Friday, September 28, 2012

Calling all Talented Parents/ Families

Team 16 loves learning new things.  If you have a special skill or interest that you would like to come in and teach the class, we would love to have you.  We are open to learning anything new.

Some examples:
*  Teaching about your culture
*  Game design
*  Programming
*  Art Projects
*  Learning a new language
*  Writing

The possibilities are endless.  Please contact me if you are interested and we will arrange a good
time(s) for you to come in.  Thank you in advance!  Team 16

This week in school...

Team 16 had a busy week!  We finished up our Geometry unit in math.  There was a lot of vocabulary to remember.  The students started a math vocabulary book to help them learn all the words.  We will continue to add new math vocabulary as the year goes on.  Ask your child the difference between a straight, right, acute, and obtuse angle?  I bet all 23 students can do this!  There is a link below to 3 songs to reinforce what polygons, quadrilaterals, and parallelograms are too.

We started studying about Native Americans from the Plains region.  The students embarked on their first iAdventure where they got to learn about the day in the life of a Native American boy and girl.  This adventure let them choose which links to click so students could focus on what interested them most.  Team 16 enjoyed this.  After the lesson, we had a short discussion on how we felt about this project.  Everyone was positive and liked the fact that they could choose their own path of learning and it was more fun and engaging than reading a paper packet.

Spelling will start next week.  This week, the students took the pre-test.  This helps me group the students and start them off at their "just right" level.  I will send home more information next week.  Students will get their word lists on Monday.  We have about 5 or 6 different spelling groups.  As we go along, if we find your child is in a group that is to easy or to hard, we will adjust accordingly.

During Literacy Studio this week, we reviewed Asking Questions, a comprehension skill that helps students understand their texts better and to think as they read.  Good readers are always thinking and asking questions.  We practiced as a whole class with our read aloud book.  Then the students practiced on their own with their independent reading books.  They wrote questions on sticky notes.  We will continue this next week and begin to slowly start book groups and strategy groups.

The students are getting comfortable with google apps now.  Next week, they will try to write their reading letters at home and share them with me by Friday.  Please let me know if you DON'T have internet access, I will make accommodations for them to write their letter in school.  Students need to be on the Happy Hollow website and they will click on an orange link near the top left that says 2012 google apps.  They click the link, log on (wps____21)  The middle part is their lunch code.  Then they will click on their already made reading letter document.  Hit the space bar a few times to leave space at the top to type their new reading letter.

Students are welcome to go on anytime at home.  I created 4 challenges as of now.  These focus on what we are learning now.  Students can also play any of the games available.  All focus on math skills and they are fun and engaging.  Their passwords should be in their agenda books. is new.  We tried it out last Friday and today.  This site is new, it only came out last year.  There are many beneficial aspects to the site.  Students practice reading and math skills at their level.  I am still working on modifying some levels, I think I may have figured it out, but it's still a work in progress.  I will eventually add homework assignments.  Parents can view their child's work.  Students can earn rewards as they play.  This is another option for students to go on at home for extra practice.  The best part is that the skills are based on the core curriculum standards.  It also adds a fun feature the students enjoy.  They can post appropriate messages to their friends on the class wall.  So far, everyone seems to enjoy this site.

Next week:  Spelling and Just Like Me start

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Interactive Math Vocabulary Poster

Exploring  Preview my first interactive poster.  The students will all get a chance and create interactive posters, newsletters, reports, etc...

Parent/ Teacher Conferences

I am planning on starting the Fall conferences the week of October 8th.  I am working on the doodle sign-up sheet.  It will be posted on the blog in the next couple of days.  I am going to skip next week so I will have more student work and data to share with you at your conference.  I look forward to meeting with all of you!  Thank you for your patience!

Team 16 is off to a great start!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Using Kizoa to create slideshowss!

Here is a link to my sample slideshow displaying my strengths.  Students can add animation, text, images, transitions, and music.  It's really engaging ans fun.  Team 16 will be creating their own over the next few weeks.

Monday, September 24, 2012

ScootPad coming to Team 16!

