Friday, November 13, 2015

Fact Fluency

Hi everyone,

This week students took some time to reflect on their progress with multiplication facts. Everyone really examined which facts were still feeling quite tricky for them. Today in math, we had a fun class as we practiced facts in a few different hands-on ways without the computer.

First off, we created fortune tellers made with math facts and after they were created, students went around challenging each other. The facts on their fortune tellers were the hard ones that make us think a little longer. These are great to make at home!! We kept the ones we made here at school so we can use them again.

Second, we made fact booklets. You will see these in your child's homework folder. Use them as a tool to study!

Lastly, kids played multiplication squares. It's a game I played (without the math aspect) often when I was a kid. It was fun to share and they seemed to really enjoy it!

Keep practicing at home. Everyone is going to be an expert soon if we keep up this great work!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Verteran's Day Poems

Today in social studies, we paused our work with Maine's industries and took a look at understanding the role of veterans. Student showed a lot of good thinking and showed strong empathy.

Here are some of their beautiful poems:

Our Country Guards

Who protects our country from danger 
Who feels the danger of getting hurt 
Who needs love from other people 
Who fear of dying 
Who loves their family back home 
Who thinks about home 
Who believes in their country 


Veteran's Day Poem

helps the country
they need respect  from other
how fears the face of death
how loves the families at home 
how thinks of saving
how believes in wining



Who feels freedom coming it's way
Who needs love, courage and bravery
Who fears death or wounds 
Who loves their country and their family's smile
Who thinks about all the joy and freedom their country will have
Who believes in happiness and harmony



fight for more then them selves
who feels that they can trust each other
who needs more then they can provide
who fears they will lose
who loves is country
who thinks they can do it 
who believes they will win

You can see more by checking out their posts on KidBlog! Awesome work fourth graders!

Monday, November 9, 2015

After Our Longfellow House Visit

Henry Longfellow

Fact Practice

Hi Families,

I have found recently that fact practice at home is an area that is tricky for some students. To help with this, I've created a menu that will help students choose a way to practice facts each night during the week (or most nights). If as a family you choose not to use this menu to keep track of it, I will leave that up to you.

Here is the menu:

The menu doesn't have every idea out there, so kids were told to add a box or two if they practice a different way (i.e. cribbage or skunk).

Happy fact practice!

Friday, October 30, 2015


Hi Families,

For the months of November and December, we are going to have a book challenge in our classroom. The purpose will be for students to expand their love for books, to talk more about books, and to read new books that they may not typically choose. This is an optional challenge, but there will be a reward in it (connected with our classroom economy)!

Please feel free to encourage your child to try to get BINGO before our winter break!

Happy reading!!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Leo the Rabbit

Today is math, I was so pleased with ALL of the great math talk around a task students completed in groups.  Here was the problem:

When they reported out at the end and we reflected, students noticed they did at least 6 out of the 8 mathematical practices. They had very engaged, focused conversations. As I was floating around helping groups, I heard things such as, "How about..." "Okay guys, what if..." "Oh, nice idea!" "What if we changed the pattern?" Kids also used representations and mathematical tools to help them with the work. Such great job today from these mathematicians!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Hi all,

We have started our new two week cycle for spelling. Students have a copy of their words in their homework folder. Many of you asked for this at open house. It can STAY at home. They have another copy at school that will stay at school.  Students are welcome to and encouraged to practice at home over the next two weeks, but no formal homework will be collected.

Let me know if you have questions! Happy spelling :)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fall Conferences

Dear Families of Room 306,

You are invited to sign up for Fall Student-Led Conferences.

DATE: November 4th and 10th
PLACE: Room 306 – our classroom
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: End of day 2 days before each conference day

To pick a time slot, enter this link in your internet browser:

In addition, conference slots are 15 minutes. However, when you arrive AT your scheduled time, you will spend the first 15 minutes with your child in the hallways, looking over their portfolio and other work they have to share. After those 15 minutes, you will scoot in the classroom to further the conversation for another 15 minutes.

If you have trouble accessing this online, please let me know. Also, if you do not see times available that fit your needs, let me know, so we can find a time that works.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Harvesting Potatoes

Hi everyone,

We had a very busy Friday afternoon and the highlight was definitely harvesting potatoes from the YES garden! They got their hands (and knees) quite dirty as they dug for the potatoes of various sizes and not only were potatoes found, but also quite a few worms!

