Home Learning for January 20-24 (Week 19)

  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 18, 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 818 IXL questions.
    • spent 5 hours 43 minutes on IXL.
    • made progress in 35 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.

  • January 31 – Assembly
  • February 17-21 – I Love to Read and Write Week
  • February 28 – Trimester 2 ASAs End

Condor Sports

  • February 6-8 – SAISA Basketball Tournament
  • February 21 – Swim Meet

We’re on Twitter!

Follow TASOK @TASOKinshasa


Follow Fourth Grade @Scholarsare

Hashtag #TASOK


Learner Profile Trait of the Month – PRINCIPLED

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


Solving with STRUCTURE

Today, as INQUIRING readers, we set out to use WORD STRUCTURE to determine the meaning of new or tricky words. Affixes were on the agenda.

We began by thinking about a word with the root “touch” introduced in Gloria Whelan’s book In Andal’s House and in Kids Discover: Ancient India.

We then looked at how the word can be modified by adding PREfix before the root and SUFfixes after the root. We also learned a new secret agent code: PqRS. We then had the opportunity to explore the STRUCTURE of words found in one of our resources. Each scholars was challenged to:

  • Look through the Kids Discover magazine.
  • Identify a ROOT word.
  • ReSTRUCTURE the word by adding prefixes and suffixes.
  • Explain how the restructuring changes the meaning of the word.
  • Create a learning poster to make your thinking visible.
  • Seesaw your process. (We did not get to this today, but will try to Seesaw tomorrow.)

Multiple Sources

Ms. Chofi also suggested we try:

We also continued practicing PARTitioning rectangles and connecting our pictorial presentation to the more abstract PARTial products. Using these two strategies, we multiplied four-digit by one-digit factors.

To end the day, students began to access our prior knowledge about India. With STRUCTURE in mind, we began a KWHLAQ process. In small groups, students began to:

  • Ponder what they already KNOW about India.
  • Pick and prioritize things they WANT to know more about. 

As we worked through the remainder of this process, we will be able to narrow down and focus our inquiries.

Math Mania

Today as our first round of math mania.

Students rotated through 4 stations, which included:

  • problem solving multiplication equations using math tiles.
  • applying the concrete, pictorial, abstract process and showing evidence and of thinking in their math journals.
  • modeling multiplication equations by building representations with base ten blocks.
  • collaboratively constructing our puzzle of the Taj Mahal.

This STRUCTURE allowed scholars to really apply their thinking, communication, and self-management skills during each of the 30-minute stations.

At one point, Ms. Paula popped in. Pleased with the progress on our puzzle, she climbed on top of some desks to get a tweetable picture.

Once again today, Ben brought in some samples of his rock and mineral collection. Rather than passing samples around the circle, he opted to share using the document camera and big screen. Very professional!

ConSTRUCTing and DeconSTRUCTing

Today we began to BUILD on our understanding of our central idea by exploring our first line of inquiry. Small groups worked together to make a list of all the different FORMS or types of structure they knew. Initially, many groups focused solely on the physical STRUCTURES they were familiar with, but after a brief time of sharing and considering different points of view, students gradually began to conSTRUCT more comprehensive lists, which included:

  • physical
  • language
  • family
  • social
  • economic
  • organizational

Once we had gathered a good list of STRUCTural options, we decided to deconSTRUCT one of them… language. Our first element of language we looked at were the parts of speech.  Once again, we began by brainstorming what we already know. Then, students worked in pairs to reflect on their winter breaks… through the language lens of parts of speech. Using a Google Doc posted in their Google Classrooms, students using the embedded multiple sources to identify words and phrases in each part of speech with which they could document the last three weeks.

Multiple Sources

You can explore parts of speech further by logging into IXL or Khan Academy. 

While not a part of speech, students also considered homonyms to use in their descriptions.

We then read aloud another one of Gloria Whelan’s book In Andal’s House. As students listened, they were challenged to:

  • Identify FORMS of STRUCTURE evident in the text. 
  • Discuss the FUNCTION of those STRUCTURES and how they affect individuals and societies over time.

