Monday, September 30, 2013

Scholastic Book Orders

We are sending home a Scholastic Reading Club flyer with the students. If you would like to order any books, please use the link below to place your order. All of the books will be delivered to school, and we will distribute them when they arrive. This is also a great help for us with building up our classroom library. Scholastic is very generous with awarding points to teachers that we can use to order books. Please let me know if you have any questions!

The class activation code is MK4MW    

Click here to order!

Grayson's Book Talk

Lillie's Book Talk

Sally's Book Talk

Parent Conferences

First Trimester Interims will go home with students on October 9, followed by our Parent-Teacher Conferences on Thursday, October 10 (half-day) and Friday, October 11(full-day). NOTE: Thursday, October 10 is a half-day with early dismissal at 11:30am (K-3) and 11:40am (4-8). Childcare available through TED, contactAlyssa Marder.

Lower School conferences will take place in the student's classroom and Middle School conferences will be in our Dickson Dining Hall. These conferences are a time for parents and teachers (no students) to discuss student progress and goals.  Student-led conferences will be in March 2014.

Click here if you haven't signed up for your Fall Parent Conference yet.

Math Update

Take a look at the information below about our work in Unit 1, Factors, Multiples, and Arrays.

Family Letter About the Math in this Unit

Related Activities to Try at Home

National Theatre for Children performance

Duke Energy is proud to partner with The National Theatre for Children to promote conservation and energy-efficiency education for grades K-8 in its service communities. This organization uses professional actors to teach students about energy efficiency through engaging, comical and informative live theater sketches.

Enjoy this photo of Brendan who got invited to come up on stage!

North Carolina's State Dog

The Plott Hound breed originated in the mountains of North Carolina around 1750 and is the only breed known to have originated in this State. Named for Jonathan Plott who developed the breed as a wild boar hound, the Plott Hound is a legendary hunting dog known as a courageous fighter and tenacious tracker. He is also a gentle and extremely loyal companion to hunters of North Carolina. The Plott Hound is very quick of foot with superior treeing instincts and has always been a favorite of big-game hunters.The Plott Hound has a beautiful brindle-colored coat and a spine-tingling, bugle-like call. It is also only one of four breeds known to be of American origin.The Plott Hound was officially adopted as our State Dog on August 12, 1989. (Session Laws of North Carolina, 1989, c. 773; G.S. 145-13).

Information from:

Plott Hound Project

We are excited to be sending home a Plott Hound with each of our 4th grade students! Please take this paper Plott Hound with your family when you travel to interesting cities and places in our wonderful state. We will have a large map of North Carolina that we will cover with pictures of our 4th graders holding the photo of the Plott Hound. Please print and send in photographs of your child as he or she has adventures around our state. We would love for each child to be able to add two photographs to our collection before the Thanksgiving break. Happy hounding and photographing!

As an example, please see this photo of my daughter Lucy and the Plott Hound in McAdenville last Christmas.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Calling all Paper Egg Cartons!

We are doing an upcoming science project that will require each child to have a PAPER egg carton. If you have these at home, please send them in! Many thanks for your help with this.

Kate's Birthday Book!

Social Studies Update

We have now integrated our map skills with our study of North Carolina. This week, the kids worked on a map of North Carolina, and did some information-gathering about facts in our state. Have a conversation with your child about the three regions of North Carolina and some of the interesting facts they have learned about our state! We will continue in the coming weeks to learn more about the three regions.

Rocks Rock!

We have started our study of ROCKS!  This past week we focused on sedimentary rocks. Over time rocks and minerals are broken down into smaller pieces called sediment. Layers upon layers of sediment form sedimentary rock over hundreds of thousands of year. Most types of sedimentary rock form through 5 main steps:

  • Weathering
  • Erosion
  • Deposition
  • Compaction
  • Cementation
Ask your student how making this delicious treat helped us to learn about how sedimentary rocks form.

