Letters of Gratitude and Reflection

After a week of reflection and drafting, students took time today to write their letters of gratitude to their teachers with whom they worked last week. An unprecedented amount of care and concentration went in to writing the letters neatly. Once complete students found creative ways to decorate the front of the cards in ways that reflected their ideas about I Love to Read and Write Week. What a wonderful way to end the week!


Relax. Rehearse. Reveal. Relax.

Today, unlike the rest of the week, we began with a bit of a break from teaching.

Some scholars started their day SUPER excited about participating in the swim meet. With swim suits, swim caps, googles, and towels in hand, the set of seven swimmers headed up to the pool, where they got to see their names freshly and proudly painted on a brightly colored sign.


After French, the rest of our curious crew ventured over to MS4 where we got to see some thinkers and problem solvers in action. Grade 8 students have been working on an inquiry into structures and bridges. Part of their assessment was to design a Rube Goldberg machine. This was a great connection to our unit of inquiry! During our short time in the room, we witnesses several groups of students testing our their machines. Some did not work at first, but students engaged in collaborative problem solving and persisted until solutions were found.

Multiple Source

Rube Goldberg

Back in the room, after recess, we shared a read aloud of the book Rube Goldberg’s Simple Normal Humdrum School Day by Jennifer George. We are grateful to Mr. Hopkins for letting  us borrow the book.

From MS4, we wandered over to the pool to support our classmates. We found a spot in the shade and cheered on the swim meet participants. It was so exciting to see all the bucket-filling happening on the sidelines and amongst the swim team members. High fives and hugs abounded.

Thank you to the parents who came to help with time keeping and bucket-filling. Your support was beyond appreciated.


After the meet, swimmers jingled and jangled their way to the lunch room, most wearing medals for their efforts during today’s swim meet. Congratulations!

Podium photo credit: Ms. Paula

This afternoon was spent in the CAC for our final practice before this afternoon’s assembly. With the collaborative story complete, many students received new lines that they had to practice and present. We also added some props – the cushions from the library that Ms. Kraft kindly let us borrow. Students were extremely focused during this afternoon’s practice and shared a very professional presentation this afternoon. Ms. Kraft commented afterwards about how impressed she was that each speaker had taken the feedback shared yesterday and made noticeable adjustments. What a wonderful way to show growth and development as learners and leaders.

The following photos are credited to Ms. Paula. Thank you for sharing!

When our assembly was over, students jumped right in to clean up. Script cards, library books, and red cushions all got whisked away with hardly any direction at all. True leaders!

Check out the Prezi that accompanied our assembly presentation.

You can also view our script cards.


Feedback  from Teachers

I just wanted to thank you for the huge amount of work you and your students have put into this week. It was a really special experience for the 4th graders to lead our learning, and the children really enjoyed it. I worked with my class today to write a final poem and most of them were able to include aspects such as rhyme, alliteration, similes and descriptive language. Many thanks to your students for introducing us to these! (I’ve put our posters back in your classroom. If your 4th graders wanted to see them next week they’d be very welcome!)

Today’s assembly was lovely too. Your students spoke with such clarity and confidence.

Thanks so much!

Rae Cordon

Grade 1 Homeroom Teacher


A huge thank you goes out to your Grade 4 students who have spent the past four days with us. Their time has been hugely appreciated and they have taken it very seriously. They have all acted their age and shown courage and independence. In particular, Alex was a great coordinator and team leader.

Well done Grade 4’s.


Tommy Sheldrick

K1 Homeroom Teacher

Adding Color with Figurative Language

For our final day of teaching, our focus was on figurative language, which is a way poets add color to a poem. 


Day 4 – Figurative Language

With the puzzle now constructed,

One must add a final touch.

Figurative language is the color.

Varied, vibrant,… valued much. 


In this stanza, several examples of figurative language were featured: metaphor, alliteration, and rhyme.

Yesterday we shared this sample sentence


A pretty pink light glowed


To add color to it, we used personification and rewrote the line:


A pretty pink light danced in the distance


Now this line is more poetic and descriptive.


At the poem puzzle posters, fourth grade learning leaders worked with learner to revise your poem. They used a multiple source to help think about some options for adding color to the poems through figurative language.

Revising and using figurative language are challenging, so students were encouraged to be open-minded, work as a team, and keep trying. Also, they were encouraged to experiment with different options. As we found with our own poems, we ended up rewriting a line 2, 3, or 4 times until it, like a puzzle piece, fit just right.


Grade 3

We also had a busy day of buddy reading. We were scheduled with 3 classes, which required us to divide and conquer.

Kindergarten Buddy Reading

At the end of our session with Kindergarten, they shared with us a surprise recitation of one of their poems in a pocket selections. They did such a great job, we invited them to present at tomorrow’s assembly.

Preschool 2 Buddy Reading

Preschool 1 Buddy Reading



After a long week of leading learning, we were grateful for a bit of time to sit back and LOVE reading during library. It was nice to lounge alone or with a friend and savor some self-selected text. Ahhh…

At the end of our library session, Ms. Paula and Ms. Kraft provided an audience for us to present our assembly parts. We ended up getting a bit nervous. Thankfully, they provided some valuable feedback, which we were able to walk away with and respond to at the end of the day.

