Thursday, September 29, 2016

Magic is happening...

Trying something new!
Fourth grade is responsible for the school bulletin board in October so we're all doing fall art! I love trying new things and I've never done resist with glue! Until now, y'all! 
The kids sketched their trio of pumpkins, then - with steady hands - traced the outlines in glue.  Tomorrow, we'll have a great time using watercolors to really make these beauties pop!  In the meantime, take a peek at Day 1 of 2...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Harry Potter Picasso Portraits

Today we were lucky to have art and OMG - you won't believe my students' amazing masterpieces! Check out our class Shutterfly - families only - to see our artists in action!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Random food for thought...

Assume the Best

“We must never assume that which is incapable of proof.” ~Unknown
You can never truly know someone else’s intentions.
If a coworker offers to cover your shift, she may be trying to ease your stress—or she could be vying for your job. If your sister-in-law offers to pay for your meal, she may want to help you out during tough times—of she could be trying to remind you that you’re inferior.
You can always find a negative assumption that allows you to believe the worst in people. Or you can give that person the benefit of the doubt and believe they have your best interests at heart.
When you assume someone is being kind and not selfish, you may occasionally be wrong, but for the most part you’ll feel appreciative and peaceful with the people in your life. The alternative is to believe people are bad, seek and find proof everywhere, and walk around feeling bitter and critical.
When you have no proof, it’s a judgment call: assume the best and feel good and grateful, or assume the worst and feel bad and suspicious.
Choosing to see and feel good does more than ease your sense of doubt; it also expands your awareness. 
Barbara Frederickson, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, explains that positive emotions allow us to see more, whereas negative emotions literally narrow our thinking.
When you feel more positive emotions, you form closer bonds with people, increase your resilience, and become more satisfied with life.
You can’t always feel good. But you can choose to feel good more often, starting with the way you interpret the things people do.
We set examples for our kids every day - each action is a choice in the kind of example we want to set. My students are all wonderful children. They are cherished - all - by their families and friends -- and me.   They all deserve respect, privacy and an assumption that they are good, special and caring humans - because they are. I don't have any perfect children in my class - not one - but each is delightful, funny, good-hearted, and worthy of our effort to show them the best in humanity.
Please be kind. And assume the best.

Science Observations

OMG! It was great to be back after 3 days away at training! And it was super great to observe snails and crayfish today! Check out our class Shutterfly (sorry, families only!) to see our beautiful scientists in action! Here's just a snippet... 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

We LOVE Book Orders!

Our October book order is due 9/30 so we're sure to get those fun fall and Halloween books in our hot, little hands and enjoy them during most of October! 
If you'd like to get in on our Scholastic book ordering, our code is... 

Click here to start ordering!

Class Need

If there's anyone out there who has a desire to donate to our class... we are in need of a black ink cartridge. Moving to a new grade level meant I bought and printed a lot of resources so...
ink a dink a bottle of ink, 
we printed a lot and no more ink.
click here to see the price on

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dropping the Mic - Lattice Multiplication

We kept practicing Lattice Multiplication and OMG - my students rocked it!!!
They each chose their own problem and level of challenge. Honestly, guys - I am impressed!
I'm impressed not only with the 24/30 who tried it and nailed it - but I'm proud of those 6 who kept going back and DID.NOT.GIVE.UP!
We are all rockstars! Seriously - great job today!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Accelerated Reader

We will begin using the Accelerated Reader Program as part of our comprehensive literacy program.  The only way to become really good at understanding what we read is through practice. 
Accelerated Reader, or AR, is a program used to motivate students to increase their reading and vocabulary comprehension.  There is a proven link between strong reading skills and academic success. 

What is it?
The Accelerated Reader database offers quizzes to test reading comprehension on books your child may be reading.  Each book is assigned a reading level based on the book’s level of difficulty (vocabulary, sentence structure, and other elements) and a point value (based on the length of the book).  Students are encouraged to read independently and then take quizzes to check their reading comprehension. 

How does it work?
1.  To find out whether Accelerated Reader has a quiz available for a specific book or to find books at a certain level, visit  At the website you can search the catalog of more than 150,000 books.
2.  Students then choose a book based on their interest and reading level.  Please make sure your child chooses books at or above 4th grade level (4.0 and above) for quality and complexity of material.
3.  After they’ve read a book, students take quizzes in the classroom or in the media lab while a teacher is present.
Note:  Students cannot take tests from home.  The tests can only be taken while on campus.
4.  The student earns points for mastering material on the test.  They earn full points by answering ALL test questions correctly.  (Students who average at least 80% on tests taken are considered to understand what they read on an average level.)
**Please make sure your child chooses books at or above 4th grade level (4.0 and above) for quality and complexity of material.
5.  Accelerated Reader will be counted as a portion of their EFFORT in Language Arts grades for each reporting period.

We will need to collect $5.00 from each student to use this program.  Please send in the money in an envelope with your child’s name by 9/22.

Teacher Weekend

Guess what I'm doing today. Yep I'm in class! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016

Area Model Multiplication

A fun and easy way to do multiplication! Check out this basic explanation for 2 digit X 1 digit...

 And - for 2 digit X 2 digit explanation, watch this!

Book Fair

Because our Book Fair time is Friday and the Book Fair ends Friday our grade level does not have the chance to make wish lists, take them home, plead discuss with our families, and then bring a check the next day to purchase these wonderful books. 
If you would like your child to be able to purchase books, please send them to school on Friday with cash or a blank check made payable to "PFC" with notation of the LIMIT in the menu line ("not to exceed $10". A check will enable the PFC to limit the change circulating around campus! You may also want to include "only for books" or "books+tchotchkes")
If you would like to shop with your child, please stop by the Book Fair before or after school. Credit cards are accepted ;)
Please note that our class also has a wish list if you'd like to purchase a book for Room 17.
Thank you!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Lattice Multiplication

Multiplication is coming, y'all!
Just like division had been featured as the challenge problems in the homework, the next couple weeks we'll have multiplication.  Here's a super fun way to do multiplication - the Lattice Method! 

Subtracting Across Zeros

YAY! Isn't subtracting across zeros so much fun! Said few children ever.  
We were practicing this skill this week and I thought I'd share another way to solve those equations. If you work with kids on this skill now you have a new tool to use. Check this out...

Friday, September 2, 2016

Organic Gardening News!

My new students and families may not know this, but one of my pastimes is organic gardening. Last year we bought one of those amazing pumpkins - a Jack-o-Lantern that just wouldn't quit. Finally - around February it began to decompose and my husband added it to our compost bin, and then, later, to our garden. 
Imagine our surprise at finding a pumpkin blossom when growing watermelon this summer! Check out our singular 2016 pumpkin, our first pumpkin ever - a circle of life planting from our 2015 pumpkin!