Monday, December 19, 2016

Homework This Week

Hi Families,

This week we are in transition with a reading and writing, which means we have new units to begin. These will begin after break, which is a great opportunity for us to work on some different things this week. For example, this morning we played this fun clue game in teams that practiced building quality complex sentences. We will also have an opportunity to have a guest reader (some of you may know Mrs. March, a retired fourth grade teacher) and do a STEM project with Mrs. Moll's second graders. I'm really looking forward to what this week will bring us!

In saying all that, I'm not handing out a homework sheet that you typically see each week. Each night, kids are expected to be reading and doing their fact practice if they have not yet mastered their facts. For math homework, we are taking each day one step at a time. If we have a hard working day, there will be no math homework and if it's a day with many reminders as a class, then homework will go home.

Let me know if you have questions.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Publishing Party!

Hi Families,

It's almost time for our first publishing party! We started the year practicing with narratives, but now we've brought a fiction story through the whole writing process (well, almost).

Our celebration will be Wednesday, December 14 from 8:40 - 9:20 in the classroom and here's what our morning will look like:

  1. Listen to all students share a favorite part of their story
  2. Read your child’s full story with them
  3. Walk around the classroom and read other stories with your child and leave a positive comment
  4. Snack and enjoy each other’s company :)

Here is the link to sign up to bring a breakfast snack to share. Please let me know if you have trouble opening or editing the doc.

Math Game Options for Today

Brain Pop Satisfraction

For Reading Today

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Math Fact Cootie Catchers!

Math fact cootie catchers... these are such a fun way to practice those hard facts!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Veteran's Day

Each year, I look forward to talking about Veteran's Day with students and celebrating our Veterans. It's a powerful holiday and many students have Veterans in their life, which helps them connect personally.

On KidBlog, they wrote poems this morning celebrating these brave men and women in our country! They blew me away with their compassion and empathy! Here are a few of them:

Fights for our country
Who feels so brave they will risk their on lives for others
Who needs a friend to help guide their way
Who fears letting down their country
Who loves fighting for others
Who thinks of others
Who believes in world peace
- Sisi

Fought in the army
Who feels good about winning
Who needs food and water
Who fears losing someone they love
Who loves family
Who thinks what's coming before them
Who believes in life
- Greer

                                          they help others                                          
who feels: scared
who needs: piece
who fears: death
who loves: good people
 who thinks: about good people
who believes: America 
- Alex E.

fighting in the air and sea
who feels the damage of the war and ship and body
who need food and water and friends 
who fears the death of people around them and losing their country
who loves their freedom, friends and family
who thinks about the worry of his or hers family
who believes in their countries freedom
fighting on the ground doing whatever it takes
- Alec

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Kid Blog

We got to hop on Kid Blog this week and I was so excited to see the student's responses on this platform! Earlier this week, the kids analyzed Skiff's possessions (a character in our read aloud story Young Man and the Sea) and we examined what this meant about him. We also thought about what someone could infer about him, knowing only his possessions.

Next steps: apply it to their own reading book! This is where KidBlog comes in! You can ask your child to login and read their post here.

For now, KidBlog will just be used at school, but after the holiday season, I will open it up for them to use at home if they would like.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Cooking in 306

Hi everyone!

I forgot the ipad at school, so I will have to share pictures very soon, but I wanted to tell you that cooking this afternoon was a success (and I'm sure you will hear about it)! I may have a burnt tongue (and I'm probably not the only one ;)), but it was so fun to cook with your children in the classroom today! Each student had a job of some sort and they were incredible chefs. They worked carefully with cooking tools too, even while having some fun.

I hope they enjoyed our chunky potato leek soup!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Social Studies

Hi Families,

This week we started social studies by learning more about what that term really means and encompasses. Most children were surprised to learn that it contains 6 subjects: history, culture, geography, government, civics, and economy. We talked about these and some different examples of each topic. The kids then worked to create fun posters to get us thinking more about social studies!

I'm looking forward to starting Maine geography next week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fall Conferences

Dear Families,

You are invited to sign up for Fall Conferences. This is an opportunity for us to meet without your child in order for me to share my observations up through this point and talk about our goals for your child.
           DATES:  Oct. 26, Oct. 27, Oct. Nov. 1, Nov. 2
           PLACE:  Room 306
           REGISTRATION DEADLINE:  End of day 2 days before each conference day

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

Please let me know if you have any trouble. I’d be happy to sign you up on my end. If none of these spots work for you, please let me know and I will be happy to find another time that fits.

