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 (www.mselissa3.wordpress.com) 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: edingus@pps.net

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

News from Room 16 – June 1, 2016

We are down to single digits of days left in the school year but there are so many things yet to finish!  As we head in to the last few weeks of school, we are working hard on finishing up our big units and starting to bring our year to a close.  There will be several more opportunities for parent involvement and visits to the classroom, keep reading for details!

Bridge projects are due on Monday, June 6th.  Students will be presenting these to each other in small groups next week.  Please let me know if you need materials or support – edingus@pps.net

We will be taking two more field trips this year – a walking field trip to Berkeley Park with our kindergarten buddies on Monday June 6th and a tour of the waterfront and a few bridges in downtown on June 7th.   I am still looking for chaperones for both trips – let me know if you are interested.   Please return your permission slips as soon as possible!!

Our book swap is this Friday and as of today, we have no books to swap!  Please take a moment to check your shelves for any books that you are willing to trade out for new ones.

Finally, at the end of the last day of school, our class will be having a small reflection celebration with a slideshow and some treats.  Feel free to come join us at 2:15 next Thursday for our closing celebration!

Thank you for everything!

-Ms. Elissa & Mr. Tristan

Graphic Novel & Audiobook Recommendations

K-3 at the Library May 2016 masthead
Here comes summer!
In this issue, we’ve suggested books for your students to read and listen to this summer. We’ve also included information about the library’s Summer Reading programming, as well as a new early literacy app for parents.
Bow-Wow's Nightmare Neighbors book cover Fishfishfish book cover Treat book cover
Graphic novel recommendations for grades K-1
Here are some graphic novel book recommendations just in time for summer! Graphic novels are a great choice for reluctant readers since they really motivate kids to read. They can also help struggling readers and English language learners because the illustrations provide contextual cues to help them decode the text.
Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash
In this spooky wordless comic, a dog deals with ghostly feline neighbors who steal his bed. Sequel to Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug.
Fishfishfish by Lee Nordling and Meritxell Bosch
Three stories (little fish, big fish, school of fish) appear on every page of this mostly wordless book. Read them individually, or read all three together to get the full story.
Treat by Mary Sullivan
A dog spends his whole day begging for treats in this book with only one word (treat). Changing fonts and punctuation help students read with expression. This title is a companion to Ball, a Theodor Seuss Geisel award honor book.
We Dig Worms! by Kevin McCloskey
Did you know that worms can sense light through their skin? Or that some can grow up to 10 feet long? Find out more worm facts in this nonfiction graphic novel; if you enjoy it, don’t miss McCloskey’s latest, The Real Poop on Pigeons.
The Zoo Box by Ariel Cohn and Aron Nels Steinke
Local creators Cohn and Steinke share a story of two siblings who find a magic box full of live animals in their attic. Following them, they discover a zoo where animals are the visitors and humans are the displays! 
Visit our Graphic Novels for K-3 list for more suggestions.
We Dig Worms book cover Zoo Box book cover
Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms March Grand Prix Flop to the Top
Graphic novel recommendations for grades 2-3
Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms! by Philippe Coudray
This third volume of the Benjamin Bear one-page comics uses science, math and logic to get silly.
March Hare loves driving his car fast most of all, but in this combo of tales, he learns that helping people and sportsmanship are part of race car driving, too. High octane speed-racing tales, featuring diagrams of both cars and apple tarts, from the author of Jellaby
Flop to the Top! by Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing
Wanda longs to be a social media superstar, but she’s forced to take a backseat to her dog Wilbur, whose viral image on social media turns him into a canine celebrity. Wanda is envious until she learns that being a fan has some perks, too. By the creator of Stinky
Little Robot by Ben Hatke
A young girl befriends a little robot, fresh out of the box, and they set off to explore the world together. Her know-how helps him defeat an evil finder-bot, and her handiness with a wrench repairs any mechanical injuries Little Robot and his robot pals sustain. 
The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson
A hamster named GW (short for George Washington) instigates an escape plan for the class pets at Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary School in this madcap adventure written by the Portland author of the graphic novel Roller Girl.  
I am Pan! by Mordicai Gerstein
The author of The Man Who Walked Between the Towersshares rollicking tales of panic and pandemonium on Earth and Mount Olympus with the arrival of the wild and hairy Greek god Pan.
Visit our Graphic Novels for K-3 list for more suggestions.
Little Robot Great Pet Escape I am Pan
Photo of children on a car trip
Summer reading by listening
Summer is a great time to discover the many fantastic audiobooks available at the library. Whether on a long drive to Grandma Jean’s or sitting at home on the porch, audiobooks are a great way to entertain the whole family during the summer while building vocabulary and reading skills. What? Yes! A School Library Research study from the Association of School Librarians found that “readers’ use of audiobooks had a positive impact on reading skills and attitudes toward reading.” In fact, this recent School Library Journal article outlines how listening to audiobooks combats the summer slide. Check out Multnomah County Library’sSummer Reading by Listening booklist for your next great read aloud! Most titles are available in multiple formats, including CD, streaming and downloadable.
Summer Reading logo
Summer Reading starts June 17
Be a superstar and exercise your mind at the public library this summer! As you know, reading over summer break goes a long way toward maintaining reading skills so that students return in the fall ready to pick up where they left off in June. Summer Reading is free, and kids who finish the game will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing for a trip for four to Great Wolf Lodge waterpark!
Students in the following school districts have already been signed up for Summer Reading and will receive gameboards at school before the end of the school year: Portland, Gresham-Barlow, Reynolds, Parkrose, Corbett, Centennial and David Douglas. Check with your media specialist or principal if you have not received the gameboards by the week before your school is out.
If you have questions, comments, or want to register your class or school, please contact Summer Reading CoordinatorSeana Lane. Summer Reading is made possible by The Library Foundation.

News from Room 16 – May 25, 2016

As we rapidly approach the end of the year, my mind is turning towards the summer.  Summer can be a time filled with adventures, down time, play dates, and an escape from academics.  My dream is that everyone will do LOTS of reading over the summer to prevent the so-called “summer slide” where students lose some of the progress they made during the school year.

In order to help combat this, a few classes are holding an end of the year book swap on Friday, June 3rd.  I have asked students to bring in at least 2 books that they are willing to part with (re-read a million times, too easy, never liked, etc.) to trade out for a few new books they are really interested in.  Please take a look on your bookshelves at home and see what you are ready to pass on to someone else.  Bring in anything you are willing to part with!

During our study of bridges last week, students were given a design challenge: build a beam bridge that can support weight using only poster board, glue, scissors, and tape.  Students were very creative during the building process!  When they were finished, we did some strength tests with centimeter cubes to see which design features helped bridges support the most weight.  Our class average was 1,055 cubes!  Ask your child about what features helped the most.  I bet you will hear the words truss, triangle, or abutment in their answer.

Speaking of bridges, we did a check in meeting this week to see how the Portland Bridge Projects are coming along.  Most students have chosen a bridge and several have begun building!  I am sending home some packets on your child’s bridge to help with research for their short essay.  Bridges are due on Monday, June 6th.

Please turn in your permission slip if you have not done so yet.

Thanks for everything!

-Ms. Elissa & Mr. Tristan