May 7, 2018

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What a wonderful Field Day we had today! Thank you so much to Mr. and Mrs. Ponder for volunteering to run our Field Day stations! Thank you to Mrs. Jones for securing our volunteers and helping out! Our girls AND boys won the 4th grade Tug-of-War tournament!

Class Dojo- I send reminders through Class Dojo- it would be helpful to get notifications from the app. The end of the year is always busy and this tool helps a lot with sharing!

25 Book Challenge- The final day to turn in organizers is next MONDAY, May 14th. I’ll be checking every day or two to make sure students know where they are. May 17th will be the large after-school celebration for students who’ve met the challenge with all 25 Books and their genres. The 9 week celebration (for all students who got 6 stickers) will be Friday, May 18th right after lunch. This celebration will be for Coke/Root Beer/Fanta floats and Extreme Recess (45 minutes 😉 )

Math- Students are finishing their in-class Geometry projects. Students were given a choice board and had to chose enough projects to total $10. Projects were “weighted” with more complicated ones being worth more money. We then will work on Fraction projects.

Reading – We are continuing to read the book The One and Only Ivan together. The Project Choice sheet was sent home Friday. Students need to chose one of the challenges to complete by this Friday. These should mostly be done at home, but there may be some school time here or there to work on them. It’s a good idea to keep that work in the “Return to School” side of the red folder.

Social Studies- The Constitution and Westward Expansion- We will read the book Dandelions to help us understand the lives, adventure, and struggles of families who moved out west.

Science- Space and Earth Science- There will be a moon phase quiz on Wednesday. Students have the phases and pictures of them in the packet that we began last week.

The LAST MONTH of school is upon us!

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The last week in April brings SO many things! Please read for information of all the events coming up.

Evening in the Garden
We have been working in The Wooded Classroom to prepare for Evening in the Garden! We look forward to sharing this special place with all who come by on Tuesday! See you there!

Evening in the Garden – Tuesday, May 1 6:00-8:00 (Rain date May 3)
Performance Schedule
6:30 – K/1st grade performs
7:00 – 2nd/3rd grade performs
7:30 – 4th/5th grade performs
7:40 – Finale for ALL grades

Please plan to park at Burnt Hickory Baptist Church one hour before your performance time.
For the best seating, BRING A BLANKET!

Relay for Life “Coin War”
Ford’s Relay for Life Penny War is next week- April 30 – May 4.  We will be competing with the other classrooms on our grade level. Students will be allowed to go to other classrooms in their grade level to deposit SILVER coins.  Any silver coins collected in your jar count AGAINST your penny count.  It works so well because kids want to bring down totals for other classes by giving them silver coins, but we’re actually collecting pennies and silver coins. This is always a BIG fundraiser for our school and can help boost us to our goal of $8,000 for the year.

FORD MUSTANG 2017-2018 YEARBOOK ~ $40.00   (Deadline: April 30th)
How to order Online
*Sign into your account on  (Organizational Code: FordPTSA)
*Select Online Store
*Choose Yearbook
*Fill out required information (Student, Grade,Teacher)
*Add to cart — checkout and pay
*Please write down your order number
* There will be very few available for purchase ($50.00) once online purchases are finished. Proceeds from yearbook sales go right back to Ford!!

Curriculum Updates:

Math- This week we are finishing metric measurement. There will be a show what you know on Friday. Please be sure to review the packet and INB.

Reading – we are reading the book The One and Only Ivan together. Students will be working on vocabulary activities and response journals. I know some tunes have read this book before, but we go much more in-depth with our discussions and questions then students have before. There are also several extension opportunities with this unit.

Writing- most of our writing will take place during reading, social studies, and science for the remainder of the year.

Social Studies/Science- Because of the volume of content, we will be spending more time on social studies and science for the last few weeks. This week and into next, we are covering light and sound for science. We have finished the American Revolution for social studies and are discussing the Constitution and the formation of the new nation.

Post-Testing Updates

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TESTING IS OVER! We are so thankful to be back on our normal schedule!

Today, I conferenced with every student about their reading and the genres remaining that need to be read in order to complete the 25 Book Challenge. They are supposed to share with you their checklist. Also, during reading (Mrs. Turner had her reading group, so they were not there), we went to the Learning Commons so students could check out books as needed to help them meet the challenge. Please sign this checklist after you discuss together.

