Week of September 25

Another great week of fun and learning in the books! It’s hard to believe that earlier this week temperatures were in the 90s! We were all thankful for the air conditioning in the new building!

This week in Reading Workshop we continued studying how authors make characters complicated (more than one way). Students noticed what an author repeats about a character. We talked about authors put things in books for a reason. Good readers pay attention to the details and use these ‘clues’ to help develop theories about characters.

In writing we drafted scenes 1 through 3 of our stories, students worked on making sure they had S.A.I.D.  ~ Scene description, Action, Internal thought and Dialogue ~ in each paragraph. We also worked on not changing tenses in our story (present/past) or Point of View, students should be writing in 3rd Person.  Next week we will learn how to stretch out the most important scene using details so that a moment in time fills a page and we will begin drafting  our final scene.

In math this week we practiced rounding large numbers in order to estimate answers.  We then practiced adding and subtracting large numbers, and using them in word problems.   Although the math concepts are easy at this point, some students are struggling with reading questions and figuring out what the question is asking.  We took our online PRACTICE test today. Monday we will review concepts and Tuesday will be the ‘Real’ test. The best way to help your child be prepared for the test is to have them practice adding and subtracting large numbers and rounding large numbers to estimate sums.

In Science we had a great time visiting the Planetarium at White Pines to learn more about the moon phases and the reason for the seasons (tilt of the earth on its axis). We also had fun making a few projects to help solidify our learning.  We made a vocabulary booklet, a cut-out of the sun, moon, and earth to show revolution and rotation, and a season flip book.  Ask you child if they can explain why we have seasons.

As always, please check out your child’s blog at Kid Blog


Important Dates:

Wednesday and Thursday, October 11 and 12 – Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday, October 13 – Half Day, Noon Dismissal

Week of September 18

First, I would like to thank all of the parents that donated Oreos for our Oreo cookie lab! Thanks to your generousity our Moon Phase Lab was a huge success! I have posted the pictures on the classroom Facebook page. You can check them out here: Mrs. Lannon’s classroom Facebook page

This week in Reading Workshop we have been working on “Growing Ideas About Characters.” Students have been paying attention to details and noticing what a character says and does, asking ‘Is there a pattern here?’ If so what doe it tell me about the character. We also learned that it is especially important to pay attention when a character does something different from the pattern. We need to notice and then think about what that tells us about the character. For example, in Tiger Rising, Rob’s pattern is to not stand up for himself and to not engage or talk with other characters. He acts out of character when he suddenly stands up for Sisitine when she is being bullied. This is surprising, because Rob won’t even stand up for himself.

In Writing Workshop we have learned that good writers plan out their stories. We used a Story Arc to plan out our stories scene by scene, focusing on setting the scene, developing a problem, making the problem worse, having a turning point and then a solution/resolution. Next week students will begin drafting their stories scene by scene.

We started a new Topic in math this week. Students are learning how to use the standard algorithm to add and subtract large numbers. Remembering to regroup when necessary. Students also learned how to use inverse operations to check their answers and how to estimate answers using rounding to see if an answer is reasonable. The online test for this unit will be on Friday next week. I noticed a lot of students using their fingers to add and subtract! 4th graders are expected to know their basic facts automatically (no fingure counting) one way to achieve this is to have your child practice with flash cards or Timed Test on their iPads. We have been practicing our multiplication facts in class, but addition and subtraction will need to be done at home as mastery was to be achieved in 2nd and 3rd grade.

In Science this week we continued to learn the phases of the moon and completed our Oreo cookie moon phase lab. (see the link above for pictures!) Next Thursday we will be heading to the planetarium at White Pines Intermediate School. Space is very tight and we are going with another class. Unfortunately, we do not have any seats (in the planetarium) for chaperones. In fact, I may have to sit on the stairs!

Important Dates

Tuesday, September 26 – Picture retakes

Thursday, September 28 – Planetarium Field Trip


Week of September 15

Wow! We survived our first full week! The students have been working hard and wowing me with what they are capable of.

This week in Reading Workshop we have continued to work on finding books that are “Just Right,” reading intensely, finding the flow of the book and putting ourselves in the main characters shoes. Reading the story as if we are the main character and visualizing what is happening by making movies in our minds. Children took turns acting out the ‘bus’ scene from our class read aloud, “The Tiger Rising.” Ask your child about that scene.

In Math we have just finished our first topic. In Topic 1 students worked with numbers through millions. We compared numbers, rounded numbers, wrote numbers using expanded and word form and worked with place value. Students took their Topic 1 test on Friday. In 4th grade we have a 3 day test cycle, on day 1 students take an online practice test (if they score 85% or higher they are excused from the “real” test). On the 2nd day, we review each type of problem on the test as a whole class, then students receive review pages (paper) to work on to review the skills that are tested. Students are also pulled into small groups to reteach skills that they struggled with. On the third day we take the ‘real’ test. Those that are not taking the real test do math enrichment activities.

