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:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY9KdRfNN9w

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

Week 11 Check-In

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Hello! I am so enjoying getting to meet with you and share the progress of your children! What an amazing class I have! Thank you for all your support of me and our school. Ford is a great place to be!

MARKET DAY IS COMING! It is time to spend some of our hard earned Bonus Bucks! I will be in touch via email about a date for our Market Day. If you can, please look for items you could donate for this event. Small toys, gently used items from home, books, candy, items from the Dollar Store or Dollar Spot in Target are great. I  will also ask for some specific food items. Thank you for your help making this a great event!

25 Book Celebration- Our 25 Book Celebration was today! I would love for everyone to be able to attend our next one, which is our Dessert Cafe!

BYOD- I will send BYOD forms home Friday. We have been using our class laptops and iPads to access articles about the different Native American tribes. With explorers coming next, it would be a great time for kids to be able to have their own devices to access this information any time they have time during the day.

Curriculum Notes:

Math-  We will have our SWYK on Friday for factors, multiples, and prime and composite numbers. We have played the game “Factor Race” to practice our factor-finding fluency 🙂 Also, we took a multiplication fact fluency test on facts 0-5. Students who need to work on facts will have homework sent home to get these facts mastered. Next week, we will take a test on the 0-9 facts. Our topic for next week is number and visual patterns.

Reading- With our new Scholastic News issue is headlined “Good News for Grizzlies?” and we are working on the skill of summarizing. We have also begun Unit 2 for Vocab Workshop, which will be assessed next Friday. Reading conferencing will continue this week also.

In writing, we have completed our hook and will work to develop our setting and character descriptions in our narratives.

Social Studies- We are continuing our study of Native Americans. By the end of this week, we will have notes for all tribes. The test on Native Americans will be on Wednesday. There are many resources linked on Edmodo for students to research above and beyond our study in class.

Important Dates:

  • October 31st- Halloween- wear your costume with a $2 donation to the Ford Foundation!

Week 10 Updates

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We logged on to Edmodo for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I assigned our first assignment last week, which was due Monday. Students have their user name and password recorded on a sheet (along with many other log-in/password info) in their agenda, tagged with a small sticky note. I have modeled how to complete assignments. I know the kids are excited about this digital resource!

Conference Week is next week! I am nearly done finalizing times. Next week, I will have my students write a reminder in their agendas for when their conference is.

Curriculum Notes:

Math-  This week and next we are working on factors, multiples, and prime and composite numbers. Students need to work on getting/keeping multiplication facts mastered in order to be successful with this standard. We will begin taking timed tests in class to help practice fluency. Please work at home on this, also. Be sure to check the INB for notes, tips, and tricks for finding factors, including divisibility rules!

ELA- We are continuing our work from last week with our Scholastic News/Weekly Reader with making connections and also working on reading data from a chart. Last week, I also reviewed the strategy of numbering evidence in the text to prove answers on the back of the Scholastic News and on the Be a Quiz Whiz! sheets. Students need to show evidence of their answers in addition to marking the answer. Also, this week I will begin to conference with students about their independent reading books and what genres they need to read for the 25 Book Challenge. In writing, we are continuing to work on our narrative with developing characters.

Social Studies- We are beginning our study of Native Americans. Students will begin taking notes on the six tribes we study: Inuit, Kwakiutl, Nez Perce, Pawnee, Hopi, and Seminole. There are many resources linked on Edmodo for students to research above and beyond our study in class.

Important Dates: 

  • October 12th- Early Release- dismissal at 12:30
  • October 13th- Fall Festival 6-8:30 p.m.
  • October 16th-20th- Conference Week- dismissal at 12:15
  • October 31st- Halloween- wear your costume with a $2 donation to the Ford Foundation!

Week 9 Updates!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Fall Break with your families! I enjoyed the time of with my husband and kiddos! Now that we’re back, we have only one week left of this nine weeks- we’re nearly a quarter of the way through the year! Unbelievable! With the end of the nine weeks comes some important reminders.

First, all the deadline to meet the 25 Book Challenge for this nine weeks is Monday. This means that students should have 6 stickers for their 25 Book Challenge. The week before break,  students wrote in their agenda how many stickers/stars they had. I would love for everyone to be able to join us in our first party, Books for Breakfast! All organizers are due Monday the 9th. Invitations for Books for Breakfast will be handed out by Friday the 13th.

Conference Week is October 16th-20th.  Conference forms went out Monday. Please return this as soon as possible. As soon as I get all of them back I will work on rescheduling those of you who need changes.

