News from Room 16 – September 21, 2016

Now that we have begun our fourth week together, the back to school crud is officially going around.  Sniffles, and sneezes, and coughs, oh my!  We will review hand washing and other preventative measures here at school.  Please keep your child home if they are ill so we can try to stop this thing in its tracks.

Students are feeling particularly excited about our new team name, Squad 16, and our team colors, teal and purple.  Squad 16 will be making team shirts on Friday, September 30th – let me know if you would like to help out between 12:45-1:45 that afternoon! The more, the merrier!  Please return your form with $4 by this Friday so I can pick up shirts this weekend.

Our early math assessments have shown that many students need some review of previous concepts – larger addition and subtraction, telling time and time problems, money problems, and so on.  Over the next few weeks we will be doing some intensive review in small groups, which may be accompanied by very specific homework that students should complete ALONE with NO HELP.  This will allow me to assess their growth and mastery of each concept we cover.

Finally, if you have not yet signed up for a Parent Teacher Conference, please do so as soon as possible.  The sign up sheets are in front of our room.

Thank you for all you do,

Ms. Elissa

News from Room 16 – September 14, 2016

It was great to see so many of you at Back to School Night yesterday!  Thanks for taking the time to come and explore your child’s learning environment and let them brag a little bit about what they have been working on.  I hope their energy and excitement continues forth into the year.  Even if you didn’t get a chance to stop in at Open House, I hope you will be able to stop in sometime to check things out.
Last week I mentioned that I am trying to touch base with each of you about the beginning of the school year – don’t fret if you haven’t heard from me yet.  It is taking me a little longer than anticipated to check in with all you guys!  I promise to get to you soon.
This week we are trying to find our rhythm.  We have built up our reading stamina and we have launched Reading Workshop.  We will slide into Writing Workshop later this week and we have begun to practice efficient strategies for solving multiplication and division problems.  These guys solved 11×13 today like it was a piece of cake!  We are continuing to work on our transitions – moving with purpose through the room is a challenge sometimes!  Next week, we will begin Tech with Mr. Jamesbarry and everyone is thoroughly excited for that!
As always, pop in or shoot me an email if you have questions or concerns.
Take care,
Ms. Elissa

News from Room 16 – September 7, 2016

Fourth grade has begun with a bang!  We are creating community, tightening up our transitions, and remembering how this whole school thing works.  :)  Now that I know everyone a little bit, I am hoping to call each family over the next week or so just to check in and answer any questions you may have at this point in the year.

At the beginning of the year, students are building up their stamina as readers and writers.  We have been tracking how long we can go each day, with the goal of reaching about 30 minutes of uninterrupted read to self time each day.  These guys are well on their way there – we hit 25 minutes last week!   Help your student grow as a reader by giving them some quiet time to read each day at home, too.

We brainstormed some guidelines to follow as a community of mathematicians last week.  For example, students should: stay engaged in the math we are doing, help someone else if they are stuck, listen to each other, be polite when you disagree, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to struggle.  Following these guidelines, students have already created shape posters with a partner and measured the area of strange shapes using non-standard  (not square) units!

I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend and I am looking forward to speaking with all of you soon!  Back to School Night is next Tuesday, September 13th – See you there!

Take care,

-Ms. Elissa

2016 Welcome Letter

Dear Families,

Hello out there!  My name is Ms. Elissa and I am delighted to welcome you to 4th Grade in Room 16!  I hope you guys are sharing an enjoyable summer together.  I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce myself (or update those of you who already know me) and tell you a little about what you have to look forward to this year.

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and I moved to Portland for college in 2003 after a road trip in which I discovered the unparalleled beauty of the Northwest.  I graduated from Lewis & Clark with a B.A. in Psychology and went on to work in the youth and adolescent mental health field for several years.  During that time, I became more and more interested in education and headed back to Lewis & Clark to get my Master’s in Elementary Education.  I have been a part of the Lewis community for 6 years now and I am absolutely thrilled to be the newest member of the 4th Grade team this year.

This summer has been an awesome roller coaster of adventure for me.  My longtime partner, Nate, and I got married in July out in the woods of Oxbow Regional Park.  Then in August, we flew out to Asheville, North Carolina to surprise my father for his 70th birthday.  In between those two big events, I spent a lot of time gardening, going to the river or camping, and closely monitoring all of the changes to the Blazers roster.  Now I am ready for school to start!

This year we will cover some exciting new content and work together to foster a strong community within our classroom.  We will take a look through Oregon’s long history through the lens of rights and ownership, examine and discuss current events, learn some new math concepts, and do as much reading and writing as possible!  We will work on strategies to foster independence and ways to self-monitor progress.  We will learn together and grow together.  Part of creating a cohesive classroom community is parent involvement and communication – I am looking forward to getting to know each of you over the school year, too!

Check out our classroom blog ( for weekly updates and important information and follow us on Twitter @epdingus for photos of what we are doing.   You can also email me anytime:

See you on the 29th!

-Ms. Elissa

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In a flurry of activity and goodbyes yesterday, I completely forgot to pass out the Summer Reading Program gameboards.    :0

If you would like to come pick one up, they will be available in the office for you.

Sorry for the inconvenience…

-Ms. Elissa

News from Room 16 – The Final Days…

Hello families!  While there is no school newsletter coming home this week, I wanted to write a quick end of the year note to you all, so here it is!

Our walking tour of downtown Portland was fun, informative, and hot!  We got to see Portland’s living room, an echo chamber, more than 30 types of transportation (including a military helicopter), Ancient Greek architecture, cast iron building fronts, almost every bridge in our city, and a whole lot more!  The kids were probably exhausted by the time they got home yesterday; I hope they all slept well.

Tomorrow we will be having a small end of the year celebration in class.  There will be a little slideshow and some treats!  Come join us at 2:15 if you’d like to.

Do lots of reading this summer!  Your child’s Newsela, RAZ Kids, Moby Math, and Typing Club accounts should stay active over the summer so they can access them from home or the library.  I am sending home their password cards today along with their scored Character Analysis Essays.

And finally, thank you for all that you have done this year.  We could not have made it through the year without you volunteering, chaperoning, communicating, and supporting.  I appreciate all of the effort that you put in to helping your child succeed.

See you next year,

Ms. Elissa