News from Room 24 – March 21, 2018

We wrapped up our unit on fractions and this week I am sending home students’ post-assessments.  Students did well overall, with a class average of 82%! Please take the time to review the test with your child, noticing where they were successful and what they still need to work on.  This particular assessment required a lot of labeled pictures and many students lost points for not labeling or explaining their sketches clearly.

When we return from break, students will be starting multiplication fluency checkups twice a week where they are asked to solve 40 problems in 2 minutes or less.  Last week, we took some time to see what it would feel like to attempt this feat and students made flashcards to practice.  Please support your child in memorizing these facts with regular practice for 10-15 minutes at a time.  We aim to have all facts through 12 mastered by the end of the year.

This week, students are completing their second natural disaster research project.  This time, students focused on strategies to compare and contrast information between their first and second topics.  We also practiced using a rubric to self score our work before submitting it to be graded.  It gave many groups a chance to make important changes independently!

In writing, students are outlining a second persuasive essay.  After spring break, students will choose which outline they would like to take through the rest of the writing process and publish.

In social studies, we are covering Black History in Oregon.  We are using an article from the online Oregon Encyclopedia to build up some background knowledge on our state’s historic laws and policies that deterred Black people from immigrating here.  Later this week, partners will take a closer look at specific individuals or events and create timeline markers for our giant timeline in the hall.

I hope you all have a delightful spring break!  Don’t forget to read!

Ms. Elissa


News from Room 24 – March 7, 2018

This week we are wrapping up a math unit, starting a new writing unit, and beginning a second study of a natural disaster topic.

In math, we have completed Unit 3 on fractions and division.  Students will be taking the post-assessment on Wednesday and I am looking forward to seeing their growth.  Next, we will do a mini-unit on conversions before heading into Unit 4 which covers new aspects of geometry and measurement.

In writing, we just launched a new persuasive writing unit.  Students learned to turn a personal opinion statement into a persuasive argument and will work to give evidence and personal stories to back up their claim.

In literacy, our research teams are launching into a comparative study of a different natural disaster topic.  This time around, students are thinking about how their second topic is similar to or different from their first topic and use that as a jumping off point to build greater understanding.

Last week in social studies, we watched a video about Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery.  We took notes on the wide array challenges the Corps faced as they traveled from St. Louis, Missouri to the Pacific Ocean.  Some student takeaways were: “They would have been super strong when they made it back!” and “I can’t believe more people didn’t die along the way.”  This week, our class will learn about the Oregon Trail and the trials and tribulations that arose when traveling with a family across the U.S. in the 1800’s.

This week is also Project Second Wind Food and Fund Drive at Lewis.  There is a box outside of our room where you can drop off canned goods and shelf-stable foods.  Please help our school make a difference!

Take care,

Ms. Elissa

News from Room 24 – February 21, 2018

So much for that early spring that was predicted… The snow sure is pretty, though.

This week in literacy, students are crafting a poster presentation with their natural disaster research groups to share the information they have learned.  They have worked hard to improve their nonfiction reading, summarizing, and synthesizing skills as they research.

In writing, students are completing a writing work sample as an assessment on how they are progressing on their 5-paragraph essay writing skills.  They chose a topic, completed an outline, and are working to write out their essay to show off their talents as a writer.

In math we are taking another look at division and how it relates to fractions.  This week, we are figuring out how to solve division with a remainder.  Students will look at the different ways a remainder can be handled in different situations.  13 cookies divided between 4 people looks very different than 13 people divided into 4 groups.

We are continuing our studies of the history of the Klamath River Basin.  How water in the basin should be used is a long and ongoing conversation between Native People, ecological groups, farmers, ranchers, and others.  Students are working in pairs to research specific events related to the use of water in the basin, creating a timeline marker, and will share their research with the class.

Stay warm out there!

Ms. Elissa

News from Room 24 – February 7, 2018

February, here we come!  As we roll into the second half of the year, we are working on tightening up routines, pushing ourselves to our full potential, and being better all around.

Students are revising and publishing their five paragraph essays this week.  Soon, they will complete a work sample on a different topic which will allow me to assess their individual progress on writing in paragraph format.

We are getting deeper into our study of nonfiction reading strategies.  This week, students are participating in a “summary boot camp” where they are learning to pick out an author’s main idea and supporting details from a text and rewrite it in their own words.

In math, we are continuing our work with fractions.  Students will begin investigating improper fractions and learn some visual strategies for how to convert them into a mixed number.  We will also look at adding and subtracting fractions.

