Update -- September 5, 2017

posted Sep 5, 2017, 11:24 AM by David Baird

The first two weeks of school have a blast. We have worked hard and done a great job learning our daily routines and expectations. As we enter our third week of school student are getting planners. It will be there job to show you the planner each day and talk about what they learned at school. If you ever have any questions about what they have written in the planner you may check the Daily Agenda tab of this website. I will talk more about this during our Parent Orientation on Thursday evening at 7 PM. I hope to see you there. Below you will find an update describing our objectives in each content area for the week. Let me know if you have any questions.  

In reading next week we will be learning how to write a summary.  We will be using the Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then model as a teaching tool. You can ask your child by the end of the week about the books we read and about how to use this model to create a summary.

After learning last week how to brainstorm ideas, this week we will pick one idea and plan a   writing piece.  We will guide students through picking their topic, and through the use of the “story mountain.”  A model that shows how to outline a writing piece’s action to hold the reader’s attention and bring the story to a meaningful conclusion.

In math we continue to go over place value.  We are looking at numbers place value, comparing number’s value, rounding, using expanded, standard and word form. At the end of this week we will quiz over these skills. 

Social Studies
I'm social studies we continue to learn about the four major regions of Texas. We are learning the geography, location and cities in each region. 

In science, we will explore mixtures and solutions. We will compare and contrast different mixtures and solutions. At the end of the week, students will take the Unit 1 DCA (District Common Assessment) on properties of matter and mixtures. 

September 6 - New Cub Scout Parent Meeting, 6:00 p.m.
September 7, Parent Orientation Night (K-2 & TAG 6:00, PTA Meeting 6:30, 3rd-5th, 7:00)
September 10 - Sunday Funday
September 21 - Riata RoundUp, 6:00 p.m.
September 26 - PTA Board Meeting, 6:45 p.m.
September 27 - Spirit Night

First Day of School Information -- Monday, August 21

posted Aug 21, 2017, 2:24 PM by David Baird   [ updated Aug 21, 2017, 2:28 PM ]

I hope everybody had a great weekend. Tomorrow, August 22 is the first day of school! I can't wait to get started, and I'm excited about the year ahead. As you plan for tomorrow please consider the following information:
  • School starts at 7:40
  • The doors to the school open at 7:15
  • Pack a healthy snack and a water bottle
  • Drop off is going to be very busy tomorrow. Please plan on saying quick good byes at the door so your students can start to develop a routine
I'm really looking forward to starting the school year tomorrow and I hope you are too. I'll see you in the morning. 

                                                                                                                                                            -Mr. Baird

Our Daily Schedule


Arrival and Morning Routine










Owl Time






Science or Social Studies


Transition and Pack Up


Pack up and Dismissal

Weekly Update-- October 17, 2016

posted Oct 17, 2016, 6:57 AM by David Baird

Last week was another great week at Caraway. We have been working really hard on our multiplication and division skills. It's so great when you get to see a student grasp a concept they have been struggling with. I saw that in many of your students this past week. We have been writing like crazy lately. We just finished up an expository essay on the topic "My Favorite". This week we are starting an expository essay on the topic, "I Am an Authority". Ask your students what they are authorities on and share with them what you are an authority on as well. 

Here are some important updates: 
  • Due district assessments in Reading and Writing next week, we will be taking a break from spelling for this week and next week. 
  • We had a great second week of Caraway Academy. You can read the blog update about it here. 
  • Here is a note from Mr. Touchet:
    • To Parents of Choir Students, If you would, please go to my choir page on my website (https://sites.google.com/a/roundrockisd.org/touchet/choir) and fill out the registration form. I failed to get email information and would like to keep everyone up to date. Thanks for your time and help.
  • Red Ribbon Week Poster Contest
    • Red Ribbon Week is celebrated across the United States each October. The goal is to reach millions of children with the vital message that a healthy mind requires healthy body and we pledge to stay healthy and stay away from all the destructive, harmful things that could hurt our bodies and our mind.This year’s Red Ribbon Week will be celebrated October 23-31.We want to hear your message. All Caraway students are invited to help keep our school drug free by participating in our poster contest. This year’s Red Ribbon Week theme is Y.O.L.O (you only live once). Create a positive message on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper that includes this year’s theme. There will be 12-16 students/grade level chosen to receive a special prize for participating in this year’s contest. All entries are due October 21, 2016 by 8:00 a.m.. Please turn in your entry to the front office. Students will be notified the following week. We’ can’t wait to receive your entry!
  • Anti-bullying Essay Contest
    • The National Bullying Prevention Month campaign was founded in 2006 by PACER's National Center for Bullying Prevention. The campaign is held during the month of October and unites communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. Its mission is to transform a society that accepts bullying into a society that recognizes that bullying must – and can – be addressed through education and support. The Caraway theme for the month of October is “Be Kind.” We are inviting all students to participate in an anti-bullying essay/poetry contest. The theme is “Be Kind.” Students are invited to submit an original poem with a message about being kind to others. There will be 12-16 students/grade level chosen to receive a special prize for participating in this year’s contest. All entries are due Friday, October 21st at 8:00 a.m.. Please turn in your entry to the front office. Students will be notified the following week. We’ can’t wait to receive your entry!

