Academic Updates

February MATH

This month we are learning about all things Geometry. You can connect with the Geometry Padlet using this Geometry Padlet link . The Padlet will be updated with information and resources related to math as it unfolds in class. We eagerly learned to classify angles, then measure angles and even construct angles of a specific measure using a protractor. We applied our understanding of angles to the clock face given a fraction of x/12 and converted that concept to a circle's total of 360 degrees. We learned about the parts of a circle and used a compass to construct circles of various size and observed the change of it's radius. Students really enjoyed using our new math tools or protractor and compass. Most of our Geometry experience relates back to the pattern blocks we use in class to manipulate and compare angles of different measure. We discovered patterns of total measure and individual measure of interior angles of regular polygons. We will finish the unit with classification of types of triangles and quadrilaterals. We are working to use precise language to describe our mathematical thinking. As such, we are learning to use the "CUBES" strategy to respond to multi-step word problems in an organized way to communicate our thinking.

In SCIENCE we have been exploring stored (potential) energy vs. released (kinetic) energy. We have been teaming with a randomly assigned "lab group" and students have had to adjust to working with different people as a team to achieve a common goal. We begin each lab activity with the reminder of "communication, cooperation, collaboration". As we discovered the many uses of gravitational energy we have become infatuated with chain reactions machines AKA Rube Goldberg machines. You will soon see videos of our first attempt to create a chain reaction machine with our partner. As you can imagine, it was fun and frustrating but a great lesson in the challenge of harnessing energy and adjusting to setbacks in an investigation.


In READING students selected 1 of 4 learning goals to work towards while listening and thinking about our read aloud GRUMP by Liesl Shurtliff. As we are working through the story we are discussing these goals as a whole group and meeting in small groups based on their selected learning goal for focused instruction, discussion of learning and progress monitoring on their goal.

1. Explain the differences in the point(s) of view in a text and different perspectives of the characters.

2. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.

3. Explain how a character changes or develops over time in a story using details of events to show the change.

4. Meaning of figurative language (ex: It’s raining cats and dogs.)

We also worked on using specific details from a texts to create and prove inferences.

In WRITING we investigated various techniques authors use to grab readers attention. We looked at many mentor texts to derive ideas: Posing a question, Setting A Scene, Using A Quote or Sharing a Fascinating Fact. Students then wrote different types of introductions on the same topic. Then we crowd sourced for feedback using a museum walk where students voted on which of their introductions were stronger and grabbed a reader's attention!

In WORD STUDY we cultivated the spelling rules associated with using the im-, in-, ir- and il- prefixes. Students discovered these prefixes mean "not", as well as that the prefixes im- and in- could mean "in, on or onto".


In READING we have finally wrapped up our study of comparing and contrasting firsthand and secondhand accounts of the same event. We needed a lot of practice of pulling apart a piece of text and critically reading it for details of the events. A way for students to continue to practice this skill is to read 2 or 3 pieces of text about the same topic and then discuss with you what information was the same and which pieces of information differ between the texts.

In WRITING students wrapped up a quick research piece to practice their elaboration skills. Next week we will dive into reviewing how to refer back to a text when sharing specific information or when quoting it in your own writing. We will also begin to look at different ways authors can create intriguing introductions to draw their readers into their piece.

In WORD STUDY we finished up studying the prefixes sub- and under-. The students did a fantastic job of writing a short story by incorporating words from a bank of words that use the sub- and under- prefixes! This really showed their level of understanding of the meaning of these prefixes. We then began to look at prefixes that mean "not": il-, im-, ir- and in-.


In READING we have been comparing and contrasting firsthand and secondhand accounts of the same event. Students have discovered that firsthand accounts are told from the perspective of someone who was present at the event. Firsthand accounts tend to share people's thoughts, feelings and opinions along with the information of what happened. Students have discovered that secondhand accounts are told from people who were not at the event but know information about what happened at the events. These tend to be like news reporting. Students read accounts of a shark attack and a lunar landing.

