Mr. Braynor's Class

100th Day of 4th Grade

February 11, 2019

Happy 100th day of school! Today, students participated in several 100-based challenges.


You have $100 to spend in our class store. Can you spend exactly $100 using just the items available? Several students got really close, spending $99.99.


How many times can you complete each activity in 100 seconds? Students timed themselves while:

  • jump roping
  • tossing a ball
  • hopping on 1 foot
  • writing their first name
  • building a cup pyramid


Students were given a series of number riddles and used 100-boards to keep track of the clues.

This Week in 4th Grade

February 8, 2018

This week in 4th GRADE MATH, students worked hard on using PARTIAL QUOTIENTS to solve division problems. To do this, first students use PLACE VALUE MODELS to show how to break apart and equally share numbers to find a quotient. Then, they write division sentences that represent each step of the process. I have found that STANDARD DIVISION is very challenging for 4th grade students. We are spending a lot of time modeling the process so that students see the connection between place value and the steps of the division process. Modeling is also a good checking strategy when the students are unsure of their answer using STANDARD DIVISION.

Since we are spending a lot of time focusing on this one area of math, we also began DAILY MATH PRACTICE as morning work when the students first walk in. It is a half sheet of paper with 5 math problems that reviews previous math concepts, some math they may not have seen, and word problems. Students complete and self-check their work. This is not for a grade, just extra math practice to keep skills sharp.

In 4th GRADE SCIENCE, students have been exploring WAVES. We've made waves using Slinkys as well as water waves in containers. We've identified parts of a wave and explored how waves change when those parts are manipulated using VIRTUAL WAVE SIMULATORS. We've been using our online, interactive textbook to use nonfiction text and text features to identify key information. We're looking forward to figuring out how to use waves to communicate!

Monday is the 100th DAY OF SCHOOL! We will be celebrating with 100-themed math activities. Students do not need to bring in anything special for this.

This Week in 4th Grade

November 30, 2018

This week in 4th grade MATH, students worked together in our first 3 Act Task. This is an activity designed to get students excited about using math to solve problems. The task is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 involves observing a picture or video and having a discussion about what questions we might be asked to solve based on what we are seeing. Then the question is revealed. Part 2 involves seeking information and the solution. The teacher provides any extra bits of information the students might need to know and students begin to think about the information they can get from the image or video. Once they’ve done that, they can begin trying to solve the problem in any manner they decide. After a given amount of time, we move into Part 3, the Solution. Students share their solutions, we discuss methods, and then compare them to the actual answer. The entire activity takes 30-45 minutes.

Overall, this activity is designed to get students comfortable talking about math as well as taking some risks in trying out different methods for solving a problem that may not have 1 exact solution. I was really excited to see how much students were engaged and working hard through a challenging problem.

Click here to see the delicious problem students tried to solve.

Oh no! "NEW" Math!!

(JK... there's no such thing as "new" math)

November 16, 2018

Hello Families!

We are over half way through with our third math unit. We are learning about multiplication, its meaning, and all the different methods that people use to multiply. Learning different ways to multiply helps students to see math as something that isn’t so black and white, but rather something that can be played around with and manipulated in order to see patterns and connections.

So far, students have learned an Area Model method to multiply, the Lattice Method, and Partial Products. In the next two weeks, we will be learning the Standard Algorithm, the one that is most commonly used. The benefit of learning many different ways to multiply is that certain ways make more sense to some students than others, giving those students a method to solve a problem that they can consistently use. The biggest take away, however, is that students see that no matter which method you use, you are fundamentally doing the same thing: breaking the factors into their place value pieces, multiplying all the pieces together, and adding the smaller results to get the total product. The only difference is in how you record your work while following these steps.

Hopefully that helps assuage any concerns about the “new” math that I’m showing the students ;)

Conferences and New Units

November 2, 2018

Happy Friday families!

All 3 days next week are half days for parent-teacher conferences. Conferences start on Monday. I’m looking forward to meeting with you and discussing your child’s progress!