We have two large bags that are full, which we will weigh on Monday. On Monday, we will also decide what we would like to do... it sounds like we are leaning towards making some shredded up hash browns in the classroom so we can all learn to make them!

Here are some photos from our adventure outside!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Student Technology Contract

Hi Families,

Yesterday in class, we discussed the use of laptops in fourth grade this year. We looked at the student contract together and each student signed a copy. A copy of this can be found on our blog here. Please let me know if you have questions about this. Thank you!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Math Updates


Today in math we looked at how to visualize numbers when they are represented by dots.  It is a different way to think about numbers, but fun! Students are able to see factors and multiples. By looking at each representation for a quick few moments, they look for patterns in order to remember what they saw. It was fun to learn how different we see and remember visual representations of numbers. 


We also started thinking about norms in math and what math class should feel like for everyone in our room.  Here is what the kids came up with so far in partnerships (and we will lump into categories tomorrow to make it a more manageable list):
  1. don't give up
  2. work hard
  3. have fun
  4. we make mistakes
  5. follow directions the first time
  6. take your time
  7. encourage others
  8. problem solve
  9. ask questions
  10. use your head (and make sense of math)
  11. erase
  12. fix things
  13. persevere
  14. be respectful of tools
  15. be respectful of classmates
  16. be helpful
  17. use self-control
  18. use whole body listening
  19. pay attention
  20. be focused
Their list impressed me and certainly makes me excited for math this year!!

Math homework
Lastly, we have started our routine for math homework today by introducing fact practice. Fact practice is nightly math homework where kids practice facts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. Here are some different strategies we discussed:

With a deck of cards with no face card:
  • Go Fish
  • multiplication war
Other ideas:
  • math games on the computer or apps
  • flash cards (have a stack of easy and hard facts and practice the challenging ones)
  • roll dice, + or x  the numbers
  • skip count
  • make a math fact poster
  • cribbage
Tomorrow we will add a study link to our math homework routine, but it won't always be a study link. Students and parents can also expect a worksheet or a KenKen to go home in place of a study link at times.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bad Case of the Stripes

I wanted to share another highlight of the day!

We read A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon today. Here's the quick summary:
"Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but she never eats them. Why? Because the other kids in her school don't like them. And Camilla Cream is very, very worried about what other people think of her. In fact, she's so worried that she's about to break out in…a bad case of stripes!"

After reading this story, we had our first socratic seminar of the year. I find it to be a great way for students to share their ideas and listen to what others think as well. We talked about a few things:

  • why Camilla just doesn't eat lima beans
  • what it means to be yourself
  • why it's important to be yourself

Classroom Economy

Dear Families:

Our class will implement a classroom economy system this school year. It’s an excellent tool for teaching financial responsibility and many other things, and I think your child will enjoy it.

I want to let you know how it works. Using classroom “currency,” students earn money for jobs and pay rent for their desks or buy them. They can earn bonus cash by helping others, earning table points, bringing in homework, being punctual and more. On the other hand, students who don’t meet classroom expectations may receive a fine. That could happen, for example, if they don’t complete assignments or don’t listen when other students are speaking. The could also be fined if they don’t have homework without a note or are missing their name on a paper. The classroom economy helps children to learn valuable life skills such as organization, the value of saving, and delayed gratification. Rather than being told about the importance of these skills, they actually experience them. In addition, the system fits in well with the other parts of our curriculum.

We’ll also have a little fun with it! After paying rent, students can save money to spend at weekly auctions where they get to bid on items. These items will be tickets such as, work in the hallway, chew gum in the classroom, have lunch with Mrs. Fier, and much more.  The children will certainly enjoy themselves, and I know you will appreciate the skills and knowledge they learn along the way. Our system is based on the “My Classroom Economy” program developed as a volunteer project by employees of Vanguard.

Don’t be surprised if your child comes home one day with questions about paying rent, or regrets about overbidding for an auction item. You might find it a great opportunity to have a thoughtful discussion about financial responsibility. I’m really excited to begin and learn more about this process and I think the kids are too.

If you have any questions about the classroom economy, please feel free to contact me.


Mrs. Fier

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First Day

Hi Families,

We had a lovely first day back. It felt so easy to slide back into routine and teach new procedures to this group of children. We learned a lot about each other and about our classroom today. They do have homework, so be sure to look at that link on the left of the blog if you need any clarification.