In WRITING we have been investigating words and phrases, as well as strategies/techniques, authors utilize to elaborate their information for readers to be able to understand the information at a deeper level. Below is a picture of all the ways we have discovered so far. Students are beginning their 2nd cycle of writing informational texts and elaborating information is a focus for them to show in their work.

In WORD STUDY we have been working with the prefixes - sub and -under. Students have generated lists of words that utilize these prefixes and have discovered that they mean: below, lower, down, under. We have completed word sums which foster flexible thinking of the meaning of parts of a word and then putting the meanings together to get the full meaning of the word. (Example sub + marine = submarine, under + water = underwater)


In READING & WRITING students have been developing their understanding of informational texts. We have focused in on the guiding questions of:

What is the author's purpose in writing this text?

What is the text structure and how does the organization help us understand the information the author is sharing with us?

What is the most important information to take away from this text?

What vocabulary do we need to dig into to understand the information?

What questions are still lingering in our minds?

We have worked on describing the text structures (chronological/sequential, problem/solution, cause/effect, compare/contrast, description) we are noticing while reading. Students are creating a Google Slide to show examples of at least 3 different text structures and then are using Screencastify to describe their proof of the text structure.

Also, students are working on creating an infographic on a topic of their choice as a short-cycle research project. This combines several of our learning standards! We are especially focusing on phrasing information and providing visual support that corresponds with our information.

In WORD STUDY we have been working with the -ion suffix which means "in the act of doing". Students have been working on using the meaning of the root and the suffix to determine the meaning of a whole word. Students have also been working on the guidelines of if the root word can be used with -cate then it uses -tion. (Ex: cooperate becomes cooperation). If the root word ends with a L, N, R, S then it uses -sion. (ex: express becomes expression).


Welcome to 2020! Students began the week reconnecting with one another, reflecting on 2019 and thinking about hopes for 2020. Students created ONE WORD GOALS and Vision boards about their wishes for 2020!

In READING we have been investigating how the narration of a story can be told from 1st person, 2nd person or 3rd person Point of View. Students have been reading various texts and identifying which Point of View the narration is being told from and then describing how they were able to identify it. Then thinking creatively and flexibly students were able to rewrite a story from a different point of view than the author did! Students also reflected over the texts they have read in 2019 and created visual representations of them. These turned out so cool!

In WORD STUDY we began looking at the -ion suffix. We are currently working together identifying the spelling generalizations associated with this suffix and determining the meaning of the suffix.

In WRITING we have been studying how fonts, images, layouts and color can impact a reader's ability to understanding information being presented. We have been looking at different types of informational texts for this purpose. Students are being exposed to several ideas in the hopes of inspiring them when they go to create their own infographics next week!


In READING we have been analyzing stories, plays and song to determine the main idea (what is the text about) and theme (what is the life lesson) of them. We then started comparing and contrasting the main idea and theme of 2 texts. This is a complex process that many of them are feeling is requiring them to slow down and make inferences. We will be continuing this through next week. When reading at home feel free to ask your child what is the main idea and theme! You can also have this conversation when watching shows or movies.

In WORD STUDY we are continuing our study of the suffixes -able and -ible. Students have uncovered that the meaning of both suffixes is "able to do or can do". For the spelling generalization they have learned that usually if the root word ends with an e, the e is removed before adding the suffix. They have also learned that if the root word "looks like" a full or familiar word than the -able suffix would be used. An example would be the word readable (read + able = readable). If the root word looks odd it is most likely a Greek or Latin root and would use the -ible suffix. An example would be the word possible (posse + ible = possible). They have also been exploring the Word Study digital tools to assist in this learning. The link to these can be found under the "Student Links" tab at the top.

In WRITING we have finalized their last narrative piece for this unit! We have now shifted towards writing informational texts. Currently we are reading mentor texts for ideas on how to writing an informational piece in a new and different way. Students are created some AWESOME ideas! Ask your child about their ideas of what they might write about.


