November Newsletter

Nov. 11, 2014


The next three chapters in My Math are all about multiplication and division. This month we will spend a portion of every day's instruction learning to factor efficiently and accurately. Fact fluency is essential for success in this chapter's content, as well as, all those to come.

I have linked the Chapter 3 objectives if you are interested in more specifics about the My Math content for the next two or three weeks.

I continue to provide the students with opportunities to become better problem solvers, using both Rich Math Tasks, and also problems that require a specific strategy. In Oct. we looked at two strategies - Make an Organized List and Use Math Reasoning. Number riddles, matrix logic, using a tree graphic organizer, etc. This month, we will add Work Backwards and Simplify the Problem to our list.

I am thoroughly enjoying math instruction with this group of students. NumberTalks - intelligent observations, clever deductions, linear explanations, creative solutions. They rock it every day. The students are making progress in mastering Explain Everything. Presentation and listening skills are much improved.

For nine and ten year-olds, I think they are fairly respectful of each other's ideas. Still, there have been a number of hurt feelings. We will continue to work on listening and validating every child's answers, opinions, and desire to be heard. Working in a group can be challenging. However, it can also be rewarding. A required skill for the 21st century.

I think everyone is now doing ST Math for at least twenty minutes a week at home. Keep up the good work!


The second section of the Luvtareed Reading Log is Narrative Nonfiction. Two books by Nov. 25th. AR test scores of 80% or higher. I am suggesting students read the book twice before taking the test. Read a chapter once, then read it again. The Narrative Nonfiction titles we have are generally between 50 -150 pages. The vocabulary and concepts often make the book challenging to read. This section is not about pages/volume, but it is about learning to spot factual content, main ideas, etc. in a nonfiction story format. I read aloud one of the most beautiful children's books, Mary on Horseback. All of us were moved by the writer's craft - how she brought the events to life with her carefully chosen words and her use of different points of view. Students are required to write a summary of one of their chosen books. They have already been given a graphic organizer to help record events. Stickies are always appropriate. We will begin making timelines from content this week.


We are writing Personal Narratives. It's a good match for our genre study of Narrative Nonfiction. I am encouraging students to develop "a writer's eye". I read a favorite book to them, The Van Gogh Cafe. It has a twist at the end that gets them thinking about how everyday experiences can be the seed of a good piece of writing. Everyone has been keeping a little "seed journal" of possible topics.

We continue to focus on different prewriting techniques as a means of producing fluent and organized writing. For Personal Narratives we will be using several graphic organizers. We will craft leads (first few lines) that begin with dialogue, a snapshot, or a sound effect. Beginning, middle, and end - story arc.

Lorraine Ferra, the Port Townsend poet who has worked with our students for years will be sharing her gift with them later in the month. Thank you, Blakely PTO.

Work and Study Habits

Students are completing their assignments with increased attention to neatness, spelling, and overall accuracy. I will be asking students to make additional corrections to their handwriting this month and in the months to come. I appreciate your continued efforts to assist with proofreading.

Dick Whittington's Cat

Friday, Nov. 21st, 8am

Seattle Children's Theatre

The entire 4th grade class is headed to Seattle to view a fun, new play. We have two buses and room for five adult chaperones. If you are interested in accompanying us, please RSVP.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Science, Engineering, Making

Our Seed unit - done. We are waiting for a fast-tracked electricity kit from the district. We will be investigating all types of circuits, conductors, insulators,etc. We will be making squishy circuits made with Play-Doh and LED lights. We will be experimenting with conductive thread and conductive pens. Lots of fun.

The First of Three

Your child's first report card comes home the Weds. before Thanksgiving. Who thought that was a good idea? It will be in a sealed manilla envelope.

Looking Back on October

Cardboard Challenge

Click to see a whole lot of buildin' going on