News from Room 235

October 27, 2015
Hello All,

Just wanted to send along a few reminders of upcoming events.
Tomorrow is an early release day, so dismissal will be at 12:10.  We will have lunch at school.  Please let me know if your child’s afternoon plans tomorrow will be different from their normal routine.
Thursday is picture retake day.  If your child had their pictures taken and would like a retake, please send their original picture package back to school with them.
Friday is Pizza Bingo Night in the gym beginning at 5:30.  Come to this fun event to play Bingo, have some pizza and parade around in costumes. Fun for everyone!
This week student leaders from the high school will be speaking to the classes about their service project to send candy to active duty service personnel serving overseas. Willamette students will have the opportunity to donate their Halloween candy to the candy drive, and help Operation Gratitude say thank you to military personnel.  All types of unopened candy are welcome with the exception of Pixy sticks or other products that include a powdery sugar.  Please consider participating in this service project.
A reminder for permission slips and $7.25 ticket cost to be sent in to school, please. Chaperone/teacher cost is $7.25 as well.   Although the trip is not until April, we need to pay for our tickets ahead of time. I’m hopeful we’ll have all money/slips returned by Friday.  Thanks for your help with this.
Our postcards for The Great Postcard Challenge are beginning to come in and it is exciting!  The class has loved reading the cards we’ve received and seeing the states on our hallway map get colored in as we race against the other fourth grade classes.   So far we’ve received cards from Florida, Connecticut, Texas, California, Alaska, Colorado, Arizona and Montana. Many thanks for your help getting addresses and reaching out to friends and family across the United States.  We’ll keep you posted!
Be on the lookout for similes, metaphors and hyperbole when you are reading with your children, or point them out when you find them in your own reading.  We’ve been studying figurative language and students are keeping charts of these literary devices, and sprinkling them in their writing.  Once you are tuned in to them you will notice them in songs, newspaper articles, even in our own conversations.  Help us add more to our growing lists.  Here are some examples: simile- Going up the hill, the car was as slow as molasses. Metaphor- The hillside was an ocean of green. Hyperbole- I’ve told you a million times to clean up your room. Happy hunting!
Please contact me with any questions or concerns.
Have a wonderful week!
October 18, 2015
Happy Weekend, Everyone!
The Pacific Northwest is just breathtaking in the fall and the changing leaves remind me of home in Vermont.  I hope you were able to spend some time outdoors this weekend. Our family checked out the salmon run at Oxbow Park. Pretty amazing sight to see those determined critters jumping and swimming upstream!
We have been busy in our classroom this past week deriving efficient multiplication strategies, sending postcard letters in the mail, and thinking deeply about the characters in our books.  Your kiddos have been working hard as they push themselves to the next level as readers, writers and mathematicians.  We even wowed some district administrators with our knowledge of when to use “less” or “fewer” in our writing. Did your child test you on this concept?
This week students will dig into their self-designed writing notebooks, covered courtesy of Lonnie, to begin a unit on writing realistic fiction.  First lessons will center around looking at everyday experiences as a starting point for a fiction story.  Students will choose a small, true moment and think, “Wait. There might be a story here.” They will begin collecting lots of experiences to use as inspiration for future stories.  You can support them  by calling their attention to everyday experiences they are having and saying, “Jot that experience down in your notebook.  You may be able to use that for a story someday.”  You should be seeing their writing notebooks come home for homework as they begin collecting experiences.
We will also begin our research on the different regions of the United States. Students are in region groups and will be responsible for researching a specific aspect of their region- landforms, climate, history, exports/natural resources, points of interest etc… They will be developing skills in reading for the main idea and important information, taking notes and composing paragraphs in expository writing mode.  You can help support your child by talking to them about their region, asking questions, and reading materials with them. You may find a great website for them to use (if so, please share!). Please resist the urge to research the topic for them by printing out information and highlighting what is relevant to them.  We are working on the non-fiction state standards that require students to locate information, determine main idea and supporting details, understand non-fiction text features and how to use them and how to integrate information from two sources.  In the end, groups will create pages for a class book about the United States regions.  They will also incorporate information received from our postcards from all over the United States.  Thank you so much for providing addresses. I’ll keep you posted on the results of the fourth grade Great Postcard Race!
We have been growing sentences in our room! First, simple sentences with nouns and verbs. The wolf howled. Next we added some adjectives and adverbs.  The lonely wolf howled eerilyThen we sprinkled in some prepositional phrases.  On top of the abandoned mountaintop, the lonely wolf howled across the frozen landscape. This week we work with similes. From the abandoned mountaintop, the lonely wolf howled across the frozen landscape like a child wailing for its mother. Although we area writing these elegant sentences in isolation, the goal if for students to apply their knowledge of craft into all of their writing as a way to appeal to their audience.  You can have fun with this at home, too! Give your child a simple sentence (just three words) and ask them to grow a new and improved sentence.  You will be amazed at their abilities and their creativity!