"Our mission is to fundamentally change how students master foundational skills.
At ScootPad we believe no two students master a skill the same way. Every block of new information needs time to get absorbed in a child's brain. No matter how students are introduced to a skill (teachers, books, videos, games etc.), ScootPad enables mastery through gradual and thorough practice which is personalized to each student - rather than providing a quick fix for problems and gaps.

Personalized practice drives accelerated learning and self confidence in students. One student and one classroom at a time, our goal is to give students around the world a solid foundation in Math and Reading.

Our Commitment to Students: To enable fun, exciting and challenging learning environment.

Our Commitment to Teachers: To enable fully automated practice/homework, real-time progress tracking and in-depth assessments so you can enhance your instruction and provide on-time intervention. Most importantly we will save you time so you can focus on teaching!

Our Commitment to Parents: To provide real-time visibility to your child's progress and proficiency. Most importantly we will make you aware of your child's learning needs so you can help at the right time!"

***Important:  I added new groups for practice in specific skills.  Please do NOT look at the grade level.  There are many skills in both grades 2 and 3 that you were NEVER taught.  That is why you may need extra practice in certain skills.  Always remember, we all have different strengths and different things we need to work on.  Let's celebrate our successes and keep working hard with our happy smiling faces!  I am so proud of all of you!  Keep up your amazing work!***

Math Videos to teach Geometry

Click on the link below to watch 3 Math videos.  Learn songs that teach Polygons, Quadrilaterals, and Parallelograms!  Learning geometry/math vocabulary with songs! Enjoy!

Practicing Math Skills with Game- Based Learning at is one of the world’s first games-based-learning sites, where students learn Mathematics via purpose-built casual games that balance fun and learning.

What is games-based learning?
Games-Based Learning fuses computer games and academic subjects to provide a compelling and exciting supplement to traditional pedagogy. Many scientific studies have shown that students perform better with the help of Games-Based Learning.

Why Mangahigh is unique?
The educational content within Mangahigh is based on the core standards and is delivered through its proprietary educational games. Each game covers certain learning topics and is designed to dynamically adapt in difficulty to the ability of the student in order to make the user experience engaging, entertaining and personal.

Team 16 has individual accounts on  Students will be bringing home usernames and passwords tomorrow.  The students have tested it out last week and really enjoyed the site.  Click on the links below to find out more information.

School Code: 97553

Happy Exploring!  Contact me if you have any questions.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Teaching the Right Stuff

Teaching the Right Stuff, Not Yesterday's stuff, Not Today's- but Tomorrow's!

Click on the link below to read an innovative article on teaching our students the tools of tomorrow.

Wondering why math facts are so important?

Independent research proves that higher-level math is more difficult to learn when children have not mastered their Math Facts.   This research proves the need and importance for our children to master their Math Facts. A few quotes from the experts:
                                         Ready to practice?  Let's go!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nightly Homework Routine

As families are figuring out a homework routine that works for them, please keep in mind that all fourth grade students should be reading and practicing math facts every day.  I am sending home a packet that has creative ways for students to practice math facts.  I will include the links below.  Students are encouraged to find ways to practice math facts that engage them and that work for them.  They may already have a system in place and a good practice strategy.  Many students shared with me that they practiced their facts all summer long!

There are so many ways to practice math facts.  Try out several ways.  Find a way that works best for your child.

Test out a new way tonight with your child.  Tomorrow, students will share how they practiced.  Encourage your child to practice their math facts daily at home for at least 5-10 minutes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Project Fridays!

"Students learn in diverse and wondrous ways."

Our Friday schedule is different and requires a slight adjustment to how we schedule our learning blocks.  Team 16 discussed this last Friday to brainstorm various ways we can use time effectively.  We came up with project Fridays.  The students are thinking of something they are interested in learning more about.  They will write me a proposal.  I will be showing them the proposal template this week.  We will then brainstorm how we can include some curriculum standards.  The projects will be integrated and all will have a math, reading, writing, science and/ or social studies goal that relates to the curriculum.  Once we establish our projects, we will spend a large chunk of time every Friday working on them.  Students will be researching in books and online.  Final projects will be presented in various ways.  Some will create poster boards, book reports, slide shows, movies, dioramas, etc...

