Fascinating Fourth Graders

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

Mid-Winter Break


I hope everyone is enjoying their break this week.  Get some rest and come back recharged and ready to learn.  We have a few short weeks to get through everything we need to get through before the GA Milestones.  Please remember that on Tuesday, 2/27, we will be having a “dry run” of the GA Milestones on the computers.  We’ll see you all back on Monday, 2/26.  If you get bored, please feel free to log-on to USA test prep and spend some time working on practicing for the upcoming milestones, as well as spending some time working on Xtra Math to help improve those math fact fluency skills.

To log-in to USA Test Prep, your username is your first name.last name (robin.poulos) and your password is Pitner.  If you have any problems, please feel free to email me.  I’ll be checking email off an on throughout the week.

Week of 2/12/18


Well, we only have the next 5 school days before we have another break.  Let’s make the most of it!  We have a very busy week, this week, so let’s get on with what we’ll be learning.

Math – This week we will continue working with equivalent fraction, as well as comparing and ordering fractions, but this week, we will be focusing on using them with a number line.  The students will need to know how to place the fractions on a number line, as well as use the number line to help them find benchmark fractions that will help them know the order in which the fractions fall.

Writing – We will be working on researching for our state projects, as well as actually beginning to write our state projects and trying out various text structures to present our information.  We have been practicing this with some “quick writes/flash drafts” in class, but I would like to see them try new strategies.  It may turn out that the best strategy for our state projects is description, but who knows, they may compare/contrast their state with a friends state.

Science – We will begin our new Science unit on Stars and Planets.  This is one of my favorite topics that we cover in science.

Spelling/Grammar – This week we will be using the mentor text Grace for President to focus using and identify adverbs in our writing.  I’m really beginning to see how the students are putting what they’re learning with our mentor sentences into their every day writing.  For spelling, we will be taking our spelling test on Friday, 2/16, right before the break.  Please make sure when your students are completing their spelling contract that they are not capitalizing words that shouldn’t be capitalized.  I mentioned to them that beginning this week, if they capitalize words or letters, and they shouldn’t be capitalized, the student will lose 1/2 a point.  

Reading – we are going to be looking at how we can use graphic features and visuals to help us understand what we are reading.  We will also be talking about various perspectives of the Boston Massacre.  The students will be reading/looking at various perspectives that are actual first hand accounts of the Boston Massacre and the students will be using RACE method of answering constructed responses for each of the first hand accounts.  Now, you might be asking yourself “what in the world is the RACE method?”  Well, RACE is an acronym that the students use to make sure they answer the questions completely.  R stands for Restate the question – the students are to “scratch out” the “question” part of the question and change it to make a statement.  A stands for “answer the question” – this is to make sure they actually answer the question.  C stands for “cite your evidence” – this reminds the students that they need to go back into the text and cite what they read that made them think/feel that way.  Finally, E stands for “explain your thinking” – this is meant to help the person reading the response get a better understanding of what you meant when you said what you said.


Wednesday, 2/14 – Picture Day – This will be a class picture, as well as individual spring pictures.
Wednesday, 2/14 – Valentine’s Day Exchange – we will not be having a party, but we will be exchanging valentines with each other.  Please be sure to bring in a decorated bag or box to keep your valentines in and so you are able to get your valentines back home.  If you do not have a box or a bag, we will have the opportunity to create one Wednesday morning.  Please make sure to include all students.  Valentines can be homemade or store bought, but there needs to be one for each student.  Be sure to download the new list below. We have a new student starting in our class on Monday, 2/12.

Wednesday, 2/14 – Media Center for lesson and check-out.  If you have books at home that need to be returned, please be sure to bring them no later than Wednesday.
Wednesday, 2/14 – We will also have our next guidance lesson with Ms. Perry
Thursday – 2/15 – Last day to return Cobb County Youth Museum permission slip and money.
Friday, 2/16 – Last day to return your Six Flags, Six Hour reading log for your free ticket to Six Flags.  Right now, we only have two friends who will be receiving that ticket.  You’re supposed to be reading for 30 minutes each night anyway, so why not keep track on two forms and get a free ticket!  You can find the forms below.