Setting Up the Structure

Despite the short day, we managed to pack in a full set of lessons today. We had lessons in Grade 3, 2, K, K1, and 1. All teaching teams moved on to their next lesson, which was either the second or third in the series.

Day 3 – Structure

Once sorted and selected,

Precisely placed pieces must be.

To paint a powerful picture

Order and structure are the key.

For the third lesson, students worked in their poem-building teams to put words in an order that painted a word picture. They had their puzzle pictures glued on the paper, but the challenge was to enable others to see that picture without looking at it. This was a big challenge and required communication, open-mindedness, and thinking.

Each team got a bag filled with words. As we had done previously in class, learners worked together to sort those words into categories or groups of related words. Then, they thought about how the words might be able to go together to create lines of the poem. Of course, some lines were not complete, so students had to fill in spaces with other smaller words.

Teaching teams presented the follow example as part of their lesson. Students might have the following words in their bag:

pretty          light

The group might decide these two words work well together, but they didn’t quite create a line, so… they could write in some words to complete the thought

A pretty pink light glowed

Day three stretched teaching teams, as they really had to know how to prompt, guide, and question learners through the process of sorting and piecing together like a puzzle. Unlike a puzzle, though, there were no built in picture clues or one right way to make the pieces fit. Since poetry was new for most grades, this was quite a challenging lesson.

Grade 3

Grade 1


While teaching teams were out, the groups that stayed behind practice their third or fourth lesson. Both required a great deal of knowledge and understanding in order to support other learners.

Working on Word Choice

Our second day of I Love to Read and Write Week was equally busy. More teaching teams were on the schedule, some teaching the first lesson, others moving on to the second lesson about word choice.

Day 2 – Word Choice

This puzzle’s pieced together

With meaning, shape, and sound in mind.

Each word is chosen carefully,

Search. The perfect one you’ll find.

The second lesson invited students to examine the words brainstormed inspired by the image in day 1 and choose 1 on which they wanted to elaborate. Using the Frayer Model structure, students worked together to show thinking about ONE of the words we used to describe the picture. On their big puzzle posters, students used the space for day 2, which was divided/split into sections. Each space was labeled with the following:


  • Related words (These include prefixes, suffixes)
  • Synonyms / antonyms (These are word that mean the same or opposite.)
  • Rhyming Words (These are words that have the same ending sound)
  • Describing Words (These are words or phrases that can be used to show not tell)

Using a sample Frayer Model, teaching and support team members guided learners through the process of expanding their word choice. Depending on the word chosen, this proved somewhat challenging for some groups.


Grade 3



Day 1: Brainstorming Structure

Day 2: Frayer Model Structure

As was true yesterday, we had another buddy reading session, today in Grade 3. And, we also practiced our assembly again in the CAC. At the end of the day, as we worked on volume and expression, we got a glimpse of a portion of the Prezi that would be shared with the audience.


I LOVE to Read and Write… and Teach

Today was a BIG and BUSY day. Today, our teaching teams were put to the test. Today, after weeks of research, planning, preparation, and practice, students stepped to the front of the classroom to teach other students about poetry.

Due to some sickness last week, we had to do a bit of last-minute shuffling this morning. Some scheduled to be supporting teams got shifted into the teaching team roles and did so without missing a beat. Teaching teams flexibly moved into support roles and gladly guided small groups. Students confidently and capably stepped into needed roles and took responsibility for facilitating the lessons together.

Each day this week, the scholars of fourth grade will guide lessons by presenting students with a stanza of a poem. Each stanza highlights the main teaching point of the day and serves as a lyrical lesson plan.

Today’s lesson began with this:

Day 1 – Illustration and Imagery Inspiration

A poem’s like a puzzle

Made up of many parts

With words and lines and stanzas

Its assembled from the heart.

K1, Grade 1, and Grade 2 students were our first learners. Each set of students was presented with giant posters and paper pieces with which to make a puzzle. Working in teams, with the help of members of scholarly support and teaching teams, all were successful in assembling the images, which were purposefully selected to connect with their lines of inquiry. Students then were guided in a brainstorming activity in order to create a collection of words that described the image. These words are important, as they will be used in subsequent lessons.

As students worked, members of the teaching team listened in to conversations and recorded the sounds of puzzle making. These will be compared and connected to the sounds of poetry writing.

Grade 2


Grade 1


Teaching was not our only responsibility today… we were also scheduled to buddy read with K1 and Grade 1 students this afternoon. Students were able to share the books they had selected and practiced reading during library the last two weeks. Holding the book, reading fluently with expression, and engaging in thoughtful reading conversations were all key features of this time together. Buddy reading is always a special time that makes us all LOVE reading!

At the end of the day, we had our first experience on stage in the CAC. We worked on staging, volume / projection, and sequencing. Since some of our script is dependent on other activities we have planned this week, we were only able to practice the first portion, which is a summary of our unit in poetic form.

Phew… day one was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Can’t wait for day 2!