I wanted to share two key highlights with you. The first is about a book I shared with them today, The Name Jar. Here is a summary by Scholastic:

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week.
Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it — "Yoon-Hey."
It led to a great discussion about how we are all different and unique, yet we want all kids to feel safe in our class and we need to be kind to everyone. Great message in this book!

The second highlight was during some quiet reflection time. There were 5 different questions posted around the room on chart paper and students added their answers on stickies. Tomorrow we will do more follow up with what I noticed, but here is a fun one: 

What are you excited for? (I didn't type repeats)

  • learning
  • P.E.
  • band
  • math
  • everything
  • reading
  • field trips
  • recess
  • making new friends
  • science

Happy first week back!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Tomorrow

Hi Students and Families,

If you see this, please bring in one of your favorite chapter books tomorrow that you have at home. If you can't find one, are unsure of which one to pick, or don't see this, that is okay because we have plenty in our classroom library. I will see you all tomorrow!


Hi Families,

By now, I have sent a few e-mails. If you have not been receiving them from me and would like to, please let me know, so I can be sure you are added to my list :)

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Supply List

Hi Families,

Here is our supply list in case you find yourself still in need of it:

1 box of pencil top erasers

2 dozen #2 pencils

2 black and white marble composition notebooks 

1 sturdy two pocket plastic folder (used as a homework folder)

1 3-ring white binder: 1½ inches (portfolio)

1 3-ring white binder: 1 inch (used for reading)

1 pair of scissors

2 packages of sticky note pads: 2” x 2” (we use them often)!

1 glue stick

1 highlighter

1 package of colored pencils

1 package of washable markers

2 thin black flair markers (Papermate brand – no sharpies please)

1 pair of inexpensive earbuds/headphones labeled in a bag or container

Many of these items will be shared amongst the class (except headphones), so there is no need to write your child’s name on them.

Thank you!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Welcome Back!

Dear Fourth graders,
I am hopeful that you are still enjoying the summer and filling your time with fun activities that you can do with family and friends. I know that I've had a very busy summer. I spent it backpacking, crafting, going to the beach with friends, and hanging out with our dog, Porter. You’ll hear a lot about Porter this year! 

I'm feeling ready for the start of a new year though. The dry air today, especially got me thinking about fall and all the great fall activities coming our way! I’m psyched to be your fourth grade teacher and I look forward to learning so much about you. Having a new group of students is always fun. I bet you have a lot to teach me. I’m sure we will have a fantastic year together and as we have fun, we will also be doing a lot of great activities to stretch your thinking and learning!

I'm sure you're a little curious about our schedule, so here is a sneak peek of what our specials schedule looks like:
  • Monday: Library
  • Tuesday: Music
  • Wednesday: Art
  • Thursday: Guidance
  • Friday: P.E.
There are some fun highlights to look forward to as you enter fourth grade too, so here are some of those:
  • band
  • a choice at fourth grade hour (extra special)
  • motion and design science unit
  • Maine studies
  • a hallway with just fourth grade classrooms
  • blogging

You’re Invited

To make your transition to a new class a little easier, we are having an open house at school before the school year begins. Hopefully this will soothe some of the natural first day jitters that we all have.

When: Thursday, September 3, 9:30 - 10:30
Where: Our classroom, Room 306, Yellow Wing
Who:  You, your peers, and some of your family members
What: Check out the classroom and meet friends

After your visit you may want to tour our school garden or go to the playground.  If you can’t make this event, I’ll see you on the first day of school, Tuesday, September 8, at 8:20!

First Day of School Checklist
·      Healthy nut free snack
·      lunch (or choose school lunch)
·      school supplies (if you didn't bring them during the meet and greet)
·      backpack (or bag)
·      positive attitude 

While you're on our class blog, feel free to scope out some other things on here that will be helpful to you throughout the year.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Welcome to Fourth Grade!

Hi Families and Students!

We have a few (hopefully fun, long) weeks ahead of us before we start school again!  I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful sunny weather and getting outside A LOT!

Thursday, September 3 from 9:30 - 10:30 we will have our open house for you to stop in the classroom and check things out. I'm excited to see some familiar faces and see some new ones! In the meantime before then, I will be like you and getting outside as much as possible. My husband, Dustin and I will be doing a 40 mile hike this week at the Grafton Loop! It'll be fun to share this experience with you! I'll also be getting our classroom and materials ready to go!

