Making of a Mobile Mogul…

This week, we will launch into our two-week mobile business design project. We will be thinking about:

  • personal passions
  • mission and vision statements
  • mottos
  • logos
  • products / services
  • start-up costs
  • marketing strategies
  • advertising
  • floorplans
  • prototypes
  • energy
  • pitches

Coming up with a business is a complex thing. In fact, each element has its own complexity. Have you ever thought, for example, how complex a pencil is?

Indeed, when considering creating one’s own business, there is a LOT to think about.

Here’s an infographic by our read aloud authors:

Multiple Sources:

For some inspiration, check out this success story:

FEE: How This Teen Entrepreneur Created a Million-Dollar Candy Empire




Well… the day is almost here. April 6. TASOK is going global. Rather than riding the bus, tackling the traffic, or walking the trails, we will be strolling to our sofas, settling ourselves at the kitchen table, and building a bureau in our bedrooms to ready ourselves for reading online resources, tuning in to video lessons, and engaging in scholarly digital discussions. While it will certainly be a shift, I know we are set for success.

As I think about the initiation of the continuous learning plan, which will officially begin on Monday, April 6, I can’t help but think that you, Scholar, have been in training all year long for a time like this. Reflecting back on our year so far, we have inquired into the following central ideas:

  • Individuals approach problems in order to reach solutions. 
  • Movement is a change agent. 
  • People respond to circumstances differently with different results.
  • Structures impact individuals, communities, and societies.
  • Industries are impacted by creativity. 

In one way or another, each of these can be contextualized in our current circumstances. Now is the time for action. How will we put our learning into practice?

As we discovered in our first unit, problems can be opportunities, and that is how I hope we can approach this learning adventure together. Surely, there will be struggle; however, we will not only survive but thrive. Structures we put in place will sustain. And, as many schools around the world have already discovered, creativity will be a key to our success

Prior to break, we spent some time in class ensuring we were familiar with the online platforms and forums we will be using to stay connected and to curate evidence of learning. 

Embedded in these, there are links to a number of other resources that I think you will both find valuable and enjoy. This week, you will get to use:

Note: I’m not sure they will all work the first time, but… we’re going to give it a try and problem solve as we need to. Please be patient with yourself as we try to smooth out the bumps in a road that will be both rough and rewarding. 

As we prepare for learning, our desire is to maintain as much consistency as possible. Each week will include some routine-building tasks and learning experiences including:

  • Daily reading
    • Independent reading, read alouds, read with family members
  • Weekly word work
    • Vocabulary tied to units of inquiry
  • Offline explorations
    • Learning engagements to be completed without devices
  • Online research and reinforcement
    • Inquiry-related investigations and skill practice
  • Seesaw
    • Documentation of and reflection on learning

Scholars, you are encouraged to self-manage as much as possible. This week, we will be working together to develop a daily schedule and introduce accountability tools that you will be able to follow and manage. Portions of the daily plan will include time of unstructured play, the value of which we experienced on Global Play Day. In addition, our single-subject teachers will be providing ideas and information weekly to help us all maintain balance. (Note: Single-subject slides are included at the end of the presentation, but you can jump to them from the schedule at the beginning of the presentation).

As we prepare to embark on a new learning journey, I want to thank you for joining me. I look forward to learning with and from them. Remember:

  • establish a learning space and schedule for yourself.
  • set up scholarly routines and maintain BALANCE.
  • take time to explore before diving in.
    • Imagine your are doing a picture walk BEFORE you read the book.
  • log in to YOUR Google Classroom for access.
    • Note: I will not grant file access to anyone outside our domain.

Student Agency: Choice Boards

As we shift from school-site to self-managed, stay-at-home learning, you have a great opportunity to develop student agency. How are you going to exercise your voice, choice, and ownership to grow as a learner?

I really love these posters created by Cindy Blackburn @MsCindyPYP.

Below are a few choice boards you might be interested in exploring to supplement the learning shared in Google Classroom. How can you use some of these options to express yourself as an inquirer, thinker, learner… scholar?



Above and Beyond for April 6-10 (Week 28)

  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 OR the Google Doc in your Google Classroom.
  3. Reflect back on your Week 27, and complete the “Reflection: Learner Profile & Approaches to Learning” form.
  4. Explore the recommendations on

**A Scholar has a goal: During Spring Break we:

    • answered 3,934 IXL questions.
    • spent 27 hours 39 minutes on IXL.
    • made progress in 128 IXL skills.

Note: A few topics in science and social studies related to our unit of inquiry (engineering design process and economics / supply & demand) have been suggested for you to explore.

Challenge: IXL has issued a Learning Showdown! The classrooms that answer the most questions on IXL through April 30 will be rewarded with a prize. Interested?