Structures were also explored in math as we looked at PARTitioning rectangles. Drawing on our work with basic and extended facts, we looked at how we can use an area model to represent and solve multiplication equations. 


Pens. “Protagonist.” Puzzle-making Provocation. Problem Solving. Pebbles.

As we settled back in to our scholarly routine today, we took time this morning to review a few changes to the schedule and to examine this week’s vocabulary words. “Antagonist,” “protagonist.” and the word part “struct-” seemed to be of greatest interest. Once personal and collective notes and noticings were made, a challenge was issued to be on the alert of clues and multiple sources related to this week’s words.

We then moved into an examination of our next transdisciplinary theme: How We Organize Ourselves. In small groups, students read and reread the title and description and highlighted and annotated words of interest or words that might help drive an inquiry. With their new multi-colored pens, students mused marvelously and considered critical connections and questions. As groups shared their thoughts, it was amazing to see similarities and exciting to see  differences that will lead to wide and wonderful investigations.

As part of the launch of our new unit, students participated in a puzzle-making provocation. As the picture was revealed and the pieces poured out on the carpet, students immediately began to share strategies for sorting. Patient, polite, yet purpose-filled leaders emerged from the crowd and calmly conducted the construction process. Throughout the entire process, students remained respectful, riveted, and ravenous for the challenge.

Taking a brief pause from the puzzle, students also inquired into problem solving processes related to the estimation of large numbers. Data related to food consumption was shared and questions posed. Students approached each question with a variety of strategies, which were shared, compared, and considered by others. Multi-step problems proved to be a tad challenging, but we will continue our work with this in the days ahead.

To end the day, Ben chose to share a portion of his rock collection. With great detail, he described each stone sample, making connections to our work with the rock cycle. We might just have a geologist in the making.

Multiple Sources


Reading. Rainfall. Sharing. Soccer.

Today started with some rigorous reading. Scholars sought to:

  • apply a variety of skills and strategies when reading and analyzing fiction and nonfiction texts.
  • communicate understanding of context-related texts through thoughtful and carefully-crafted written responses.

All texts were connected with our inquiry into movement, with a specific focus on tsunamis. A poem, a Newsela article, and an excerpt from The Big Wave enabled students to connect what they’ve learned as readers to what they’ve learned as scientists and geologists. As fifth grade thinkers, students were encouraged to use their TTQA (turn the question around) strategy to write complete, thoughtful responses. It was especially exciting to see students read actively and apply annotation strategies to their text, making notes and highlighting key aspects of the texts to support their thinking and responses.

Students also spent time today applying understanding of decimals and measurement to tasks that required reference to rainfall and maps. Comparing, ordering, and applying operations of addition and subtraction were all incorporated into an authentic task. What kind of information do we use in our own lives that requires us to apply understanding of decimals and/or measurement? Is there a task or thinking challenge you could create to apply at home or at school?

Challenge: How can you use the linked resources to inquire further into decimals, measurement, and our countries of focus?

Multiple Sources

Perhaps Filip’s birthday bundt cake could be the beginning of that challenge? Certainly, as we cut the multi-colored cake, fractions were key to successful sharing, but… maybe another mathematical concept could have been applied.

Of course, we didn’t wait around too long to figure out any other options as mouths were watering as we waited for this mom-made masterpiece. What a wonderful way to celebrate Filip’s big day! Happy birthday, Filip!


This afternoon, we made a quick trip to Kindergarten to follow up on our introduction to Seesaw. In this second session, once again we worked with them to record their reading. Our goal today was to ensure they can share their learning with their parents independently.

After school, our scholarly soccer players engaged in a friendly game of football against Congo English Forever. Once again, we were grateful for all the parents who came to cheer us on.

Diligence and Dancing

We had a fabulously focused morning of research, continuing our inquiry into essays. Students worked diligently to gathering information and piece it together into an instructional presentation. It was exciting to see all the pieces come together and to see how deeply we understood this new genre of writing.


