Pleasant Grove AIG Update

January 2019

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that we are half-way through the school year! I am excited to begin our second semester of learning! Check out the article and video below on mindset and how the brain can be developed like a muscle. Make sure to share what you learn and watch the video with your student to have a good discussion.

Watch the video below to learn more about the importance of World Read Aloud Day. I hope all will participate on February 1st!

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4th Grade

Language Arts

To go along with their classroom work, students are creating a hybrid animal based on adaptations that will allow the new animal to survive in a North Carolina environment. Students are combining creativity and research skills to complete the project. Students must be able to support their hybrid animal creations with factual adaptations and knowledge of habitats. Drawing the new animal and writing a final report will complete the project.

We will then move forward (and backward in time) to the American Revolution. Students will read historical fiction with a focus on analyzing different perspectives in literature.


During the month of January, students have been working on strengthening logical reasoning skills, as well as divisibility strategies. As a class, we "slayed" a dragon given specific parameters. Students used their problem solving and collaboration skills to solve the challenge. I loved watching them build on each other's ideas to come up with a solution! See if you can slay the dragon!

You meet a dragon with three heads and three tails. With one swing of your sword, you may cut off one head, two heads, one tail or two tails. If you cut off one head, the dragon will immediately grow two heads in its place. If you cut off two heads, then nothing will grow in its place. If you cut off one tail, then two tails will grow back. If you cut off two tails then the dragon will grow one head. What is the minimum number of cuts needed to slay the dragon (that is, in order that the dragon has no heads or tails remaining at all)?

Students continue to work on building their flexibility with numbers by using different number properties to solve challenges. They are currently working on a "sudoku" type puzzle where they must arrange given number properties and given numbers to fill an empty puzzle board. It's fun to watch the different strategies emerge while they're working. Remembering the definitions of prime, composite, multiple, and factor have been a good review! Next month, we will begin working with fractions.

5th Grade

Language Arts

Since returning from winter break, the students that wrote to Governor Cooper received a response letter! We are eagerly hoping to hear from our Senators as well. My hope is that these amazing kiddos see how important their voices are and that they can make a difference in our world! Take a look at the governor's letter below.

Students continue to research and create TED talks about the importance of rainforest biodiversity and why it is in danger. Through this project, students are strengthening online research skills, writing skills, and communication skills. Students will present their talks to the class by the end of February.

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During the last few weeks, students have been boosting their logical reasoning skills, as well as thinking about fractions in a variety of ways. I challenged the students with the magical dragon problem posted above in the 4th grade math section. Everyone enjoyed collaborating and communicating their ideas for how to slay the dragon! We discussed the different solutions and why certain steps would leave the dragon alive. Read the problem above and see if you can slay the dragon!

Students also took on the idea of why we find a reciprocal and multiply when the problem states to divide fractions. As a class, we took the idea apart and came to the conclusion that the "Keep, Change, Flip" process is a mathematical short-cut. Students were able to see why we use those steps instead of just memorizing an algorithm. I think it's equally as important for students to understand "the why" of math as much as the process.

Students also worked with multiplying and dividing fractions and mixed numbers in a Clue-like challenge. Currently, students are using strategies to estimate fractions by creating a snowflake and determining the best estimate of the fraction of paper cut out of the snowflake. Next month will include more digging deeper into multiplying and dividing fractions and decimals.