The Home Stretch

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Just as the name suggests, we are almost home free to summer but we need to stretch out our last few weeks. A runner sprints to the end and that’s what we will be doing. We do have some fun activities planned for the end of the year as well. Check with your child’s homeroom teacher if you have any questions.

April 30th-4th grade Wellstar visit

May 2-Kell Orchestra visits Pitner

May 3rd-PNN Field Trip

May 4th- Career Day

May 14th-Field Day 4/5

May 18th- 5th Luau

May 22/23-Early Release Days

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Math: Since the testing window has closed, we will continue to work on standards through a variety of methods. We have started our M4 (May Math Multiplication Masters) Bracket. The biggest concern with 4th and 5th grade teachers is fact fluency. PLEASE continue to work on multiplication facts over the summer. We will also have a Bloxels unit before the end of the year. We will be working on perimeter, area, volume, fractions and probability. We may incorporate a writing component as well for our writing class.

Fast Fact Fluency practice with a deck (or 4) of cards.

Chess is an excellent way to keep our minds sharp, 4 player chess is even more fun!

Writing: We are finishing up our Animal Informational papers. We then have a make and share activity. The students will make an item and then do an informational paper about the process. They will also write an opinion or narrative having to do with the topic as well.

Science/ Social Studies: The students voted to have their Solar System unit assessment after testing. They are making a travel presentation/ brochure to convince Mrs. Poulos and I to travel to their location (8 planets, Pluto or the Moon). We also have Career Day and a career unit to get through in the next few weeks. We have also enjoyed Skype in the classroom with students from other states. We just met a 1st grade class in Florida (near Disney World) and our last Skype was with a 4th grade class in California (near Disney Land). We also have a #mysteryskype challenge on Twitter for us to do over the next few weeks.

Our Skype virtual field trip to Monticello. We learned quite a few amazing facts about Thomas Jefferson. He is on two different types of currency, the grounds are know for the tulips growing on the property, there is a calendar clock that TJ made but it had one slight problem… and the Bill of Rights had a rough draft with many edits and revisions (just like how we write). It also happened to be his 275th birthday celebration.

Mystery Letter Skype with our new 1st grade friends in Ms. Miller’s class in Lakeland, Fl.

Peer research for their planet project

Devices, books, desktops and notes have some answers to their questions…

…some books are more fun than others. 😉

Reading: We have completed our unit in the reading lab for System 44. We will fill our segments with DRA assessments, read aloud of The One and Only Ivan by K.A. Applegate and D.E.A.R time.


Spring Break has Sprung

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Spring Break might cause a bit of spring fever so hopefully everyone is getting some much needed rest and relaxation.

I have put a bunch of grades into the computer. Lots of assignments are missing and that is OK. We have been working on our spiral review so some students are at a different pace. Also, some grade level assessments are in there to work on goals & objectives with grade level standards to get ready for the milestones.

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We have been working really hard at reviewing the standards, concepts and strategies we have learned this year for the Milestones. Testing will begin on Tuesday, April 10th and goes until April 20th. Days that are make-up testing days we will be using that time to continue reviewing until the Milestones are complete. After testing, we still have quite a bit of work to do. The kids have voted on projects that they wanted to try and we will also work on goals & objectives.

Pictures from the fly on the wall:

We finished up our Welcome to America Bon, book. The cover will be printed and students can put a note on the back if they so choose.

In science we had been talking about space, stars, the moon and various topics about space-including black holes. On 3/14/18, Stephen Hawking passed away. During previous lessons we also talked about the zero gravity airplane. This picture of Hawking is worth a 1,000 words.

We also discussed space flights and rocket launches, including Elon Musk and his Falcon Heavy rocket. The students loved hearing about Spaceman in the Tesla that now “drives” around in space.

During our moon unit we had make and eat moon phases.

Everyone had fun taking a bite out of the moon.

