Homework for Jan. 21-25 (Week 20)

Thank you to those who are faithfully checking the blog, pensively posting on the padlets, logging in to the various online resources, and carefully completing tasks on Google Classroom. Your efforts and engagement are appreciated!!!

    1. Read for at least 30 minutes each night. Complete the online reading log OR one on paper. (Copies are available in class).
    2. Explore some lessons on IXL.com and / or Khan Academy in the following areas:
      • *Metric Measurement*
      • *Multidigit Multiplication*
      • Logical Reasoning
      • **A Scholar has a goal: Over the break, we answered 3,732 questions and spent almost 43 hours on IXL. 
    3. Log on and “Launch” into some learning with Everyday Math. (Note: Log on information is in your planner.) **Alert: Any lessons in Unit 3 can be reviewed.**
    4. Reflect back on Week 19 and complete the “Reflection: Learning Habits” form.

    Note: Homework is due on Fridays.

    **Check back later in the week for additional homework related to in-class discussions and activities.


    1. Library is scheduled weekly on Mondays from 9:30 – 10:10 a.m.
      • Since we will miss our official library time this week, you will be able to check out books at another time. 
    2. P.E. is scheduled weekly on Mondays and Fridays. Come dressed to exercise – sneakers, hat, sunscreen.
    3. We will be spending time with our buddies on Wednesday at 9:15 a.m.
    4. Report Cards will be distributed on Wednesday.
    5. We will have our first elementary assembly of 2019 on Friday at 8:15 a.m.

Finishing Up with a Full Day on Friday

After a two-day break in recognition of Heroes’ Day, a Congolese national public holiday, we finished our week will a full day of learning.

We began our morning with a brief discussion about Heroes’ Day. We then completed our Compass Points activity by reflecting our our Worries (W) related to struggle and survival and also explored what Excites (E) us about this central idea. Once everyone had recorded ideas, we did a gallery walk of our compass points, reading all the reflections and recording what resonated.


Google Classroom: A copy of the document we used in class is posted below. A digital version is posted in your Google Classroom for you to record your ideas.

Made with Padlet

In an effort to dig more deeply into the idea of struggle and survival, we shared a read aloud of the book The Caged Birds of Phnom Penh by Frederick Lipp. Prior to reading, we paused to make predictions about the text, based on the title and Ronald Himler’s illustrations. To guide our predictions and our ponderings, we used a summary-style mneumonic device – SWBST-F (Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, Finally). This graphic organizer will be used again on Monday when we revisit the text. Then, as we read, we paused after each page to peruse the pictures, ponder the plot, find figurative phrases, and consider connections to our compass point conversation.

Our discussions were deep and diverse, often diverting to delve into interesting individual incidences (here in Kinshasa, in our home countries, and from our travels around the world) that have influenced our ideas and impacted our lives. How will all these things intersect as we conduct our inquiry?

In math, we made another multiple source related to metric conversions and measurement. As we assembled our table, we applied our understanding of fractions and decimals.

Math is Fun: Common Big and Small Numbers

We also connected the final product to another multiple source in our grid book. Which one do you think it is? How can we apply these tools to solve problems?

Khan Academy: Measurement and Data (Log in to Khan Academy through your Google Classroom to learn more and track your progress).

Alert: This video is really for 8th grade thinkers, but you might be able to make some connections to what we’re doing in 4th grade.

French and P.E. got us out of the classroom and moving around, exercising both our bodies and our brains.

To end the day, the 13 problem solvers present put their problem solving skills to work in order to organize our table groups. As we considered how to sort ourselves out into sets of six, specific criteria had to be met. In addition to attending to individual learning needs, final table groups needed to include scholars who were:

  • thinkers (thinking buddies).
  • principled.
  • focused.
  • reflective.
  • self-controlled.
  • bucket fillers.

We are looking forward to testing out our new arrangement with scholars who join us next week and to seeing how we can shape and sharpen one another each day as we inch ever closer to fifth grade.