In READING we have been working on using text evidence to support our thinking of what we believe the theme is within fictional stories and dramas/plays. Students worked hard pouring through texts and figuring out theme by how a character changes over time, the problem/solution of the story and by using the signposts we learned earlier in the school year. While reading at home ask your child what the think the theme of the story is and what pieces of text helped them come to this conclusion.

In WORD STUDY we wrapped up our study of the -ful and -less suffixes and began to look at the -able and -ible suffixes. We will continue these suffixes after Thanksgiving Break.

In WRITING we finished up our first writing unit on narrative writing. Recently we have played around with paper pieces of dialogue, dialogue tags and the punctuation marks needed when writing dialogue. It was fun to manipulate the paper pieces like building blocks! Students then have worked this week on writing a final narrative story demonstrating their understanding of: crafting a beginning, middle and end, concrete and sensory details, writing purposeful dialogue and correct placement of punctuation marks when writing dialogue. Students reflected over their writing piece using a rubric and by going through a revision and edit process with their thinking partner.


In MATH we have begun learning multi-digit multiplication. We have practiced 2-digit by 1-digit and 2-digit by 2-digit multiplication problems. We have practiced a variety of strategies including Lattice, Partial Products, and the Traditional algorithm. Now, students can use any of the strategies that make sense to them when problem solving. Once we understand how the strategies work with single and double digit numbers, it is fun to try it with bigger numbers as well. Just today, we began an introduction to long division using Partial Quotients. The Partial Quotients algorithm allows students to use what they know about place value and multiplying by tens and hundreds to find the final quotient.

In SOCIAL STUDIES we continue to travel through time


In READING we have been refining the following signposts in stories: Aha Moments, Contrasts & Contradictions, and Again & Again. This week we were introduced to the Words of the Wiser signpost. This occurs when a character receives advice from another character that could impact their life. This signpost leads students to discover the theme (life lesson) in the text. When reading with your child or when discussing what they are reading please ask them to identify and think through these signposts to assist them in thinking beyond the actual words as these help them in uncovering the meaning of the story!

In WORD STUDY we wrapped up investigating the -er and -est suffixes and began to look at the -ful and -less suffixes.

In WRITING we are studying how authors write pieces of dialogue by writing what characters are saying, tagging who is speaking and action in the scene. Grab a book and have your child identifying these 3 things in dialogue within a story!


In MATH we have been exploring the relationship of the base ten place values. How are 10, 100, and 100 related? We can use these concepts to understand the relationship between linear units of metric measurement (meter vs. centimeter). We figured out how to break apart big numbers into units of 10's and 1's as a strategy to multiply 2-digit by 1-digit numbers. We can use dimensions or partial area to calculate the total area of a very large figure.

We wrapped up Earth SCIENCE, talking about how fast processes, such as floods, earthquakes, and volcanoes, change the surface of the earth and create landforms and layers of rock. This week we shifted back to SOCIAL STUDIES content to begin our look at the first group of people in North America, the Paleo-Indians. We learned about how archaeologists find evidence of human existence and how they use carbon dating to measure time. We tried to "think like a Paleo" and imagine what life was like... how they struggled and what they celebrated. In the coming weeks, we will move through time to study the migrations of various groups in and out of Ohio.


In READING we have continued to learn about different signposts and how they can assist us as readers to think through the text. We reviewed and practiced the Aha Moment and Contrast & Contradiction signposts. Info about those are listed in the 10/4/19 update below. We introduced and are still practicing the Again and Again signpost. If words, phrases or situations are occurring over and over we need to stop and think "Why does this keep showing up again and again?" The answer will help readers understand the theme or conflict OR foreshadow what might happen later. When reading with your child at home you can support them in identifying and thinking through these signposts.

In WORD STUDY we wrapped up the suffixes: -s, -es and -ies and are now exploring the -er and -est suffixes. Students have discovered we use these suffixes for comparing things AND we use the -er suffix to turn a verb into a noun (ex: write - writer). We have discovered the generalizations for spelling accurately with these suffixes, but we are still working on using these generalizations.