Mrs. Homer made one, just so the kiddos could see what they needed to do…

…wink, wink. She secretly wanted some Oreos. 🙂

After the moon unit we moved back into Social Studies. We had a Mystery Skype session that Mrs. Poulos set up. The class was in California and each set of students took turns asking geographical questions to narrow down where the other was located. We had a great time and plan on doing it again soon.

Pinkie had a doctor appointment and wanted to come to Pitner and be a surprise reader for the class. 🙂 She read her favorite book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

April 22nd is Earth Day and we will be discussing a few things that we could do as students and teachers to help do our part around the school.

Enjoy the rest of your spring break guys. Mr. Rob and I went to Orlando and spent some time in Universal Studios. I’ll tell you all about it when we return. 🙂

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Make sure you get plenty of rest during testing weeks, eat a great breakfast and arrive to school on time.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Milestones resources are available on the Georgia Depratment of Education website: or feel free to contact me after spring break: [email protected]

“March”ing onward

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Another month has come and gone. We are getting closer to daylight savings time and warmer temperatures. It would be nice if the rain slowed down too but I guess that is good news for summer activities.

Our monthly update for each segment is below. The kids are working very hard, not only on their standards, but also on test preparation, goals & objectives. If you ever have specific questions about what we are doing in class, please let me know. I am here to help. 🙂


We have been working on all sorts of fractions. The students did not do well at all on the pre-assessment at the beginning of Q3. With the practice we have been doing and the supports they have been introduced to, they have made nice progress. The past month has been consumed by concrete, representational and abstract forms of fractions. We used pie charts, bar charts and squares to color in the shaded part of the whole. We used fraction rods, yummy chocolate bars and cuisenaire rods. We are currently working on the abstract form (numbers) to get our answers.

We began with defining what a fraction is, “shaded part of the whole” and the terms that belong with fractions (numerator, denominator, common and equivalent). We moved into addition and subtraction of fractions with like denominators. We tackled greater than, less than and equal to with like denominators. Next, was to do addition, subtraction, <>= with unlike denominators. In order to do that, we had to learn how to convert a fraction pair to have a common denominator. We also filled in a missing numerator or denominator using our conversion rule: “What you do to the bottom, you have to do to the top”. The kids shortened it to “WYDTTB, YHTDTTT”. hahaha


We will be working on reducing fractions, multiplication of fractions, division of fractions, proper and improper fractions. We will work on area, perimeter, lines of symmetry and volume. Lots to do before testing in April!


For Q3 we have been practicing our informational papers. We are also reviewing the proper writing process procedures (Pre-write, Draft, Revise, Edit, Publish). The students have been incorporating text features in their writing as well. Things like heading, subheading, bold, italics, pictures/ illustrations, captions, maps, etc. are expected in their papers. We had a huge project that we began to wrap up, the Tabloid Paper. Students incorporated 3 topics of truth and spun it into a story that involved either creative writing/fiction or idioms. One of the lessons we go over is how to write a good hook. The purpose is to get someone to stop in their tracks and want to read your paper before anyone else’s paper. We put our Tabloids in the hallway and one 2nd grade class kept continually stopping to look at our work. The teacher decided to invite us to read to her class so they could see what all the fuss was about. Our class was so proud to share with the younger hallway neighbors.

The students moved on to write a “how to” book for my niece Bon in Vietnam. Since she hasn’t seen snow, or made a pizza from scratch, the traditional how to book took on a new meaning. Students wrote about how to make a snowman, a day at the pool (shes never been swimming) or how to make a pizza. Topics were by choice and we will bind them all together as a welcome to America gift when she gets here in spring.

The 4th graders continue working on a special informational paper, the State Fair writing project. The 5th graders are doing a biography on one of the people the have or will be studying this year in Science or Social Studies.

Look how amazing our projects are! 🙂


Once the previous papers are completed, we will get 4th and 5th back on the same page. Both grades will be writing an informational paper on animals, their physical characteristics, habitats, ecosystems and food chains.