Also, I forgot to tell students that TOMORROW we will be going outside to work on the Wooded Classroom. Please make sure they are dressed appropriately for some clean up outside- closed-toe shoes and weather-appropriate attire. If you have any hand trowels/shovels you could send in tomorrow, please send them with your child. We will send them back home tomorrow if you’ll need them.

Thank you!

March 26th

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We are into our second full week of the nine weeks! As Milestone testing approaches, we are very busy with our academics. We are working diligently to finish all our math standards, although we will extend our learning of geometry and measurement after testing with some extension projects done in class. Students will have an optional bingo assignment over Spring Break.  More information will be available in the coming week.

-We have been discussing a strategy known as “Brain Dumping” for us to try during testing- ask your child about it!

-I am on Twitter as @mrsplunkert – I’d love for you to follow me and see things I share about our learning in the classroom!


Math-  Math 4 Today Week #26- assessment Friday. As I mentioned above, we have been covering a lot of math content in order to have students best prepared for the Milestones. Last week, we covered geometry and concepts such as classifying triangles and quadrilaterals by perpendicular and parallel lines, side length, and angle type. This week, we are covering customary units of measure for length including inch, foot, yard, mile, and capacity, including fluid ounce, cup, pint, quart, gallon, and mass/weight, including ounces, pounds, and tons. Students are expected to estimate units of length or capacity for items, for example being able to know that a swimming pool capacity would best be measured in gallons instead of cups, and the measure of milk in a bowl for cereal would best be estimated using fluid ounces. Students are also expected to be able to convert between units of measure, for example, how many yards is 27 feet, and how many inches are in 6 feet. I’ve been comparing this to finding equivalent fractions.

ELA- Reading & Writing

We are covering our standards with comparing drama, poetry, and prose. We have looked at the structure of drama and how it differs from prose, and this week we are studying poetry. There is a lot of vocabulary that we’ve discussed with this unit, and there are anchor charts in the Reading INB that review the important vocabulary. For drama, we’ve discussed cast of characters, script, stage directions, and props. For poetry, we are covering rhyme scheme, meter/rhythm, line break, and stanza. In small groups, we will continue working with Scholastic News on our non-fiction reading skills and paired text strategies.

For writing, our DBQ plan changed a bit, and instead of the planned DBQ, we used a different one: “Would you have liked to have lived as a child in colonial times? Why or why not?” Rather then studying new texts/documents, we are using our notes and the newspaper as resources to answer this question! Students have already drafted their body paragraphs and typed them into Word Online (this is what I discussed in the email last week), and this week we are learning strategies for creating an intro and closing paragraph. This instruction is a big step-up for students who are used to writing one large paragraph for opinion writing. I am so proud of what they’ve done!

Science/Social Studies- We are taking a break from science so we can push ahead with the Revolutionary War. Also, because of the amount of content we have to cover for math and the time that  it’s taking for writing, we will have limited time for social studies and science until after testing. With the time we do have, we will be studying the Revolutionary War and get into the Constitution and then Westward Expansion. There will not be a formal SWYK on the Revolutionary War, but the students will be completing ABC posters at school as a summative assessment.

Important Dates:

3/26 Stevi B’s Pizza Night

4/2- 4/6 Spring Break

4/10-4/12 and 4/16-4/17- Milestone testing for 4th grade- there will be schedule changes for specials



March 5th, 2018

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-Two projects have been assigned in the last week- a Twisted Tale for the Kiwanis Club’s Silver Pen Contest and a Simple Machines project. This project is open to 4th graders only. There will be one winner selected from our school, and he/she will be invited to the Kiwanis Club meeting to read their story and also have his/her name on a plaque displayed in our hallway. A sheet explaining the writing contest went home last Wednesday, and the Simple Machines project was passed out Monday.

-We have spent a lot of time the last couple weeks reviewing how to answer constructed response questions. These are questions that require students to answer questions whose answers are not explicitly answered in the text. Students have been taught to construct an answer using a specific strategy- either RACES (Restate, Answer, Cite, Explain, Summarize) or CEEC (Claim, Evidence, Explanation, Closing)- either works for constructed response. We have talked extensively about when and how to use these strategies. There are posters up in the classroom that remind students of these strategies. Weekly reading comprehension passages have both multiple choice questions and constructed response questions, and students will be graded for reading comprehension and writing.

Math-  Math 4 Today Week #25- assessment Friday. Again, please review the sheet completed through the week on  Thursday evening. For our content this week, we are covering decimals (known in the standards as decimal fractions). We work with tenths and hundredths, although I introduce thousandths also so students can see the pattern repeated from place value of whole numbers. We will have several fun activities this week practicing place value and using Olympic scores and times to help us with this. There will be a SWYK on Friday on what we’ve covered this week.

