The Bissinger Beacon

March, 2016

Writer's Workshop

Writer's began the next writing piece-literary essays! We practiced using thought prompts to expand on text moments and details. Common prompts to push our thinking include:

  • In other words...
  • I am now realizing..
  • This connects to..
  • Many people think...but I think...
  • What surprises me...

Authors gathered writing by studying a chosen character's traits, motivations, changes, struggles and relationships. We drafted our thesis statements and three supporting reasons. Literary essayists have been very busy finding evidence for topic sentences. We are able to angle our stories to highlight the way they support our thesis statements. Before adding quotes to our essays, we asked ourselves:

Can I point to specific words or actions that support my reason?

Can I explain exactly how these words or actions support my reason?

Students had a blast writing lists in a parallel structure as another way to gain evidence for our essays. Parallelism refers to similar structure, phrases, and grammar. After listening and analyzing the lyrics in "My Favorite Things" by Julie Andrews we understand songs and poems are written for both the ear and the heart. They need to sound good and mean a lot. 4B writers say them aloud as they write to make them sound good. Try it out with your child

4B Literary Essay Thesis Statements:

Edmund is selfish and full of himself, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe- Maeve

Kaitlin is willing to take a chance, Breaking the Ice -Miranda

Hugo will never give up on his sister, I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster of 1937- Nik

Fudge's parents are not thinking of his future, Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing- Molly

Ellie is a strong search and rescue dog, Ellie's Story- Kendall


Poets penned winter Haiku poems this week. A haiku is a 17 syllable poem in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. Haiku poetry focuses on elements of nature and includes numerous metaphors. Students highlighted Emily Dickinson’s use of personification as inspiration for their own poems. We identified the structure of a poem by analyzing the rhythm, rhyme, repetition, and alliteration. Students interpreted literal and figurative language within a poem, determined the speakers point of view, and also zoomed in on theme. To compliment our poetry, students created artwork using the style of "pointillism". The Sistine Chapel came to 4B as we "drew like Michelangelo." Check out some snap shots below!

Reader's Workshop

Readers identified cause and effect relationships in text while using the summarize strategy to check understanding. After watching a brief Toy Story clip, we examined the three types of point of view and distinguished point of view from perspective.


Math stars discovered the many uses of fractions as we reviewed denominators, numerators, and mixed numbers.

Motion & Design

Scientists began their next unit, motion and design. We discovered who Isaac Newton was, and began exploring his three laws of motion. Throughout the unit students will be working in groups to build model vehicles using “Kinnects”. Their first challenge was to build a vehicle in 20 minutes or less that will move at least 100cm (39 inches). Engineers also constructed a vehicle by following a two-view technical drawing. They identified details that are important in technical drawings and compared their own vehicle drawings with a technical drawing.

The Northeast

Students have started to study the regions this week! We first learned about our very own region, The Northeast. We are pretending to be on a train tour and stopping at nine important places in this region. Every few stops we exit the train for a fun activity. In Plymouth, MA we talked about what kind of government we would like to have if we were there at the beginning of our country. In Hershey, PA, we talked about the Pros and Cons of Mass Production. Lastly, we stopped in Washington, DC to discuss the importance of rules. Up next... the Southeast!

Up & Coming

4/1 Talent Show

4/22 Earth Day Trip

4/23 Tatem Fair