The end of February brought the solar system to Pitner. We studied the planets, their shape, size, characteristics, their relation to the sun, etc. The class voted on the writing project that was going to go with the unit. Since they were busy with the State Fair project, they decided to do it after testing. Good Choice.


After planets we will focus on stars, constellations and the moon. We have a great moon activity coming up with make and eat moon phases. 🙂


We are continuing to do the Read 180/System 44 Lab. We will also continue doing running records for oral reading to gauge fluency. We will also keep reading our read aloud book, Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt. Once we finish the book, the students will take a discussion question quiz based on what we read together over the past few months.


Read Across America Day was amazing! We Skyped my niece in Vietnam. The kids read her a couple bedtime books (since it was 8:30 pm her time) and she even read a book to us in Vietnamese. We also had a Skype session with Mrs. Poulos’ mom and Henry Winkler, the “Fonz”, earlier in the week. We had D.E.A.R time where the students Dropped Everything and Read. Hopefully this momentum will continue through the month of March where we will see if the students read enough to tape Mrs. Bristow to the wall in the gym. Each book read=2 inches of duct tape. Let’s do this! Reading book report forms are available from the homeroom teachers.

Opening slides for our Skype with Fonzi

The actual interview where they answered viewers questions

Selfie with Fonzi

Skyping with Bon. Ms. Perry even got in on the fun!

What a fun day!

We were honored to be invited to the 2nd grade and read our tabloids. Their papers looked so interesting that this class was always stopping in the hallways to see what they said. I hope they liked them.

Dolly is exhausted after a great day of reading.

January is melting away like snow!

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The month of January was chaotic to say the least! We had so many breaks and snow days. Lesson plans were altered and taught as planned but we are still playing catch up. Please know that I have many resources at home for the students to use in preparation for the last part of Q3 and for Q4. My symbaloo site has all of the test prep software log in pages linked to it. Students may practice on Prodigy, I know it, USA Test Prep (used through middle and high school age so get familiar with it sooner than later :)), Smart Boarding School, etc. They are all grouped together in the lime green tiles. Passwords are on the symbaloo link from the blog.

Math: We will finish with long division this week and there will be a test on Friday the 2nd. We have been working on constructed responses for word problems. The milestones requires students to show what they know and write an extended answer to explain their thinking. Next week we begin fractions, and that should carry us into March. I have support videos on the symbaloo for everything we learned in class if your child is having trouble.

Writing: We have been exploring the Informational genre of writing. Students took their pre-unit assessment and we have been working on writing a magazine/ newspaper article. This week we will be doing a “how to” for my niece Bon. She will be coming over from Vietnam to live and she has not experienced such things as snow, going to the pool, playing outside in a driveway (she lives in downtown Han-oi), going to the grocery store (they have markets) and going to Disney. We will put our writings in a binder to give her as a welcome to America gift. After that, we will be doing a research project on animals. Students may pick their favorite or one that they would like to know more about.

Exploring print writing to search for all of the text features included.

Social Studies: We finished up light and sound in Science and moved on to The Revolutionary War. We will be alternating with Science where we will start exploring space.


Review games on the smart board.

Cheering for their review game teams.

Sound travels from our friends at the bus circle…

…to our classmates at the top of the hill…

…to our friends at the lower part of the playground…

…and the upper part of the playground.


Using common items to make a thunder storm, faucet rain, whistling wind and trash can thunder.

Cup phones were a great activity!

Reading: We continue our studies in the Read 180/System 44 Reading Lab. Students are doing well with the program and I am happy with the progress they are making. Please make sure they keep reading at home. Ask the WH questions (who, what, where, when, why) to get them thinking about characters, setting, main idea, conflict, etc.

Free time after work is completed.

Free time includes smart board review games,

more review games done with partners,

putting a puzzle together,

building Rube Goldbergs,

playing chess,

or making Bloxel characters and game boards.