In WRITING we have been focusing on what are concrete and sensory details and how writers use them to elevate their stories. We really focused on developing who their characters are by drawing them and thinking about what their characters: act like, personalities are, look like and what their interests are. Students are now working on transferring this into their independent narrative writings.


In READING we have been diving into how there are signposts in stories that readers should pay attention to to understand different literary elements. We have learned about the Aha Moment and Contrast & Contradiction signposts. Below are handouts to explain each of these signposts. These help students bridge beyond what are the events in the story to understanding the deeper meaning behind these moments.

In WRITING students completed an on-demand narrative writing piece to help me understand where each of them are in their progression of writing stories. We began to investigate how authors create leads into stories in a variety of ways. We closely looked at how authors might give us a snapshot of a character, or start with dialogue between characters, or even by giving us a glimpse of a characters feelings/thoughts.

In WORD STUDY we wrapped up looking at the suffixes -s, -es and -ies. We began to look at the suffixes - er and -est. Students have discovered these suffixes assist us in comparing items and are adjectives. Next week we will learn about the generalizations of how to spell accurately using these suffixes.

In MATH we wrapped our unit 1 Intro. on Multiplication and Division. We spent time working to clarify the difference between factors and multiples. We found multiplication patterns to help us decide if there is divisibility for a factor. Patterns for x2 (doubles), for x3 (doubles plus one set), for x4 (double-doubles), etc. We continue to practice using words, pictures, and numbers to show our thinking.

In SCIENCE we conducted an investigation for the students to observe erosion caused by water flow. Erosion leads to deposition of sediment downstream. We used these observations to see how some landforms are created. Each student is creating an advertisement for a landform of their choice. They will highlight the features of the landform, explain how it is created, and tell where we can find one in the real world. This is our culminating activity for slow processes of earth's changes.

As we continue team building and COMMUNITY development, we reference the 7 habits of highly effective students. This week we finish introducing all 7.


In READING we focused how readers refer back to a text to explain what the text says explicitly. We practiced as a whole class, with partners and individually. We also worked on using this language when discussing texts like their independent reading books, our shared read aloud and our homework Articles of the Week.

In WRITING students worked tirelessly in creating images to support their stories they wrote last week. They then created videos of themselves reading their story. Look for these to soon be published for all to view!

In WORD STUDY we explored using Word Matrixes to practice the guidelines for using the -s suffix to create plural nouns and present tense verbs. We REALLY FOCUSED on the guidelines on when to change the Y to an I and add ES. If there is a consonant before the Y then we change the Y to and I and add ES (ex: baby - babies). If there is a vowel before the Y then the Y stays and you add S (ex: pay - pays).

In MATH this week we practiced finding factors of a number. We discovered that every number has a "partner" since two factors are needed to create a multiplication problem. When finding an exhaustive list of factors, we made observation to decide "how do I know when I've found ALL" the factors for a number. We looked for patterns to create rules to help us find factors in unfamiliar numbers. Ex: even numbers will have a factor of 2, numbers that end with 5 or 0 have a factor of 5, etc. We also practiced classifying numbers as either "prime" or "composite".

In content, we switch gears back to Earth SCIENCE. Wondering "How old is the Earth?", we learned about how scientists can study layers of soil, rocks, and fossils to learn about the earth. This can help scientists figure out what was happening with the weather, surface land, and plants and animals.


In READING we have started our thinking about how readers refer back to a text to explain what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences. We are practicing this while reading our read aloud, Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock ring, as well as in our silent reading texts.

In WRITING we wrapped up creating our own stories inspired by picture book, Just Ask, by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. We studied her writing carefully to uncover she shared what was unique or special about a person and then provided details to explain it. Students crafted their own stories and then created images in a variety of digital ways. Stay tuned to see the finished product.

In WORD STUDY we continued looking at suffixes: s, es, and ies. Students uncovered that we use these suffixes when creating plural nouns and present tense verbs. We also discovered the generalizations we use when spelling with these. Attached below is a snapshot of those notes. Be on the lookout for examples of these while reading or writing!

