Pleasant Grove AIG Updates!

December 2018

Do you have a growth mindset?

In the last newsletter, I gave some suggestions about ways to praise your children. Now I will challenge you as parents- Do you have a growth mindset? Do you believe that with effort, persistence, and motivation your children can achieve their goals?

Research suggests that we, as parents, should think twice about praising our kids for being "smart" or "talented," because this could foster a fixed mindset. Instead if we encourage our children's efforts and acknowledge their persistence and hard work, then we will support the development of a growth mindset. Children with a growth mindset believe that with effort and persistence they can learn and achieve in school. A growth mindset will better equip them to persevere and pick themselves up when things do not go their way.

Dr. Carol Dweck, an educational researcher states,

"Parents should not shield their children from challenges, mistakes, and struggles. Instead, parents should teach children to love challenges. They can say things like 'This is hard. What fun!' or 'This is too easy. It's no fun.' They should teach their children to embrace mistakes, 'Oooh, here's an interesting mistake. What should we do next?' And they should teach them to love effort: 'That was a fantastic struggle. You really stuck to it and made great progress" or "This will take a lot of effort -- boy, will it be fun!"

Some parents need to work at having a growth mindset. You may even notice that you have a growth mindset in some areas but not others. (I have noticed that in myself as both a parent and teacher.) It takes time and practice, but it is well worth it when you see the difference that it makes in your children!

4th Grade


The students have worked hard digging deeper into the novel Wishtree by analyzing the character development, point of view and perspective, and theme. We have had amazing discussions where the students connect the novel to events in today's society. We will be finishing up our study by writing a final wish to add to our wish tree for our world (see the photo below of our class wish tree, named Myrtle).

Next, we will move into learning more about informational texts and research. Students will use what they are learning about animal defenses to create a new animal that can survive in one of North Carolina's regions. They will research the animals and environment, and then justify why this "new animal" would be able to survive in its assigned location.

Big picture


Our creature catchers were a success! Students collaborated, communicated, and created structures to "catch" as many spiders as possible using only string, pipe cleaners, and tape. After testing, students used their engineering skills to redesign an improved model based on their previous observations. We then analyzed our data by creating bar graphs.

A goal I have for each student is for them to think "flexibly" about math. One way to do that is to look for multiple strategies for any solution and to share mathematical thinking. Another aspect of mathematical flexibility is understanding properties of numbers. We have studied primes and composites, factorization, multiples, and the order of operations. Next we will work with divisibility rules and how they help with calculations.



Everyone worked hard analyzing character development, themes, and human rights through our novels, Refugee and Escape from Aleppo. Students were able to see the connections between historical events and today's world and identify common themes. To "Take Action," students wrote and mailed letters to our government leaders expressing their feelings about the treatment of refugees and human rights. Students quoted from the UDHR and thoughtfully explained their ideas. I am hoping that everyone gained empathy for refugees and their experiences (I know I did!) and will view our world, community, and school through a more compassionate lens.

We took part in the media center project to create a pumpkin character to excite fellow readers about our novels. The students chose an important character, explained why the character was significant, and provided a short book review to go with the pumpkin. It was a creative way to combine thinking critically about our characters with a fun representation. Thank you so much to the parents and students who donated supplies to help with our project. Check out a few pictures of our characters below!

Our next learning adventure will take us to the rainforest as we turn into researchers searching for solutions to help preserve this special biome. Students will choose a profession that connects to the rainforest, research what is causing harm in that area, and think of a possible solution to correct the problem. We will be approaching this challenge from a global perspective and thinking about how our actions where we live affect the biodiversity of the rainforests. Students will present their research and ideas by creating a TED talk to raise awareness of these issues.


Students applied their knowledge of area, perimeter, volume, and multiplication to create and build robots. They were allowed to work in groups or build their own creations. We broadened our study of 3D figures by exploring surface area and then calculating the surface area of certain parts of the robots. Check out their awesome robots below!

We are finishing up our STEM challenge and analyzing the results. The students were challenged to build a "treat tosser" with a limited supply of items. The goal was to build a device to toss a candy-corn pumpkin the greatest distance. After testing, teams were able to modify their devices based on their observations in hopes to achieve a greater distance.

Before winter break, we will be expanding on the students' study of multiplying and dividing fractions with fun problem solving!

Important Information

Nominations for adding a second area of identification are being accepted. If you would like for your student to be tested in January, please send me an email.

Below is my schedule for pull-out classes. I try my best to follow this schedule, but testing, field trips, and other school events can lead to rescheduling. I appreciate everyone's flexibility!

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!!


Wednesdays 9:15-10:00 MATH

Thursdays 1:00-1:45 READING


Tuesdays 11:40-12:30 READING

Thursdays 10:45-11:30 MATH