Friday, March 29, 2013

Wacky Web Tales!

To review our parts of speech that we have been learning this year, we went to Wacky Web Tales and started writing some pretty silly stories!  Our writing has been getting less and less exciting with all of our practice and so we needed to spice things up!  Here is what we came up with!


The canoe Lucky Lulu was sinking quickly. “Abandon ship! Everyone into the legs!” hollered Captain Snevoll. But the crew and passengers knew there were not enough legs, so they threw pencils, monsters, and even one slimy van on fire overboard. Then everyone exploded into the ugly water and grabbed onto whatever they could.
Captain Snevoll ordered everyone to form a line, tie their crafts together, and sing “Nyan Cat Theme Song.” First in line were Selena Gomez and Seiji, bobbing in their stupid pencil. Next, came Donald Trump hanging on for dear life to a slimy goldfish. They were followed by googol others.
After 1357839 days, they were rescued by a strange spider. Not one passenger from the Lucky Lulu has taken a boat ride again.

A Crazy Night at the Library

One night something really shy happened at the library. The characters in the stories started spanking from their books!
Harry Potter climbed into Charlotte's Web and started jumping with Wilbur the Pig! Captain Underpants wandered into an encyclopedia and ended up lost in Seattle!
The craziest part was when Spongebob wandered into Percy Jackson and said, “Swag, I don't think we're in Washington any more.”
Then Mrs. McLane walked in and said, “Holy Mac and Cheese!! Everybody back in place!”
The characters ran around the room. Just in time! The students in grade 4th came in to get books for their reports, but it was safe. All the characters were back in the books where they belonged.


Sniggle had everything a(n) aye-aye could ask for. He had crazy food, a big, golden bed, and the Snevoll family to look after him.
One morning Sniggle woke up. “I'm hungry!” he said. He went down to the 15 but everyone in the Snevoll family was still asleep. “I guess I'll have to find my own breakfast,” he said.
Sniggle went outside and hated down the street. On the sidewalk, he saw a(n) swag person. “Gulp!” Down went the person. “Not bad!” said Sniggle.
Next, Sniggle headed for the park. There he found a pair of books just sitting on a bench. “Gulp! Gulp.” Down went the books. “Mmmm, immature!” said Sniggle.
Sniggle was feeling very scaly as he skipped over to a video store. There he saw some tasty video games. “Gulp! Gulp! Gulp!” Sniggle swallowed Kirby's Epic Yarn and Monopoly whole.
OMG! It must be time to go home,” said Sniggle. He jumped back home and up the stairs to his golden bed.
“Breakfast! Time for breakfast, Sniggle!” called Mrs. Snevoll.
“I don't feel very well,” groaned Sniggle. “It must have been those eggplants I ate for supper last night.” Burp!

Oh the laughs we had!  If you're interested in visiting this site over the weekend and complete one, print it off (or email it to me) for 50 bonus points for your table! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Around the Classroom 2012-2013

I know it's a little late for a classroom tour but, to be honest, I change things around in my classroom so much that there is always time for an update!  I just get bored with the current set up or it just doesn't completely "work" and so off I go, rearranging!  Keeps things exciting for me and the kids!

 I have all of the students assigned to certain days for book shopping.  Students are supposed to keep enough books in their book bin to last at least a week, and at fourth grade that usually isn't an issue.  This keeps my classroom library an open space for reading or conferencing, rather than a place to continuously search for books. 
 I post my learning targets daily so that students know what we are working on.  I try to link these to CCSS (Common Core State Standards) as I start to wrap my brain around them.  I like to post them as "I Can..." statements so that students have goals about what they should be able to walk out the door saying.  I post learning targets for science, social studies, math, writing, and reading.

 This is where we keep track of all the books that we have read during the year.  This really helps when we start making connections and when we are talking about theme - we can look back and remember the books and the stories so that helps when we are reflecting on central themes or messages in stories. 

I keep track of books students read and the pages they are reading (I will post more on this later) and at the beginning of each new month, I have a poster of the top readers in the class to get a small prize.  It is super motivating to have their names on "the list"! 

Genre Poster

This is a poster we created at the beginning of the year as we reviewed what types of genres we were familiar with.  I leave this up all year for a reference chart for students to remember different types of books and identify what books they are reading!

Rock This Test!