Quick Update

posted Oct 11, 2016, 12:07 PM by David Baird

I took the week off from sending out a Weekly Update. I enjoyed visiting with many of you yesterday at conferences, and look forward to seeing the rest of you later this week. 

I'm was off campus today. Look for Tuesday folders on Wednesday. 

Here are various announcements from Caraway Programs you need to know about. Click the links below for more information.

Weekly Update -- Saturday, October 1, 2016

posted Oct 1, 2016, 6:30 AM by David Baird   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 11:31 AM ]

It was a busy week. We began to cover some important skills which are essential to fourth grade success. 

Our writing instruction covered expository texts and how to plan an expository essay. For our purposes, we consider an expository text be any informational writing. In fourth grade we primarily focus on opinion pieces or topics the students are readily familiar with. Right now we on expository essay on "My favorite...". Students made quick lists of things which are their favorite and then chose one favorite to write about. Each student then created a thesis statement sharing their opinion with three "big idea" reasons to support the opinion. Next we practiced using a planning technique called Boxes and Bullets to expand the thesis statement into a body paragraph. We will push into drafting, revising, and editing this coming week. I'm hoping to make a video explaining further explain these concepts in the near future. When I do I will send it out to each of you. 

In Math we began to explore about the algorithm for 4 digit by 1 digit multiplication. We also began to look at division concepts. Each student learned the meaning of the quotient, divisor, and dividend. Next week we push into the long division algorithm. In order for students to be successful in this unit it is essential that they fluently know their multiplication facts.  As I walked around the room during class throughout the week and graded papers yesterday I noticed that many students understood the concepts and the algorithms, but they didn't know facts. Many students lost points because of this. Any practice students can do at home with their multiplication fact practice would be great. Here are some links to resources to help with fact practice: 
Parent-Teacher conferences are coming up. Be on the look out for an email and Remind message with a Sign Up Genius link to select your day and time. As always, thank you for sharing your children with me. They are wonderful! I look forward to each and every day with them. 

Weekly Update-- Saturday, September 24, 2016

posted Sep 23, 2016, 7:41 PM by David Baird   [ updated Sep 24, 2016, 5:36 AM ]

The weeks feel like they are flying by so quickly. I can't believe that we have already reached the weekend again. 

We had a really great week here at Caraway. We finished and published our first piece of writing for the school year. I'm really looking forward to reading each students personal narrative. Some of them chose pretty funny subjects. 

In Social Studies we started discussing the native people of Texas. Your students have great links to online resources about our native people in Google Classroom. I encourage you to log in with them over the weekend and have them show you around. 

In both Reading and Writing, we are pushing forward into an expository text unit. If you are looking for a way to extend our learning at home, I'd suggest that you check out some non-fiction books from the library to read with your students. As you read, discuss the way different text features (i.e. graphics, headings, index, captions) guide our understanding of the text. We will be learning about the text features next week. 

As always, each week's instructional goals will be posted on 4th Grade Central. Checking the site is a fantastic way to keep up with what we are doing. You can also check the "Daily Agenda" tab of this site for daily updates. 

Here are some important upcoming dates:
  • September 26 -- Riata Round Up
  • September 27 -- Picture Day
  • September 30 -- Spelling Test #2
  • October 5 -- Bike and Walk to School Day
  • October 7 -- Caraway Academy Begins

Math Methods Episode 1
If you are at all like me, sometimes the techniques and strategies we teach in math are completely different from those you used in school. Every once in a while I'll feature a Math Method which we will be using in school. 

In math next week we will be working on multiplying 4 digit by 1 digit numbers. When we start multiply 2 digit by 2 digit numbers many kids have trouble with the standard algorithm.  We teach the Box Method as another strategy to use. Check out the presentation below to learn how to use the Box Method. 