In math, we used base ten blocks to explore decimals in concrete, pictorial, and abstract ways. Students use the manipulatives to represent a decimal, which their partner had to identify and explain. Most students were able to share their learning on Seesaw. As some prepared their Seesaw presentations, they made some minor mistakes, which were very valuable for learning. We love to celebrate mistakes because they provide us an opportunity to reflect and be open-minded.

Check out the following video from YouCubed (one of my favorite math and mindset resources).


How does this video connect to our central idea related to struggle and survival?

Here’s another one that celebrates the brain-growing power of mistakes.

  • What mistakes can you celebrate today?
  • How did your mistakes provide an opportunity for you to struggle?
  • How did your mistakes help your brain grow?

Challenge: Think of a metaphor or simile to illustrate the power of mistakes?


This afternoon, after P.E., we went to music to practice for Wednesday’s International Day performance. Ms. Paula and Ms. TaShawndra dropped in during the practice and were quite amazed at our voices.


Mr. Sheldrick and his kindergarten and first grade students shared their learning with us during their student-led assembly. We were able to make some connections to our compass point activities this past week.

After the assembly, we headed straight to Mrs. Fischer’s room for a top secret practice. I can’t say much more because… it’s top secret.

Here’s a link to the video, if you’re interested in practicing.

Word Work Beyond Our Words of the Week

After a brief investigation into our words of the week, we continued with some word analysis related to the Primary Year Program (PYP) and our transdisciplinary theme. Using some of the same tools, we broke down the word and gained a better understanding of how the PYP is organized.

We then began to examine our theme for our current unit – Where We Are in Time and Place. Working in our table groups, we read the description of the theme and noted words and phrases that were interesting and into which we might inquire further. Working together, students annotated the description. This will be a document we revisit throughout our unit as we become more knowledgeable about and make connections with our central idea through our lines of inquiry.

We then continued our investigative work by conducting research about… essays (see related post).

We also continued our work with decimals, looking at how to create number lines… with hundredths in an effective and efficient way.

Expanding Our Writing Repertoire with… Expository Essays

We had a incredible day of investigation. Whether we were using multiple sources to find the meaning or origin of new words or thinking about our new transdisciplinary theme or digging in to decimals, students demonstrated dedication and determination in delightful ways today.

As we move into our third unit of inquiry, we will be looking at a new genre of writing… expository essays. This type of essay is designed to explain. Beginning with a thesis or belief statement, students will seek to identify reasons for this belief and will work to support these reasons with elaboration in the form of anecdotes (mini-story), examples, and / or descriptions.

Today, we inquired into what an essay is. Students had a number of print and digital resources to explore. As students dug into the materials, parts, purpose, procedure, and perfecting were areas about which to research.


Made with Padlet


With Thanksgiving coming up, we will soon be presented with a prompt and determine what it is asking (part of the procedure). We will be writing about gratitude. After discussing this idea deeply, we will craft a thesis statement and record two reasons with supporting examples on our graphic organizers. We will use this information to draft our hook and body paragraphs. This will be a sample setting us up for a more significant essay about struggle.

The creators of Flocabulary use rap to review the elements of an essay and the purpose of each.

Flocabulary: Five Paragraph Essay

Optional Multiple Source: NoRedInk: Essay Essentials

Word Walk. Decimal Talk.

Wednesday began with word work, with our special guest Mrs. Kovacs. We continued our work with the Frayer model, especially focusing on connections and sentences related to our words. Upon completion of our posters, we conducted a focused gallery walk, providing sticky note feedback for one another. Some sticky notes highlighted learning, others posed questions, and still others offered scholarly suggestions for further consideration.


During math, we began to explore decimals. Using a 10 x 10 grid as a pictorial / visual tool, we were able to identify the whole as 100/100 = 100 hundredths (1.00) = 10 tenths (1.0). We then proceeded to look at parts of the whole, making connections to fractions. Connections to the place value chart and our understanding of place, value, and equivalence were helpful.

As you watch the following video, keep in mind THE WHOLE.

  • How is the whole in this video different than the whole we used in class.
  • How does that affect our representation?


Skip to toolbar