While searching Pinterest (yes, I'm hooked!) I stumbled upon some great test prep related materials in order to get our students ready and excited (or as excited as we can be!) for our upcoming state test!  While cruising through those resources, I found this really fun videos made by other students in order to get excited about their state test and come into it with a positive attitude, which we can all use more of!  We will definitely be watching more of these and using these videos to get our spirits up as we get ready to show what we know!  Enjoy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Coming soon: MSP!

State testing time is shockingly right around the corner for us!  I can't believe we are there already, but then again, this is the last week of March!  Where has the time gone?

In class we have been practicing weekly for our upcoming MSP because I strongly believe that much of the anxiety around the test comes from "the unknown" where students here this acronym, MSP, and aren't sure what it will be like, what questions they will be asked, how long it will take, etc. and anxiety instantly hits the roof.  With anxiety that high, it's really hard to concentrate on actually taking the test because students are really just trying to take it all in!

As we have been practicing I have noticed that a LOT of our class is REALLY struggling with the reading questions.  The higher level thinking (like inferencing, vocabulary, etc) is a real struggle for our group.  Unfortunately, that is a BIG part of fourth grade that we are continuing to work on and a BIG part of the MSP.  The other big struggle from our group is the lack of persistence in problem solving, both for reading and math.  When students are coming to problems that are unfamiliar, or at first glance are difficult, students completely are shutting down and not even trying.  TRYING to solve the problem is better than leaving answers blank, so please stress that with your student.  The expectation from every student is that they will do their best.   Doing your best is all that I can ask from anyone so that's all that matters.  If you're trying your hardest and REALLY thinking, the MSP shouldn't be something to stress or fret over.

Talk with your student about how they can prepare for the MSP, their feelings and concerns.  If you talk about this with them, please write MSP on their planner for bonus points. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Whew, I feel like I am just coming up for air in this crazy week that we have had and realize there hasn't been a blog post at all!  YIKES!  Well I'm really sorry about that but, boy, have things been crazy around here with grades coming soon, and meetings like mad!  I promise a more thoughtful update soon!

Until then, as a thank you for your continued blog checking (:)) write the word BLOG on your planner tonight for bonus points for your table - each on is worth 10 points! 

Thanks for reading and I promise to be back soon!  :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

DOUBLE Your Donation on DonorsChoose!

Now, through March 19th, you can enter the match code INSPIRE and have your donation DOUBLED!  Click on the picture above to get taken directly to our NEWEST project for class where we are trying to get an iPad to help add more technology for our classroom.  We also have our other book project open right now for donations as well!
Thanks for your donations!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Just wanted to send out a quick reminder that tomorrow is our ALL DAY field trip to Cedar River Watershed.  Due to the long distance to the field trip and the time of our appointment, we will be LEAVING school at 9:15 - yes, that is technically before the school day even starts officially!  We are asking that students arrive at 9:05 am so that we are pulling out on the buses at 9:15 to make the long journey on time!

Students (and chaperones - if you're willing to go and haven't signed up already, please let me know ASAP because we need more!) need to bring:
  1. A hearty lunch and snack
  2. A FULL water bottle for drinks during our day
  3. An empty backpack - other than the lunch and water bottle, of course!
  4. WARM clothes and dress in layers - last year there was everything from sun to snow so let's be prepared!  It's not a bad idea to pack gloves or a hat in your backpack to be prepared!
  5. Shoes that can get dirty and will keep you dry - no sandals or Crocs if possible, please

We are going to have a GREAT time and get a jump start on our awesome ecosystems unit in science so let's make it a great day together!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Science Fair Photos

The science fair was last Thursday and I wanted to post some photos from the fair, for those of you that weren't able to make it.  I can tell that fourth graders are fascinated by mold because boy, did we have a lot of mold related projects this year!  :)
 Jimmy studied what type of paper created the BEST paper airplane!
 Josh (our 4th grade, 1st place winner!) tested electromagnets!
Julia tested how mold grows on bakery vs. name brand bread - WOW! 
 Nathan studied mold growth on cut vs. not cut fruits.  Don't cut your fruit if you want it to last longer!
 Hayley studied the electrical conductivity of different fruit and vegetables.
 Jack tested different types of bubble solutions to find out what would last the longest!
Leslie tried out different liquids to mix with soap to create the best bubble.  Milk?? I was so surprised!
 Charlie studied the number of volts put out by various citrus fruits!
 Stewart tested what types of flowers absorbed colors best.
 Grant did a field study to decide which type of car (electric or gasoline) was the best value for its lifetime!  Adults, take a peek at this one!
 Ben wanted to find out how long it would take to teach his old dog a new trick!
Nico tested the senses of people vs. dogs!
 Lily wondered what types of surfaces allowed marbles to travel the furthest!
 Bailey also studied mold growth on bread with different liquids - I would hate to have to do her dishes with all that mold!
 Kara explained all about different soils we could grow plants in best!
 Hannah wondered what types of lights allowed plants to grow best!