Tackling Tough Topics with Technology

Tuesday was terrific as we tackled a few tough topics using technology today.

Which type of figurative language did was used in that first sentence?

Using the documents and resources on Google Classroom, we tried to expand our repertoire of figurative language. Personification and idioms proved to be the most challenging. An idiom is a phrase or expression that has a meaning different from what the words actually say.  Below is a list of additional resources that illustrate the literal meaning of idioms.

Challenge: Choose an idiom from one of the sites and illustrate the literal meaning. Be sure to include the written version of the idiom and it’s figurative meaning. When you are done, scan and send your image to Mrs. Rupp or bring in the hard copy when you return to school.

PERSONification is a form of figurative language very common in literature, animated movies, and advertising as writers bring inanimate (nonliving) objects to life. This form of figurative language is not too tricky to recognize, but it is somewhat challenging to craft effectively.

In the following video clip, the dishes are personified. If you were going to write a description of this scene, what would you say?

Mathematically, metric measurement merged with our work with decimals and fractions. We looked at how to represent measurements of centimeters and meters as decimals and fractions, and discussed how to convert these numbers in multiple ways. We also compared decimals and ensured that we could provide evidence in multiple ways.

Finally, we used two of our cardinal directions (north and south) in an activity related to our central idea of struggle and survival. First, we recorded our Stance (S) about struggle and survival. Sentence stems starting out as “I think that struggle /survival is…” or “I believe that struggle / survival is…” We then thought about what we Need (N) to know about struggle and survival. What questions or wondering we might have. We will look at the other directions (E / W) on Friday.


Making the Most of Monday

As is our routine, we began our week with a new list of words. Our discussion of the words today allowed us to elaborate not only spelling patterns but also on big ideas related to math and social studies. What ideas come to your mind when you see this week’s words? Jot down your thinking in the padlet below. (Be sure to include your secret agent number and initials with your comment.)

Made with Padlet

Before heading to the library, we revisited our work with parts of speech and spent time adding to and revising our list or words related to our break. Finding homonyms, homographs, and homophones that fit was especially tricky. We also learned, on Google Classroom, how to “TURN IN” our documents by clicking on the “TURN IN” button in the top right corner of the document. We’re aiming for 100% completion of the recent assignments.

At library, we had an opportunity to browse the collection and check out some fresh reading material. Then, Ms. Kraft invited us to give feedback on the library. Please share your ideas by completing the Google Form below.

In music, we continued to work on composing our own songs. After writing the lyrics, which required a verse, refrain, and bridge. we are now working on composing the music using Garageband. We are grateful to Mrs. Fischer for letting us use Third Grade’s iPads for this project.

This afternoon, we practiced badminton at P.E. and had an opportunity to share our activities in French. We were excited to Madame Eale back today.

To finish out the day, we reviewed our work with decimals from Friday. Because we had a few more people today, we were excited to see some more growth mindset in action. Sure enough, a few mistakes were made, and… we learned from them. We then began to extend our thinking about decimals by connecting our hundreds grid to a number line. Then next step is to connect that to measurement. In our grid books today, we made a multiple source by creating and coloring the hundreds grid and then creating and labeling a number line. In both cases, we identified the whole as 1 meter and each square as a centimeter because 100 centimeter equals 1 meter. Another way to say it is 1 centimeter is 1/100 (one hundredth) of a meter. We will work on this concept more tomorrow, but you are welcome to check our Everyday Math Lesson 3.11 for more information and practice today.




Homework for Jan. 14-18 (Week 19)

    1. Read for at least 30 minutes each night. Complete the online reading log OR one on paper. (Copies are available in class).
    2. Explore some lessons on IXL.com and / or Khan Academy in the following areas:
      • *Decimals*
      • *Multidigit Multiplication*
      • Logical Reasoning
      • **A Scholar has a goal: Over the break, we answered 4,081 questions and spent almost 38 hours on IXL. That’s more time spent and questions answered than over the entire break. What a great start in the new year!
    3. Log on and “Launch” into some learning with Everyday Math. (Note: Log on information is in your planner.) **Alert: Any lessons in Unit 3 can be reviewed.**
    4. Reflect back on Week 18 and complete the “Reflection: Learning Habits” form.

