Fascinating Fourth Graders

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

Week of 10/16-10/20


Welcome to Conference Week, 2017.  This week, we will be having conferences this week, with dismissal at 12:30 each day.  Please be sure to send any changes in dismissal in writing.  I can not legally send your child home other than their usual way without a handwritten note from you.  Thank you in advance for your help and understanding.  With this being conference week, we will have a very busy week.   Please be sure to read through the entire blog to know what’s happening.

Math – we will begin our unit on multiplication and division.  We took a pre-test on Friday and our groups will be based on the outcome of the pretest scores.  Please understand that the groups could change week to week based on each standard.  We will be continuing to work with Conceptua Math, which helps to teach the concepts conceptually.  Students have several opportunities to work on their math skills at home.  They can use Conceptua (www.conceputamath.com), but they can also use Moby Max (www.mobymax.com).  If you would like the students’ usernames and passwords, please feel free to email me and I’ll be glad to send them to you.

Writing – we will be continuing to type our final drafts of our narrative stories and we will be moving into our next unit of writing, opinion.  We will be talking about opinions, rather than persuasive writing.  We will not be writing to get someone to think like us, but stating a claim.  This claim will include research on the specific topic, so please talk with your students about possible topics that they might be interested in taking a stand on.

Spelling – we will continue with our Sort #5 and we will be taking our quiz on Friday.  If you have misplaced your contract or spelling list, you can download them here.  

Grammar – we will continue working on adjectives, as well as sentences – what type of sentence is the mentor sentence (declarative, interrogative, exclamatory), simple, compound, or complex sentence, etc.  We will be taking our weekly quiz on Friday.  The quiz will be over adjectives, as well as finding three mistakes in the sentence and writing it correctly.

Reading – we will be working on identifying the theme of the story, story elements, as well as how we can use the rising action to predict the climax of the story.  We will also be working on taking our DRAs, which is our Developmental Reading Assessment.  Hopefully, the students have increased their reading ability and this will show how much they’ve increased.  Please encourage them to do the best they can on all assessments.  The DRA is just one assessment we use to determine if your child is on, above, or below grade level.

Conference week – 12:30 dismissal all week
Wednesday, 10/18/17 is the 50th day of school – dress in your favorite 50’s attire.
Friday, 10/20/17 is our fundraiser for CHOA (Children’s Health Care of Atlanta) – bring $1.00 and wear a Superhero cape.
October 22-27 – Red Ribbon Week
October 24th – Author Visit – more details to come
October 26th – Grandparent’s Day – more details to come
October 28th – Fall Jamboree – 10 – 2

Monday – Wear Red – “Red-y to Live a Drug-Free Life”
Tuesday – “Team Up Against Bullying and Drugs” – Wear your favorite team jersey
Wednesday – “Yes we ‘Can’ be Bully & Drug Free” – bring in canned goods for our Thanksgiving drive to make a difference
Thursday – “Don’t Let Drugs Mix You Up” – wear mismatched or backward clothing
Friday – “Hats off to Being Bully & Drug Free” – wear your favorite or crazy hat
Poster Contest – students are encouraged to create a poster displaying why their peers should say no to drugs and/or bullying.


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Week of 10/2-10/6/17


It’s so hard to believe that it’s already October!  This year is flying by!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Fall Break and was able to get some rest and relaxation and is ready to hit the ground running.  This is the last week of the quarter.  The end of the quarter is Friday, 10/6 with report cards coming home the week of conferences.  Please be sure to check your child’s folder on Monday for your scheduled conference day and time.  I’ll be holding conferences late on Monday and Tuesday, October 15th and 16th.  Now, on to what we have on our agenda for this week.

Math – we will begin our unit on subtracting larger numbers.  We will start our week with using the laptops to work on Conceptuamath.  Hopefully, after the conceptual views of working with subtraction, the students will have a better understanding.  Please help your student with realizing when they regroup from the tens, hundreds, thousands, ten-thousands, etc. that they are regrouping ten (10) of each – for example, if your student is trying to solve an equation such as 54 – 28, they would need to regroup 10 ones from the tens column to make the 50 in 54 a 40 and then, the 10 ones would be added to the four to make 14 ones.  Then, they can subtract eight ones from the 14 ones and get six ones.  Then, they would move to the tens column and now that they have four tens, they can subtract two tens to be left with 2 tens and six ones, so the difference between 54-28 is 26.  We will continue to work on this standard all week.