Sedimentary Rock Bars
(otherwise known as 7-layer bars)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup pecans, Coarsely Chopped (We omitted the nuts)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 (12 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • Preheat oven to 350° degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Melt butter
  • Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter; pat down in 8x11 baking pan.
  • Add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, pecans, and coconut in the order listed, sprinkling in an even layer.
  • For the final layer, pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over the entire top. Press down.
  • Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes until top is nice and and golden.
  • Cool completely and cut into bars.

Reader's Workshop Anchor Charts

Take a look at these charts about the work we are doing during Readers' Workshop.

Readers' Workshop

We have started some very exciting work this week! Each week students will use their reader's notebooks to keep a record of the important work and thinking they do during our workshop time. Students will keep their weekly reading log in their notebooks from this point on. (It will not be a separate sheet in their homework folders.) We will be writing read aloud notes, doing vocabulary study, and writing literature studies / analysis. At the end of each week students will use a rubric to evaluate the quality of their work. Mr. Merritt and I will also evaluate their work and then we will send it home for your review. Take a look at your child's notebook. It will come home each and every night in their reading Ziploc.

See below for the information the students have in their notebooks about this work:

Expectations for Reader’s Workshop

Study Habits:
  • Make quiet transitions
  • Plan ahead and get all needed materials. Get busy quickly.
  • Work quietly. Choose a place to work away from distractions.
  • Set reading goals.
  • Sustain silent reading for at least 25 minutes.
  • Stay caught up with weekly assignments.
  • Do your best work; work that you are proud of!

Challenging Yourself as a Reader:
  • Record the title and author of all books you read on the Reading List in your folder.
  • Read a novel that is appropriate and challenging.
  • Work to increase the time and number of pages you read.
  • Notice new and interesting words as your read. Use the dictionary and other resources to learn more about words.
  • Set goals for yourself as a reader (read more, read longer, read harder books, explore new genres, explore new authors, etc…)
  • Think deeply about your reading. Go beyond plot, focus on the elements of literature, how the author uses them and how they affect you.
  • Think about connections to your life, other books, and authors you have read. Think about questions, observations, and reflections.
  • Be prepared to conference about your reading life with a teacher or friend.

    Setting Up Your Reader’s Notebook

    Every Monday, you should put the following in your notebook in order. Please use the front and back of each notebook page. Make sure you date all the work that goes in your notebook.

    1. Glue in your weekly reading log.
    2. Label one page: Read Aloud Notes..
    3. Label one page: Vocabulary Study
    4. Label one page: Literature Study
    5. Glue in your Weekly Reading Check Up.

    Read Aloud Notes

    Every day our class will be sharing a book, short story, or poem. Many weeks I will ask you a specific question to think about regarding our Read Aloud. Other weeks you may write any thoughts you have about our shared text.

    Vocabulary Study

    Each week, as you do your independent reading, you must find and record at least three new words you discovered while reading. You must also find the definitions of these words and use each word correctly in a sentence. (You may find the definition by using context clues and/or the dictionary.) This work should be recorded in your Reader’s Notebook. Skip a line between each word entry.

    Literature Study

    Each week as your read, you must show evidence of your thoughtful work in your Reader’s Notebook. This information will be recorded on our literature study pages. Please use the following suggestions to guide your literature study entries. You are always welcome to use and share other ideas for literature studies.

    1. Read the book

    2. As you read, use post-it notes to notice:
    • Confusing parts or places you have a question about
    • Important words or passages
    • A character or action you would like to discuss
    • Places where the author moved you, where you had strong feelings or emotions
    • A beautiful, lovely description of a character or place
    • A turning point in the story
    • “Pop - out” lines
    • Important details/ information about a character

    3. Use these sticky notes and any other things that stood out in your book as ideas for your literature studies.

    4. Let us know what is going on inside your head as you read. This is the place that you show off what a thoughtful, reflective reader you are.

    5. You must have at least three literature studies each week. Write as neatly as possible.

Kate's Book Talk

Taylor's Book Talk

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko received the Newbery Honor and is a great read. Moose Flanagan, the main character, is 12-years old. It is 1935, and Moose and his family have just moved to Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz is where the world's worst criminals go to prison. It is located in the middle of the San Francisco Bay in California. You can get there only by boat, and it is inescapable - a very important detail for the criminals who live there.

