The Bissinger Beacon

December 11, 2015


Mathletes discussed why decimals are important and how we use them in everyday life. We extended the base ten systems to decimals and discovered the tenths, hundredths and thousandths place. Mathletes extended methods for whole-number addition and subtraction to decimals using an algorithm. 4B loved rapping along to "Line Up the Dot, and Give it All You Got!" as a way to remember a strategy for computing decimals.

Hour of Code

The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. In honor of Computer Science Education Week, our class had the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills, logic and creativity using the iPads. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path. For more information and coding opportunities, please follow the link below. Students login information can be found in their agenda pads.


Electricians learned how to use a battery holder, a light socket and Fahenstock clips to build circuits. We built circuit testers, and discovered troubleshooting techniques to check our circuits. We developed an understanding of the behavior of electrical conductors and insulators by using our circuit testers to identify conductors and insulators. Electricians constructed filaments, devices similar to light bulbs, to discover that electricity can be used to generate heat, light, and magnetism.

Reader's Workshop

Students read aloud Mariette on a Highwire and practiced summarizing the important parts of the book including the main character, supporting characters, problem, important events, or details that are related to the problem, the solution and the ending. We used text details to visualize story characters and how they change as we read, "Me and Uncle Romie." We understand that when the story is written in the first person, it is told from the perspective of a narrator who is usually one of the story characters. We recognize the positives, and also limitations, of this point of view.

Students are very excited to share their Student Led Conference with you! Please be sure you received the reminder form sent home on 12/9 with your conference date and time.

Writer's Workshop

4B students began their next topic, essays. We contrasted writing about big ideas with small moments. Authors led wide awake lives and made observations about the world around them. They pushed their thinking to form opinions around ideas to brainstorm essay topics. To understand that free-writing is similar to free falling, students had a blast watching Felix Baumgartner's supersonic free fall from 24 miles above Earth's surface! We distinguished narrative vs. non-narrative writing to prepare our thoughts. Essayists began developing “seed ideas” into strong thesis statements. We began framing our essays by writing examples and details to support our claims. 4B used elaboration prompts such as, "this makes me realize..." to push our thinking! Ask your son/daughter what issue they are arguing in their essay!

Check out Felix Baumgartner's freefall below! How is free writing similar?


Students were excited to begin a new unit on immigration this week. We identified different groups who came to America and their various reasons for immigrating to the United States. 4B understands how the U.S. became a “nation of immigrants” and can appreciate how that diversity contributes to our culture. We also discussed how cultural influences impacted neighborhoods. Have you ever been to China town or Little Italy?

Up & Coming

12/15 Report cards available on Genesis

12/16 1/2 day for students, afternoon conferences

12/17 Regular day for students, evening conferences

12/18 School closed for students, conferences

12/21 1/2 day for students, evening conferences