Writing – we are continuing to work on our narrative unit.  The students will begin to revise and edit their realistic fiction stories and prepare to type their stories using the laptops.  This week, in particular, we will be looking at our stories through various different “lenses” as we reread what we have written to make sure we are thinking about the audience that we’re writing for.  We will be rereading our stories to make sure we have included a lead that is connected to the importance of the story and write scenes with description and detail.  We will also be focusing on making sure our words are spelled correctly and that the usage is correct – we don’t want to have subjects and predicates that don’t agree.

Social Studies – we will complete our unit on European explorers.  We will be discussing the European explorers that came to the “New World” in search of riches such as gold, spices, etc.  We will also be discussing the obstacles that they encountered on their journeys to the “New World.”  Some of these obstacles include:  (a) Native Americans who weren’t friendly, (b) weather, and (c) disease to name a few.

Spelling – we will be continuing with the sort that we started last week (prior to the break).  You can find the spelling contract and the spelling words below.


Grammar – we will be continuing with our mentor sentences.  This week’s focus will be on conjunctions in compound sentences.  Please be sure to discuss with your students what they are learning about conjunctions – they know what the conjunctions are, but I’m not sure they totally understand the purpose of conjunctions, especially when we are talking about compound sentences.  We’re so used to writing simple sentences, it’s rather difficult to begin to use compound sentences, but this will be very important as we get prepared for the GA Milestones test in the spring.

Reading – we will continue reading Love that Dog, a novel to find out how Jack feels about poetry.  We will also continue working on writing summary statements and using text evidence to help support my thoughts and summaries from the book.  We will be taking a mid-unit assessment to see how much the students have learned about writing summary statements and using text evidence.  This assessment will help me know what we need to continue to focus on in our mini-lessons and individual conferencing.  The students have really come a long way.  I’m more and more impressed with their ability each and every day.

October 2 – Conference forms to come home – please sign and return on Tuesday
October 11 – Picture retakes for students who were absent
October 13 – Country Western Day – Pull out those cowboy boots and dress up with us!

October 16-20 – Conference week – Early release at 12:15 each day.
October 28 – Pitner’s Fall Jamboree 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
October 30- November 3 – Scholastic Fall Book Fair
November 7 – Teacher Workday – no school for students
November 10 – Pitner Spirit Night at Jumping World
November 16 – 2nd 4 1/2 week progress reports sent home
November 20-24 – Thanksgiving Break – No school for students or teachers


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Fall Break


I hope everyone is enjoying their fall break!  Even though you are on a break, I hope you take the time  to read a little and work on some math.  I love breaks, because it gives me the opportunity to read more.  I’ve created a new reading log for you to try.  I know this is going to be a little different for some of us, but after the break, we will be starting the “Book it!” program and would love to give away some free Pizza Hut pizza certificates!  In order to receive a free personal pizza from Pizza Hut, you must complete at least 1 “on-line” reading log each week during the months of October , 2017 – March, 2018, as well as the monthly reading log.  I will be passing out the monthly reading logs again upon our return to school after our break.  If you would like to try out one of these new “on-line” reading logs during this break, you can click this link and it will prompt you to log-in to office 365.  If you are unsure of how to log-in to Office 365, which is a free account for all Cobb County students, please go to the “Technology Information ” page here on the blog.  This page will give you all the information you need to log-in to your account, as well as a link to the Cobb County School District Technology page.  

If you decide to try out this new reading log, there may be some “extra money” for you to add to your bank account on Monday, upon our return.  I’ll have the “shop” open on Monday morning for purchases.  What a great time to start!  Please feel free to email me with your feedback about the response form.  I would like to know how easy it is for you as my students to navigate.  Please feel free to email me with any questions you have.  I will be checking email periodically throughout the week.

Enjoy your break!

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Entrepreneur Day


We had a blast selling our multitude of items! The kids did such a great job creating their items. Thank you parents for coming and all your support throughout this entire adventure. Below are just a few pictures from the event! Enjoy!  This just in!  We made $2620.23 for Camp Twitch & Shout!  Excellent job Patriots!  Thanks to all who participated!

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Whoooo’s Reading


Good morning!  Yesterday, I came across a new free program that helps build our reading comprehension and prepares us for the GA Milestones that we will be taking in the spring.  I’m really excited to get started using it.  Sorry that I didn’t find it before now to be able to put it in the blog entry for this week.  Your student has their username and password stapled into their agenda.  I am going to go over this program with them today, so they should be able to get started tonight.  In their agenda today, they are supposed to read for 30 minutes and log their time into the program.  To access the program, just go to www.whooosreading.org.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Week of 9/18-9/22


 Wow!  It’s so hard to believe that next week, in just 5 “wake-ups,” we’ll be on our week long “Fall Break.”  Where has the time gone!?  It’s so hard to believe that we’ve almost completed the first quarter together!  We do have a busy week this next week, so please be sure to read below to stay up to date on what we’re working on.

