The Grillo Gazette

March, 2015

Writers Workshop

Literary essayists have been very busy finding evidence for their topic sentences. We are able to angle our stories to highlight the way they support our thesis statements. Before adding quotes to our essays, we asked ourselves:

Can I point to specific words or actions that support my reason?

Can I explain exactly how these words or actions support my reason?

Students had a blast writing lists in a parallel structure as another way to gain evidence for our essays. Parallelism refers to similar structure, phrases, and grammar. After listening and analyzing the lyrics in "My Favorite Things" by Julie Andrews we understand songs and poems are written for both the ear and the heart. They need to sound good and mean a lot. 4G writers say them aloud as they write to make them sound good. Try it out with your child!

Rocks and Minerals

Geologists tested, compared, and discussed each minerals ability to transmit light during the “translucent” test. 4G discussed the terms “transparent,” “translucent” and “opaque” before labeling each mineral. A minerals luster, metallic, glassy, waxy, dull, was also illuminated. Lastly, mineral hardness was analyzed as we used a copper penny and nail to scratch each mineral.

Readers Workshop

4G celebrated Read Across America by recalling story structure and practicing summarizing. When 4G students summarize a book, they tell the important parts of the book including the: main character, supporting characters, important events, or details that are related to the problem, the solution and the ending. Theme and plot elements were reviewed as we designed T-Shirt book reports featuring story elements. Check out some examples below!
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After researching Ellis Island, 4G took a trip to Angel Island to learn about the struggles Asian immigrants faced in San Francisco. We read and responded to poetry etched on the walls of Angel Island. Researchers gathered information about the living conditions of tenement housing in NYC this week. Upon arriving in New York, many immigrants settled into tenement apartments. Students took an interactive tour of this housing situation and analyzed photos to develop an understanding of the tenement lifestyle.

Thank you to all the parents who organized, cut, and sewed costumes as well as cooked up enough ethnic food samples for 200+ people. I truly recognize and appreciate all the effort and time put into making our museum a success. Everyone who toured our museum had wonderful compliments for our immigrants. Thanks for coming!


4G created fraction number line posters this week to better visualize fraction models. Mathletes established a rule for finding equivalent fractions. We renamed fractions as decimals to develop an understanding of the relationship between decimals and fractions. Students created their own fraction cards to help order and compare fractions with different numerators and denominators. Math stars worked on ordering and comparing fractions in a set. We used pattern blocks and counters to help us visualize numerators and denominators.

4G students used iPads to play a very intense unit 7 review game. Check out some serious, action packed game faces below and use the link to play at home as well!

Service Dogs Assembly

Next week we will be reading, "The Right Dog for the Job: Ira’s Path from Service Dog to Guide Dog", which was our main text selection from the Journeys reading program. We learned about the characteristics and training of guide dogs. On Friday, March 27th we will join the other 4th grade classes in meeting several guide dogs and their owners! We are excited to share in this real world experience with the children. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


PARCC testing will begin on Monday (3/16) and continue until Friday (3/20). There will be three days of Language Arts and two days of Math. Please make sure that your child gets a good night of rest and eats a healthy breakfast. We have discussed how this shouldn't be a stressful time and that students should simply try their best.