End of 2017-2018 School Year


Adapted Fairy Tales:

The children learned how to adapt an original fairy tale by changing the characters, setting, and/or point of view the story is told from. Their stories were super creative and turned out amazing! Check out these titles:




At the beginning of the school year I challenged every student to read at least 30 books throughout the school year! Everyone did a fantastic job. Some kids read well beyond 30 books. Congratulations to All! I hope everyone continues to read at least 30 minutes a day this summer.

30 Book Challenge Participants:

60 Book Challenge Participants:

90 Book Challenge Participants:

April 9, 2018

Social Studies:

This week the children begin learning about the Westward Expansion. Our classroom will be transformed into the Oregon Trail. The desks will be covered wagons. The children will have to make some tough decisions as they travel the Oregon Trial and learn about this difficult yet important time in history. Below are a few pictures from our field trip to The Grove to pack our wagons.


This week we will be formally starting our fraction unit. During the PARCC testing weeks I introduced a few fractions games the kids will play during rotations.


The children learned about different traits of species. They learned how to analyze skulls to determine whether the animal is a herbivore, a carnivore, or an omnivore. They also learned how to determine whether the animal is a mammal or reptile, amongst other things.


The children are writing a persuasive essay on a topic of choice. They are learning how to structure their paragraphs by starting with a topic sentence or big bold statement, then adding a reason to support their statement, followed by an example or explanation, then last reminding the reader of their opinion again.


The children participated in a text set study on Sharks. They were asked the questions: “Are sharks terrorizing killers or an endangered species that needs to protected?” They read several different articles about sharks to find what they believed to be the answer. During this study the kids learned how to decipher important details from interesting details and they learned how to determine the main idea of a text.


February 12, 2018



On Thursday, I finished reading Wonder By: R.J. Palacio to the class. This was such a great book about the power of kindness. As I read this book to the class we discussed the importance of always being kind and how our beauty shines from the inside. I also used this book to teach the kids about Character Motivation and its affect on the plot.

I carried the lessons on Character Motivation over into their small reading groups. As the children read, I want them to stop and reflect on what the character did and why they did it. What do their actions say about their character and how does knowing this help them understand the plot in a deeper/alternative way?

Writing: Information Writing 

The children continue to work on their information writing. They are expected to write an informative paper about a topic they know well. I have used different mentor texts to introduce the skill of balancing fact and opinion. Also, the children have been exposed to different creative leads for their papers. Their papers are coming along nicely!

Math: Multiplication and Division

We will be starting the week finishing up the “Where’s the Unknown Task Cards” for Multiplication and Division scavenger hunt. Partners solve a task card by finding and modeling the total, the unknown group size, and/or unknown number of groups in multiplication and division equal group situations.

Later in the week the children will be problem solving using their knowledge of multiplication and division with liquid volume and mass.

Social Studies: Exploration and Settlement

We started our Exploration and Settlement unit January. The children have learned about the reasons for these voyages, the 4 G’s (Gold, Grasp, Gospel, and Glory). The children participated in a simulation to learn about the conditions on the ship, the food the explorers ate, and the jobs they had aboard the ship. Two weeks ago the children built ships with a group of students. They were responsible for including supplies they will need for their voyage.  Check out some pictures of the ship building below.


Important Dates:

February 14, 2018: Valentine’s Day Card Exchange

February 15, 2018: 9:00am District Choir Performance at Marie Murphy

February 19, 2018: No School- Presidents’ Day

February 23, 2018: Six Flag Reading Logs Due to the Library

February 25, 2018: Fun Fair

January 5, 2018

The last 2 months of 2017 have been action packed with lots of exciting learning taking place. I’m looking forward to

Math: Multiplication and Division Concepts: The children will be working with products and quotients of whole numbers and applying properties of operations to problem-solving situations. The children will uncover patterns within multiplication and division and use these to build fluency. The children will be working with properties (rules about how numbers work) of multiplication. The properties that children will be working with are the zero property of multiplication, identity property of multiplication, associative property, the commutative property, and the distributive property.

Knowing and Understanding Basic Multiplication Facts 0-12: The standards use the word fluently, which means accuracy, efficiency, and flexibility. When children are asked to know facts from memory, the focus must not be solely upon memorization. Students must have numerous and varied experiences working with manipulatives, pictures, arrays, and numbers to internalize the basic facts. By studying patterns in multiplication facts and relating multiplication to division, children will build a foundation for fluency with these facts. Some strategies children may use to attain fluency are listed below:

  • Doubles (2s facts), Doubling Twice (4s), Doubling three times (8s)
  • Tens facts (relating to place value, 5 x 10 is 5 tens or 50)
  • Five facts (half of tens)
  • Skip counting (counting groups of — and knowing how many groups have been counted)
  • Square numbers (ex: 3X3)
  • Nines (10 groups less one group)
  • Decomposing into know facts (6×7 is 6×6 plus one more group of 6)
  • Turn-around facts (commutative property)
  • Fact Families
  • Missing Factors

Science: The children have been learning about force and motion. The last part of the unit was about balanced forces. They saw different bridge design model and then they had to create their own bridge. Their bridge needed to be strong, and stable. They tested the strength of their bridges with weights and the stability of their bridge by making sure a model car could get across the bridge at least 4 times. I was very impressed with the different designs the children created. Pictures of final bridge designs are below.

