We read another moving story this week during literature studies. Nuestra cancion is a realistic fiction piece that narrates the story of a girl, her great great grandma and their cultural heritage. After previewing vocabulary and idiomatic expressions, we enjoyed listening to the story, making connections, inferences and  stopping at different times to check for understanding. Finally, students were asked to summarize the piece and share their thoughts about the theme. Other literacy objectives for this week included:

  • Understand the characteristics of realistic fiction.
  • Apply the following comprehension and thinking strategies when reading a piece, predicting, clarifying, asking questions.
  • Understand common and proper nouns.
  • Explain what a sentence is. Write sentences with appropriate structure and spelling.

Super Readers! 

Our fourth/fifth grade class is looking for super readers in Spanish! Students were presented with a reading challenge were they are encouraged to read 11 different books in Spanish. They got to choose their books from “Our Favorite Books in Spanish Basket”. Students estimated how long it will take them to read a book. We set up a date to conference and to report back to maestra Paola. Students may then be ready to choose the next title, or get a book extension. I am looking forward to seeing their reading progress in the coming month.

Reading at Home Reminder

Students are doing a great job reading a minimum of 15 minutes in English and 15 minutes in Spanish every day. This week we were able to accumulate 965 reading minutes in Spanish only! We still have a few students that need to remember to log their minutes on their planners. The minutes only count if they have a parent signature. Maestra Paola checks planners and signatures daily.



Sun Tracking
Groups of students constructed Sun trackers. After using a compass to orient the Sun tracker north-south, students made hourly records of the position of the tip of the shadow cast by a golf tee. Back in the classroom, students used flashlights to reproduce the movement of the Sun throughout the day. This activity also provided us with opportunities to collect and interpret data. At the end of the week students accessed our online resources to read a piece related to this activity. Student have user names and passwords to access these resources from home. This is extra material in Spanish that your child is welcome to use at home.

History & Geography

This week we finished our unit on the Maya, Aztec, and Incas. Our objectives were:

  • Identify the Inca and describe where they lived.
  • Describe the Sapa Inca and how he maintained absolute rule.
  • Explain how the Inca organized their empire and met the needs of the people.
  • Compare and contrast the Inca and Aztec civilizations.
  • Explain how Inca engineers overcame challenges presented by the geography of the land.
  • Describe how the Inca kept their empire together without a written language.
  • Understand how the Sapa Inca united his empire.
  • Describe the Aztec and Inca reactions to the Spanish conquistadors’ arrival in Mexico and South America.
  • Identify Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro as Spanish conquistadors who led invasions in Mexico and South America.
  • Explain why the Spanish were rapidly able to conquer the Aztec and Inca Empires.

Students took their unit test on Friday and will receive their scores on Monday!


This week we worked with multiplying numbers by 10s, 100s, and 1,000s. We also worked with multiplying by 2-digit numbers and began dividing by 10s, 100s, and 1,000s. Our objectives were:

  • Use rounding to estimate products
  • Multiply a 2-, 3-, or 4- digit number by a 2-digit number
  • Divide numbers by 10, 100, or 1,000 using patterns

English Word Work

This week we finished our rotation. Our rotation days were:

  • Vocabulary: Students dug through our atlases to find words to add to our word wall. The words we found were
  • Spelling City: Students had a chance to work on computer skills as well as spelling on
  • Writing Workshop: Students were able to share the writing they have done the last few weeks with the class.
  • Blind Sort Test: Students tested each other on their spelling using the Blind Sort method.


Character Education: Since the “favorite thing” activity took a bit more time than anticipated, we have barely begun our book The Next Seat. We have started assembling our Literature Circle folders, where students will have different jobs each week as we read the book together as a class. There are some new jobs this year such as Psychologist (where they have to give advice to a character) and Journalist (where they have to write from a character’s perspective). We will continue to have the traditional jobs of Discussion Director (coming up with discussion provoking questions for the group), Passage Picker (picking out passages that caught your attention), Creative Connector (connecting the book to life, movies, self, other books, etc) and much more! We will also be reading the poem Something Called the Wild Geese by Rachel Lyman Field.

October Music with Ms. Erin
In September the Fourth and Fifth Grade class learned about and practiced melody and harmony through songs and singing exercises, learned notes C and D on the recorder (and reviewed notes G, A, and B), learned the Fermata symbol, talked about the periods of classical music and composers who belong to each period, learned about the piano and how to play the C Major Scale (and those who play shared songs with the class), wrote out and clapped rhythms, and worked on the following songs:
 – Do, Re, Mi
 – Edelweiss
 – Blow the Man Down
 – The Marine’s Hymn
For October we will be focusing on:
 – Continuing work on harmony with both voice and recorders
 – Reviewing eighth notes and learning sixteenth notes
 – Learn time signature 6/8, practice with clapping and drumming
 – Learn to sing a Canon with the song Dona Nobis Pacem
IMG_1732Art: In addition to their beautiful sunflower paintings that have been on the bulletin board at school, the 4th and 5th graders have been working on a Felt Mola Design during September. The students learned that the Kuna Indians on the San Blas Islands of Panama are known for their fabric Mola designs. These designs originated many years ago from body paint patterns that the Kuna culture used. Today Molas are made by a reverse appliqué technique where layers of fabric are cut into intricate designs. The students started their project with a colored marker drawing of an animal or plant, and then used felt fabric to cut out the shapes. We are also using the leftover negative shapes to create a second design.These are turning out quite beautiful. Great job everyone!