Math – We will be continuing to work on addition and subtraction with larger numbers.  I know this seems menial and that they should have learned how to do this in previous grades, but it’s been said that the students aren’t necessarily developmentally ready for adding/subtracting with the algorithm until late third/early fourth grade.  With that being said, we will be working to add and subtract larger numbers.  This can be a little scary when we get to subtracting across zeroes.  We will be working with manipluatives, as well as working with Conceptua Math (www.conceptuamath.com) to help us get a better understanding of what we’re actually doing.  Many times, when adding, we just assume that the students know that when you regroup the tens, that they’re actually a “ten,” but unfortunately that’s not the way they say it.  I have tried to be very self-conscious when talking to the students about regrouping that I actually call the place that it’s in.  For example, if we’re adding 463+389, we would start in the ones place and add 3+9, which equals 12.  However, we aren’t able to put “12” in the ones column, so we need to regroup the “10” in “12” to the tens column.  Then, we add 6 tens + 8 tens + 1 ten (from 12) to get 15 tens (150).  Now, we need to regroup the 100 from the 150 to the thousands column (because 100 hundreds is the same thing as 1,000).  We would continue this trend until we have added all the places.  I know this sounds rather confusing and difficult, but the sooner the students understand how much each column is worth, the better off they’ll be.  If you would like to come in and sit down for me to go over this concept with you, please email me and we’ll set up an appointment.

Writing – We are continuing to work on our realistic fiction stories by adding a good ending that refers us back to the beginning or even the middle of our story.   This is a rather difficult skill for some kids, because they want to just add “The End,” even though they don’t read many books that end that way.  We will be looking at some more mentor texts that have good endings and begin to work to write better endings for our own writing.  Please be sure to discuss with your students the difference between realistic fiction and fiction.  I’ve tried to explain to them that when they are writing realistic fiction, they are writing a story that could actually happen, but the names of the characters have changed.  When the students writing regular fiction, they may be writing fairy tales, or stories that couldn’t be real, such as having a talking dog or cat.  Maybe, their story includes a unicorn.  That would make all of these fantasy stories, which is fiction.  I look forward to being able to celebrate their achievements in the future.  Please be sure to ask your students about what they’re writing in class.

Spelling/Grammar – we will begin our Sort #4 this week.  You can find the list of words and the spelling contract below, in case your child doesn’t get them home on Monday.  As far as grammar is concerned, we will be working on plural nouns (adding “s”, irregular plurals – child – children) as well as metaphors – when we compare two different things without using “like” or “as”, as well as prepositions, conjunctions (For; Another, Now, But, Or, Yet, So) types of sentences (declarative, interrogative, imperative), and subjects (simple/complete)/predicates (simple/complete).

Social Studies – we will continue our study on the Native Americans that were here when Columbus discovered “America,” as well as their locations on the map.  We have been working hard to talk about the Northwest area and will continue with the other regions (southwest – Hopi, Arctic – Inuit, southeast – Seminole, and the Plains – Pawnee/Nez Perce).  We will also be selling our goods for entrepreneur day.  Please be sure you have at least 10 items ready to sale on Friday, 9/22.  We hope that you will consider coming to Entrepreneur Day and making some purchases from your little entrepreneurs.  This is probably my favorite day of the entire year.

Reading – we will continue our unit on poetry and prose by continuing to read from Love that Dog.  We are also working on summarizing what we’ve read and using the text evidence to back up our summary.  The students have been working very hard and are very frustrated that I won’t let them read ahead in the book.  Please be sure to ask them about Love that Dog by Sharon Creech and see what they will tell you about what they’ve read.  My hopes are that at the end of unit, the students will actually learn a little about poetry and love it.

Upcoming Events:

Monday – Eat It! Presentation from WellStar (postponed due to inclement weather from last week – aka Hurricane Irma).
Tuesday – Cherrydale Fundraiser order forms due back to school
Wednesday – Media Center for lesson and check-out.  Make sure you bring back any library books that need to be returned/renewed.
Thursday – Entrepreneur Day ticket sales – 6 for $5.00 or $1.00 each.  Tickets will be available for sell from 7:15-8:00 a.m.
Friday – Entrepreneur Day – Be sure to have your shop signs complete and your items ready to sell.

If I don’t talk to you before the break, I hope everyone has a wonderful Fall break!  Get some rest, relax, and enjoy some quality family time together, because when we return, we’ll hit the ground running!


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Week of 9/11-9/15


I hope everyone has been safe and sound from the weather this weekend.  I’m so glad it wasn’t as bad for us as many people thought it was going to be.  Due to school closures, we will have a very busy week the rest of the week.  Here’s what we have on our agenda for the week.