    Note: Homework is due on Fridays.

    **Check back later in the week for additional homework related to in-class discussions and activities.


    1. Library is scheduled weekly on Mondays from 9:30 – 10:10 a.m.
      • Since we will miss our official library time this week, you will be able to check out books at another time. 
    2. P.E. is scheduled weekly on Mondays and Fridays. Come dressed to exercise – sneakers, hat, sunscreen.
    3. ASAs resume this week.
    4. There will be no school on January 16-17 in recognition of Heroes’ Day.

Pointing Us in the Right Direction

This morning, in preparation for a Compass Points visible thinking routine, we discussed the formation and purpose of a compass and compass rose. We started by labeling the four cardinal directions (north – N, south – S, east – E, and west – W). Connecting to our work with fractions, we then divided our compass into eighths, adding the intermediate directions (northwest – NW, northeast – NE, southwest – SW, southeast – SE). To challenge our brains, we then divided the eighths in half to make sixteenths. Using our detective skills, we determined how to label these tertiary directions, combining the adjacent cardinal and intermediate directions (north northwest – NNW, west northwest – WNW, west southwest – WSW, south southwest – SSW,  north northeast – NNE, east northeast – ENE, east southeast – ESE, south southeast – SSE).

As a connection to our unit on Japan and some origami done in art this week, check out this tutorial on making your own compass rose.

If you’d like to really exercise your brain, check out the following video that includes fractions, directions, and… degrees (angles), a math topic we will focus more on later in the year.

Challenge: Pointing Us in the Right Direction Padlet

  • What questions do you have about the compass?
  • How could you find out more?
  • How could a compass help us explore our area of focus?
  • How does a compass connect to our central idea of struggle and survival?

Made with Padlet


Some of the most exciting things about today were our… MISTAKES! That’s right, we got to see, in person, how quickly neurons can grow when we make mistakes. Our beginning task in math today was to represent the number 0.2 on a hundreds chart. Of the 8 people in class, 8 people made a mistake. That’s right, eight eighths of us had an incorrect answer. he best part was, 8/8 of the class also proved they had a growth mindset because rather than giving up, they asked questions, considered different points of view, and were willing to learn. SO scholarly!

Using the grid on the Google Doc in your Google Classroom. Show how to represent 0.2 by using the fill / paint can tool.

Google Classroom: Lesson 3.10: Exploring Decimals

Alert: This next video requires you to think carefully about what makes a whole.

To close out the week, we ended where we started, talking about parts of speech. Using our Jolly Phonics book as a multiple source, we explored concrete nouns, which are things you can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

Scholarly Multiple Source: Concrete vs. Abstract Nouns

We also worked together to generate a list of synonyms for some overused adjectives – good, bad, beautiful, difficult, minimum. Go to your Google Classroom to create your own thesaurus for common adjectives.

Google Classroom: Making a Multiple Source: Thesaurus


Figuring Out… Figurative Language

Thank you to those scholars who are exercising their brains and allowing us to consider different points of view by posting your ideas on the embedded padlets.  I’m really enjoying reading your observations about the spelling words and your ideas about the “power of yet.” Know your thoughtfulness and effort are appreciated.

This morning, we spent some time figuring out and fiddling around with figurative language (including Mrs. Rupp’s favorite… alliteration).

In class, we used our Writers Express: A Handbook for Young Writers, Thinkers, and Learners book as a multiple source for finding definitions and examples of each type of figurative language. These were recorded on the back side of the paper we started yesterday, which was folded into eighths. For those of you working at home, another document will be added to your Google Classroom on which you are challenged to write phrases or sentences about your break using the figurative language noted.

Scholarly Multiple Source: Mrs. Warner’s Learning Community

Brain Break: This catchy tune about similes and metaphors will be playing in your mind for the rest of the day.


