Fascinating Fourth Graders

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

Week of 8/27-9/1


Well, we’ve made it through the first 3 weeks of school.  The grades have been updated and will continue to be updated each week.  Please remember that every other week, we will have a spelling test and the students are expected to complete 8 spelling activities during the two week period they have the spelling words.  There were very few students that completed all 8 activities this past week.  I promise, if your child is completing all 8 activities, they will do much better on the spelling test.  The spelling words for this week can be found below in last week’s blog entry.  If you need another copy of the spelling contract (aka activities), please email me and I’ll be glad to send another copy home with your child.

We have a busy week ahead, so please be sure to continue reading all the way through this blog entry to stay abreast of what we are covering.

Math – we are going to begin working on addition/subtraction of larger numbers.  I realize this seems to be a menial task, but you would be surprised how many students still have difficulty with the regrouping in addition and subtraction.  We will be talking about various ways we can add and subtract.  The students will be able to choose their favorite strategy.  The important thing is that the students learn how to add and subtract, not that they follow a set formula to get the same answer as everyone else.  I will be putting some videos on the math page that you are welcome to watch to see what we’re doing in class.

Writing – we are still working on writing a narrative.  A narrative is just basically a story.  We started out by writing personal narratives (small moment stories about them) and then we will be moving into writing realistic fiction/fictional stories.  This week, our focus will be creating a story mountain, where the students are focusing on the story plot.  Please be sure to ask your students about the story mountain activity.  We will then go from plotting our story to actually writing our story.

Science – we are finishing up our unit on water and the water cycle.  We will be reviewing for our upcoming test this week.  A study guide was sent home on Friday.  Our test will be on Friday, 9/1.  If your child didn’t get his/her study guide home, you can download another copy here.  

Language Arts – we will be focusing on a mentor sentence from Patricia Polacco’s book, When Lightning Comes in a Jar.  This week’s focus will be using vivid verbs.  This will be helpful when we begin to write our stories.  The students will be expected  to add vivid verbs into their writing, once we talk about vivid verbs through our mentor sentences.

Reading – we are continuing our unit on Analyzing Characters – we are reading The Tiger Rising by Katie DiCamillo to analyze the main characters, Rob and Sistine.  Each day, after we analyze them as characters, the students are working on their independent reading and analyzing the characters in their independent reading books.  Please encourage your  students to choose “just right” books and actually read.  The best way for students to improve their reading is to read and understand their reading daily.  When your students are reading at home, please ask them questions regarding what their reading.  I know it’s difficult to read everything they read, but if you could ask them basic questions such as 1) who are the main characters, 2) what is the setting of the chapter(s) you’re reading, and 3) how have the characters changed through their story.

Important Events for this week:

Wednesday – Early Release – dismissal at 12:15
Friday – Science test on Water/Water Cycle and Spelling Test
Thursday, 9/7 – Class T-shirt orders and money are due.  Need a form?  You can download another form right here.  T-shirt_order_form-1ndxdey

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at any time.  I have enjoyed getting to know your students and looking forward to working with them the rest of this year!


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Week of 8/21-8/25


Well, we finally made it to “The Great American Solar Eclipse,” but unfortunately, we’re not able to go outside and actually view it.  This is quite disappointing, but understanding since the glasses can’t be verified.  Oh well, we’ll continue learning anyway.  Here’s what we have on our agenda for this week.

Math – we will begin rounding numbers to the nearest whole number, as well as to all the other places within a number.  Please consider having your student log-in to Conceptua Math at www.conceputamath.com and work on some of the skills we have already covered.  This would be a great way for you to see how it works.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on android systems.  If your child goes onto conceptua, please let me know so that I can give them a little extra something.

Writing – we will be continuing to work on our narrative unit.  Last week we worked on creating our character by thinking about internal and external character traits.  This week, we will be focusing on setting the scenes for our character to interact.  We will also be discussing the “arc of the story.”  Please be sure to ask your student about the character(s) in his/her stories.   Ask them what the “arc of the story” is (hopefully they’ll be able to tell you by the end of the week).

Spelling – This week’s spelling words can be found below.  Please be sure that your student is working on one activity each night and has a total of 8 activities by next Friday, 9/1.  I promise, if they complete the activities using their spelling words, they will do much better on the test.  

Science – we had a blast last week with our unit on “Water.”  This week, we will be moving from “Water and the Water Cycle” to Weather.  We were hoping to be able to use various weather instruments to observe the weather changes during the eclipse, but that won’t happen this time.  However, we will be talking about each of the weather instruments, as well as the various forms of precipitation (snow, sleet, rain, and hail).  We will be adding more pieces to our interactive science notebooks (IAN).  Please be sure to talk to your students this week about the experiments and activities we are doing for our weather unit.

Reading – we will be working on describing in depth a character, the setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g. a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).  We will be using our read aloud, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper to really focus on the characters, settings, and events.  I think the students are really enjoying this book, it’s one of my favorites.  Please be sure to ask them about “Melody” and some of her trials and tribulations.

