News from Room 16 – November 26, 2014

There is much to look forward to upon the return to school next week.  We will be starting new units in many subjects and working on some fun side projects as well.

In math we are coming to the end of our unit on strategies for adding and subtracting two and three digit numbers.  Your child may still have some practice ahead of them before they are completely proficient with their strategies, so please continue to check in on their homework assignments each week.  Ask them about which strategies they feel most comfortable using to solve these types of problems and have them walk you through their thinking.  Next up we are starting a unit on geometry.  Students will describe and classify 2-D and 3-D shapes by their properties, explore symmetry, and expand their math vocabulary.

We will also be working on a science unit for the three weeks in between Thanksgiving and winter breaks.  This science unit is all about changes in states of matter.  We will examine the properties of water, learn about dissolving solids and evaporation, and do tons of neat experiments along the way!

Some of the third and fifth grade classes are participating in a personal history project called “Who are your people?”  I am sending home a packet of questions for your child to answer (and for families to help answer) over the long weekend.  There is a cover letter that describes the project in a little more detail in your child’s homework folder.  We will eventually be creating some collages as a culminating activity and we need your help in gathering magazines.  If you have any old National Geographics or other magazines that are no longer being used, please send them in.

Enjoy your break!  See you in December!

-Ms. Elissa

Online Boggle

This morning our class experimented with an online version of the Boggle game we play every week.

It was fun and fast-paced.  You have the option to play a timed version (3:00) or you can turn off the timer for unlimited play.  At the end, you can click the Solve button and see your score as well as ALL the words that can possibly be made on the board.  It was fun to see all the words that we didn’t get and learn some new words along the way.

Here’s the link so you can play at home if you’d like:


-Ms. Elissa

News from Room 16 – November 19, 2014

Goodness!  It feels like I haven’t written class notes in a long time.  Hello out there!  I have finished moving and it has felt wonderful to return to the classroom.  I truly missed all of these guys while I was out.

Our field trip to see Ivy & Bean the musical was a hit!  The actors did a fantastic job of fully embodying the personalities of Ivy and Bean and the kids were rolling in the aisles laughing.  I still have the theme song (and several others) stuck in my head.  Thank you to all of the parent volunteers who helped us get there and back safely.

This week’s homework is all about reading clocks and calculating elapsed time.  There is a game called an Hour or Bust to the minute where partners are trying to accumulate as many minutes as they can without going over 60.  There are also a few worksheets that cover some larger addition and subtraction and clock reading skills.

Next week is a short week, but I will be sending home a big (ish) homework project that will need to be returned the following Monday.  It is a personal history questionnaire for families to complete together.  Check next week’s homework folder for more detailed instructions.  If you will be out of town next week, please let me know so that I can send it home with your child this week.

Take care and stay warm!

-Ms. Elissa

News from Room 16 – November 5, 2014

Welcome to November!  It was wonderful to have a sit-down chat with you guys last week.  I learned a lot and I hope you did too!  If you have any lingering questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to stop by or email (

Earlier today I posted a video to the class blog ( about how math instruction is different than it used to be.  The overall message is that we encourage students to have a deep conceptual understanding of how numbers can be combined or split apart BEFORE we teach them an algorithm to solve problems efficiently.  I spoke about this a bit with some of you at conferences, and I feel that the video explains it even more clearly than I ever could.  Check it out if you’re interested!

On Monday, I sent home a permission slip for next week’s field trip to see Ivy & Bean at the Oregon Children’s Theatre.  We are leaving at 9:00 am on a yellow school bus and we will be back in time for lunch at 11:30.  The cost is $10 per attendee.  All of my chaperone positions have been filled as of this morning.  Please send back your child’s permission slip by this Friday (11/7).

In writing, we have been talking about “digging deep” and including many adjectives and descriptive verbs and phrases in our work.  We wrote a diamante (diamond-shaped) poem about a topic of our choice to practice thinking about verbs and adjectives while we write.  I am hoping to have these published and up in the hall soon, so keep your eyes open!

The Theory of Knowledge projects were a huge success this round!  I can honestly say that I think these were the best group of TOK speeches I have heard yet!  Please take home your project to enjoy at home by the end of this week.

Take care,

-Ms. Elissa

An Explanation of Why Math Looks Different These Days….

Common Core has been getting a lot of media coverage lately, and not all of it is portraying it in a positive light.  I spoke with many of you at Parent Teacher Conferences regarding the way we teach math these days and sent everyone home with that blue sheet telling many of the different strategies that students may use, but you may still have some lingering confusions.

NBC did a piece a while back on Common Core math and a teacher just released this video as a response.  I think it sums up my perspective nicely.


-Ms. Elissa

News from Room 16 – October 22, 2014

Hello from the SWIFT conference in Bend!  We are rapidly approaching parent-teacher conferences.  Due to my absence this week, I pushed back our upcoming writing project until next month.  If you need a reminder of when your conference is scheduled, please let me know.

Speaking of next month, our first field trip is coming up in a few weeks!  We will be going to see Ivy + Bean performed by the Oregon Children’s Theater.  If you are interested in being a chaperone, please make sure that you have your background check up to date and look for the sign up outside of Room 16 next week!

Theory of Knowledge projects are due on Monday, October 27th but you can bring in your project this Friday if it’s ready.  There will be some long tables set up in the hallway where projects will be displayed until after conferences.

See you on Friday!

-Ms. Elissa