To use the Box Method students need to understand expanded form. In expanded form you show the value of each place value. For example 1,253 would be 1000+200+50+3 in expanded form. 

4-Digit x 1-Digit Box Method

Weekly Update -- September 17, 2016

posted Sep 17, 2016, 1:04 PM by David Baird

The fourth week of school has come and gone. I don't know about you, but I can't believe it's moving so quickly. This week we worked hard to improve our mathematical problem solving skills. We also explored how to craft good introductions and conclusions in our writing. As readers we evaluated how characters change and grow over time. To guide our discussion about character change we read the picture book What Do You Do With an Idea?. If you aren't familiar with it I encourage you to check it out. Here are some general updates you might need:
  • We had our first spelling test yesterday. Students will get a new list of words to study this coming Monday, September 19. As you study with your students please keep in mind that our focus is that they understand the rules and patterns which govern each group of words. Ideally this means, that if they understand the pattern then they could spell a word with that pattern which is not on the list. Even if the list seems easy that is okay. The patterns and the rules are the focus. Some lists will be harder than others. If you ever need help understanding the rules and patterns please contact me. 
  • Google Classroom-- Several of you have contacted me over the past week after trying to access Google Classroom from home with your students. For your student to access Google Classroom from home they must do the following: 
    • Navigate to www.google.classroom.com
    • Login using their email address and password. This is where some people got confused. 
      • Student email addresses following this format:  s#@student.roundrockisd.org
      • Please note that passwords also changed this year. Your students should have both their password and their s number in their agenda.
  • We are working hard to get our newest enrichment opportunity, Caraway Academy up and running. If you are interested in helping in any way please visit our enrichment site and let us know. Just click below. 

Weekly Update -- Saturday, September 10, 2016

posted Sep 10, 2016, 6:28 AM by David Baird   [ updated Sep 10, 2016, 8:16 PM ]

** Oops!: This is a lengthy post. If you attended Parent Orientation, you can skip over most of the General Update. **

A General Update
We had another great week of school. I really enjoyed meeting so many grandparents at the end of lunch yesterday. As we continue, to get to know each other so many unique and fun personalities are emerging in the classroom. 

Parent Orientation went well, and many of you came out to visit. Here are the highlights for those of you who couldn't come.
  • Contacting Me -- I'm great at using email and the Remind app. Feel free to call my classroom phone and leave messages, just know that my turn around time and responses to phone calls may be slower. 
    • You can find more information about contacting me on the home page of this site
  • Please utilize both this site and Fourth Grade Central. As a grade level, we post each weeks instructional goals on Fourth Grade Central.
  • Students have planners that should be filled out and signed each evening. As we promote independence in our students, I encourage you to expect them to show you the planner, rather than asking them for it each evening. 
    • You can check what they should have written in the planner using the Daily Agenda tab of this site.
  • Home Access Center is  a great way to keep up with your scholar's academic progress. I'd encourage you to set up an account if you haven't already. 
  • If you plan on volunteering at school, please make sure that you have completed the appropriate paperwork. I'm working on some at home volunteer opportunities. 
  • This year we are planning on taking two field trips. We hope to visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Wildflower Center. 
  • If you don't already please consider supporting our school PTA. I'm continuously blown away by the level of support which the Caraway PTA provides for our campus. Many great opportunities are provided by the PTA's financial support. I'm a proud member of the PTA and I hope that you will join me. 
  • Finally, my goals for your student this year are to BE organized, BE responsible, and to BE independent. 

Next Generation Digital Classroom Update
Your students have been learning to be responsible and independent users of technology. My goal for the year is that they can effectively use their technology as a tool to extend their learning and to optimize their time. Each day they have self monitored as they proceed through morning routines with planners using my class website. Ask your students to show you what they do. 

We have also use a classroom interactive platform called Nearpod. You have probably heard about it at home. This platform is amazing. It allows me to share slides to students with questions which they are respond to. They can respond with pictures or with text. Once they respond they can submit their answers to me in real time. Then I have the opportunity to review responses, and anonymously push examples of great work back to all students screens. This lets me use student models to enhance the level of learning taking place in the classroom. The kids love seeing their work pop onto every screen in the room. 

This coming week, we are going to begin using private blogs powered by Google Sites to create reading response entries. Each student will have a page which is only accessible to me and to them. I'm excited about this new response format!