On Alcatraz, Moose meets Piper Williams, the warden's daughter. Piper gets into trouble a lot. Moose is a responsible kid, but he gets roped into Piper's search for Al Capone, the world's worst criminal who used to live at Alcatraz. The book is called Al Capone Does My Shirts because in prison prisoners have jobs and one of Al Capone's jobs was to do the laundry.

Kane's Book Talk

The main characters in Maximum Ride by James Patterson are Maximum, Fang, Ari, Angel, Iggy, Tota, and Gazzy. They are a group of bird kids trying to save the world from a group of scientists called the White Coats. The White Coats turned them into the bird kids. They're also trying to destroy the world's population by half. Read the book to find out what happens!

Class Pets

We are excited to have some class critters! None are furry, and not all of them are alive!

Huey, the Betta Fish

Owen, the Armadillo

Michelangelo and Raphael, the box turtles
Ms. Melvin's parents are cleaning house and were ready to pass along her brother's pet turtles. We are the lucky new caretakers! They will be arriving in our classroom any day now...!

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 10th

This is a LONG update! Hang in there as you read it all....lots of important information about our curriculum and 4th grade happenings!

Stone Fox

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner is our first class read aloud. This short novel is marvelously written, and we are learning so much as a community about good reading and writing strategies.

A Race Against Time! Little Willy's grandfather is sick, and it's up to Willy to save their farm from tax collectors. Their only hope is the prize money from the National Dogsled Race. But a lot of other people want to win the race, too, including Stone Fox, who has never lost a race in his life.

Do Willy and his dog Searchlight stand a chance against the toughest racers around? Can they win the race to save the farm -- and Grandfather -- before it's too late?

Review from goodreads:

Launching Readers' Workshop

We are spending the first month of school launching Readers' Workshop with the theme of "Reading Matters." All of our conversations stem around the idea that we want to read faster, stronger, and longer.

How does a reader accomplish that?  Good readers....
-share their reading life with others
- set important and realistic reading goals
- choose books that are on their own personal level
- pay close attention while reading so that the words matter
- learn ways to clear up confusion when meaning breaks down
- have ways to problem-solve when they get to an unfamiliar word
- learn ways to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words
- imagine the scenes in a story
- recommend books that they love to others

4th Grade Blessings

In the Trinity tradition, we say a blessing before we leave our classroom to head to the Dining Hall. We have two special ones we say in the 4th grade because of their connections to our curriculum. Ask your child to teach these to your family!

The Moravian Blessing
Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
Bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Thy loving care.

The Cherokee Blessing (with motions)
May the Great Spirit
Make the Sun
Rise within our hearts.

Word Study

This past week in Word Study, we explored some of the rules about singular and plural nouns. Specifically, we took a look at how we can look at the ending of base words to determine whether or not they should add an "s" or an "es" to make them plural. In addition, we talked about how some words have a vowel change (i.e., foot becomes feet), and some are just oddballs (i.e., clothes). You will receive the spelling test your child took on Friday, September 6. Please look over it with you child, sign it, and return it to us.

This week, we will take a look at changing singular nouns and conjugating some verbs that end in "y" and transform into "ies" or "ied" (i.e., marry becomes marries, apply becomes applied, study becomes studies).

Social Studies

We have had a great start to the year in Social Studies. Our first unit has been on geography and map skills. To that end, we have been learning these terms about the globe:

  • Parallels of latitude
  • Meridians of longitude
  • Equator (0 degrees latitude)
  • Prime Meridian (0 degrees longitude)
  • Tropic of Cancer
  • Tropic of Capricorn
  • Arctic Circle
  • Antarctic Circle
We have also worked on a packet with lots of maps, and we have been using the latitude and longitude grid to find different types of information on these maps. 