We had our first spelling test last week. They will be coming home tomorrow and will have a Words to Study sheet attached. These are words students should practice at home.
Here are some upcoming dates to note:
Wednesday, Oct 28th: Early dismissal @ 12:10
Thursday, Oct. 29th: Picture Retake Day
Friday, Oct. 30th: Pizza Bingo 5:30-7:30
Also, I would LOVE to collect photos of your kiddos in their Halloween costumes! It’s great fun to share in class and, who knows, may serve as  inspiration for a story!
Have a wonderful week!
October 11, 2015
Hello All,
Thank you all for making the time to attend parent conferences last week. I always enjoy taking the time to sit down with families and set goals for the next few months.  Students will be reviewing the goals this week and writing them in their planners.  Please continue to ask about their progress on these goals and encourage them to stick with it!
A few classroom notes:
FIELD TRIP: Permission slips will be going home tomorrow for a trip to the Winningstad Theater in Portland to see a stage production of the critically acclaimed book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, written by Kate DiCamillo.  Ticket cost is $7.25.  We will be going on April 19, 2016 and we will need 5 chaperones to accompany us to the play. Please let me know either by email or writing on the permission slip if you are interested in joining us.  Ticket price for adults is $7.25 as well.
Thank you for providing so many addresses for our United States Postcard Challenge. Tomorrow we will be writing final drafts of request letters and popping them in the mail.  We are still looking for a few contacts from: Alabama, Delaware,  Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, West Virginia and Wyoming. If you know of anyone living in those states who would be willing to help out our class, please forward their contact information to me. Many thanks!
We will also be starting our research on the different regions of the United States.  Students will work collaboratively to create pages in a class book about the regions and become more familiar with the landforms, climate, and natural resources of these areas. That knowledge will be invaluable in a couple of weeks when we participate in Mystery Skypes with classrooms all over the United States.  Based on the answers to thoughtful questions and our knowledge of our country, we will try and pinpoint where our partner classes are located as we skype with them. In turn, we will provide information about the great state of Oregon.  It should be a great adventure!
Book orders are being sent home tomorrow. Please check your child’s Homework folder for the order forms and submit orders by October 22nd.  Our class code is GYWTC.
REMINDER: Please note our specials schedule.  Students should be wearing sneakers for Wellness class. No boots, flip flops or other footwear that would make exercise difficult or dangerous. Thank you to all who donated footwear for those who forget their gym shoes on those days. Proper footwear helps to insure our kiddos will have fun and be safe during wellness class.
Monday: Library
Tuesday/Thursday: Wellness
Wednesday/Friday: Music
Early Dismissal: Wednesday, October 28.  Lunch is served and dismissal is at 12:10.  Please let me know if your child’s afternoon plans will be different on that day.
Picture Retake Day: Thursday, October 29.  Please bring the original photo package.
Pizza Bingo Night: Our incredible PTA is again sponsoring this fun, family event on October 30th from 5:30-7:30pm.  Families are invited to come in costume, purchase pizza and play some games of BINGO.  It’s always a great time! Thank you to our PTA!
Enjoy this beautiful weekend!
September 28, 2015
Happy Monday!
I hope you were able to see the lunar eclipse last night. Everyone in class was buzzing about it this morning. What an amazing sight!
Please check your child’s planner this week to see some assignments that they will need your help with.
Postcard Race: Our class is collecting postcards from each state in the United States as part of our study of U.S. regions. This week they should find a friend or family member that they would be able to write to and request a postcard from.  Students were given a form to clearly write the name and address of the person.  Please help your child find someone they could write to who you feel would be willing to send a postcard about their state.  If you don’t have out of state contact people, just check the box that indicates that on the form.  Thanks for your help! We’ll keep you posted on how the friendly competition between fourth grade classes goes to collect cards from the most number of states.  (The letter writing will happen in the classroom. Students just need help to find an address.) Address forms are due back by Monday.
Daily Reading:  As a way of providing some accountability, I’m asking students to have parents initial the planner when the child completes the daily reading assignment. They highlighted the area in the planner that needs your signature. If they did not read, please do not initial.  Also, check out their weekly reading goal they wrote at the top of the page and ask your child how they are progressing toward meeting that goal.