A delayed thank you: A BIG thank you to the parents who came for our workday for our site the Monday before break! We had a very successful tour for the U.S. Department of Education. Here is a link to an article written about our school with some photos: http://cobbcast.cobbk12.org/?p=21693

Rivers Alive- Our field trip is Friday. Click here for reminders for the trip. Parents/grandparents are welcome!

Curriculum Notes:

Math-  This week we are working on perimeter. Students will need to be able to find the perimeter of a rectangle and find the measurement of a missing side when given the perimeter and another side. This can be a complicated process when using the formula- it’s pretty heavy algebra. We have will do many examples in class that will be in the INB, and I have told students to make sure they are using their INBs when doing the work to make sure they don’t forget steps. Again, please remember to check over their homework at home when possible. Because this is such a small standard, I won’t be giving a whole test on this concept by itself; there will be a short quiz with several problems on finding the area of a rectangle and several on finding the missing side. This will be given Friday before we leave for the field trip.

ELA- We will be working on making connections. I will introduce this skill with a book by Patricia Polacco (one of my favorite authors!) called My Rotten Red-Headed Brother. We will specifically discuss making deeper connections and moving beyond superficial ones of physical traits of the character. We will work on making connections to non-fiction text, also, as we work through our Weekly Reader. We will continue to work on attacking non-fiction text remembering to read all the text features in the article and also work on the close reading questions for the cover article. In writing, we will work on creating hooks for our narrative.

Science- Last week, we completed a lab called “Water Cycle in a Bag.” Students are able to observe how the water cycle can take place in a small environment. They have questions and a drawing of their bags in their INB. This lab will be graded as an assessment for the Water Cycle standard- there won’t be a SWYK. We will also begin our study of weather and climate.

Social Studies- The U.S. man-made and natural features SWYK will be Thursday. We finished the Power  Point Monday and students will complete a map as homework to help them review all these features. Studying the notes and map will help them prepare for the SWYK.

Important Dates: 

  • October 6th- Rivers Alive Field Trip
  • October 12th- Early Release- dismissal at 12:30
  • October 13th- Fall Festival 6-8 p.m.
  • October 16th-20th- Conference Week- dismissal at 12:15

Week 7 Updates

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I hope you enjoyed your days at home and are ready for this week! Since it shortened, many of the topics are going to be continued into next week.

Curriculum Notes:

Math-  Our SWYK  on the addition and subtraction algorithm will be Friday. Please remember to check over their homework at home when possible. Next week we will work on model drawing and solving addition and subtraction word problems.  Please be sure to see that I am going to see examples of model drawing.

ELA- This week  we will be doing a couple activities with Scholastic news, but not  go as in-depth as usual. We will be working on the skill of reading/using a diagram. In writing, we will work on completing a draft of our narrative.

Science- We are continuing our study of water, it’s states, and how it changes from state to state. Next week we will discuss these state changes and the part they play in the water cycle. The INB has some great vocabulary and pictures to review! Our SWYK  on the states of matter with water will most likely be Monday.

Social Studies- There are several man-made and natural landmarks in regions that students need to identify in the United States. We will begin looking at these this week. There will be a map and guided notes in the INB that go along with the PowerPoint we will be working on. Most of this will happen next week.

Important Dates: 

  • September 19th- early release 15 minutes early at 2 o’clock for the Department of Education tour of our outdoor learning.
  • September 25th-29th- Fall Break

Week 5 Wrap-Up and Looking Ahead to Week 6…

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Hello! We are about halfway through the nine weeks! Please sign up for Class Dojo if you haven’t.  Also, next week, information about BYOD (Bring Your Ow Device) will go home.

Curriculum Notes:

Math- We took the SWYK on Wednesday as you know. This allowed up a couple more days with practicing rounding to any place value. We have introduced the standard algorithm for addition and subtraction and will continue working on this and word problems with addition and subtraction next week. Our SWYK will likely be next Friday or early the week after next. Please look in the agenda for reminders for that and notes in case it changes.

ELA- This week we have looked at how author’s use imagery and sensory details to help the reader. This has aided us with our work on our narratives, also! Next week, we will discuss making connections using fiction and non-fiction texts. Also this week, we worked on close-reading strategies with our Weekly Reader magazine, using non-fiction text features to help our understanding, and reviewed expectations for completing the back page activities for the Weekly Reader. In writing, we are continuing our narrative writing focusing on character development. We also will work on answering close-reading questions (questions that usually require some inferring) and the structure required to be thorough in our answering of those types of questions.

Science- We are continuing our study of water, it’s states, and how it changes from state to state. Next week we will discuss these state changes and the part they play in the water cycle. The INB has some great vocabulary and pictures to review!

Social Studies- We have worked on some basic map skills and will put these into practice with our unit on Native Americans, which we will be beginning soon.

Important Dates: 

  • September 4th- Labor Day