I am excited to see what students are curious about!

Reading letters are a work in progress...

Team16 is learning how to use google docs and working hard to improve our keyboarding skills.  After trial and error, we discovered that we must use Google Chrome and that documents has changed to drive.  For the next several weeks, we will write the letter in school.  Each week getting better and focusing on new skills.  I will introduce spell check and model how to write a letter.  Since we will write the letters in school, I will teach the students how to take simple notes during the week at home so on Fridays, I can help them write their letters.  When everyone feels comfortable with the process, I will let families know.  Until then, we will do them together in school.

Team 16 has learned:

  • How to use Google Chrome
  • Log on to google drive (the new google documents)
  • How to share work through google drive
These 3 steps are a great beginning.  

 Good readers are happy readers!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Project-Based Learning

Why Teach with Project-Based Learning?: Providing Students With a Well-Rounded Classroom Experience

Project-based learning helps students apply what they learn to real-life experiences and provides an all-around enriching education.

VIDEO: Project-Based-Learning Overview

Running Time: 9 min.

Project learning, also known as project-based learning, is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups.
Because project-based learning is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying. Research also indicates that students are more likely to retain the knowledge gained through this approach far more readily than through traditional textbook-centered learning. In addition, students develop confidence and self-direction as they move through both team-based and independent work.
In the process of completing their projects, students also hone their organizational and research skills, develop better communication with their peers and adults, and often work within their community while seeing the positive effect of their work.
Because students are evaluated on the basis of their projects, rather than on the comparatively narrow rubrics defined by exams, essays, and written reports, assessment of project-based work is often more meaningful to them. They quickly see how academic work can connect to real-life issues -- and may even be inspired to pursue a career or engage in activism that relates to the project they developed.
Students also thrive on the greater flexibility of project learning. In addition to participating in traditional assessment, they might be evaluated on presentations to a community audience they have assiduously prepared for, informative tours of a local historical site based on their recently acquired expertise, or screening of a scripted film they have painstakingly produced.
Project learning is also an effective way to integrate technology into the curriculum. A typical project can easily accommodate computers and the Internet, as well as interactive whiteboards, global-positioning-system (GPS) devices, digital still cameras, video cameras, and associated editing equipment.
Adopting a project-learning approach in your classroom or school can invigorate your learning environment, energizing the curriculum with a real-world relevance and sparking students' desire to explore, investigate, and understand their world. Return to our Project Learning page to learn more.

Team 16 started to explore problem solving educational websites today.  This is an introduction to project based learning which we will engage in next.  Let's celebrate the amazing educational benefits your children  are receiving on their own.  Read this quote and reflect, "When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself." ~ Jean Piaget

It's a powerful quote.  Thoughts?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Powerful, thought- provoking quote

Something to think about...

Julia Cook- Great Read Aloud Books to portray different learning styles

Team 16 has read and discussed these books.  They help us understand each other as learners.  Julia Cook writes wonderful stories that students in grades K-5 can relate to.  We have just ordered more thanks to our PTO, for our classroom library.  Our new Julia Cook books should be in by the end of this week.  Ask your child about them.  Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Writing using ~ Model for Students

I survived my first week in 4th Grade! by Team16 on Storybird "Storybird reverses the process of visual storytelling by starting with the image and "unlocking" the story inside. Choose an artist or a theme, get inspired, and start writing." Check out The students in Team 16 are already set- up in a class account. More information will be sent home shortly on how to log-in and access at home.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Organized homework zones at home

A whiteboard is a great visual reminder of what homework needs to be done.

Having a neat and organized spot to do your homework makes things easier and having supplies already there saves you time.

Short on space?  You can hang a homework caddy over a door.  This is both simple, neat, and organized.

For families that have multiple children at home.  This is a great organizational homework system and easy to manage.  