Once we had a clear understanding of each craft element and had shared some examples, we were ready to apply our collection of ideas to a small moment memory personal narrative. (A Google Doc is available in your Google Classroom for drafting your small moment memory). Thinking like Cam Jansen, we went through all our mental snapshots from our break and sought to describe one of those moments in detail. Before starting, we reminded ourselves about other aspects of writing we had discussed earlier in the year including:

  1. Hooking the reader
    • Question
    • Quote / Dialogue
    • Onomatopoeia
    • Action
    • Anecdote
  2. Using Sensory Language
    • Sight
    • Sound
    • Smell
    • Taste
    • Touch
  3. Ba-Da-Bing
    • Where your feet went
    • What you saw
    • What you thought
  4. Conjunctions

After writing for a few minutes, one of our classroom authors was brave enough to share one of her “sleepy” sentences. As a class, we worked together to revise it, by using some of the strategies noted above. As we worked together, what was once a blurry picture became much more clear.

Scholarly Multiple Source: Revision Stations

(This resource includes ideas for reflecting on your writing with a growth mindset.)


Challenge: As you read, use your detective eyes to look for examples of figurative language used by authors.

Use the padlet below to save your ideas. Be sure to include the title of the book and credit the author in the title of the post. (A few examples are provided)

You can also use this space to capture your own original crafted creations.

Made with Padlet

Mid-morning, we headed over to Mr. Fitz’s classroom for… French. French? That’s right, French! Mr. Fitz challenged students to create an activity, task, game, etc. that could help others review and reinforce learning done in French so far this year. Together, we brainstormed a list of ideas, which included:

  • a magic square
  • word search
  • crossword
  • Mad Lib
  • memory / concentration game
  • ???

Over the next two days, each student will be working to create an activity to share with his / her classmates on Friday. For those of you working at home, you could also think of an activity, task, or game that you could do with your family members.

Today in math, we reviewed Lesson 3.6, which involved sharing unequal parts. Once again today, we used a variety of strategies (models, equations, words) to help us show evidence of our thinking. We also discussed how we could use our understanding of common numerators, common denominators, and equivalent fractions to justify our thinking.

Scholarly Multiple Sources: In addition to the Everyday Math lesson, IXL, and Khan Academy, the following videos from Ten Marks are great multiple sources.

Identifying Fractions with Number Lines

Identifying Equivalent Fractions Using Models and Number Lines

Comparing Fractions Using Common Numerators

Finding Equivalent Fractions with Models and Equations

Comparing Fractions Using Words and Symbols

Mulling Over Mindset and More…

As we settled back in to our scholarly routine today, we took time this morning to examine this week’s spelling words. Take a peek at the words on the padlet below and jot down some of your observations. (Note: Be sure to include your secret agent number or your initials on your comment).

Made with Padlet

We then reflected on our break. Rather than just write out a paragraph or two, though, we opted to consider carefully which words from each part of speech would best highlight our holidays. A digital version of this task is assigned in your Google Classroom. 

Moving on to mindset, we took a quick survey to help us assess our own ideas. A Google Form is assigned in your Google Classroom. After completing the survey, we watched the following video clips to better understand our brain and behavior.

Alert: Mindset will play a big role in our next unit entitled: Strive to Survive: Tragedy, Triumph, Time, Tenacity, and Transformation.

To learn more about mindset, check out some of the videos listed in the linked playlist.

Mindset Playlist

The following video clip is a TED Talk presented by Carol Dweck, a researcher from Stanford University whose work has focused on  “motivation, why people succeed (or don’t) and how to foster success.” (https://www.ted.com/speakers/carol_dweck)


Made with Padlet

Finally, in math today, we revisited some of our work with fractions. We specifically talked about showing our work in more than one way and using multiple strategies for solving problems. Models (bar models / strip diagram / fraction circles), number lines, and numbers / equations were all used to show our thinking and evaluate efficiency. For a review of this idea, visit Everyday Math Lesson 3.1. Complete the Google Drawing assigned in your Google Classroom.



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