Next week, we will be starting our 3rd math unit, Multiplication. We will be covering everything from basic fact multiplication to multiplying large numbers by a single digit to multiplying 2 two-digit numbers together. We will be learning different ways to model multiplication as well as alternate ways to record multiplication in addition to the standard algorithm that most of us use.

In science, we are beginning a new unit on Force and Motion. Students have been grappling with the idea of KINETIC energy and POTENTIAL energy. Ask them if they can identify some examples from around your house!

4th Grade is MENTAL!!

October 26, 2018

As part of our math unit on Addition and Subtraction, we have been focusing a lot on using mental math strategies. This helps students to visualize how to solve problems in ways that are different from the standard pencil and paper method. It helps them with mental focus, perseverance in the face of math challenges, and practicing basic fact addition and subtraction.

Check out the Topic 2: Addition and Subtraction page to see details on how to add and subtract in your head! Having never learned any mental math strategies growing up, I am terrible at mental math so I am glad to be learning and practicing right alongside the students.

Speaking of Topic 2, it's time for another MATH TEST!!!

Students have completed the lessons for Unit 2, and so will be having their test on this topic on Wednesday, October 31 (Yes, I know Wednesday is Halloween, but we're going to have a normal math period in the morning). Please review the Topic 2 Study Guide to help your child get ready for the test.

Recently, in 4th Grade!!

October 12, 2018

Gravity Hill

Our 4th grade students took a trip to Gravity Hill Farm on Thursday, October 4. While there, the students participated in a mindful movement class, helped make food for lunch while learning about whole and processed foods, and had a halloween candy workshop where they learned about the importance of reading labels when choosing treats. After a fabulous lunch of carrot ginger soup and an assortment of fresh veggies from the garden, the students interacted with farm animals, learned about bones, and planted garlic while exploring the garden. We all had a wonderful day and the students were excellent ambassadors for LPS!


In 4th grade science, students completed their Energy System Design projects. After learning how to complete simple circuits, students designed a system that transformed one type of energy into another. They created a short video that explains their system, drew a diagram of their design, and put it all together into a Google Slide. Ask your child to share what they've created!

This Week in 4th Grade

September 28, 2018

  • In MATH, the students finished their Topic 1: Understanding Place Value unit. We will be having our test on this topic next Tuesday, October 2. In case you missed the email, here are some ways to help your child study for the test.
      • Play place value dice/card games. We played two games called Build the Biggest (which uses dice) and Make It Texas Size (which uses standard playing cards). Directions can be found under the Topic 1 section of my website.
      • After each number is built, have your child read the number.
      • For a bonus point, ask your child to write the number in either word form or expanded form.
      • For an additional bonus point, ask him/her to round it to a particular place.
      • Have them take a turn at being the “teacher”. Have them ask you to write the number in expanded form, written form, and to round it. See if they can check your responses for accuracy.
  • In SCIENCE, we have been learning about energy, how we get and use it for electricity, its forms, and how it can change forms as it is used. Ask your child about the Energy System Design project we just began today in class.
  • Our field trip to Gravity Hill is approaching. We will be going to the farm this coming Thursday, October 4. If you have not yet sent in the permission slip and money for the trip, please do so ASAP.

4th Grade Happenings

September 21, 2018

Hello 4th Grade families!

Already 2 weeks down in 4th grade! Hold on tight, the rest of the year is going to fly by just as fast. This week in 4th grade students worked hard to read and write big numbers.... I mean really big, like 395,201,045 kind of big. They also used their knowledge of place value to compare big numbers using < , > , and = symbols.

In science, students learned about all the forms that energy can take. Then we attempted to answer the age-old question, "How many people does it take to turn on a light bulb?" The answer, it turns out, is more than you'd think. Visit the "4th Grade Science" page and look under the "Transfer of Energy" section to see the video we watched in class that summarizes the means by which we all get the electricity we love (and use) so much.