See you all soon!

Mrs. Fier

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Fourth Grade T-Shirts!

Hello Fourth Grade Parents,

It's been a long standing tradition that fourth graders get the signatures of their classmates on a t-shirt. This spring your child will receive a t-shirt that says Yarmouth School Class of 2023.  These t-shirts are being generously donated by two Fourth Grade Families, Christina and Nick Powell, and Anne Ball and Dennis Welsh.  Many thanks to them for providing our students with this awesome gift!

Fourth Grade Teachers

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Field Day

Hello once again!

Next Friday afternoon is field day and I am quite excited about the day myself, so I am SURE the kids are looking forward to it! Here are some quick details about the day:

  • Step-up day is in the morning
  • We will have a quick break afterwards before beginning our fun afternoon
  • Our class color: RED
  • Please apply sunscreen for your child BEFORE they arrive to school, but send them with extra so that we can reapply as needed
  • There are a few stations we may get wet (so plan accordingly for that)
  • We have two parents joining us through each activity, but be sure to check-in with the PTO to inquire if they still need volunteers to make the day special for the kids

Math Groups

Hi Families,

It came to my attention that as a whole class, we needed some more practice around place value, including whole number and decimal awareness.  Here was this week's group math task:

  • The kids received a list of place value terms in a random order
  • Together they had to organize these terms in a way that made sense to them
  • The caveat: 
    • For the first five minutes, no one could talk
    • After some time, I required some student to sit back completely and only observe their group working
    • Finally, I let them talk through it :)
As per usual in math groups, students were engaged the entire time! After they organized their thinking, we reported out not only on what they found, but also what the experience was like for them because this activity not only addressed math standards, but also added different elements to it.  

Here is what they told me:
  • Not being able to talk was challenging
  • Not being able to talk decreased arguing if that was something that their group had experienced in the past
  • Having to sit back and not do anything felt like they were in trouble
  • Sitting back helped us understand kids who are more quiet (they aren't doing nothing, they are observing their group)
We had SUCH great learning through this activity.  What a great group of students!

Norton Financial

Below is the article that Norton published about our awesome class of students here at YES!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

End of the Year Nuts and Bolts

Hi Families!

We have many events coming up, but there are two that I needed to give you some more details about.

1. Field Day is Friday, June 12. I know many of you may volunteer with the PTO, but I would love if one or two of you would like to join our class and move between activities with us. Please let me know if you are interested in this!

2. Our learning celebration is the day before: Thursday, June 11 at 8:15. At our end of the year learning celebration, we have quite a few things to do: 
- celebrate our informational writing
- look through portfolios
- make summer reading goals
- enjoy some breakfast snacks as we watch our slideshow 
- receive your child's report card as you leave

If you can sign up to bring a breakfast snack, please sign-up here.

Our end of the year celebration is in lieu of conferences. However, if you would like to still have an end of the year conference, please let me know so we can schedule one before our celebration. 

If you have any questions, be sure to let me know :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


We have begun our plant unit for science and we have been observing our rapidly growing Wisconsin Fast Plants in our AeroGarden.  We will continue to observe these over the coming weeks.

Some fourth grade concepts we have covered so far include:
  • organisms have unique and diverse life cycles, but what they all have in common is birth, growth, reproduction, and death
  • plants and animals have traits, in which some are inherited from their parents and some are a result from the environment

This week we have been focusing our discussions and work around plant leaves, their purpose and shape.  This has also led itself into an introduction to photosynthesis! Here are some activities we have been working on this week:

1. We began this week in science by observing some photos of different leaves and observing the 
    differences that we noticed between them. 

2. Underneath the bright sun, we put our hands out and observed in which way our hands need to be in order to receive the most sunlight and compared this to what we know about plants! 

3. We went outside looking for any living plants to pick. We found an abundant amount of leaves sticking out of the ground right outside of our classroom! We used these to create beautiful chlorophyll rubbings! Here is some of their awesome work!

4. Finally, we watched a short video about photosynthesis through Study Jams

I'm excited for what the rest of this fun plant unit will bring! Next week we will talk more about how the environment influences traits and then think about animal group behavior and how it can increase survival.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Connections to our Classroom Economy

Hi Families!

We have had a busy week at school and it's been a challenge to be out of routine, but as a result, we have had an opportunity to do a few other things.