Friday, 2/16 – Spelling Contract Due/Spelling Test

Monday, 2/19 – Friday, 2/23 – Mid-Winter break – No school for students or staff – enjoy your break!  Get some rest and get well!
Tuesday, 2/27 – GA Milestones Practice test on the computers – 8:00 – 11:00 A.M.  Please try to make sure your students are at school on time.  Please try to schedule any appointments after 11:00, if you have to have an appointment that day.

Question of the Week:  For those of you who want a prize, write the answer to the following question on a slip of paper and bring it to school with you on Tuesday.  “What will happen if you capitalize a word that shouldn’t be capitalized beginning with this week’s spelling test?”

New Technology Opportunity!


Tonight, for homework, I want you go to go the following link, click the + (green plus sign) and leave your response.  Tomorrow, I want you to tell me how you felt about the activity.  Feel free to watch the equivalent fractions video as well.

Flip Grid


Flip Grid for iOS and android

Week of 2/5-2/9/18


I can’t believe that we’re already into February!  Wow!  Time is flying by!  Last week, we began our collaborative state research project with Ms. Stanley, our media specialist.  We are working with Ms. Stanley to learn how to research and inform our readers about our research properly.  With Ms. Stanley, we are learning to add our resources to our informational writing through a bibliography.  At the end of our collaborative unit, we will have a “State Fair,” in which we will present our information and have a “State Fair” with games and prizes.  We have been working on these projects here at school, so it will count for a large chunk of our writing grade this quarter.  We have a note taking sheet that we are taking notes on at school, but I have asked your students to try to download their pictures from home and place them into a word document, using Office 365.  Once they have used Cobb Digital Library to download their pictures and place them into the word document, I’m asking that students share the documents with both me ([email protected]) and Ms. Stanley ([email protected]).  That way, we both know it was sent in for Ms. Stanley to print in color for our final project.  If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to email either me or Ms. Stanley.  Now, on to what we’re up to this week.

Math – we have been working on finding equivalent fractions and we touched quickly on simplifying fractions.  We will not spend a lot of time simplifying fractions as a large group, because it’s really not a standard for fourth grade.  Some of the higher level math groups may revisit it, but as a whole, we will be moving on.  This week in math, we will be focusing on comparing and ordering fractions on and off a number line.  This can be a rather difficult task, but I’m sure the kids will do great with it.  Please continue working on those multiplication and division facts.  We are also going to start spending some time in class working on “Xtra Math” to help build the math fact fluency.  With “XtraMath” (www.xtramath.org), the students will have the opportunity to work on their math fact fluency.  I will be conducting fluency checks each Friday, beginning this Friday, to see how the students are progressing.  It is so important that the students have math fact fluency as we move further and further into our math standards.  Below, you will find an example of what it looks like when your students log-in. Your student should have their “PIN” stapled into their agenda.  If not, please feel free to contact me and I’ll send you their PIN number.  I’m going to begin placing Xtra Math on the board as part of their homework.  Who knows, there may be a treat for those who work a little each night.  We will be using the Xtra Math fact fluency to determine our end of the year party, so get out there and start practicing!  If you need any assistance with Xtra Math, please don’t hesitate to email me.

Writing – In writing, we are researching and taking notes on our states for our “State Fair” project that we are working with Ms. Stanley on.  The students seem very excited to be working on this and learning new information about our 50 states.  This week, we will be focusing on using a checklist to make sure we are setting reasonable goals for our writing.  Then, the students will continue working on drafting their various paragraphs for their final “State” project piece.

Social Studies – We will be coming to the conclusion of the American Revolution.  The students are really enjoying learning about the various taxes and struggles the colonists had to endure prior to gaining their independence.  We will not be taking an “end of the unit” assessment for the American Revolution.  We have been taking some “open notes” tests and quizzes along the way, which is what will make up their final grade.