Upcoming Dates and Classroom Support Resources
  • Your students will have a Social Studies test on Monday. They have had a study guide for a week. They can also access a number of digital study resources through their Google Classroom account. Just navigate to www.classroom.google.com and have the students log in with their school credentials. 
  • We will also have our first spelling test on Friday, September 16. You can access study resources and word lists on the Word Study tab of Fourth Grade Central. 
  • This week we began using strip diagrams in math. This is a complex and sometimes confusing skill for students. I also know that many parents aren't familiar with the technique. This video is a great resource to view if you would like to learn about the strategies we are using at school. You could even practice strip diagrams at home! Click the link below:
Photos from the Week

Another Week Down

posted Sep 5, 2016, 6:24 AM by David Baird

A General Update
We had a great second week of school. We left the get to know you activities behind and got down to the nitty gritty of fourth grade education. The class blew me away in math. They can round like champs. In reading we really worked on being meta-cognitive while we read. Each student learned my kid friendly definition of meta-cognition, thinking about your thinking. As authors we worked on generating ideas for writing, and in Social Studies we studied the regions of Texas. To check out what we are working on this coming week please head over to the 4th grade website. 

Next Gen in the Classroom
We really kicked off the use of our Next Generation Digital Classroom resources this week. My goal is for each of your students to be able to effectively use their Chromebook as a tool to assist them in educational pursuits. Students used their devices to look up our daily agenda and write in their planners each day. As teams they developed research skills, when they filled out a Texas Travel guide using resources I linked in Google Classroom. They also used a tool called Nearpod to share their work with me and the class in Writing and Math. It's pretty cool ask your students about what it does. 

How Can You Help Support the Classroom at Home
  • Read with your student for twenty to thirty minutes an evening and ask them to share their thinking with you. 
  • Practice multiplication facts with your students each week
  • We will have a Social Studies test on September 12. Each student should be bringing home a study guide this week. Until then they can study their vocabulary words using this Quizlet
  • We are going to spend lots of time working on laptops this year. Typing skills are going to be essential. We will practice at school but I would also encourage you to practice with your student at home as well. Here is a great resource...
Pictures from the Week

Second Week of School Photos

A Great First Week!

posted Aug 27, 2016, 7:01 AM by David Baird   [ updated Aug 27, 2016, 7:04 AM ]

Wow! The first week of school flew by so quickly. I can say without a doubt that it was the smoothest first week I've had in my teaching career. We focused on getting to know each other and classroom routines for the first couple of days, before moving into our first content based lessons. I'm so excited about this upcoming year and can't wait to get to know your scholars better.

Important Updates or Messages
  • If you did not come to Meet the Teacher night and fill out my Contact Form please click here and fill it out. This helps me know the best way to reach you. 
  • If you haven't signed up for my class Remind account I encourage you to do so. I use this throughout the week. Often I will send you links to posts like these, important and urgent messages, pictures of the class working, or examples of what we are doing in class that day. 
  • Each week we post our content objectives on our grade level website, Fourth Grade Central. Please check it to find out what we are working on. We try to have this information posted no later than Monday morning of each week. 
  • Ms. Richards has asked all parents to send a note whenever a student has been absent. She already has a number of unexcused absences. The easiest way to let Ms. Richard know about an absence is to use the online form found here,  or find the button below on the Caraway site. You can also email me and I will forward the message to her. 
    • https://docs.google.com/a/roundrockisd.org/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdkEbwwwwJn2mC_iRdb3Vs6gvORttoraW-l64ZXKCssKtKyaA/viewform
  • Homework Updates: Please check your student's planner for home work updates each evening. If you ever have a question about what is written in a student's planner, you can check the Daily Agenda tab of this website. This is what I have the students copy from each day. 
    • Science Homework: Students have been asked to bring one full paper towel or two half towels (still connected) to school for a Science Lab activity this week. We do not need full rolls of paper towels. One per student will be plenty. Students will compare them to the school paper towels in an experiment
    • Writing Homework: Students have been asked to decorate their Writer's Notebook over the weekend with things that are important to them. I find that covering the decorations with clear packing tape helps them last all year.
    • Other Homework: Many nights we won't have much official homework. I encourage you to use this time to read with your student and work on their multiplication fluency. Once spelling words start you can also practice those each night. 
Thanks for reading and checking in our our school progress. Hopefully my updates won't normally be so long. If you ever have any questions please contact me. Here are a few pictures from the first few days of the school year. 

First Week of School Photos

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