This week, Dustin and Jeff from Norton Financial came in to talk with the students in our class about savings. We were blown away with how much background knowledge the students have and by how many raised their hands when our visitors inquired about how many of them have started to save!

With the help from our visitors, they worked together to solve some math problems about saving money. It tied in great with our work surrounding percentages and decimals!!  Here was part of the worksheet (we also worked through with a starting balance of $1000.00 and some kiddos challenged themselves by working out to year 7)!:

It was certainly fun to have them!  And aside from the kids also wanting to know what they do in their free time and if it was comfortable to dress up and wear a tie everyday, we did a lot of learning!  Thanks Dustin and Jeff!!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Math board games

Hi Families,

We will be playing more math thinking games tomorrow.  If you remember to bring in a game, like we did before vacation, please bring one in!  We would love to keep these in the classroom through next week!  Thank you!

Examples we had last week included:

  • Stratego
  • Battleship
  • Monopoly
  • Mancala
  • Sequence

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Leo the Rabbit

Today in math we started some group work that we will be continuing throughout the year. We started with something less risky first-- they just had to share two things about themselves with every group member. Each member was responsible for knowing those two things about each member in their group! It went so smoothly and we were able to see why it worked so well. We then transferred this good work to MATH! 

Kids were assigned a math group today in which they were all the thinkers, but they each had roles on top of that. Here were their roles:

  • Captain: keep everyone on task
  • Resource Manager: get supplies and be the spokesman when you need to see Mrs. Fier for questions
  • Spy: when your thinking is stuck, check to see what other groups are trying
  • Communicator/recorder: report out the groups final work

Here was the problem:
Leo the Rabbit is climbing up a flight of 10 steps. Leo can only hop up 1 or 2 steps each time he hops. He never hops down, only up. How many different ways can Leo hop up the flight of 10 steps? Provide evidence to justify your thinking.

I'm excited to see the outcome when we finish tomorrow, but it is looking great!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Hi families,

Today we got ready to pay our taxes, which we know are due by April 15! Each student looked at their bank register (in which they have been tracking deposits and withdrawals since we began our class economy) and they added up all of their deposits they have had this year. We have made a lot of money!

Tomorrow we will look at the different tax brackets and each student will pay a percentage of their earned money to our town. It led to a great discussion about what taxes are and why we all pay them. The kids had lots of insight into what tax payers money supports (their ideas: schools, town buildings, parks, some jobs, roads and sidewalks) and they also had lots of wonders. Their curiosities were endless! I tried my best to answer their questions, but some questions I did not know how to answer, so don't be surprised if they come home buzzing about taxes :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spelling This Week

Hi Families,

This week spelling looks a little different. The kids will be responsible to 20 words because we are looking mainly at irregular verbs. For the test, I will say the present tense and students will be responsible for spelling that AND knowing the past tense of the verb and spelling it.

Let me know if you have questions!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Native American Reservations

This week we wrapped up our learning about Maine's first people, the Native American's.  We had a great discussion about how their population deteriorated and how they started being treated. The following pictures really demonstrate their great thinking about Native Americans being forced onto reservations!

From here, we will learn more about the Europeans who began settling in Maine. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Author's Celebration

Hi Families,

We are wrapping up our persuasive essays and invite you to join us in celebrating a big success!  Everyone has finished their draft and this week we are working on polishing them into published pieces!

We will be having a publishing celebration THURSDAY, March 19 from 8:15 - 9:00.  We are looking forward to seeing you soon!

If you are able to bring a breakfast snack in to share, please sign up here!
For students:

scavenger hunt

Friday, March 6, 2015

A peek into our room!

This week was no exception -- we were busily working our way through the week! Here is a snapshot of a few other activities we did:

Throughout our last math unit about area and perimeter, students engaged in a zoo project where the creatively planned out space to include different animals and other items found in a zoo (i.e. park, restaurants, bathrooms, etc.).  We wrapped up the unit today by presenting in small groups.  With a planning sheet, small groups allowed for their skills to really shine through! It was a great where for them each to share their math skills about area and perimeter, their creative additions, and fun ideas they gathered through the project.

Mrs. March, a former YES teacher, came to read to us this week to celebrate Read Across America.  She has a beautiful way of capturing her audience as she shares her love of books.  We are excited to invite her back in the future!