Math – we will continue working on addition and begin subtraction.  We will start off tomorrow with the properties of addition and move into subtracting fluently.  The addition properties that we will be discussing tomorrow include the property of zero – meaning anything you add to zero, equals that number; commutative property – meaning it doesn’t matter which addend you add first, you will still get the same number; and finally associative property – meaning when you have three numbers that you are adding with parenthesis, the addends in the parenthesis must be added first, but the addends don’t matter what is in the parenthesis – example:  (567+932) + 321 = 567 + (932+321).

Writing – We are continuing to work on our realistic fiction stories by revising and editing, hoping to get them completed very soon.  This week, we are working on writing a good lead to get the reader into the story and working on a good ending to get away from saying ‘The End” and making sure that the struggle is resolved.

Social Studies – We will begin our unit on Native Americans.  With this unit, we will be talking about the various locations where you would find these tribes and how their areas helped them to survive (Pacific Northwest (Kwakitutl), Artic (Inuit), The Great Plains (Nez Perce/Pawnee), The Atlantic Coastal Plains (Seminole), and the Southwest (Hopi).

Spelling – We will be working on the list that we received last week.  We will have our test on Friday for the list that was sent home last Monday.  Please remember that spelling homework is due on Friday.  There was a new contract that went home last week as well.

Reading – we will be working on the differences between poetry, prose, and dramas.  We are reading a novel called Love that Dog by Sharon Creech.  The students are reading along with me in a copy of their book and then, they are going to be summarizing what they read and providing evidence from the text.

Upcoming events:

Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 13 – I will be out due to dentist appointments, so please encourage your students to be on their very best behavior.
Thursday, Sept. 14 – we will have guidance with Ms. Perry
Friday, Sept. 15 – we will have our map skills test – Study guide was sent home with students last week, and can be found on last week’s blog. 
Thursday, Sept. 21 – Entrepreneur Day ticket sales – $1.00 per ticket/6 tickets for $5.00.
Friday, Sept. 22 – Entrepreneur Day – please plan on having your items ready to sell!

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Updates (9/6/17) & Challenge


Good afternoon!  I just wanted to send a quick update about our progress and tell you about a challenge we’ve been offered.  Progress reports, unfortunately didn’t make it home today.  I worked tirelessly with Mrs. Bristow, one of our Assistant Principals, and we couldn’t figure out how to make it print correctly.  Finally, after school, we were able to make an adjustment and make it print, so progress reports will be coming home tomorrow in your child’s graded paper folder.  I realize this is a different day than our normal Friday delivery, but I thought if I was going to send progress reports, I might as well send folders as well.  Please be sure to check your students folder tomorrow night and sign/return their folders on Friday.

I have noticed that many students have not completed the expected pages for our Entrepreneur Day, which is coming up on 9/22.  We had a paper that should have been completed and turned in on Friday, 9/1 that is below.  If your child hasn’t completed this form and returned it, because they “can’t find it” or  they “weren’t given one,” please feel free to download another copy here. 

.  We also have two papers due tomorrow (9/7) that some students have completed and returned, but a majority of the students have not.  In case your child “can’t find it” or “wasn’t given one”, please feel free to download another copy here. 

Now, on to the fun part – The challenge – Ms. Stanley has provided us with a chance to read a new, exciting book called Mayday by Karen Harrington.  I will be reading this to the class once we finish Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  While we’re reading this exciting story, Ms. Stanley has challenged us to complete the following tasks listed below by Friday, 11/3/17.  She mentioned that there are numerous rewards in the end, but wouldn’t tell us what those rewards would be, but that we didn’t want to miss it.  I’m always up for a challenge, so I’m going to list the tasks below.  Since we don’t have “homework” each night other than to read for 30 minutes, I’m hoping that some brave soul will help with the challenge and do some research for us either at home or at school in our free time.  Below, you will find the tasks.  Please let me know if I can help in any way.

  1. How many soldiers are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, and what are the requirements for a solider to be buried there?
  2. Where did the land come from that we know as Arlington National Cemetery?
  3. Why are flags folded into a triangle with the stars on top?
  4. If something happens to a flag that is given to a family, can it be replaced?
  5. Why did Wayne’s mom unbuckle her seat belt when the plane was going down?
  6. Why is Wayne’s grandfather so hard on him?
  7. Wayne’s grandfather gave him a piece of advice, “Before you go taking the bull by the horns, make sure it’s your bull.”  What did he mean?
  8. Why did Wayne study facts, and how did this affect him when he could not speak?
  9. What was the “Find the Flag” project?
  10. What does the phrase, “there’s an elephant in the room” mean, and what was the “elephant” in Mayday?