Other Important Information:

Tuesday, 8/22 – Media Center Day – Be sure to bring back your media center books, so that you can check out more!
Wednesday, 8/23 – Picture day for grades 3-5
Thursday, 8/24 – Guidance with Ms. Perry
Don’t forget to send in absence notes regarding any absence your child has.  Remember – the Eclipse day is excused, as long as we have a note.  All absence notes and transportation notes must be in writing, or be an excuse from the Dr.’s office.

Question of the week:  what is the website for Conceptua?

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Week of 8/14-8/18/17


It’s hard to believe that we’re already into our third week of the school year.  Students are really beginning to get into the routine and we’re getting better and better everyday meeting the expectations.  Below, please find information regarding our class learning this coming week, as well as some very pertinent information regarding the Solar Eclipse that will be taking place next Monday, 8/21/17.  Be sure to read through the blog for this week completely.  Here’s the “question” of the week:  What decade are we dressing like on Friday?

Math – This week in math, we will be continuing on our standards of reading and writing multi-digit numbers, as well as comparing numbers and rounding numbers.   We have started working in math groups through a weekly  rotation.  This has been a learning experience for us all.  Please bear with us as we continue to learn more about how to manage the rotations and how to accommodate all the learning.  I think students are really enjoying opportunity to rotate through various activities each week.  Please be sure to ask them what we’re working on each day.  We have also begun working on Conceptua Math (www.conceptuamath.com) to help teach some of these abstract skills more conceptually.  Each Monday, all the students will work on Conceptua Math and then Tuesday – Friday, the students will rotate through centers.  These centers include – M (math fact fluency), A (At your seat – generally a worksheet on the skill(s) being taught), T (teacher’s choice – the students come to my table and work with me on a skill that might need to be retaught or a skill that can be extended), and finally H (hands-on – this usually consists of a game based on a previous skill.)

Writing – this week we will begin working on our narrative writing unit.  In this unit, we are going to be focusing on “small moment” stories.  These are narratives that pertain to a “small moment” of time, rather than being about an entire vacation, or their entire life.  These are just “small moments” when something happened to them.  We will also be focusing on character development within the story, to help the reader become connected with the story.

Language Arts – last week we began working on our “mentor sentences.”  Each week, we read a story or we watch a story being read aloud from youtube and then we take a sentence from that story and we analyze it.  We jot down what we notice, we revise our sentence by using A.R.M.S. – adding information, removing information, moving text around, so that it flows better, and possibly substituting some words for other words, to make the sentence sound better and be more descriptive.  Also, during this week, we have the opportunity to imitate the sentence and try our hand and writing like some other published authors.  This Friday, we will also be taking our first spelling test.  Please be sure that your students are working with his/her spelling words nightly and that they remember to turn their homework in on Friday morning.

Science – we will continue our science unit on “Water.”  This last week was lots of fun with being able to pretend we were water molecules and able to move around the room like the various forms of matter (solid, liquid, gas).  We also participated in an experiment with Ms. Golden’s class in which we combined a solid and a liquid to create a gas.  Please be sure talk to your students about that experiment.  This week, with our continuation of water, we will begin talking about how water moves – through the water cycle, and how clouds are formed.  We will be creating some IAN (interactive notebook) pages using the water cycle, and we’re even going to make our own pet clouds and hopefully experiment with how rain falls from the clouds.  This should be a great week to talk to your kids about what they’re learning in Science.

Reading – We are continuing our launch units.  Within these units, we are learning how to read longer and stronger.  This week we will be focusing on “readers stop to clear up any confusion” while reading, “how readers take the time to figure out unfamiliar words and keep reading,” a comprehension strategy of “Drawing a movie in their mind while they’re reading:” – this will help them remember what they read, as well as choosing their attitude toward reading and why it’s important to have a stack of books beside them when they go off to read.


Eclipse Information:  Dr. Hosey has ordered several 100 pairs of glasses specifically designed for the eclipse.  These glasses can be purchased for $0.50.  Please know that students in grades K-2 will not be allowed outside during the eclipse – they will have the opportunity to watch it on the closed-circuit TV  We would like to take our students out during the eclipse, because Ms. Ucciferi has provided us with the opportunity to use the weather instruments to observe the weather changes during the eclipse.  I will be sending permission slips home on Monday.  If your child gets home without the permission slip, you can come right back here to download another copy to sign a nd send back in.  You can download the permission slip here.

The last time we had an eclipse, it was the 1980’s, so the teachers and staff have an opportunity to dress from the 80’s.  If you would like to dress up with the teachers, pull out those neon jelly bracelets and shoes!  Dress must be school appropriate!