Social Studies: When we return in January we will be starting our second social studies unit on Exploration and Settlement. The children will be learning about how people adapt and change as they move to new places. Exploration requires courage, perseverance, and innovation.

Writing: Information writing is our new unit of study. The children are expected to write an informative paper about any topic they know well. Before break the children learned how to organize their papers into chapters and how to add details. The children will continue to write these papers for the month of January.

Six Flag’s Reading Program: In order to get a free ticket to Six Flag’s Amusement Park, children need to log 6 hours of reading between now and 2/23/18.  When they are done reading 6 hours they need to get their completed log to Mrs. Geidner. The tickets usually arrive sometime in May. This is such a fun way to get those reading minutes accomplished and it goes hand-n-hand with our 30 Book Challenge.

Important Dates:

January 8, 2018: Return to School

January 15, 2018: No School- Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Science-Force Unit Pictures

Activity 1:

Scavenger Hunt

The children went on a scavenger hunt looking for pushes and pulls. They took pictures of their finds and I put them together in a book below. Click the link and view our book.

Is it a Push or a Pull?

Activity 2:

Sliders- Experimenting with eliminating friction.

Activity 3:

Vehicle Challenge- Create a vehicle that can go 100cm holding a weight, with one push.

Activity 4:

Vehicle Challenge: Step Improve- How can you improve your vehicle?


November 11, 2017


The children have been working on figuring out the area of rectangles and squares using square units as their measuring tool. Next, the students will explore the relationship between perimeter and area by analyzing what happens to perimeter as area increases or decreases and vice versa. We will be starting our unit on Multiplication and Division after Thanksgiving break.



In flexible reading groups and during read aloud, the children are thinking about characters. Characters help readers stay engaged while reading. Characters can become our friends, can help us learn about lives outside of our own, and can help us think differently about or better understand people in our own lives. Readers need to do the following work to better understand characters.

  • Infer character feelings, and synthesize change in those feelings.
  • Infer character traits, and synthesize multiple parts of the text to explain a change in traits.
  • Synthesize ideas about characters to articulate character interpretations of the plot.
  • To understand not only the main characters but also secondary characters.
  • Infer to explain relationships between characters.

Depending on each child’s level of readiness, they are learning different strategies to help them understand the characters to their fullest.


The children are finishing up their personal narratives in the next few weeks.

Social Studies/Science:

The students finished up their study of the Native American regions last week. Each group chose a way to present the information they learned to the class. I was very impressed with all the different presentation styles. Some groups presented with a google slide show. They explained what they learned as they showed pictures. Other groups presented the information they learned with a puppet show. There was lots of visual representation as they presented their information. I was very proud of everyone.

Our science unit on Force and Interactions started this week. The children experimented with force as they went around the school finding different items that required a push or a pull when they used them. They photographed items as either a push or a pull or perhaps both. Next week the children will learn about friction (the force that slows you down on a playground slide) and will investigate what materials slide best. Each partnership will be given a bag of materials to experiment with on cardboard slides in the classroom. Another friction investigation the children will be doing involves building K’nex cars.  Their challenge is to get their car to go 100cm on the carpet with a simple push.  They will be applying the engineering process as they create and redesign to improve their cars. This unit is so fun and engaging!


October 16, 2017



This week the children will continue to work on multi-digit addition and subtraction as they analyze and create different types of graphs. The following week they will continue to conquer this skill as they measure the distance around objects finding the perimeter.



In flexible reading groups and during read aloud, the children are working on monitoring their comprehension by doing activities that involve metacognition and schema. They are also working on building their reading stamina in conjunction with their own personal reading goal.



The children continue to add detail and voice to their personal narratives. They are also each working on their individual writing goal.

Social Studies:

The overall theme of our Native American unit is Adaptation and Change. The children continue to learn about different Native American regions/biomes (polar, desert, grassland, and woodland) through independent research.

Important Dates:

10/17: Math Experience Night

10/19: New Families Night

10/20: Picture Retake Day

10/24-10/26:  Book Fair

10/25 and 10/26: Parent-Teacher Conferences

10/31: Halloween Celebration

September 24, 2017

Social Emotional Learning: 

During our class meetings we discuss how mindset is such an intricate part of our learning. One quote I have hanging in our classroom follows:



The children continue to work on their multi-digit addition and subtraction skills to solve problems involving elapsed time, picture graphs and bar graphs, and perimeter.

Problems the children are currently working on involve real-life situations where they need to find the beginning time, the end time, or the elapsed time. These problems are complicated because the children are expected to set up the problem and then solve it based on the information given. Also, the problems involve computation of both hours and minutes. Next week, the children continue to work on multi-digit addition and subtraction as they analyze different graphs. They will solve one and two step problems involving picture graphs and bar graphs.