We are very proud of our classmate, Abdallah, who won the school Spelling Bee, way to go!

Welcome to 2018!

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Welcome back! With this cold weather it is a great time to be inside learning. Report cards are going to be coming home on Friday, January 5th. I would like to remind you that report card grades are a mixture of their level and grade level assessments. Also, progress reports have comments for each objective. Please let me know if you have any questions, my door is always open.  [email protected]

Math: We will be working on long division and fractions

ELA: Informational unit will start

Reading: We will continue with Read 180 Lab

Science: Sound

I hope you are rested and ready for the second half of the year!

Happy New Year!

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Classes resume on Thursday, January 4th. I hope you are having an amazing break. Here are some pictures from the big snow and the Homerhouse.

4th Grade before the early release on December 8th

Homerhouse hanging out while it snows

I haven’t seen snow like this in a long time!

Snack time over the break.

Get some rest, eat some yummy treats and recharge for 2018!

December Happenings

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Time for Q2 to come to a close. We will not be having a class party for small group so that the students can participate with their homeroom celebrations. I will have an open house format for students to drop in or get pulled to see me if needed during Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the break.

** Remember that Tuesday the 19th and Wednesday the 20th are early release**


As we finish out this quarter, we are working on multiplication of multiple digit factors by multiple digit factors as well as simple division and multiplicative comparison. We use the triangle method for this skill and we practiced, practiced, practiced. Groups we by choice and students were allowed to work alone or with a teacher if they wanted.

We will be working on long division as soon as we return from the holiday break. We will then get into fractions.





…student teach…

…and practice!

Even more practice can be found on, prodigy and my symbaloo site.

Math vocabulary is fun 🙂

more choice group work, using pencil/paper, white boards and technology.


Students finished up their Opinion Writing units. We worked on a variety of different skills to help us with this unit. One fun activity was the picture prompt descriptions. A student selected a photo prompt, described the picture with as much detail as they could and their peers drew what they heard described. This was to illustrate how important it is to use all of our senses and descriptive words, not matter what genre we are writing about.

After the break we will begin our Informational Writing Unit. As usual, there will be a pre-unit writing prompt, lessons to support writing a paper for grade level expectations and a post-unit writing prompt to measure growth.

Firefighter photo

and example of what one student heard described to him

peers drawing a photo prompt about a family bike ride

looks great!


No pictures from reading since it was a busy couple of weeks. We will continue to utilize the Read 180 Lab, do DRA assessments and other reading inventories to measure growth on the student’s individual levels and grade level expectations.


Playing with the different components of LIGHT can be amazing. Students made their own cameras with 3 different lenses to model transparent, translucent and opaque. We used Slinkies, big and small, to demonstrate transverse light waves. We had fun with prisms, mirrors and convex/concave glass lenses from the STEM lab. Games for review we done on the smartboard, videos from Brainpop and hands on discovery helped us explore Light.

After the break we will learn all about SOUND. There will be a test over both concepts, date TBD. A study guide will be sent home and posted on Mrs. Poulos’ blog, as usual.

Making our cameras

This one is Transparent: can see everything through this lens 💡(“parents” can see everything…😁)

Making Opaque lenses

Exploring through play and discovery time

Science is so much fun!

**Extension question** Anyone remember what this is an example of?

Welcome Back!


Please enjoy our beautiful artwork from last week. 🙂

We had a fun writing activity called, I am Not a Turkey, where the students had to help “hide” their turkey and then use figurative language to describe their new persona.

Wow, we have flown through the first half of this year! It is hard to believe that the end of Q2 is in just a few weeks. We have quite a bit of work to do over the next  few days. As a result of field trips, holiday parties and end of the quarter progress reports, we will have varied lesson plans until the new year. We will stay on track with grade  level standards but we will also be concentrating on goals & objectives to optimize what combination of students we have in class given the various activities.