Best Regards,

Mrs. Fier

Monday, October 3, 2016

Classroom Rules

Hi Families,

We have finally organized our rules into four groups, but the kids realize a lot fall into each category. Your child has signed our rules, acknowledging that they are going to do their best this year!

We will...

1. Treat others kindly
        - be helpful
        - be nice
        - follow the golden rule
        - have empathy

2. Use self-control
         - H.E.A.R.
         - make good choices for learning
         - be safe

3. focus and do our personal best
        - stay on task
        - have a growth mindset
        - have a positive attitude 
         - ask for help when it's needed

4. take care of our classroom
        - take care of tools and materials 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Math Fact Practice

Hi Families,

Today, new on your child's weekly homework sheet, is the addition of fact practice. Your child is expected to practice at least 3 times a week for 5-10 minutes and record which method they used to practice. Here are the few examples we talked about today (and soon we will be adding to this list):

  • Big Brainz
  • Multiplication War (all you need is a deck of cards and a partner)
  • Cribbage 
  • Skip count on a calculator (7+7+7+7...)
  • Flash Cards

Friday, September 9, 2016

Outside Building

Hi Everyone,

This afternoon, after out first visit to the garden (picking and eating cherry tomatoes), we traveled to the woods. We used the woods as a way to learn about each other. The only requirement: build something that connects to you in some way!

After just 15 minutes, we saw some really cool creations and not to mention, it was a blast to watch them be imaginative in this space. After building, we traveled to each student's space to hear a quick blurb about what they built and how it connected to them.

It was such a fun, creative afternoon!

Growth Mindset

Hi Families,

Yesterday we spent time learning about what a growth mindset is. This was a new concept for many students. The idea behind a growth mindset is that no one is born smart. Instead, we have the ability to try hard in order for our brains to grow and get stronger.

We read the book The Most Magnificent Thing and it talks about a girls who has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most magnificent thing.  She knows just what to do to make it and she has all the materials. She makes things all the time, so she thinks easy-peasy! But making it isn't easy and she tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, she gets really, really mad. So mad that she quits. Her dog though (her assistant) convinces her to go for a walk and she comes back to her project with new enthusiasm and gets it just right!

After reading, we talked about the girl's struggles and how she overcame them and how that connects with a growth mindset. We also connected this to the classroom and how even when things get hard, I expect effort and a positive attitude! We modified the phrase "practice makes perfect" to "practice makes progress."

My hope is that each child works to challenge themselves this year and believe in themselves in ALL subject areas!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Classroom Economy

Dear Families:

Our class will implement a classroom economy system this school year. It’s an excellent tool for teaching financial responsibility along with many other things, and I think your child will enjoy it! Thank you for helping them with their homework last night. I loved hearing about how you keep your jobs. They really took away that it takes responsibility, hard work, and kindness to be successful at your job.

I want to let you know how it works and some of you may already know. Using classroom “currency,” students earn money for jobs and pay rent for their desks or buy them (don't worry- no matter what, your child will have a desk!). 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, don’t listen when other students are speaking, have a messy desk, or are talking in the hall. They 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 responsibility. 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, have lunch with Mrs. Fier, use Mrs. Fier's chair, sit next to a friend for the day, 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 I think the kids are too.

Today, they learned about the program we will use and filled out their very first job application.

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


Mrs. Fier

Tonight's Homework Explained

Hi Everyone,

An explanation of tonight's homework: notebook decorations

By Monday, I am asking that students bring in flat decorations for their writer's notebooks.  We will be decorating in class on Monday afternoon.  These decorations need to include things that represent who your child is and what they like! Examples of things to bring in include:

  • stickers, 
  • photographs, 
  • images printed out, 
  • special scrapbook paper (for the background, but I will also have choices available), 
  • drawings,
  • washi tape,
  • postcards
Students will be required to have their name, so some may want to bring letter stickers if those are available at home too.  Please do not make any special trips out shopping... use what you have available.

Here are two examples of writer's notebooks that I have created in the past to give you a clearer idea of what we will be doing :)


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August Thoughts

Hi Families and Students!

Now that it's August and I've been into our classroom a few times, school has started to be on my mind, so I wanted to send a quick hello! But don't worry, we have a few long, fun weeks ahead of us before our first day gets here. I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful sunny weather and getting outside A LOT!