Different strategies work for different students and families.  What strategy works for you and your family?

Homework cartoons

Coming up with a homework and organizational strategy will help you focus and complete your 
homework and pass it in on time.

Google docs

Team 16 had Technology today.  They were taught how to use google docs.  Tomorrow, we will be typing our first paragraph in 4th grade.  Please remember to research your name and where it came from so you have information to write your paragraph.

Parents of Team 16- please write me a letter or an email describing your child.  I would love to know your child's strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, learning styles, etc...Please include anything  you think is important for me to know about your child.  This way I can get to know them and what they like faster.  I want to tailor projects around topics that students are interested in to make them meaningful and engaging.  Try to get me the letter by Friday if you have time.  Thank you in advance.  Today, the students filled out a learning style check-list that I will share with families next week on Curriculum Night.

Please let me know if you do not have Internet access at home.

Thank you!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Where did your name come from?

Tomorrow, as Team 16, meets together the first time as a 4th grade class, we will be reading several books about the importance of names.  We will read The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi and Chysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes (a favorite).  We will begin a discussion about where our own names came from.  Tuesday nights homework will be to just have a conversation with your family about where your name came from?  Students may want to take quick notes on sticky notes if they think they will forget.  On Wednesday, Team 16 will do their  first paragraph writing assignment about where their name came from.  These will be displayed on our writing wall and shared with our classmates.

I can't wait to learn where all your names came from! Can you?

I did some research about my first name, Susan.  I spoke with my parents and I did a little research online.  This is what I found out:

Susan is a feminine given name and is a form of Susanna.  The name was originally derived from the Middle Egyptian (lotus flower).  The root word Lily means to be joyful, bright, or cheerful.  The basis for the word and name Sasson (Susan) means joy of life.  There are 57 various ways to say my name.  A few examples are: Suzy, Susann, Sue, and Sanna.  Susan was a very popular name the year I was born.  After speaking with my parents, I was told that my Dad always loved the name Susan and after I was born, he finally got to choose the name.  I was the youngest of 3 and my Mom had chosen the names of my 2 older sisters.  This is where my name came from and how it was chosen as my first name.

Homework, Homework, Homework...

Team 16 will slowly be getting into a homework routine.  The first steps for a successful homework strategy is for each child and their family to come up with a detailed homework plan.  By this I mean, when your child comes home from school each day, where do they put their backpacks?  Are they responsible for taking out important items and if they are, where should those items go?

Where is your child going to do his/ her homework?  What time? How long? Will they get any breaks?  What do they do if they need help?  Where do they put their homework when they are finished?  Who is responsible for packing up their backpack each night or morning for the next school day?

Depending on your child's schedule, this plan may look different each day of the week.  Plan out a daily homework schedule for the entire week, print it out, and display it above the place you selected together to do the homework.  Having a plan in place that you create together guarantees a more positive homework environment with clear expectations.

Please start thinking about this and having a conversation as a family about what would be a good homework plan.  I will be sending out a homework planning sheet later this week.

Happy Planning!

Movement, exercise, and hydration

"I call exercise "Miracle Gro" for the brain.  Exercise keeps brain cells healthy in a way that playing chess and other highly cognitive activities do not."
~Dr. John Ratey

Research has shown how important exercise is in a child's Brain development.  Team 16 will be learning about this all year and will be participating in daily movement breaks several times a day.  I highly recommend that students bring a water bottle to school that they can leave on their desks.  Hydration is so important for a student to stay focused and engaged after lots of physical activity.

As some experts will say...."Exercise makes you smarter." Team 16 will explore and research this statement and come up with supporting details throughout the year.

Brain Fitness here we come!

Team 16- Weekly Specialist Schedule

Physical Education- wear sneakers (2:15-3:00)

Art (8:50-9:35)


Music (10:30-11:15)

Friday- no specials

As a heads up, our first day of school is a Tuesday.  We have Art first thing.  We also have the last lunch this year.  We eat from 1:05- 1:30 so please bring a big healthy snack for the morning.