Tuesday, November 28th-In house field trip with Captain Barrington Irving:

Barrington Antonio Irving, Jr., C.D. (born November 11, 1983) was the youngest person to pilot a plane around the world solo, a feat he accomplished in 2007. He is also the first black person and first Jamaican to accomplish this feat. As of 2007, he was an aerospace student at Broward College. His airplane, a Columbia 400 (Cessna Corvalis 400), is named the “Inspiration”, and was manufactured and assembled by the Columbia Aircraft Mfg. Co. in 2005, classified as a standard aircraft in the utility category using over $300,000 in donated parts.

Irving was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Miami, Florida. He is a graduate of Miami Northwestern Senior High School. He turned down multiple football scholarship offers with his sights set on aviation. He later founded Experience Aviation, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering minority youth to pursue careers in aviation. His airplane, the “Inspiration”, has been registered to Experience Aviation since 2006.

Irving’s record was broken in 2012 by the 22-year-old Swiss Carlo Schmid.

Other important dates:

Thursday, November 30th- 4th Grade to the Fire Safety Village

Friday, December 1st-Mrs. Homer has a professional learning day on site

Monday, December 4th-Holiday shop starts (ends the 12th)

Friday, December 8th-December & January cupcakes

Friday, December 8th-Dinner with Santa 5-8pm

Thursday, December 14th-Holiday Hat Day

Friday, December 15th-Tacky Sweater Day

Monday, December 18th-5th grade holiday parties

Tuesday, December 19th-early release

Wednesday, December 20th-4th grade parties, holiday sing along assembly & early release.


Turkey Time is coming soon!

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What a fast week! I apologize for not getting the blog updated on Sunday. Now here we are and we only have a few hours until Thanksgiving break. I hope everyone has a safe holiday and comes back to school rested and ready to finish out the calendar year strong!

I have lots of photos to share from classroom activities of the past two weeks. The remaining part of Q2 and all of Q3 are quite intense with curriculum and pacing. I will do my best to help them pack their toolboxes with strategies to help them succeed. I always appreciate the support I get with assignments. If you ever have questions, please let me know. Supports for practice at home are found on my symbaloo page.

For the parents that did their homework the other night, thank you so much. I fully believe that the one doing the talking is the one doing the learning. By having your child “teach” you the new math it helps them practice their skills.

MATH: Box method and standard algorithm for multiplication was in the plans. We had student teacchers that helped their peers with the tasks while some kids worked with Mrs. Homer or Mrs. Poe. We will continue working on our goals & objectives when we come back from break. Division and fractions are our friends for the remainder of Q2 and part of Q3. Keep practicing those multiplication facts! 🙂 We have had lots of kids increase their scores over the past few weeks-way to go!

ELA: We continued working on our opinion writing. We modeled an opinion together, “Kids should not have cell phones”. We also cut up out modeled writing and put the sentences in the correct order to discuss revising our work when writing. We explored figurative language and how to construct our opinions with enough evidence and facts to make our point. We did a fun writing prompt on I am not a Turkey. Discussions about what the first Thanksgiving might have looked like evolved into present day holiday meals. The students crafted a turkey in disguise and had to come up with similes and metaphors to describe their “new” turkey. For the rest of the quarter we will be working on finishing our Opinion writing paper and then finish with a post-opinion prompt.

READING: Working in the reading lab, finishing our read aloud, Tales of a Forth Grade Nothing, and DRAs have consumed most of the last two weeks. When we return from break we will continue in the lab and work on goals & objectives. Please keep reading every night!

SCIENCE &  SOCIAL STUDIES: We finished up our unit on Simple Machines. The kids really enjoyed making their own Rube Goldberg’s in class. Tis week we explored with the Colonists and we will have a test on Friday, December 1st. The study guide was sent home and a copy of that guide is on Mrs. Poluos’ blog.

I hope you have an amazing week off. Please take time to enjoy what the season has to offer. I know I will be sleeping in, taking long walks with my family and enjoying the break. See you in a few days.