Social Studies:

Our Native American Unit kicks off this week with a look at the different Biomes the Native Americans lived in throughout the USA. The first few days the children will look at the different environments across our country to determine how they believe the Native Americans lived/survived. Later in the week, they will begin studying specific Native American Regions. They will be investigating their food, shelter, transportation, clothing, and location.

Wednesday 9/27/2017: The Spirit of the Eagle Presentation:

During this presentation students will learn how the Western Sioux people lived in their nomadic style of life. They will learn tipi etiquette, gender roles, decoration, the education of children and more.


Writing: The children started brainstorming “seed” ideas for their personal narratives. First, they brainstormed important people in their lives, along with stories about how they were impacted by them. Next, they will be brainstorming significant places in their lives. The purpose of these brainstorms is to help the children hollow out “seed” stories from their lives.

Words Their Way: Tomorrow is the beginning of the second week of study. Each night the children have homework to review their sorts. Please check out the homework tutorials linked here.  Please make sure they are physically maneuvering their words as they do the activities when applicable. They also need to be saying the words as they move them into different categories. The words need to sound the same and look the same in order for them to meet the criteria of the category.

Reading: I have been reading with each individual child to learn about them as a reader. I just started pulling different flexible groups last week.


At my daughter’s open house, her teacher gave us this research about how much daily reading affects reading achievement. Although, we all know the importance of daily reading, I thought these numbers were very impactful. I require children to read every night for 30 minutes. However, it is difficult to hold them accountable at school because I’m not there to see them read or read with them. The reading lottery tickets are a way to encourage children to read each night but this is not a full-proof system.  I know some nights get so busy and reading can slide right off the plate (like it does in my house with my own children) but it’s important to make sure your children are reading on the weekends and maybe a little extra on the quieter nights. Our partnership in this area is so important!


September 9, 2017

We did it! We have the first 2 weeks of school under our belt. We have spent a lot of time learning the routines as we build our classroom community. Below are some updates on what the children have been working on.

Team Building: Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 7.45.08 PM

Throughout the last 2 weeks, the children have participated in some team building activities.

One challenge was to create a podium to display our small school mascot, Victor the Viking. They had to build a podium that stood a foot tall and could withstand the weight of a small stuff animal viking using 100 index cards, a foot of scotch tape, and scissors. They had to come up with an idea together, that they felt would meet the challenge.


The children have been working on developing a growth mindset around math by using Jo Boaler’s Inspirational Math curriculum. The lessons teach children how to work well in groups, and how to look at numbers in different ways.  It also exposes them to different types of mathematical thinking, and a chance to link numbers, shapes, words, and algebra in an engaging way that requires the firing of different brain pathways.

I have also been introducing the children to different math games that they will be playing in our first unit of study and throughout the year.

Later in this upcoming week the children will begin work on our first unit of study.

They will be:

  • learning/reviewing telling time to the nearest minute
  • representing elapsed time on a number line
  • reading a table to solve elapsed time problems
  • graphing and answering questions about the graphs
  • measuring the perimeters of polygons using know and unknown variables



The last 2 weeks I have been observing and listening to children as they read and helping them fill their book boxes with ‘just right’ books.

During one observation I completed an engagement inventory. An engagement inventory is essentially a kid watching tool. I recorded what I saw for an entire independent reading period. I saw when a student reacted to a text.  I saw if a child finished reading one book before starting a new one.  I saw when a student became disengaged from a text. Engagement inventories help me understand what kids do as they are reading such as avoidance behaviors, distractibility, or signs of engaged reading.

“Without engagement you’ve got nothing.”
–Jennifer Serravallo

Words Their Way:

I have been guiding the children through our classroom routines and activities involved with the word study program. I will continue to engage children in the purpose of these activities as they practice different ways to sort the words and begin to see the connection between the sounds and patterns of the words.

We will formally start the program the week of September 18th. This is when parents will see the sorts come home for daily homework.


The children decorated their writer’s notebooks for inspiration. They are beginning to map out things that are important to them. Each day this week the children will have about 10 minutes to write about topics of interest. This is in preparation for their personal narrative unit, which they will start next week.


In science we began working on our Weather and Climate unit. This unit has been divided into two segments. The children are working on the first half now by making instruments to measure and observe different aspects of the weather. In class, the children are practicing reading thermometers and collecting temperature and climate data from Glenview. Next week, each child will be given a unique places in the world to collect data from for the school year. At the end of the school year we will use the data collected to communicate different weather and climate trends based on the Earth’s position and geographic features.  This is such a fun, hands-on unit.

Some important dates coming up in September are as follows:

  • Monday September 11, 2017: Reading MAP testing
  • Wednesday September 13, 2017: Math MAP testing
  • Thursday September 14, 2017: 5:00 pm – Ice Cream Social
  • Monday September 18, 2017: School Picture Day
  • Tuesday September 19, 2017: 6:30 pm – Math Night
  • Thursday September 21, 2017: No School