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Open House 2017


Thank you to everyone who was able to make open house last night, 8/10/17.  I really enjoyed meeting/seeing you all again.  For those who weren’t able to make it, I have included the PowerPoint presentation here for your to look through at your leisure.  If you have any questions regarding the Power Point, please feel free to email me and I will do what I can to answer your questions over email, or we can sit down and have a conference.


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Week of August 7 – 11, 2017


We have our first week under our belts and we are off to a great start!  This is the best class I have had in years!  I’m so fortunate to have such a great group of students to work with this year!  I’m really looking forward to seeing how far they all come!  Please be sure to check back from week to week for information that we’ll be covering each week.  Here’s the first one!

Math – we will begin our unit on place value.  Last week, we took a number of pre-assessments to be able to determine what the students already know and what they may still be struggling with.  Therefore, beginning this week, we will be starting guided math.  Guided math is a lot like the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop model that has been in place for many years.  With Guided Math, the students will rotate through various stations each week to hone in on some of the skills they are still struggling with, or they may be extended on the skills they are already comfortable with.  I think this will be very beneficial for all the students.

Writing – we will begin our unit on writing personal narratives.  We will be focusing on looking a variety of authors and their craft and beginning to incorporate their talents into some of our own writing.

Science – we get to start our unit on the Water Cycle, clouds, and weather.  We are very excited to be teaching science this year, because we get to talk about the Solar Eclipse, as well as the states of matter, how the water on earth moves, etc.  This unit in science is one of my favorites to teach.

Grammar/Spelling – we will be starting our spelling/grammar studies this week as well.  Last week, we took a pre-assessment on some very difficult words and the students have been placed into groups based on what they were able to do through the pre-test.  These groups are flexible and will change periodically.  Your student will be receiving a spelling contract on Monday and it won’t be due until the day of the spelling test, which won’t be until a week from the Friday it was given out.  What that means, is that the students will have approximately two weeks to complete the contract and prepare for the spelling test.  Please be sure your student is completing the spelling contract each week, to ensure he/she is studying for the upcoming test(s).

Reading – We will begin our reader’s workshop this week and talking about various skills that will help us become better readers.  We will be discussing the various CAFE (comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary) strategies and your students will have an opportunity to choose the one or two each week they feel they need help with (after a conference with the teacher).  The students will be responsible for completing two journal entries, as well as a friendly letter written to me about what strategy they are using and how that strategy is working for him/her.  I would like to see these strategies carry over into their reading at home.  If you have any questions about how we do this, please feel free to contact me and we’ll set up an opportunity for you to come in and observe and ask questions.

Important Reminders:

Open house is Thursday, 8/10/17, beginning with a PTSA meeting at 6:00 in the cafeteria.  I know some of you have already mentioned that you aren’t able to attend and we’ll get with you to go over the PowerPoint.

If your child is absent, please be sure to send in a hand written note or a doctor’s note regarding the absence.  When your child hits 5 unexcused absences, you will receive a phone call or other documentation regarding the absences.

If your child needs to go home a different way, other than what we have on file through the “first day transportation” paper, please be sure to write a note in the agenda or send another note to the school with your child.  I will send them home the way that we have on file, and sometimes that is not current.  It’s also imperative that you send in a note, because many times, I don’t get to check email prior to dismissal, or if there is a sub, they wouldn’t know without a note.

Please send your child in with a healthy snack.  I’ve seen lots of snacks coming into the classroom, which I think is great, because we eat a later lunch than years past.  It’s important that the kids have the fuel they need, however please don’t send in sweet snacks such as cookies, cakes, etc.  Also, please don’t allow them to bring more than 1 snack a day.  This is meant to be a little something that can tide them over until lunch at 12:00.

Please be sure to check your students agenda each day.  We’ll go over this at Open House, but if you don’t mind, after your child has completed his/her homework, please look over it for completeness and correctness, then sign the agenda stating that you have seen it.

I believe that’s all!  I’m very excited to be teaching your child this year!  Let’s continue to work together to ensure this is  the one the best one yet!

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Great First Day


This has been the best beginning of school that I think I have had in my 17 years of teaching!  The students did a phenomenal job this morning!  I’m very excited to be working with them.  I know this is going to be a wonderful year!  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

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Office 365


I am very excited to announce that all students will have the Microsoft Office 365 digital tools suite unless you as a parent previously selected the opt-out decision.  You are now able to confirm your students’ access and/or gain their log-in information, you can locate that information via ParentVue (https://parentvue.cobbk12.org).  This is a great way to be able to engage your students, so I’m very excited.  Please look for more information to come.

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Sneak-A-Peek 2017


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Welcome to the Fascinating Fourth Graders Blog


Welcome to the Fascinating Fourth Graders Blog!  I’m so excited to get this year started.  I’m looking forward to meeting each and everyone of you.  This blog will be updated weekly, hopefully no later than Monday mornings, at 7:00 a.m.  Each week, I will include what we will be learning, as well as various math videos and study guides for upcoming tests.  Please be sure to check back each week, beginning July 31st to see what we’re doing in the classroom.

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