Quinn studied which type of slime was best!  Gross and fun mixed into one!
 Taylor studied what type of footwear was best for soccer comfort and performance.  I wonder if the Sounders would be interested in her research?  I can't imagine they would all wear slippers to their next game though!  :)
 Mairead wondered what type of ball her dog could find best!
 Yumi tried to find out what gender was best at discovering optical illusions!
 Annalise grew yeast and used the yeast gas to blow up balloons!
Lauren tested the strength of different bridge designs.  One bridge held her dad AND his toolbox!  I sense a future architect!
 Diego studied most comfortable gaming positions.  Gamers - take notice!
 Lilja studied where to go to find the most mushroom populations!
Keiana studied light's effect on plant growth!
We all had a ton of fun and can't wait to for next year's science fair!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spelling Words for March 11-March 21st.

Here they are:
  1. affect
  2. calculate
  3. climate
  4. column
  5. decay
  6. exceed
  7. forbid
  8. grove
  9. limb
  10. mammoth
  11. mature
  12. permit
  13. resist
  14. scorch
  15. tower
The spelling/vocabulary words will be tested on March 21st.  Have fun!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

MAP scores coming home today

MAP Scores are in your student's backpack tonight so keep an eye out for those!  :)

Spelling/Vocabulary Test Tomorrow!

Our spelling and vocabulary has changed just slightly so that we are incorporating our spelling into our vocabulary and making our lessons last 2 week.  All of that means that spelling homework is only due every other week - YAY!  :)

This week we do have a spelling/vocabulary quiz - tomorrow, in fact!

Here are our words:
  1. benefit
  2. complete
  3. develop
  4. dismay
  5. ease
  6. hail
  7. lack
  8. master
  9. patriot
  10. project
  11. recommend
  12. remark
  13. represent
  14. sufficient
  15. utter
Ask your student what these words mean as extra practice - they should know these by now! - and if they can, write VOCAB on their planner for bonus points! 

Tomorrow is the science fair judging and set up so please make sure your project is here at the start of the school day so that we can go and set it up together!  The students did some great projects this year so I hope you all can make it to view the projects tomorrow night!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Quick Reminders

Just a quick post as I race off to another meeting...

  1. Tomorrow the science fair posterboard is due!  The science fair is Thursday and everyone should be prepared for that ahead of time, so that is why the posters are due a day before the actual event.  We will be setting up science fair projects as a class on Thursday, as well as doing the judging and viewing portions during that day.  Can't wait to see what you came up with!
  2. Tomorrow students have a 2 hour early release day scheduled - dismissal is at 1:35 pm. 
Today we started reading our first whole class novel which is going well so far!  We are reading The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman, which won a Newbery Medal! Click the link provided to get a quick YouTube video book trailer!  It's a great historical fiction book, and I can't wait to read more!  Ask your student what we have read so far - if they can tell you, write WB on their planner for bonus points!  :) 

Well, I'm off to get training.... have a great night and have your science fair projects ready tomorrow!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Read Across America and Auction Art!

Well today is a day filled to the brim!

In celebration of Read Across America Day, we had our first Read-A-Thon as a group!  Students got nice and cozy with book nooks, pillows, robes, cozy clothes and more in order to find that perfect reading spot!  We had some Seuss themed snacks of Truffula Tree seeds and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish Goldfish.  :)  They were quite a hit!  :)

This afternoon we started work on our group art project for the spring auction!  I don't want to give it all away but it involves sunsets and crows... and it looks fantastic so far!

The sickness in class is still running rampant in our room so PLEASE make sure students are getting plenty of fluids, plenty or rest, and are washing their hands a TON!  We don't want more students gone since today we were down to 19!  Homework for the weekend is staying healthy! 

Have a happy, healthy weekend!