We will be having or first math test in 4th grade on Topic 1: Place Value Understanding . A study guide was sent home in your child's communication folder today. It is also available under the "Topic 1: Place Value Understanding" section of "4th Grade Math" within my website. I originally scheduled it for next Friday, but we just received the 4th grade math placement test which I need to administer this week. The Topic 1 test will likely take place at the beginning of the following week. I will update you on the exact date as soon as the placement test is complete.

Engineering Challenges

September 14, 2018

To start off the school year, the students in my 4th and 6th grade science classes participated in some engineering challenges. It was amazing to see the teamwork and innovation the students displayed while working through each challenge. It was also exciting to see records being broken every single day by students from different classes, right up until the last day. Below are the descriptions (as well as the record holders) for each challenge.

1. Cup Pyramid

Materials: 6 plastic cups, rubber band, 12-inch piece of string, scissors (for cutting string only)

Students were to figure out how to stack the 6 cups in a pyramid shape without touching the cups with any part of their bodies. If even a finger grazed one cup, they would have to start over.

* Bonus challenge 1: Put the cups face up in a row. Pour a marble from one cup to another down the line of cups, again without touching any part of the cup with their bodies.

** Bonus challenge 2 (designed by Erin O.) Build a structure with 2 cups as a base, 1 cup on top of each base cup, and then the remaining 2 cups in a single vertical stack balanced on the existing structure. (Again, no body parts may touch the cups)

*** Bonus challenge 3 (designed by Erin. O.) Build a single vertical tower of cups. (No touchy)

**** Bonus challenge 4 (designed by Laila F., Marisol G. M., and Jason T. C.) Without touching the cups with any body part, build a structure with base consisting of 1 vertical cup flanked by two horizontal cups, 2 cups balanced on the horizontal cups, and the last cup stacked on the central, vertical cup. (It'll make sense when I post pictures :)

2. Straw Tower

Materials: 20 straws, 2 feet of tape, scissors

Build the tallest possible, free standing straw tower using the materials provided.

Record height: 167 cm (set by class 6S)

3. Tower of Books

Materials: 1 sheet of copy paper, 2 feet of tape, scissors

Students were challenged to make a structure out of paper that could support the weight of 1 or more books before being crushed.

Record height: 73.5 cm worth of books (set by class 6S)

4. Cup Tower

Materials: 16 plastic cups, 16 wide popsicle sticks

Students were challenged to build the tallest, free-standing tower using all 16 cups.

Record height: 157 cm (that equals 16 cups in one stack, plus a popsicle sticking out of the top cup, set by class 4B)

5. Foil Boat

Materials: 1, 12-inch square of aluminum foil, pennies

Students were challenged to build a vessel out of a piece of aluminum foil that could hold the most pennies before sinking to the bottom of a water filled container.

Record: 463 pennies (set by class 4H)

Welcome to the New School Year!

September 7, 2018

Hello LPS 4th Grade Families!

It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know all of these new 4th grade students! I was a bit nervous for the first day having been off all of last year, but this class has been so amazing that they made the transition very easy.

This week, the students learned many of the policies and procedures for 4th grade. As a class we decided what should go on the bulletin boards as well as the class jobs the students should have. The students were put in charge of creating helpful posters such as our new job chart and weekly schedule. There is a big emphasis on independence and responsibility in the 4th grade and that includes the management of our classroom. We also enjoyed 5 science engineering challenges. I was very impressed with many of the unique solutions that students devised for each challenge. We have also talked a lot about mindfulness, being self-aware of their thoughts, feelings, and state of mind. Throughout the year we will be having daily discussions about the importance of mindfulness and some strategies to help them manage their mental state during their time at school.

* SNACK! Students in 4th grade have an opportunity to eat a morning snack. If you are able, you may send in a healthy snack that has good amounts of fiber/protein to fuel their learning until lunch time. Please note that we are a tree nut and peanut-free classroom, so please keep any snacks containing these ingredients at home.

I’m very excited to meet many of you at Back-to-School Night on Thursday, September 13! The event begins at 7:00.