We’re on Twitter!

Follow TASOK @TASOKinshasa


Follow Fourth Grade @Scholarsare

Hashtag #TASOK

New Hashtag #VirtuallyTASOK


Learner Profile Trait of the Month – BALANCED

**Check back later in the week for additional resources related to our virtual learning explorations

Expressing Ourselves – Multiple Means and Methods

After French this morning, we spent some time reading Homeless Bird. One group was able to finish the book and proposed a number of ideas for expressing their thoughts and feelings in response to the book, including writing a letter to the author and writing an alternate ending. Students will also be working on a visual plot diagram to document the main events in the story, changes in the character, symbols included by the author, and themes developed.

Once again today, we went to the CAC to refine our performances for tomorrow’s Arts Festival. Getting on and off stage like professionals takes practice.

After recess, we had an opportunity to venture over to MS4 to see Grade 10 students share their design projects. Their challenge was to create a functional pieces of furniture, which were designed and crafted with community needs in mind.

While we expected it to be a great learning experience, we didn’t realize just how much it would tie into and support our current inquiry into how we express ourselves and our central ideas: Industries are impacted by creativity.

When we returned to the classroom, we debriefed our experience and had a great discussion about the term “industries.” Several students used multiples sources to help define the word and gain better understanding of what industries are and how creativity impacts them. We realized even the furniture industry is impacted by creativity.

Multiple Sources


This afternoon, we continued work on our poster consolidating our understanding of the relationship between fractions, angles, and division.

Pressing on in Pajamas

On this, the last day of January, we were able to finish off the month with some fun. Thanks to STUCO for planning this special spirit day!

Despite being in our pajamas, our day was anything but sleepy. Drawing on our own poetry-writing experience, we used our Writer’s Express book as a resource for researching special aspect of poetry and considering a plan for presentation. We worked together to plug in the pieces to our schedule. Sequencing of the lessons was a critical component of the structure that needed careful consideration.

As we continued our pursuit of parts, we were presented with a set of perplexing problems… how to find the whole when given a part as a fraction.

How would you solve the question: If 2 fifths pieces are 1/3 of the whole, then what is the whole?   Tricky!

To end our day, we were treated to an assembly hosted by Grade 2. They shared with us their learning about endangered animals and invited the audience to get involved. They were very knowledgeable.

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!

Fragments or Full? From Parts to Paragraphs.

During our word work time today, Mrs. Kovacs invited us to consider elements of an essay by analyzing and assembling colored strips containing parts of sentences. Working collaboratively, we pieced together sentences. As we explored options, we realized that some strips could be torn in two to create simple, complex, and compound sentences. One of the challenges we encountered was ensuring that the strips made complete sentences and not fragments. Once sentences were assembled, we pieced them together into a paragraph, which included a thesis and supporting details.

To extend our learning, we were presented with another set of sentence strips containing content about different types of rocks. Once again, we pieced together the information considering complete sentences and paragraph structure. When we were done, we captured our final paragraph on lined paper. These informational paragraphs were shared in a jigsaw format, so everyone had an opportunity to learn about the different types of rock.

Multiple Sources

Transforming Fact into Fiction

After focusing extensively on reading yesterday, today we focused on writing. One of the articles featured in yesterday’s reading task was from Teaching Kids News. The article by Nancy Miller entitled “Japan’s 2011 Tsunami Sends Balls 8,000 Kilometers to Alaska” explained how a soccer ball and volleyball that were swept out to sea ended up being reunited with their owners. Today’s challenge required students to step into the skin of either the soccer ball or volleyball and to write a fictional story about the journey experienced from its perspective. Using facts from the article, learning from their inquiry into movement, and understanding about strong story development, students began crafting creative tales. Prior to writing, students identified the following criteria for a scholarly story:

  • realistic details
  • voice
  • dialogue
  • word choice
  • sentence structure
  • punctuation
  • figurative language (onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, alliteration)

This prompt prompted a plethora of plot possibilities including:

  • meetings with sea creatures (ea urchin, beluga, krill, barnacles, birds / seagull).
    • sharks (bite, poke, nudge, slap, swallow).
  • deflation and sinking.
  • encounters with boats (ship, yacht, ferry, aircraft carrier, submarine, propeller).
  • being nabbed in a fisherman’s net.

Prior to beginning, students also considered the following options to hook their readers:

  • quote
  • dialogue
  • sound
  • action
  • question
  • description
  • small moment

After students got started, we paused to share some of our stories’ starts.

Multiple Sources

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 Wednesday 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?

We also began to explore metric prefixes today. How could we incorporate these into our stories?

Of course, being a rainy day, we also had some fun with dominoes. It is interesting to see how problem solving, movement, and struggle and survival collide with these creations.

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