Monday, January 28, 2008

Quick Update

Hi Everyone,

We have been in such a groove, I have forgotten to update our blog.

Here's the scoop in room 5:

Mathematics: We are wrapping up fractions. This week we are working with improper and mixed fractions. Hopefully, your child can explain the difference between them. We will also add and subtract fractions with like denominators. Look for a study guide in your child's agenda this week and a test early next week.

Reading: We are also finishing Love That Dog by Sharon Creech this week. As a culminating activity, we will spend one period this week listening to the book on CD. Ask your child what the significance of the blue car is in the book.

Our next unit is a favorite of mine, Tall Tales! Pecos Bill, Slue Foot Sue and Paul Bunyan will be our new friends!

Social Studies: We had a test on the Southeast Region and will be moving into the Middle West Region. Do you know which state in the Middle West Region looks like a mitten? Do you know the names of the Great Lakes? We'll find out as we continue our journey across the United States.

Science: We are still studying adaptations using birds. We have a few more activities and then we will begin our project which is still a SECRET for right now! We will also dissect owl pellets and watch March of the Penguins.

Writing: We are still working on our Genie/Three Wishes project. Thank you to Mrs. Alessi, Mrs. Johnson, and Mrs. Ransden for volunteering to help out with conferences during writer's workshop. Let me know if you are interested in coming in to help us revise and edit.

Read-Aloud: We finished Matilda by Roald Dahl. It was nice to see how many kids picked up additional books by Roald Dahl this past week. I love when read-alouds inspire students to read new genres & authors! We also did a quick picture book called All About Owls by Jim Arnosky. Today, we started Poppy by Avi. Both books coincide nicely with our science unit.


  1. Report Cards went home on Monday. Please call if you have not seen your child's report card.

  2. Chorus Concert is on Thursday at 9:10 am. Families are welcome. This is the only time that 4th grade will perform for the Winter Concert. The children need dark bottoms (pants/skirts), dark shoes, and white tops for their concert attire. It looks lovely when everyone participates, but don't forget to pack sneakers as we have phys. ed. in the afternoon! The children can change into comfy clothes after the concert.

  3. February 8th, 2008 is PTO's Family Game Night at 6:30 PM. Come out for a good time. I think I may be a "guest caller" for BINGO...and Emma may want to help me work the microphone! I am sure it will be a blast!

That's it for now. I promise to post some new pictures after the concert. We are just "wrapping" a lot of things up and pretty busy...not too much time for pictures.

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Snow Day?

Hi Everyone!

We had a great full week together. We have been working on many activities. The students are also gearing up for their debut at the Winter Concert on January 31st at 9:10 AM. Parents and families are welcome to attend as the 4th grade ONLY performs at this time. They will perform at the evening Spring Concert in April/May. Please try to make it if you can. The children love to see their families in the audience and it is a wonderful culmination of their efforts since the beginning of the year. Additionally, the children need to be dressed in white shirts and dark bottoms (pants, skirts) for the concert. Information about the concert from Mrs. Stonebraker went home last week.

Thank you to those who were able to return the blog survey that I sent home last week. I will share the information with Mrs. Whitten. It was nice to hear the positive feedback. It seems that most people enjoy the information updates about current curriculum and love to see the pictures. Some ideas including having the students post a message and putting the spelling lists on the blog. If you are not already aware, there is a link to the blog from my page on the Zeh School homepage. This week, the children had an opportunity to explore the blog a bit during computer lab and can show you how to access it from our webpage.

I also forgot in my last post to say thank you for the lovely class gift! I have been using the gift card to shop for some new things for myself including some new sneakers. Thank you also for the many individual gifts that I received. Your generosity is overwhelming and very thoughtful. I am lucky to work with such nice families this year!

Here's the update:

Writer's Workshop: We are making fabulous progress on our Genie/Three Wishes stories. I am pleased to see the children use the stages of the writing process with such ease. Additionally, I am still in need of parent volunteers on Thursdays and Fridays from10:55-11:35. So far, Mrs. Alessi has graciously volunteered to join us on Thursdays. If you are available and interested, please drop me an email.

Science: We are continuing our study of animal adaptations and birds. We watched some videos and learned about variations in beaks and bird feet. Ask your child what a gizzard is? Hopefully, they can tell you. We also did a lab on opposable thumbs. The students completed a few activities (open/close a zipper, shuffle cards, write your name, cut along a line, turn pages in a book, pick up a dime) normally, Next, they had to do the same activities with their thumbs taped down with masking tape. Check out some of the fun photos:

Lauren tries to open/close a zipper without thumbs!

Kaitlin is attempting to cut along a dotted line without thumbs.

Brad is trying to write his name without using his thumbs.

Also, please feel free to check out the updated websites for animal adaptations over on the left side of the page.

Mathematics: The children did a great job on their division test and we have now moved into fractions. We took a quick poll at the launch of the unit and have concluded that some students have fractophobia (Zeh School term for "fear of fractions"). I told them of my own personal horrid history with fractions and how I have made it my "business" to make fractions easy for all to understand. Please have your child come see me if they are struggling. Understanding fractions will help to lay the ground work for success in decimals, our next unit. Next week, we will learn about equivalent fractions, comparing fractions and how Wonder Woman gets involved to help us out!

Reading: Last week we started a new book called Love that Dog by Sharon Creech. So far, there is no mention of any dogs...we are pretty curious, though. This book connects to our study of poetry. Additionally, we worked on choral reading. We used Joyful Noise: Poetry for Two Voices by Paul Fleishman. It was challenging to practice the poems and get the timing just right. Click on the videos below to watch our performances. (I am pleased to say that none of the videos are sideways this week!)

Scott, Anthony, Katie, Caroline and Taylor

Kaitlin, Brad, C.J. and Jake

John, Lauren, Ashley, Hannah, and Alyson

Brenna, Meg, Devin, and Patrick

Rachel and Will

Cait, Rachel, Allyson, and Justin

Read-Aloud: We are reading Matilda by Roald Dahl during snack. We love the characters and are amazed by the Truchbull, the headmistress at Matilda's school. We are waiting to find out what will happen next.


  1. Book Order is due on Friday 1/18/08.
  2. Monday 1/21/08 - No School for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  3. Tuesday 1/22/08- No School for Students: Professional Development for Teachers
  4. Wednesday 1/23/08-Students return (there will be no spelling this short week)

Thank you and have a wonderful week!