Finally, we have talked about how a flat map cannot accurately depict the round earth. We explored some different models of the earth, and their strengths and weaknesses. To illustrate the distortion that occurs, we had the students cut up a beach ball, and Mr. Merritt took some scissors to slice up the ball. We found it was impossible to make it flat, and hilarity ensued!

Homework Responsibility

Many of you have seen a homework slip (or two..) make it's way home in your child's agenda. Last week was the first week that we held the students accountable for getting all of their work and materials back and forth each day. There is so much to remember....the agenda must get signed, the reading log needs to be filled out, math fact combinations need to be practiced, the novel they are reading must go home each night (and make its way back to school!). We are doing many things on our end to help your student get their homework recorded accurately. Our initials show you that we have reviewed their agenda and ensured that they have written everything down correctly. Additionally we review each afternoon what needs to go home in their backpacks, and we have provided them with a packing check-list to use. We had a great class meeting to share strategies about successfully getting everything back and forth. The kids had so many great ideas about how to be organized!  This is a terrific time to talk with your child about routines at home to help ensure success in this area. We know they are learning the routines and will all be working on this!

First Gathering with Book Buddies!

Last Friday afternoon, we met with our book buddies for the first time. After we lined up, we all joyfully jumped up and down to let Mrs. Mauney and Ms. Frick's class know that we were on our way. Enjoy these photos of your children sharing the joy of reading with their first grade friends!

Calling all Shutterbugs...!

Jessica Masanotti is starting a photography club for students in grades 4 - 8. If your child is interested, please have them fill out the application in the link below. They are due this Friday.

First Visit to the Metro School

The excitement has been building! On Tuesday morning, we will have our first visit to the Metro School. This first day is one of butterflies and anticipation. We have had many conversations in class to prepare the students for this experience and hope they will all have a great first day.

Questions to ask your student about our first day:
1) What were the teachers and students doing in the classroom?

2) Were you able to find a way to be helpful?

3) What was the most surprising thing about your experience?

4) What do you look forward to next week?

5) Did you connect with one of the students?

Landmarks in Large Numbers

We are hard at work in our math unit Landmarks in Large Numbers.
There are four mathematical emphases in this unit:

The Base-Ten Number System: 
Extending knowledge of the number system to 10,000

Computational Fluency: 
Adding and subtracting numbers accurately and efficiently

Whole Number Operations:
Describing, analyzing, and comparing strategies for adding and subtracting whole numbers

Whole Number Operations:
Understanding different types of subtraction problems

Family Letter

Activities to Try at Home

Here is a photo of a morning when we were working on understanding place value. 
The "millions period" group are holding up their numbers. 

Daily Schedule

Trinity Episcopal School
Rencher/ Merritt 4th Grade Daily Schedule

8:00 – 8:20
Greet the Week
Morning Meetings and Word Study
8:00 Readers’ Workshop
8:00 Morning Meeting

8:15 Math
8:00 Morning Meeting

8:15 - 8:45
Healthful Living
8:00 – 8:40
Community Chapel

8:45 Math
9:00 - 10:00
Faith Studies
(LC Meetings)

Writers’ Workshop
Readers’ Workshop


Snack/ Recess
Snack / Recess

9:00 WW and Word Study
10:20 Snack
10:30 Imaginon
10:15 Snack and Recess

Word Study
10:00 Word Study

10:30 – 11:25
Readers’ Workshop
Word Study
11:35 – 12:00
11:35 – 12:00
11:35 – 12:00
11:35 – 12:00
11:35 – 12:00
RW, part 1

12:35 – 1:05
Healthful Living
Science/ SS

12:40 Math
12:05 - 1:05
Readers’ Workshop
12:15 – 1:00
RW, part 2
Writers’ Workshop

1:40 Recess
Read Aloud

1:20 Writers’ Workshop
1:00 – 1:45


Science /SS

Carpool MR
2:00 – 2:30
2:35 – 3:05 Wellness
Carpool JY

Carpool AM
Science / SS

Carpool LB

Book Buddies

Carpool A&L