ELA- Reading & Writing

Students are finishing up their work with Tall Tales this week. During Skills groups, we are back to working with Scholastic News. The skills we are covering are Greek and Latin roots and text structure. Independently, students will be working on the back of the magazine activities, completing the “Be a Quiz Whiz!” sheet, and answering Close Reading questions.

We will continue to work on our DBQ in writing in addition to all our practice with constructed response. The DBQ is taking some time because the special speakers, guidance lesson, and computer lab have taken up time that we usually spend on writing, but we are making progress!

Science- We are working on our Force and Motion unit- most of the content is spent studying simple machines. The project will be due Monday, March 19th. A sheet went home Monday explaining the four options available for this project.

Social Studies- We have started studying the causes of the Revolutionary War. I wanted to begin this soon after our colonies study so the information would stay fresh in the kids’ minds, so our Science/Social Studies block of time is being split between both subjects for now. To teach this topic, we have several skits students are presenting on the causes (the kids are having so much fun with these!) and we will be working with the U.S. Studies Weekly newspapers to cover most of the content. We are taking it slow while we finish up simple machines, but will amp up when we’re finished with science.

Important Dates:

3/7- Twisted Tales Organizer Due

3/14 Early Release; end of the 3rd nine weeks; Twisted Tale rough draft due


3/19 Simple Machines Project Due

3/21 Report Cards go home; Twisted Tale final draft due


February 12, 2018

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As of Friday (if you don’t count the four days we missed!) we are halfway through the nine weeks. As per the Accountability Report, please check grades online. There are several missing grades because of absences and other reasons. If you child has a missing grade, please discuss it with them and have them come talk to me about it if needed. I have worked to empower students to  initiate conversations about their grades with me, and I’d love for you to help me with this. Many times students know that they are missing something because it’s sitting in their Classwork Folder either unfinished from an absence or another reason.

Also, this week we have a couple of exciting events- we have a Performing Arts in-school field trip with a glass harpist will come Monday- he will discuss several of our sound standards. Then we have our STEM-focus speaker on Wednesday- we will be Skyping with an astronaut!


  • ABSENCES: Please send in a note (not in the agenda) when your child is out sick.
  • Change in transportation: Please send these notes on a separate sheet of paper- NOT in the agenda.
  • Rivers Alive T-Shirt: Please wear this shirt on Friday, Feb. 16

Math-  Math 4 Today Week #23- as a reminder, please review these Thursday evening before our assessment on Friday. We spent a lot of math time last week after the mini-lesson in groups reviewing  skills like perimeter, area, multiplicative comparison, and multi-step word problems. As a result, we spent a couple extra days with ordering and comparing and just began mixed numbers Friday. Because of this, I moved our SWYK to this Wednesday so I could make sure to get through the basics of mixed numbers and improper fractions. We will spend the rest of the week adding and subtracting mixed numbers and problem solving.

ELA- Reading, Writing, and Grammar-

We will continue with myths and cover tall tales. We will wrap up traditional literature after we return from Winter Break. In reading skills groups, we will look more closely at traditional literature and again work on passages with reading/ELA skills. I also will have reading conferences with students to check their progress towards their 25 book standard and

We will continue to work on our DBQ in writing: The question/topic we are working on is “Valley Forge: Would You Have Quit?”  We will work on analzying documents to find evidence to support each student’s personal opinion on this topic.

Science- PBL- If the weather cooperates, we will be heading outside to our site to look more closely at the land and it’s purpose and uses for our school. For content, we will begin our study of simple machines.

Social Studies- The Colonies Map Quiz is on Monday and Colonies SWYK is on Wednesday.

Important Dates:

2/14 Skype with an astronaut- STEM- focus speaker!

2/14 Valentine’s exchange in the morning- letter and list sent out last week

2/19-2/23 Winter Break

February 5, 2018

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We are back! With a bumpy start, it has been great to have a couple full weeks behind us. Thank you SO MUCH for your generous donations of Lysol! We are wiping tables and other surfaces daily to keep us all healthy, and washing hands and/or using sanitizer before and after eating.

