The Porter Press

Issue #3 September 22, 2014


Over the next couple of weeks readers will immerse themselves in studying elements of plot and plot structure. Our study will focus on identifying characters, setting, problem/conflict, climax, solution/resolution, and conclusion. We will begin by working as a whole class to dissect these elements in Tomie de Paola’s Strega Nona and Dav Pilkey’s Dogbreath. We will then move on to using various texts and picture books for students to continue this work in partners and on their own. Readers will also use sticky notes to track these elements in their independent reading books.

Writing and Word Study

I have been so impressed with the hard work of our writers! Their The Best Part of Me pieces turned out so special, and each author had a chance to share their pieces last week. Look for these on display outside our room in the next couple of weeks! We also began creating heart maps in our writer’s notebooks to kick off our personal narrative unit. These maps help writers to brainstorm and record important people, places, and objects from their lives. Each part of their heart map can then help spark special memories that could be turned into stories. Our next step will be narrowing down our big ideas—watermelon stories—to small moments, or seed stories. Finally, writers will use a variety of graphic organizers to outline their stories. Graphic organizers such as timelines and story mountains help writers to keep their stories focused and organized. We are off to a great start with this writing unit and I cannot wait to hear the stories that will unfold in Room 204!

Our next word study unit will focus on suffixes. Students will be bringing home new lists and spelling boards today. Students will once again need to complete at least 4 of the activities and have you initial, which shows me that you have seen their completed work. Spelling boards are due on Thursday, October 2nd. The suffixes we will focus on are

–ly, -er, -est, and –less.


Mathematicians did a wonderful job mastering the concepts of Chapter 1. Tests came home on Friday for you to review with your child and were due back, signed, today. Chapter 2 has brought about a lot of excitement—multiplication! Students will learn a variety of strategies to solve multiplying 1-digit numbers by larger numbers, including the Distributive Property and Partial Products. Be sure to read the letter attached to my email to learn more! Next week students will take a mid-chapter check to see how they are doing before we move on to solving two-step multiplication problems and multiplying by larger numbers with regrouping.


In science we have been “Breakin’ it Down!” Fourth grade scientists have become experts at physical and chemical weathering. Ask your child for examples of how physical and chemical weathering occur in nature. This week scientists will be focusing on erosion and deposition. Students will conduct hands on experiments to learn how erosion and deposition can change our environment. Towards the end of this week look for a Rocks, Soils, and Landforms study guide to be sent home. The unit test will be Thursday, October 2nd.