News from Room 24 – October 18, 2017

We are cruising along this month!  I’d like to say a big thank you to all the parents who helped make salt dough or who came in to help us as we made our topographical maps of Oregon last week.  They turned out beautifully and are now rotating through taking turns sitting on the heater vents so they will dry! 🙂  We will paint them later this week.

In Literacy, we are focusing on character traits this week.  We talked about how feelings and traits are different – a feeling lasts a short time, while a trait describes someone’s personality: how they are almost all the time.  As we read The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo, students are listing traits and then giving examples from the text as supporting evidence.

In writing, we are spending some time brainstorming some different story ideas about loss.  We played a movement game called “Stand Up If…” to help us think of specific memories of a time we lost an object, a person, a competition, etc.  Later this week we will practice using our five senses to accentuate our ability to describe items in our writing.

We are nearing the end of our first math unit.  We have spent this unit practicing multiplication and division strategies, using arrays to solve problems, learning about factors, and touching on what prime and composite numbers are.  We will finish out this unit by taking a quick look at area and perimeter. Our unit test will be on Tuesday afternoon.

Finally, we will be having a Harvest Celebration in a few weeks and we are looking for some parent support!  Ariel Dryad has offered to organize the event and if you would like to help with preparations, bringing in snacks, or coming in to help it run smoothly, shoot her an email: moonstone.goddess2000[at]  Our celebration will be on Tuesday, October 31st from 1-3pm.  Thank you for all your help!

-Ms. Elissa


News from Room 24 – October 4, 2017

How is it already October?!?  Time flies when you’re in fourth grade!

I will be sending home Scholastic Book Orders this week.  When you order, it helps raise money for our classroom to purchase new books throughout the year.  If you plan to order books, please turn in your form to me or order online using our class code on the back of your packet by Thursday, October 12th!

We started a new writing unit last week.  In this unit, students will use acting techniques and movement activities to help them become stronger writers.  Students will also be using mentor texts to examine what great authors do in their writing.  This week, students are focusing on writing a powerful introduction that draws the reader in by using character description, sound effects, setting description, dialogue or humor.  They have been doing remarkable work!

In math we are working on strategies for solving multiplication and division problems using rectangular arrays.  Last week, students used tiles to build the arrays and this week, students have learned how to sketch them quickly.  We will continue using this method throughout the year.  Thank you for supporting your child in making time for homework!  It has been great to see their strengths every day.

We are learning about Oregon Geography right now in class.  So far, we have learned about some of the mountain ranges, lakes, cities, rivers, and regions in our state.  We have a big project coming up where students will build their own salt dough map of Oregon.  We will need about 25 pounds of salt dough for this project and I would LOVE your help with making it.  If you are interested in making some salt dough at home before Thursday of next week (the 12th), please let me know via email ( so I can send your child home with the supplies and the recipe!  We are also going to need some volunteers in the classroom that day, so if you are free on Thursday, October 12th, feel free to join us for some messy (and fun!) geography work.

Run for the Arts is this Friday morning.  Please make sure your child wears some good running shoes and send in their form by the end of the week.

All the best,

Ms. Elissa

News from Room 24 – September 20, 2017

It was great to see so many of you guys at Open House last night!  Thank you for taking the time to come and see what we have been up to so far this year.  If you were not able to make it, please sign up for a conference time on the sheets outside our door.

Earlier this week I sent home a letter about homework and a list of math skills that your child should practice at home.  Please take the time to review the letter with your child and help them build a routine that will help them get their assignments done.

Looking ahead, we will soon be starting our first official writing unit which will focus on personal narrative.  This is a interactive unit that supports students in drawing on their own life experiences to incorporate a greater level of detail in their writing than they may have used before.  I can’t wait to see what these guys can produce!

Looks like we have a little stretch of sun coming our way before the sogginess of fall finally sets in.  Enjoy it while it lasts!

-Ms. Elissa


News from Room 24 – September 6, 2017

Hello!  Despite all the heat and smoky weather, we have gotten ourselves off to a great start to the year in Room 24.  The first days of school have been full of getting to know one another, learning routines, going over expectations, and fun!

As this school year begins, please take some time to teach or reteach important skills & safety information.  Students should be able to independently tie their shoes and recite their phone number and address.  Starting soon, we will have math homework, each day from Monday to Thursday (weekends off, woohoo!) and students are expected to read 20+ minutes each day at home.  Please help your child develop a schedule and routine that supports them in accomplishing these tasks.

Your back to school paperwork packet is due by Friday, September 8th.  Other important dates to put in your calendar: Back to School Night is Tuesday 9/19, School Pictures are Friday 9/29.

Our class notes schedule is changing a bit this year.  Instead of weekly notes, teachers will be on an every other week rotation.  So you’ll hear from me again in a fortnight!  You can find more regular updates on Twitter: @epdingus

Take care of yourselves in all the haze,

Ms. Elissa

Welcome Letter

Dear Families,

Hello out there!  My name is Ms. Elissa and I am delighted to welcome you to 4th Grade in Room 24!  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 after a road trip in which I discovered the unparalleled beauty of the Northwest, I moved to Portland for college in 2003.  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 7 years now and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the 4th grade team again this year!

This summer has been a pretty mellow one, but I did sneak in some adventures.  I visited historic Savannah, Georgia with some friends just after school got out.  It was definitely a different world among all those live oaks and pre-civil war architecture.  My husband, Nate, and I celebrated our first anniversary in July.  I also spent a lot of time gardening, going to the river, doing yoga, hanging out with our dog, Sadie, and closely monitoring all of the changes to the Blazers roster.  I am looking forward to camping on a friend’s ranch during the total eclipse later this month!  Now that I have started setting everything up in Room 24, I am really excited to start the school year!

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 30th!

-Ms. Elissa