Thursday, September 1 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. You're welcome to bring your supplies on this day. Please let me know if you need a new copy of our class supply list and remember that you don't need to write your name on things, as most items will be shared among our community. 

Well, keep enjoying summer and some good books (I'm in the middle of a book called Ruby Lee & Me and finding Ruby to be a really interesting character)! My husband, Dustin and I, along with our dog, Porter, will be hiking Katahdin very soon and I'm looking forward to  that adventure. I can't wait to hear about your own explorations this summer!

See you all soon!

Mrs. Fier

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

End of the Year Dates

Important Spring Dates for You
  • Wednesday, May 25th, @ 8:45, MAP-Reading
  • 4th to 5th Grade Parent Night, Thursday, May 26, at 6:30 PM, in the middle school cafeteria. Administrators and Laura Mike, School Counselor, will share the services she provides to all students. We will also take you for a tour of the HMS Website. Then at 7:00 the 5th Grade Team: Kelly Conley, Liz Greely, Karen Jagolinzer, Gina Rollins, Marti-Jo Shaw and Rich Smith will join to share 5th grade expectations and a slide show.
  • Grandparents’ Day is Friday, May 27th from 9:15 to 11:15, at YES. This year we will offer a shuttle bus from the Park and Ride at 295 Exit 15 to help with the parking. The first shuttle will leave the Park and Ride @ approximately 8:45am. The second shuttle will leave @ 9:00. Grandparents and special friends with particular parking needs are welcome to park at the school.
  • Wednesday, June 1st, @ 8:45, MAP-Math
  • Wednesday, June 8th, Fourth Grade Band Night- 6:00pm
  • Tuesday, June 14th 8:20-9:00 End of the Year Celebration- This will take place in our classroom. Students will share some favorite projects with you, we'll eat some treats and celebrate together. Before you leave I will hand out report cards. You can view them at your leisure at home. After viewing should you have questions feel free to contact me.
  • Friday, June 10th 11:45-3:00, Field Day  (rain date - Monday 6/13 at the same time)
  • Wednesday, June 15th 9:50-10:50,  YES Fourth Graders visit HMS (Step Up Day)
  • Wednesday, June 15th-T-Shirt Signing- Time TBD It's been a long standing tradition that fourth graders get the signatures of their classmates and YES community on a t-shirt. The Yarmouth PTO  will generously provide each student with a Class of 2024 T-shirt for this event.
  • Monday, June 15th 2:30pm -YES Fourth Grade Send-off Celebration. This is a school celebration where the staff and students come together to celebrate this year's Fourth Grade Class and wish them luck during their future years at HMS. 
  • Friday, June 17th- Last day of school - Dismissal is at noon

Friday, April 8, 2016

Elite 8 Books!

Here's what we are left with:

Realistic Fiction
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Out of My Mind

I Survived Japanese Tsunami
Stone Fox

Graphic Novel
Jedi Academy

Percy Jackson & Lightning Thief
The One & Only Ivan

We will vote the Monday when we return from break!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Saving Money

Hi Families,

Today, Dustin and Jeff from Norton Financial came to visit us to teach the students about saving money and interest. On the rug, they asked the children what they may save money for, and they got responses such as, "video games, college, a new bed, candy, soccer cleats." They got to have fun thinking about what they would want to save for (sports equipment was popular)! Dustin and Jeff then inquired what adults may save money for, and we heard, "house renovation, a new home, vacation, food." The students had a lot of insight into this topic. This led to discussing how people save money and what interest is.

After the introduction, the students eagerly headed to their seats to see just what interest looked like. They used 10% with $100 and $1000 so it was kid friendly, but it did come up that 10% is a very high rate that you don't see anymore. The first chart, we filled out step by step, but on the second chart, they went onward on their own, confident with their abilities to calculate percentages. Some students went beyond the worksheet to challenge themselves.

It was certainly a fun afternoon and a helpful connection to our work! Students were left wondering if our classroom bankers could start giving interest to students' bank accounts, which would reward children for saving and not overspending at the auction. I think we will stick with what we are doing now though ;)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Our Sweet 16 Books!