In Writing Workshop this week we thought up ideas for realistic fiction stories that we could write. Students spent 2 sessions generating ideas for stories that they could write. Then students selected one idea that they wanted to write about. Students needed to make sure that their story had a problem in it. Students then spent time developing their main character by thinking about what the character looks like, acts like, how other people treat/see the character and thinking about what internal traits fit the character (shy, funny, loyal). Last, we started to write our ‘problem scene.’ Students focused on “showing not telling” the problem. Next week we will be using a story arc to write our stories scene by scene. Our child also began writing his/her own weekly blog! You can read your child’s blog weekly at Kid Blog


In Science we have continued to learn about what makes day and night (the rotation of the earth), and what causes the phases of the moon (the moon orbiting the earth). We also created a Venn diagram to compare similarities and differences between the earth, moon and sun. Next week we will be using our Venn to write a paragraph comparing the earth moon and sun.

Enjoy this last fabulous weekend of summer! Maybe I will see you at the Irish Music Fest!

Also, if your child participates in a sport, I would love to have you send me a game schedule so that I can come watch a game or two. Thank you!

Week of September 5th

*My auto update did not work this weekend, I just realized this did not publish. Updates will normally be published on Friday*

Thank you for taking the time to read our classroom blog. Every week This blog will tell about our learning for the week, give important information, share pictures and maybe video, and list upcoming events. Please remember to subscribe to this blog (scroll down on the right hand side bar), and you will receive an email when the blog is updated. I will send an email with the blog link the next two weeks, after that you will need to be subscribed to receive the email updates.

We have had a busy 4 days! We began your curriculum, we set up our iPads, and we have taken some baseline assessments!

in Reading Workshop our first reading unit is: Interpreting Characters in Fiction, by talking about how we need to read intensely. We learned how to slow down and notice everything in the we are reading. We Learned that good readers make movies in their minds, noticing when the movie get blurry, and analyze why the author uses certain words or phrases in the story. We also discussed having sympathy or empathy for our characters to help us better understand them. Students too a pre-assessment before beginning the unit and students spent some time evaluating themselves by looking at the rubric of skills they will be learning with this unit, so that they can see where they started and at the end of the unit we will repeat the process to see what they have learned. We will be beginning the tri-annual reading assessments next week. These assessments allow me to get to know your child as a reader and help guide them toward “just right” books. The assessments also help me individualize reading instruction for each student.

In Math our first unit is all about place value. This is the math curriculum that was rolled out last year. This first unit is short and mostly review of third grade skills, just extending those skills to larger numbers. This year our math Homework (Practice Buddy) and a Quick Check are on the iPads every day. The benefit of doing it this way is immediate feedback for your child. Often students will complete the paper homework, getting many problems incorrect and not know they are practicing it incorrectly until the next day or even later when the teacher grades it. By that time, it is too late. Practice Buddy on the iPad tells them immediately if they are correct or not, and gives help. We will go over all the help options available to them in class. Often your child will be able to complete most of the homework in class. Math homework will be written in their planner. Please review the Homework and Quick Check with your child, check to see if it is complete, and review what they are learning. Your child can show you how to go on to the program and see what we are working on. I will post a short video this week, going over the steps for logging on to see their work.

I am aware that there have been some issues with logging on at home. Rest assured, SL Tech Team realizes there have been some issues with their new filter and not being able to get into programs at home. They are working on resolving these issues, and promise it should be fixed by Tuesday! Thank you for taking the time to check over your child’s work each night and signing their planners!

Our first science unit is A View from the Earth,  we are studying the sun, moon, and Earth. Your child has been asked to go out and observe the moon the next few days, for most of this week the moon (waning gibbous) will be visible in the morning before school and on the way to school. The observation sheet is due Friday, September 15.

Our first Chicago fundraiser began on Friday, Wesco Popcorn buckets! Please try to sell all 5 buckets and return the $60 to school as soon as possible. The fundraiser will continue for a few weeks. We have more buckets available to sell, as your child sells five we can give them more! Remember selling 15 buckets covers the cost of the trip! Buckets are $12 each and good to use at many Wesco stores (see the side of the bucket) immediately until December 2018. Please be sure to return any unsold buckets and lids.

I have noticed a few students do not have headphones/earbuds yet. We will need these by Wednesday for a diagnostic assessment we are taking.

A huge thank you to all who donated Oreos! We are all set and will be doing our moon phase lab soon!