Home Learning for February 17-21 (Week 23)

  1. Read for at least 30 minutes each night.
    • Check out the new reading choice board for scholarly, agentic readers.
    • Reflect on your reading:
      • on Seesaw.
      • by completing the online reading log OR one on paper (Copies are available in class).
      • by having a thoughtful conversation with another reader.
  2. Option: Use the Pobble 365 prompt to inspire your writing.
        • Use lined paper from your binder OR the Google Doc in your Google Classroom.
  3. Reflect back on your Week 22, and complete the “Reflection: Learner Profile & Approaches to Learning” form.
  4. Explore the recommendations on IXL.com. These connect directly to what we have been learning in class.

**A Scholar has a goal: We got off to a great start this week. This week we:

    • answered 1238 IXL questions.
    • spent 7 hours 46 minutes on IXL.
    • made progress in 52 IXL skills.


  1. Library is scheduled weekly on Thursdays.
  2. P.E. is scheduled weekly on Wednesdays and Fridays.
    1. Come dressed to SWIM – swimsuit, towel, dry clothes
    2. Bring a water bottle
  3. Check your lunch card balance weekly.

Coming Soon

Below is a list of upcoming events of which to be aware.

  • February 17-21 – I Love to Read and Write Week
  • February 21 – Swim Meet
  • February 21 – Assembly at 2:30 p.m. (We’re presenting! Invite your parents!!)
  • February 28 – Trimester 2 ASAs End

Condor Sports

  • February 21 – Swim Meet

We’re on Twitter!

Follow TASOK @TASOKinshasa


Follow Fourth Grade @Scholarsare

Hashtag #TASOK


Learner Profile Trait of the Month – CARING

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


Comparing, Contrasting and… Collecting.

This week, we have had the opportunity to get into others students’ classroom to observe, using a See. Think. Wonder. visible thinking routine. As part of our research in preparation for I Love to Read and Write Week, we want to see what kinds of structures other classrooms have in place. Since teachers have allowed us into their learning spaces, we thought it might be a good idea to express our gratitude through the writing of a letter. Before doing that, though, we needed to know how letters are structured and how they compare to other forms of writing like essays and poems. As part of our inquiry into letter writing, teaching teams used used multiple sources and a triple Venn diagram structure to identify similarities and differences between the three genres of writing.

Some teaching teams expanded their inquiry to include other genres of writing like emails and stories, which required them to alter their Venn structure.

After a wonderful session during which thinking and research skills were stretched, it was icing on the cake to see self and social management skills applied during clean up! Thank you, gentlemen, for taking action and working together.

In library this afternoon, Ms. Kraft helped us think about read aloud book selection for the upcoming I Love to Read and Write Week. She shared with us a variety of books and highlighted some of the features that made them engaging and appropriate for various levels of readers.

We then had time to select some books and practice reading them outloud in our teaching teams. Holding and reading books aloud is easier said than done.

Finally, to end our day, we revisited our simile of how a poem is like a puzzle and explored the second stanza.

This puzzle’s pieced together

With meaning, shape, and sound in mind.

Each word is chosen carefully,

Search. The perfect one you’ll find.

With a focus on word choice, we examined the words brainstormed yesterday and narrowed our list down to one word we wanted to explore more deeply. Using a Frayer model structure, we considered and collected:

    1. related words (affixes).
    2. synonyms (and antonyms).
    3. adjectives.
    4. rhyming (or similar sounds)

This resource will be valuable as we set out to compose our poem in the days ahead. Again, this will be a lesson that we share to other readers and writers during I Love to Read and Write Week.

A Poem’s Like a Puzzle…

A poem’s like a puzzle


This is the statement we started with today. With just this one line, students considered how this can be true. During our initial discussion students suggested things like:

  • Both are human-made
  • Both are mysterious
  • Both paint a picture
  • Word choice in a poem is like finding the right puzzle piece

Students also noticed that this statement was a simile and could serve as a thesis.

We then continued by revealing and reflecting on the remainder of the poem:

A poem’s like a puzzle

Made of up many parts.

With words and lines and stanzas

It’s assembled from the heart.


Students then had an opportunity to piece together a personal puzzle, unique to a topic of interest each identified last week. As students worked, the following sounds of puzzle making were captured.

  • Does this fit?
  • This is hard!
  • The pieces are shaky.
  • Where does this fit?
  • This is tricky.
  • This is easy.
  • Where’s the color?
  • It’s not quite right.
  • I give up.
  • Hooray, I persevered!
  • Can we do another?
  • I’m missing a piece.
  • I need help.
  • Something doesn’t seem right.
  • Can I help?
  • You did it, even though it was hard.

Once puzzles were complete, we paused to reflect on the original statement in relation to the sounds of puzzle making. Could all of these things be said while writing a poem, too? Probably!

Our next step in the process was to describe our puzzle. One a piece of blank paper, students individually generated a list of words to describe what they see, think, and wonder. After a few moments, students had the opportunity to add words to others’ lists, affirming strong word choice and offering an alternative point of view.

Today’s lesson will be one students replicate during I Love to Read and Write week, when we set out to teach students in other classes about poetry.

We hope others enjoy the lesson and learn as much as we did!




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