25 Book Challenge- This nine weeks ends in mid-March, so remember to get those organizers completed and turned in!

Here are some curriculum updates for this week:

Math-  We are skipping ahead a few weeks in Math 4 Today to week #22 to get to the weeks that covered fractions. We are working this week with comparing and ordering fractions. We are using number lines and our knowledge of benchmark (common) fractions to do this- NOT cross multiplying 😉 By midweek, working on decomposing mixed numbers and converting them to improper fractions. We will also begin adding and subtracting mixed numbers. A SWYK Friday will cover comparing, ordering, and adding and subtracting fractions for sure with some questions about mixed numbers.

ELA- Reading, Writing, and Grammar- We have started a daily practice of ELA skills, including conventions skills, review of grammar/language including parts of speech, and skills like using guide words. We correct this daily in class.

Our reading mini-lessons continue to focus on traditional literature, with this week’s focus on fables and myths, their structure, and characteristics. In reading skills groups, we are beginning to work on passages and further practicing skills with vocabulary like affix (prefixes/suffixes) meanings, sequencing, outlining, and summarizing.

In writing, we have studied the structure of opinion writing and worked to create organizers for several opinion topics. By Wednesday, we will begin work on our first DBQ (Data Based Question)! More info to come!

Science- PBL- We had two lessons last week to kick off our Project/Problem Based Learning with our outdoor Wooded Classroom site. In the coming weeks, we will have a lesson every week or two continuing to look at our site and observe/record what we notice about its ecosystems, communities, and populations, using our knowledge from our ecosystems unit.

Social Studies- Last week when we weren’t workin on our PBL, we began our study of the 13 colonies and specifically studied the New England colonies. This week we will cover the Middle and Southern colonies, and review for a SWYK early next week. Students are being instructed to take home their INBs every night to review their notes and study guides for each group of colonies!

Important Dates:

2/9- Jump Rope for Heart

2/9 School Dance- GLOW

2/9- Midway through the 9 weeks

2/14 Skype with an astronaut- STEM- focus speaker!

2/19-2/23 Winter Break


New Year!

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As this new year begins, it’s a great time to set goals and assess how far we’ve come and where we still have left to go. The students wrote goals for themselves this week and answered questions to help them focus their attention for the coming months. Also, I am encouraging students to spend more time at home studying their notes for the rest of the year. After we take notes for social studies or science, students are being directed to take home their notes and review them at home. Please have conversations at home about these notes and ask questions- this is a great way to help your child at home!

BYOD forms- If your child would like to bring a device to school and you need a BYOD form, they are under “Classroom Resources,” or you can get one here: BYOD form

25 Book Challenge- This nine weeks, 7 stickers are required. This nine weeks I will be talking to students about branching out to try different genres if they haven’t yet.

Here are some curriculum updates for this week and next:

Math-  We are going back to our Math 4 Today for our morning work. This is helpful as we have finished our specific units covering multiplication and division and are starting fractions. However, we need to make sure to keep those computation skills and all other skills from this year fresh! Fraction topics studied the next couple weeks are generating equivalent fractions using tiles, number lines, and an algorithm, simplifying fractions, and comparing and ordering fractions. There will most likely be a SWYK next Friday the 19th.

ELA- Reading, Writing, and Grammar- After finishing our last couple parts of our response journals for our novel studies last week, we are returning back to Scholastic News to continue practicing non-fiction text skills. We will return to practicing answering Close Reading questions using text evidence. We also will continue opinion writing using a debate in the Scholastic News to help us with the structure of opinion writing.

Science- Ecosystems- We are continuing our study of ecosystems and working on the strategy of sketch-noting. Here is the video we watched to help explain sketch-noting:

I’ve also been working on my own sketch-noting and sharing examples with the students as we go through the content. Vocabulary is key to this unit- here are some of the words we’ve been studying: herbivore, carnivore, omnivore, decomposer, producer, consumer, ecosystem, community, population. EQs are in the INB, and it’s the students goal to be able to answer the EQ with the notes they’ve taken. The understanding of those key vocabulary words (which are defined in their INBs) are integral in the understanding of those concepts.

Social Studies- We will begin our study of the thirteen colonies next week.


Important Dates:

  • 1/11 Publix Math Night! Complete the math activities and get a homework pass!
  • 1/15 Martin Luther King Day
  • 1/18: Ident-A-Kid, 8:00 – 12:00 am
  • 1/20: Sparkles Spirit Event, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • 1/30: Moe’s Spirit Night, 2:00 am – 9:00 pm

November 29th Updates

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I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving Break! We have a little more than 3 weeks left in this nine week period.