Multiplication Practice: Students are expected to spend time each day working on multiplication fluency. I have sent home some flashcards they could use, if that method works for them. Those cards should come back to school the next day. They could also go on our classroom blog under the Study Resources tab and go to Multiplication Practice. There are many games/activities they could play.  They could also go on IXL and choose any grade level multiplication practice. They can access and use IXL for 20 questions each day without a paid subscription. You can accesss IXL from our blog through the Homework tab in the navigation bar.  Later this week I’ll be sending home some games we play in the classroom that students could play at home as well to practice their multiplication skills.
Conferences: Thank you for signing up for next week’s conferences. There are a few openings left if you haven’t made your appointment yet.  You can access the on-line sign ups from the school website at  Click on PASS at the top.
Important Dates:
No School: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week
Have a great week!
September 21, 2015
Happy Monday to You All!
Just a few notes from our classroom.  Today we handed out the student planner books, so no more loose planning sheets! One of tonight’s assignments is to transfer their reading data from last week (minutes read and pages read) to their planners. This week they should continue to keep track and then we will use that data to figure out their average.  The other assignment which is due on Friday is to complete the Where Have You Been? sheet in your child’s homework folder.  Students neatly color in any states they have visited. This is to kick off our study of United States regions.
Conference sign-ups are now available on line. Please go to the school website at and click on PASS at the top. You will need your child’s 6-digit id number and your family’s 3-digit password number which was sent out to you in a separate email.  You can also call the office for additional help.  If the posted  times/dates will not work for you, please let me know so we can come up with another plan.
Crossing Guards: Several of our students will be participating in guard duty this year.
AM Crossing Guards: Tuesdays: Kate and Gabe,  Wednesdays: Athena, Thursdays: Madeline, and Fridays: Ellie.
PM Crossing Guards are on an alternating week schedule.  Our class begins NEXT week.  They are:
Mondays: Olive and Paxton, Tuesdays: Gabriella and Fridays: Nicholas.
Thank you all for your school leadership!
Early Release Day:  On Wednesday, Sept. 23 school will be dismissed at 12:10.  Students will have lunch at school and buses will run on their normal routes.  Please let me know if your child’s after school plans will change on that day.
Picture Day: We will have pictures taken on Thursday, Sept. 24.  Picture order forms have gone home or you can go online to order at   You will need the Picture Day ID Code which is FO735305Q0
Classroom Blog: You can finally find our classroom blog on the school website!  I will use the blog to post resources students need to complete assignments, photos of classroom activities and other fun items!  Our blog address is:  Tonight I posted an audio clip of a Parts of Speech rap that we are using to help us learn the parts of speech, and use them to write compete and interesting sentences.  Check it out on our blog under the Language Arts tab.
That’s all the news for now.  Have a wonderful week!
September 11, 2015
Hello All,
Thanks to everyone who was able to make it to Curriculum Night last night. It was a pleasure talking about the year ahead and how the classroom works.  If you were unable to make the event, I sent home the handouts with your child so you can take a look through the information.  We also had sign ups in the classroom indicating interest in providing prep work support, in class support in reading, writing or math and volunteering to come in and teach a lesson about a particular skill or hobby that you have.  If you are interested in participating in any of these ways and were not able to sign up, please let me know so I can add you to our list.
Just a few tidbits:
Online sign-ups for parent conferences will be live on our school website beginning on September 21.  The conferences will be happening the evenings of October 5 and 6, and during the day on October 7 and 8. If you know that those dates are not going to work for you, I’m happy to schedule an alternative date/time either before or after that week.
Book order forms went home this week. When you go to there is a one-time classroom code you need to enter to order. Our code is  GYWTC.  Book orders are due by September 16.
In the planning sheets you will find an area on the right to note reading minutes and pages. Although I don’t advocate timing your child’s reading as a rule, I would like to have them track their time and minutes for just the next two weeks to come up with an average number of pages they read in a given amount of time. This will give them an estimated number of days needed to finish reading books.  We will be talking about the 40 Book Challenge in the days to come and this would be helpful information for them to know.
Today we met our first grade reading buddies for the first time.  Pictures of the buddies are on the What’s Happening tab of our classroom blog. The address is  I am also looking into how to post our People Slides the students created to introduce their classmates to one another.  I’ll let you know if I’m successful on that front.
Next week will bring our first Spanish class!
Here is the specials schedule. Please be sure your child is wearing appropriate footwear for wellness class.
M: Library
W,F: Music
Please contact me with any questions.
Have a wonderful weekend!

One thought on “News from Room 235

  1. In the book about civil war called The Butterfly the mood gets dark really fast. First the main girl sees a sad eyed ghost in her room. Then in the morning soldiers with natzi flags are coming. The soldiers are saying they hate these people. Then they take the candy shop owner with them for who knows what. And I believe that means war and the small town did zero,nada,squat that’s what the town did to the soldiers.

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