Grammar/Spelling – This week, we will be using the mentor text The Day the Crayons Quit in grammar to focus on the different types of sentences (imperative, declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory).  We will also be working on identifying adjectives within sentences.  Your students will be receiving a new spelling contract on Monday that will be due on Friday, 2/16.  Below, please find a copy of the contract, in case your student didn’t happen to bring it home.

Reading – we will be continuing to study some of the American Revolution through our reading unit this week.  We will be reading a passage about the “Loyalists” and discussing the text structure.  We will be focusing on the various non-fiction text structures that authors use when writing their informational texts.  These text structures include: cause and effect, sequence, description, problem and solution, and compare and contrast.  Hopefully, by reading some various text structures together in class, students will be able to transition some of the same structures into their own writing.

Other Important Information
This year, all of fourth grade will be taking our End of Grade Level Assessment (GA Milestones) on the computers.  In order to prepare for this upcoming test, the students will have an opportunity to practice using USA Test Prep.  Please look for information coming home this week regarding the log-in information.  Please encourage your children to practice using this platform.  You can reach this platform by going to www.usatestprep.com.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me and I will answer them as quickly as possible.




Friday, February 9th – 4 1/2 Week progress reports to come home
Wednesday, February 14th – Spring Picture day – We will also be taking our class picture.
Wednesday, February 14th – Valentine’s Day exchange – please see bottom of this post for a letter regarding our valentine’s day exchange.
Thursday, February 15th – Last day to return Cobb County Youth Museum Field Trip form and money.  You can download another copy of the form below.
Friday, February 16th – last day to return the Six Flags, Six Hours of Reading Challenge Form for your child’s free ticket to Six Flags – this is such an easy way to earn a free ticket to Six Flags.  Students are expected to read for 30 minutes daily and that time can be incorporated into the Six Flags Reading Challenge.  Please feel free to download another copy below.
February 19-23, 2018 – Mid-Winter Break – No school for students/staff
Tuesday, February 27th – GA Milestones Practice Test

Week of 1/29-2/2/18


I don’t know about you all, but by Thursday of this past week, I was tired.  I know it’s been hard to have a complete week last week, but hopefully we’re through the “Snow” and will stay on this track of being in school each day of the week.  I hope this week will be “uneventful.”  Here’s what we have going on this week:

Math – we will begin our unit on fractions.  We will be discussing the vocabulary associated with fractions.  These vocabulary terms include:  (a) numerator, (b) denominator, (c) equivalent fraction.  We will also be creating our own fraction rods using our colored pencils and cardstock.  We will be working with these manipulatives to help us get a better understanding of fractions.  Hopefully, this unit will be a little more “parent” friendly than the multiplication and division units.

Writing – we are continuing to work on our informational writing.  This week, we will begin our state project that we will be doing in collaboration with Ms. Stanley, our media specialist.  We will begin designing our essay “chapters” as well as begin working on the research for the state project.  We are also going to be looking at some more mentor texts that help us to learn how to organize our writing (compare/contrast, description, cause and effect, problem and solution, etc.)

Social Studies – We will continue discussing  the causes of the American Revolution and adding to our IAN.  We will be focusing on The Stamp Act, The Quartering Act, The Townsend Act, and The Boston Massacre.  I believe the students had a great time learning about the Stamp Act last week, due to the role playing activity that we enjoyed with “Queen Bristow”.  I hope your students came home talking all about it and I hope you were able to check out the pictures in the post below.

Spelling/Grammar – we will be taking our spelling test on Friday.  Please continue working on your spelling contract this week.  It’s due on Friday.  For grammar, we will be reading the mentor text Snow Day! by Lester Laminack.  Our grammar focus for this week is identifying adjectives and adverbs.