Bonus:  Discover as much as you can about a solider that is buried in Arlington National Cemetery and give a report about their life.  What contributions did they make to our United States history?  How can they best be remembered?

What can you do as a class to honor the veterans on Veteran’s Day?

What is the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, and how do we honor them?

As you work on these tasks, remember to write them down, so that I can take them and pass them along to Ms. Stanley.  I’m looking forward to some kind of party!?!   Be sure to help us out!  I would love for us all to participate!  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

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Week of 9/4-9/8/17


I hope everyone had a great three-day weekend.  I know I enjoyed mine.  I loved being able to spend time with the family and just hang out.  Well, it was fun while it lasted.  It’s time to get back down to business.  Below, you will find information regarding our upcoming  week.  If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected]

Math – we will be focusing on subtracting with larger numbers with and without regrouping.  This is always a daunting task for the students, but hopefully we’ll make it through.  Please encourage your students to show how they are regrouping in their problems.  We will go step by step and hopefully, it won’t be such a daunting task for them and it will actually begin to make sense.  We will be actually regrouping from each of the places, so that they see how when you regroup a ten, you are actually regrouping ten (10) ones, rather than just regrouping a “1” and making the number one less.  Boy, I wish I had learned to regroup the way I teach it now.  It would have made so much more sense.  Oh well, hopefully this will help.

Writing – we are continuing our unit on Realistic fiction.  This week, we will be talking about good leads, and stepping into the story as an actor who is playing in the “movie” of our writing.  The students have made great progress with their realistic fiction.  I’ve enjoyed reading some of their stories and look forward to reading many more.

Spelling/Grammar – we are working with personification this week – this means that you are giving inanimate objects personal characteristics – such as, but not limited to:  The chair just kicked me.  The chair has legs, but it’s not able to kick anything.  That would be personification.  Also, the students received their new spelling list.  I’m attaching it here, in case they don’t bring their list home.  Also, on the Spelling page, on the right hand side of this blog, you can find the activities for the Spelling Contract that I sent home the first week of spelling.  I’ve been very disappointed in the number of spelling homework that is being turned in each week.  We don’t have homework, other than the spelling contract and it’s only due the second Friday.  I think in the last 4 weeks, I’ve only had a handful of students turn in all 8 assignments.  I don’t think one small spelling activity each night is too much to ask.  If it’s easier to do the spelling activity one night and turn it in the next day, then please do so.  

Social Studies – we are moving in to Social Studies this week.  This week, we will be focusing on some economic terms to help prepare us for Entrepreneur Day, which is coming up on 9/22.  Along with the economic terms and activities, we will be working on some map skills.  We will have a test on our map skills next Friday, (9/15).  I’ll be sending home the study guide for the map skills test tomorrow (Tuesday), but you can also download it here, in case your student doesn’t bring it home. 

Reading – we are going to begin focusing our attention on Poetry, Drama, and Prose beginning this week.  We will start reading a new book called Love that Dog.  It’s a great little book about a young boy who doesn’t like poetry, but then comes to love poetry.  I’m looking forward to using some new strategies to get the students interested in reading poetry, as well as getting to know the major difference between poetry, drama (plays), and prose (typical reading/text).

Important Upcoming Dates:

Wednesday, 9/6/17 – 4 1/2 Week Progress Reports come home – Please sign and return them on Thursday.
Thursday, 9/7/17 – Class T-shirt order forms and money due & Second set of Entrepreneur worksheets due

Friday, 9/15/17 – Test on Map Skills – See above for copy of study guide.

Thursday, 9/21/17 – Ticket sales for Entrepreneur Day – $1.00/ticket or $5.00/6 tickets
Friday, 8/22/17 – Entrepreneur Day – projects due by 8:00 a.m.

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Hats for Harvey


Hopefully, your child came home and told you about our fundraiser for the victims from Hurricane Harvey in Texas this week.  On Friday, 9/1/17 we will be having “Hats for Harvey,” in which the students can bring a $1.00 and wear a hat of their choice on Friday.  Also, Friday is the beginning for college football.  Your child is welcome to wear his/her favorite college attire on Friday as well.  If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected]  I’m looking forward to seeing all those great college shirts and hats on Friday!

Also, don’t forget that tomorrow (Wednesday, 8/30) is an Early Release Day.  The students will be dismissed at 12:30.  Due to the early dismissal, you should have received an email from Mrs. Bryant if your child is interested in Chorus.  Chorus will not meet tomorrow (8/30), due to Early Release.  Thanks in advance!

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