In MATH we have extended our work in multiplication to solve division problems in a variety of ways. We are used the same manipulatives to deconstruct models and create visual models on paper. We then use division equations to represent our model and add words to further explain our thinking.

In SOCIAL STUDIES we continued studying the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Students... Habit #2 Begin with the End in Mind, #3 Put First Things First, and #4 Think Win Win. We practiced using more tools on a map including a map legend/ key and map scale. After reading My Map Book, we applied our map skills to create a map of our own which includes a compass rose, legend, and scale.


In READING we continued to fine tune our comprehension strategies of Sketch noting and Annotating Our Thinking. These strategies give every student a starting point as they are open ended for all levels of readers.

In WRITING we became inspired by the new picture book, Just Ask, by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. In this text she explores the idea of if you "wonder why someone is doing something different from other kids, Just Ask". She wants to empower kids to realize "how differences make us stronger in a good way". Students began brainstorming ideas that make them special and unique.

In WORD STUDY we began our first unit of looking at suffixes: s, es, and ies.

In MATH we are learning to solve multiplication problems in a variety of ways. We are using manipulatives to build models and then create visual models of our thinking. We are using equations to support our models and beginning to use words to share our mathematical solutions.

In SOCIAL STUDIES we began learning the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Students... Habit #1 Be Proactive. Ask your child what that means. We are also identifying the tools on a map including the cardinal and intermediate directions of a compass rose.

Upcoming Dates:

Sept. 11 - Patriot Day - Wear Red, White and Blue!


BLOOMZ please join the Bloomz app to connect with your child and their classroom experience. It will be used to encourage positive choices, share photos, and to sign up for conferences. Please contact your child's homeroom teacher for login information.

In READING we kicked started our work on ways to show evidence of our thinking while reading. We introduced and practiced Sketchnoting and Annotating our thinking. Next week we will focus more on these comprehension strategies. We are also incorporating these strategies into our daily read aloud Me, Frida and The Secret of the Peacock Ring.

In WRITING we watched videos of author Jess Keating to learn about how writers come up with ideas. We worked on building our stamina up to 15 minutes straight of writing! Students also generated words they love to say, hear or write and we create a class bag of these. We then used those words to show our flexible thinking by incorporating 2 words drawn out of the bag into our writing piece. One group had to use Peppa Pig and Sacagawea! LOL!

In MATH this week we explored the idea of using multiple paths to the same goal. Students practiced using oral communication to express mathematical ideas and explain their reasoning. All of our activities focused on sharing our thoughts and responding to others in a constructive way. We spent time practicing how to elaborate on ideas with which we agree and how to respectfully disagree.

In SCIENCE we wrapped up our hoop glider investigation to practice using the Engineering Design Process. Students learned how to collaborate with a group, compromise on ideas, create a prototype and adjust 1 variable at a time. Ask your scientist how far their glider flew!

Thanks to those who were able to join us for CURRICULUM NIGHT! If you were unable to come you can find the information that was shared by going to our website (, click on the Parents Tab and the presentation is there.

Upcoming Dates:

Monday, Sept. 2 - No School

Wednesday, Sept. 4 - Picture Day

You can follow us on TWITTER at @Bw4Team!


What another wonderful week in 4th grade! We continued learning about one another through community building activities. We also worked on building routines and procedures to ensure a smooth learning environment. We also worked on learning about communicating effectively and compromising with others.

Picture forms were sent home this week. Please let us know if you did not receive it and we will send one home. Picture Day is on Sept. 4th.

Coming home today with your child is there Take Home Folder. You should see this everyday in their backpack. It should come back to school everyday as well. You will notice inside there are calendars. We will be using these like a planner for the students. We are helping them to build responsibility and organizational skills.

Next Tuesday, August 27th is our Parent Curriculum Night from 7-7:45pm. We hope to see you here!

Next Thursday, August 29th students will be taking the MAP Math Assessment.

This year the district has adopted a new math program called Bridges. Please view this link to learn more about this resource.

Follow us on Twitter @Bw4Team!