Reading – we are going to continue delving deeper into the American Revolution by reading and answering some text dependent questions on an article called “Loyalists.”  Hopefully by delving deeper into the American Revolution, the students will get a better understanding of the American Revolution.  Students will also be working on reading and researching for their state projects.



Wednesday, 1/31 – Media Center for lesson and check-out.  Be sure to bring your books to return/renew.
Friday, 2/9 – Progress Reports will be distributed in weekly graded paper folders.
Wednesday, 2/14 – Spring Picture Day – This will be our class picture day as well.  All students will be in the class picture, but you can also choose to have your students have their individual pictures made
Thursday, 2/15 – Cobb County Youth Museum permission slip and $20 due
Friday, 2/16 – Six Flags, Six Hours of reading log due – for a free ticket to Six Flags (reading log included below)
Monday, 2/19-Friday, 2/23 – Mid-Winter Break – No school for students or teachers

The Stamp Act Role Playing


Georgia Student Health Survey 2.0



Please see the attached letter from the Georgia Department of Education regarding the annual Georgia Student Health Survey 2.0.  After looking at the letter, if you have further questions, please contact me at [email protected].  

Thank you for your time,



Jason Traster

Assistant Principal, Pitner Elementary

4575 Wade Green Road  Acworth, GA 30102

Office 678-594-8320 

Fax 678-594-8319

Math Homework for tonight (1/24/18)


I’m so excited for you to try this new way of completing homework.  I think it be exciting to try something new.  Please be sure to answer all of the questions.  Just do the best you can.  I don’t expect 100%, but I do want you to try.  Good luck!



Rating Form


Below, please click on the following link to answer a simple “rating” question regarding the “Area Model” of division.  It does not count toward your grade, it’s just to give me some information.

Week of 1/22-1/26/18


Hopefully, this will be an “uneventful” week.  Wow!  Last week was crazy for me, I’m sure it was crazy for you all too!  I hope everyone was safe and sound and didn’t have any problems.  We were very fortunate here at the Poulos household.  It was nice to have everyone home, safe and sound.  Well, enough about that, here’s what we have on the agenda for this week.

I’m taking a personal day on Friday, so we will be having a sub.  Please encourage your students to be on their very best behavior and show the sub how we do things in this class.

Math – we will be continuing to work with various division strategies.  We will review how to use the “Partial Quotient/”Big 7” strategy as well as beginning to work with the “Distributive property/area model” methods of dividing.  Please understand that in fourth grade, the students are not expected to “master” the traditional algorithm for division, so we will not be spending too much time on that strategy. We will go over it, but if the partial quotient and the area model work better for your student, that’s what they need to focus on.

Writing – We will be continuing with our unit on informational writing.  We will be focusing on taking our writing from the planning stages into the actual writing of the paragraphs and using the various text structures to write, much like the authors we have been studying in class.

Grammar/Spelling – We will be taking our spelling test from our inclement weather days on Monday and then getting our next spelling list and contract afterward.  We will also be reviewing Martin’s Big Words mentor text and focusing on prepositions and prepositional phrases this week in grammar.  Due to the inclement weather, I didn’t see any reason to move on, until we had a chance to complete what we had started.

Social Studies – we will be continuing our unit on the American Revolution.  This week, we will be focusing on some of the famous people, patriots vs. loyalists, and some of the causes that led to the American Revolution.

Reading – we will be going to the media center on Friday, hopefully, to learn about a new program that Ms. Stanley has discovered called Biblionasium.  With Biblionasium, the students will be able to participate in various challenges to earn some great prizes.  We will be focusing on the American Revolution during our reading this week as well.  The students will also have an opportunity to choose some informational books and work on summarizing what they’ve read using the “boxes and bullets” strategy.

As soon as we get notification about the Science Fair, I will relay that information to you through the blog.
Six Flags Six Hour Reading Challenge – due 2/16/18.  I’ll attach the forms below.
Valentine Day Exchange – 2/14/18 – There will be an updated class list sent home with students next week.

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