Last week, students worked in research teams to learn about a specific moment in Native American history.  Each team made a timeline marker to teach others about their topic.  You can take a look at what we have covered so far on our giant timeline in the hallway outside Room 24.  We will continue to add to our timeline for the rest of the year as we learn more about Oregon’s history.

Report cards were sent home with your child on Monday.  Please review the report card, sign the envelope, and have your child bring the signed envelope back to school.  Please email me with any questions or concerns:

We will be decorating “mailboxes” and exchanging valentines next Wednesday.  If you have an empty shoe box/cereal box or two lying around, please send them in next week.  See the letter I sent home on Monday for more info as well as a list of student names.

Take care,

Ms. Elissa



News from Room 24 – January 24, 2018

Next week we will hit the halfway mark in the school year (which totally boggles my mind… I guess that’s why they say “Time flies when you’re having fun.”)  We are working our way through our essay writing unit, getting into our fraction unit, and just starting a new nonfiction reading unit.

In writing, students have completed three different graphic organizers for different 5 paragraph essay topics.  Over the next week or so, students will choose one to take through the rest of the writing process: drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.  Writing a 5 paragraph essay is a major skill that 4th graders tackle, so we will get lots of practice this year.

In math, we are diving deep into fractions.  We did some explorations of fractions on a geoboard, a ruler, and this week we are using an egg carton to find new and different fractional parts.  There have been some great discussions so far and many AHA! moments for members of our class.

In reading, we kicked off our brand new nonfiction reading unit!  Students will be learning new strategies for how to read nonfiction more deeply before we begin a specific topic of study on the weather.  Students are practicing the strategies we cover in class with a reading partner in a book at their level.  Speaking of levels, we have just about wrapped up taking our end of the quarter assessments and I have been amazed at the progress that this class is making!  Keep reading at home – it is paying off!

In social studies, we are delving in to Oregon’s history by taking a look back through time. We will be learning about human origins, why and how people move from place to place, Columbus and the discovery myth, and what has happened to Indigenous Tribes over time. Then we will reconnect to our salmon study from the fall as we learn how the construction of dams has impacted salmon and traditional Native American fishing in preparation for a film screening of United by Water at Lewis on February 1st at 1:30. The film, narrated by Sherman Alexie, follows five tribes returning to the Kettle Falls area where they had traditionally gathered to fish prior to the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam 75 years ago. OPB recently profiled the film (

It’s pretty soggy out and as you know, we almost always have outdoor recess.  Please send your child to school with a coat and shoes that can withstand the elements.

Thank you and take care,

Ms. Elissa

News from Room 24 – January 10, 2018

Happy New Year!  I hope your 2018 is off to a good start.  We are starting off the new year by trying to wrap up some unfinished bits and pieces before moving into all new units.

In math, we are finishing up a mini-unit on area and perimeter before heading into Unit 3.  Your child’s homework is all about area and perimeter this week.  Some students get the equations for these concepts mixed up, so your child may benefit from having a quick homework check before putting it away for the night.  Our next math unit is all about fractions and division.  Students will explore many different models for showing fractions: geoboards, egg cartons, rulers, clocks,  and more.  Later in the unit, students will solidify their understanding of division and learn new strategies for dividing numbers.

In reading, we are spending a few weeks finishing up our book club books before transitioning into a non-fiction reading unit.  As students  work their way through their books, they are responding in their reading journals each day, making predictions, comparing characters, noticing conflicts, and more.  Many of the book clubs have shown a voracious appetite when it comes to books!  We have some hungry, hungry readers in our class!

We started a new writing unit this week on composing a five paragraph essay.  Students are in the middle of preparing graphic organizers on three different topics: three favorite moments from winter break, three ways I would like the world to change, and a realistic fiction one about the worst day ever.  At the end of our planning sessions, students will choose one topic to take through the writing process into a published final draft.

The weeks ahead look quite rainy.  We usually have outdoor recess unless it is pouring so please make sure your child has appropriate outerwear and footwear for the elements.

Thank you!

Ms. Elissa

News from Room 24 – December 13, 2017

I’m going to keep it short and sweet! We are finishing up our geography and math units this week before heading out for the break.  Students are working to finish up their regions brochures and will take a post-assessment on Oregon geography later this week.

I hope you will be able to join us for one or both of the events we have planned this week.  Our writing performances will be this Thursday, December 14th, from 9:30-10:30 am.  4th and 5th Grade Family Breakfast is this Friday, December 15th, from 8:15-9:00 am.  Please remember to bring something healthy to share at the Family Breakfast.

I hope you all have a great winter break!  Do lots of reading and sleeping and have lots of fun.  See you in 2018!

-Ms. Elissa