Math-  Our morning work this week will not be Math 4 Today, but a review of the skills from this nine weeks, including factors, multiples, patterning, and more practice with the multi-digit multiplication we’ve been doing the last week. In class, we are continuing to work on multi-digit multiplication. Last week on Friday, we had a formative assessment to check understanding of the area model of multiplication. Students have mastered that concept. I have reminded them that most errors are with computation or not putting zeroes at the end of some of the products. This week, we are working on two–by-two digit multiplication and I will show them the other method of multiplication- partial products. This way is more like the traditional algorithm. As always, there will be examples in the INB of how this is done. There will be a test next Tuesday on partial product and area model multiplication.


Reading- We continue to study the Notice and Note Signposts. We have studied Tough Questions and Words of the Wiser this week. One activity the class is doing is reading shorter books and practicing note-taking on the Signpost found in this book. I’ve modelled this several times in reading the books The Most Maginificent Thing and A River Dream. Also, we are finishing our short study of George’s Marvelous Medicine and discussing sterotypes and similes. Our work for this has been done in our Reading INB.

Writing- We have begun Fox and looking at the characters Dog, Magpie, and Fox and how their actions, thoughts, feelings, and words can help us identify character traits for these characters. Each time we finish analyzing these about a character, we are choosing a character trait or and finding text evidence to support our choice. We are also making sure to explain how that particular piece of text supports our answer. This is very similar to the RACE strategy for constructed response questions.

Social Studies- We are having a quick unit on Explorers and learning about them through note-taking rotations. We also have short reading passages that we’ll complete at home and at school about several of the more important explorers. Our assessment will be an open note test next Tuesday.

Science- We are taking a short break from Science while we get through explorers, but next week we will begin our unit on ecosystems.

Important Dates:

  • 12/5 Holiday Shoppe for our class
  • 12/19-12/20 Early Release Days

Halfway through the 2nd Nine Weeks!

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This nine weeks is flying by! Here are some thanks yous, reminders, and notes…

THANK YOU so much for your donations for Market Day! The kids were so amazed at all the goodies they had to choose from! I am so appreciative of your generosity with your Annual Campaign and to my classroom!

25 Books- As we are halfway through the nine weeks, your child will have an update about their progress towards their 25 Book Challenge this week- this will be written in the agenda.

Curriculum Notes:

Math-  We just finished the topic of multiplicative comparison. Mrs. Turner and I have reminded the students of the importance of memorizing their math facts and that it will take work to learn them. We will take weekly multiplication tests to assess their progress towards learning this facts. Students will be given extra homework to practice these facts at home; this homework will be based on the facts they are missing in classwork and on the timed tests. The next topic of study is multi-digit multiplication; hence the importance of having those facts down. Because we will be teaching partial product multiplication and the area model, please be sure to see the INB to understand how we are teaching multiplication. I eventually will teach the algorithm, but it is necessary for students to understand how to multiply with partial products. We will do a formative assessment on Friday to check students understanding of partial products. For the past four years that I’ve taught this strategy, I’ve found that students pick up on this much faster than the algorithm!

Reading- We have turned our focus towards fiction and I have begun to introduce the “Notice and Note” strategy of Signposts. This strategy for close reading has been used by 5th grade for the past few years, and I’m so glad to be able to use it with my reading class. There are six “signposts” that students look for in their reading that help reveal pieces of the plot, conflict, characters, or theme about the book or story being read. We have discussed Contrasts & Contradictions and Aha Moments, and we will go through the other four this week. Each signpost has a page in our Reading INB, and all will have a written example of that signpost within a text/short video we’ve studied. We will be practicing finding these signposts in texts together, but also in a book we’re reading together, George’s Marvelous Medicine.

Writing- Several students have finished their narrative final drafts, but many are still working. As students finish this week, they will be working on word work/vocabulary skills with the book Fox, which we are studying for our opinion writing, our next big project.

Social Studies- We are having a short unit on Explorers that will begin after our Weather forecasts are presented.

Science- Students have begun presenting their weather forecasts. Over the past two weeks, students collected data for a city of their choosing and using their knowledge of fronts and air pressure, wrote a script for a weather forecast to be presented in front of the class. Students were given a checklist and rubric of expectations for this project. They are doing a great job so far!

Important Dates:

  • 11/13 Stevi B’s Night
  • 11/16 Thanksgiving Feast 4th Grade Students (11:45-12:40)
  • 11/20-11/24 Thanksgiving Holidays
  • 12/19-12/20 Early Release Days