7 – No School for students – teacher work day.
Wednesday, 11/8 – Media Center for lesson and check-0ut – be sure to bring back your library books.
Friday, 11/10 – Fall Jamboree at Pitner 5-8 p.m.  Come out and enjoy the fun.  There will be food trucks, Kona Ice, colored hair spray, jumpies, etc.
Wednesday, 11/15 and Thursday. 11/16 – Fiction Book Reports due.
Friday, 11/17 – Spelling Test for Sort 7

Last Chance to order a class T-shirt


We have been given the rare opportunity to order class t-shirts one last time.  If you are new, or if your child didn’t bring home the original order form for the class t-shirts and you want one, now’s your chance to get one.  All you have to do is download the form below and send it in with the money.  We’ll take it from there.  In case you haven’t seen them, ours are a nice turquois/aquamarine “blue” color.  All orders will need to be in no later than Friday, 11/3, in order to have them back in time for our field trip to the Cobb County Fire Safety Village field trip.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me anytime!


Week of 10/30-11/3


Wow!  I can’t believe we are just a few days away from November.  Where has the time gone?  This has been a whirl-wind since conference week.  Hopefully, this week, we’ll have a little more consistency without a lot of changes.  Please be sure to read all the way through the blog to know what we have going on this week.  We only have 15 school days until we’re out for Thanksgiving break.  Let’s make the most of it!

Math – We will be continuing our unit on multiplication.  We will begin working on factors and multiples.  The students will need to know what a factor is, as well as the first 5 multiples of any number (factor).  Please continue to have your students log-in to Moby Max to continue working on their multiplication facts.  I hope to get things going in which the students can bring their devices this week.  Please check back to make sure.

Writing – we will continue working on opinion pieces.  The students are off to a great start.  We have begun working on our favorite food and our favorite animals.  The students are doing a great job of working on building their writing stamina.  We will continue working on opinion throughout the entire nine weeks.  Please talk to your students about how they are writing and what they’re writing.

Science – We will be having our test on Simple Machines on Friday, 11/3/17.  I’m attaching a copy of the study guide below.  Your students should have brought home a copy of the study guide with them on Friday (10/27).  However, if they weren’t able to complete the study guide, here is a completed copy.  

Grammar/Spelling – we will be working on personification – this is when you take inanimate objects and give them human characteristics.  We will be reading the book Cloud Dance.  On Monday of each week, we jot down the things we notice about the story.  On Tuesday, we label the sentence.  Then, on Wednesday and Thursday, we revise and imitate the sentence to write our own sentences.  As far as spelling is concerned, we will be having our Sort 6 Spelling Test.  Please be sure your students are completing at least 4 of the activities on the spelling contract to be turned in on Friday.  I’m attaching the spelling list below.  

Reading – We are working on inferences.  This is a very difficult skill for students, for some reason.  It’s like they’re having to “read between the lines” to figure out what the author is saying.  For example, we might have to infer that the main character is angry, when the author says, “he stormed out of the room and slammed the door.”  The author didn’t come out and say that the main character was mad, but from experience and from what the author did say, tells us that the main character was angry.


Upcoming  Events:

Don’t forget!  We have the Book Fair going on this week from 7:15-3:00 each day.
Wednesday, 11/1/17, we will have another guidance lesson with Ms. Perry.
Tuesday, 11/7/17 – Teacher Workday – No school for students
November 12th – visit from Cobb County Firemen for a lesson
November 30th – we will have our field trip to the Cobb County Safety Village

Week of 10/23-10/27


Thank you to everyone who made it to conferences last week.  I greatly appreciate you taking the time to invest in your child’s education.  If you have any questions regarding the conference, please don’t hesitate to email me and we can discuss any of your concerns or questions.  I hope everyone is enjoying this nice fall weather.  Please forgive me in my delay to get the blog updated this week.  Life has just gotten in the way.  Here’s what we have going on this week.

Math – we are working on multiplicative comparison.  Basically what this means is that we are looking at a number sentence in which we are multiplying.  For example, 35 is 7 times greater than 5 or 56 is 8 times greater than 7.  This will help with word problems.  We will working on this skill as we compare the areas of rectangles.  Therefore, we will be “killing two birds with one stone.”  Please continue to work with your students on rounding.  This is such a difficult skill, but I have confidence that they will get it.

Writing – We have just finished our unit on narrative writing.  We are moving on to opinion writing.  Please understand that this is not necessarily “persuasive,” where you are trying to get someone to think the same way they do, they are just trying to provide their opinion on a topic.  The students will be able to come up with their own topics, so it may be something like “Chocolate ice cream is my favorite,” or “Halloween is the best holiday ever.”

Spelling and Grammar – This week, we are working on similes in grammar.  This is where you compare two things using like or as.  For example, his eyes were as bright as diamonds, or his skin is like an alligator’s.  Our mentor sentence for this week comes from a book called The Spider and the Fly.  It’s a rather creepy tale, perfect for the week prior to Halloween.  Please continue to work with your students on adjectives and predicates.  Predicates are basically what the subject (who or what – noun) is doing in the sentence.  We had a very difficult time finding the two adjectives and the two predicates last week.  Sort 6 words and contract can be downloaded below.

Science – we are working on Force, Motion, and Simple Machines.  We will be having a test next Friday, 11/3.  Below, you will find a copy of the study guide that the students will receive this week.  They are going to be using their resources to complete the study guide, but in case they lose it, I wanted them to have a completed copy that you can download.  Please find the completed study guide here.

Reading – We are working on fact and opinions, to go along with our opinion writing.  We will also be working on completing DRAs (Developmental Reading Assessments) to see how much the students have improved.  Please encourage your students to do their best and continue to read each day.  Don’t forget that beginning this month, every student that has completed his/her monthly reading log will receive a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut from Book It. Also, your child should be bringing home a Six Flags Reading Log and Parent letter in which they can earn a free ticket to Six Flags just by reading.  I’m also including a copy of the letter and reading log, in case your child doesn’t remember to bring it home.

10/26/17 – Cobb Water In-house STEM field trip
10/28/17 – Fall Jamboree – Here at Pitner 10a.m. – 2 p.m.
10/30-11/3 – Fall Book Fair
11/7 – Election Day – Teacher Workday – no school for students.


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