After our first round vote, our results are in:

Realistic Fiction:
Young Man and the Sea
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Out of My Mind

Lost on a Mountain in Maine
I Survived: Japanese Tsunami
Zane and the Hurricane
Stone Fox

Graphic Novels:
The Red Pyramid
Jedi Academy
Diary of A wimpy Kid: Old School

Percy Jackson and Lightning Thief
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The One and Only Ivan

Moving Forward:

Students, you have until April 8th to read a few more where we will vote again and we will narrow it down to 8.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Author's Celebration

This morning was lovely! Thank you for coming in and supporting your child. Each of these students did incredible work throughout this detailed process. I'm so impressed with the outcome and I'm sure you are too! It amazes me, when we set the expectations high, what 4th grade students are capable of producing. They certainly have bright futures ahead of them! Also, thank you for bringing in delicious treats for the kids to enjoy as a way to celebrate their success.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2016


We have been up to some cool things this week!

Read Across America
To celebrate Read Across America, we were able to use Google Hangout to connect with a class in New Jersey. We each prepared our favorite Dr. Seuss book and read a portion of it to the other class. After much deliberation, we chose The Butter Battle Book. 12 students wanted to read out loud and Colter and Sam followed up with a very well prepared explanation of why we like this book. The other class read Horton Hatches an Egg.

Not only did we read to each other and talk about books, but we also got to engage in a really cool conversation about our home states and what we like to do in them.

It was a highlight of the week!

Geometry Project
After finishing unit 5, we put on our brakes and took some time to review geometry terms and properties. Here was the challenge:
Design a 2-dimensional place that interests you to demonstrate your geometry skills. Be creative and have fun!

We saw some really great design ideas AND collaboration. Ideas included a treehouse, a math space, a classroom, an RC park, a gamer's paradise, and more. These designs are beyond my own imagination. I could not believe the excitement and engagement! I can't wait for you to see the final outcome!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

typing fluency

Hi Families,

I hope you are all ready for vacation!

Many students were feeling eager to practice their typing skills, so I have made accounts for them here. This is not something we will practice regularly in classroom (unfortunately there just isn't time), but many asked if they could practice at home. They will know their login information tomorrow and they are welcome to sign-on at home with your permission. It will help them to start feeling more confident about their typing skills whereas right now, typing can slow their thinking down.

Let me know if you have questions.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Science Fun Planned for Friday

Hi Families,

Right now, we have finished our social studies unit and will be getting started with our life science unit very soon. Until we begin however, we are going to try out a fun activity Friday that connects well with our motion science unit that will come later this spring.

We need your help! Here is what we need:

25 balloons
10-12 straws
lego cars

Please let me know if you have balloons or straws that we could have! Also, if your child has lego cars, please have them bring an extra in case someone doesn't have one.

Thank you!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Punxsutawney Phil in the classroom

We had some fun with Groundhog's Day today!! 

Together, we read an article about the fun holiday and practiced the skills we have been learning about nonfiction reading. Everyone coded the text in a way that made sense for them (annotated) and then we pinpointed the important facts inside the article to help discover the main idea. We will extend this tomorrow by learning how to form opinions about different texts.

I think the students will agree that writing was even more fun! We started with the song What Does the Fox Say? (loved by some and disliked by others!) and then brainstormed: what does the groundhog say? It was cool to put ourselves in the "shoes" of a groundhog. I took brief notes on their ideas and then showed how to turn those notes into an elaborate sentence (which we have been practicing in writer's workshop), but the sentence was a talking sentence in which students practiced punctuating dialogue. There were so many creative ideas that floated around our room and the bonus was that we got to practice using quality words and punctuating dialogue!

We ended with a little coloring time!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Multiplication Wrestling

Hi Families,

In our current unit in math, which we will be wrapping up this week, students have been working hard to build their foundation for multiplication. They've built upon their work last year and connected area and converting different unit of measurement with more challenging multiplication.

Today, we played multiplication wrestling to practice 2-digit by 2-digit multiplication. After handing out 4 cards to each player, students try to create the largest product possible. After a few rounds, many students could easily see who would win around just by dealing out their 4 cards. It was a fun way to start our Monday morning!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Winter Conferences

Dear Families,

You are invited to sign up for Winter Conferences. This is an opportunity for us to meet without your child in order for me to share their report card.

           DATES:  February 4, February 5, February 10, and February 11
           PLACE:  Room 306
           REGISTRATION DEADLINE:  End of day 2 days before each conference day

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

At that link, you will be asked for your Entry Code, where you should enter: B03174470

If none of these spots work for you, please let me know and I will be happy to find another time that fits.

Best Regards, 
Mrs. Fier