Ms. Poirier's Class

Norman E. Day School

Field Day!


What a great day! As you will see by the pictures below, there were lots of smiles and scowls of concentration and determination.  Great teamwork and sportsmanship from all.  I bet many will sleep as well as I will!

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May Update


MCAS – ELA MCAS is behind us!  Next week, we will have Math MCAS testing on Tuesday(5/8) and Friday (5/11) and then we will be done! Again, students are well prepared for this test.  In school, we try not to treat this day as much different than the others.  Making a big deal out of these exams needlessly increases stress for those anxiety-prone. The tests are a small part of what a child can do on a particular day and at a specific time.  They are not the picture of the whole child.  That said, our curriculum is rigorous and covers the material to be found upon the MCAS; if they’ve been in school and have been relatively successful, they should not encounter any problems.

Talent Showcase – On Friday night is the first Day School Talent Showcase! Day School students, including 2 of our classmates will be showing their art work and performing on stage!  Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased hereTickets will not be sold at the door!

Field Day – Field Day is fast approaching.  This annual extravaganza, organized by Mrs. Claycomb would not take place without an army of volunteers.  If you can volunteer your time for all or a portion of the day, please consider doing so.  No athletic ability required! 😉  Volunteer here!

The Southwick Zoo – Speaking of volunteers, the 4th grade is scheduled to go to the Southwick Zoo on Monday, June 4. While permission slips have yet to go home, I wanted to put the idea out there.  I will need 2 parent chaperones for the zoo.  Chaperones must have fulfilled the CORI and fingerprinting requirements.  While CORI verification is closed for the year, fingerprinting is not.  If you haven’t been fingerprinted and want to be considered for the zoo, please do so ASAP! More information about the zoo and chaperones will be out sometime next week.

Distance Learning – The second part (writing portion) of the 4th grade Distance Learning Initiative is due on Friday, May 18.  I was so impressed with the level of research and dedication by the students to the project.  I am excited to see the final products and hear about the fascinating adaptations of all these animals!

Bean Jar – We had been having “a bit” of trouble being quiet in the hallways and quiet enough to hear bu announcements during dismissal.  Thus, we have resurrected the Bean Jar!  Each time we walk in the halls or maintain an appropriate volume during dismissal, scoops of beans will be added to the jar.  Once the jar is full, the class will be voting on a prize such as a pajama day, a movie, extra recess, etc.  Ask your child about the class’ progress and stay tuned for the full Bean Jar announcement.  The change on the last few days has been awesome!

Socially Conscious – This week, we have had the opportunity to tackle articles outlining various issues facing folks around the globe.  Yesterday we read about the conditions and lack of resources for schools at a refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya.  Today we read about how plastics are polluting the environment in a few different ways.  It is my hope that after looking at a few of these issues, the kids will be able to pick a cause to dedicate a bit of time and energy.  A lesson in citizenship, if you will.  Please ask your student to tell you about some of the surprising facts they have learned!



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April Update


Happy Spring!

Distance Learning Initiative – The 4th grader’s have received their Distance Learning information.  In our class, the students will be researching an animal of their choice!  I couldn’t believe the excitement around the class when I introduced this today; I expect great things with this enthusiasm!  All information found for this at-home project (mostly) can be found to the right on our Distance Learning Project page.  The students are also coming home with a packet outlining the important point and pieces.  Please contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.  I will post relevant questions on the blog so all families hear the conversation surrounding the project.

MCAS – The 4th graders are scheduled to take the ELA MCAS on Tuesday, April 24 and Friday, April 27.  The kids are well-prepared and should do just fine.  In class, we treat this as any other day as making a bigger deal just increases anxiety, which helps no one.  Truly, they should get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast, because these are always important, but the MCAS is nothing for any of these students to lose sleep over.  They will all put their best work forward and then we will continue on with the rest of the school day!

Wish List – Paper towels, tissues, and safe disinfectant spray or wipes (sorry, not Clorox or Lysol due to chemicals banned by the district) are always welcome and needed!  Unfortunately, hand sanitizer like Purel is not allowed…we have a wall mounted dispenser in the class for this purpose.

Wingmasters – On March 17, Jim Parks, a grade level favorite, came in to introduce us to the Wingmasters!  Jim is a wildlife rehabilitator working specifically with birds of prey.  On hand to show the students were the barred owl, a snowy owl, 2  screech owls, and a common kestrel falcon. He talked adaptations, habitat, diet, etc.  The students were entranced!  Thank you to the PTO for providing this awesome presentation! (Below are the very interested faces of the audience and Mr. Parks with a barred owl.)

Math – Wrapping up Unit 6 today and Monday!  Onto Unit 7 on Tuesday.  Unit 7 will cover multiplication of fractions (whole number x fraction only) extensive division, algebraic patterns, in depth word problems, among other things.  The Math MCAS dates for the 4th grade at Day are Tuesday, May 8 and Friday, May 11.

Writing – We are plugging away and nearly wrapping up our narratives.  I expect to send home finished copies just after vacation.  We move into persuasive writing next; be ready for your kids to convince you that they should have a later bedtime, a dog, or an iphone! 😉

Literacy – Literacy continues with guided groups and literature circles.  In class we are currently immersed in Greek Myths, which is always a crowd favorite.  Stay tuned for “stage productions” of our favorite myths!  This week we began our 2nd round of literature circles with a few changes.  Rather than biweekly, the students will be meeting weekly about their book.  This means that there will be less role sheets, but more reading each week.  The kids seemed genuinely excited about their book choices.  Literature Circles will be held each Wednesday, thus reading and role sheets will be due each Wednesday.  Role Sheets are available in class and on the Literature Circle page, if needed.

Content – We are moving into the Midwest section of the United States and are going to wrap up energy with electricity and sources of energy (finally!).  A Southeast Exam is coming home today.  The grade report is attached to the back.  This exam was conducted in parts.  We practiced using our resources to find answers and wrote the Trail of Tears essay together to practice our paragraph writing. Your children were immersed in the content when we covered it in class.  A review of the material and practice finding answers to many of the trivia-like questions was a perfect way to use their researching skills!


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Help! Partial Quotients


Last week, our math class began work on Unit 6, the 4th grade division unit.  During this unit, the students will learn how to break down increasingly large numbers using various division strategies.  We begin with extended facts and our knowledge of multiplication to solve division problems (Home Link Link 6.3). Later, the students will be introduced to and—for a time—held to the Partial Quotients division method.

Partial Quotients, though new to most parents and adults, is an efficient and extremely useful tool for your student.  This introduction to division requires that the students build on their recently honed multiplication skills and fully understand the function of the division process.  Though it has set steps, it is not a rote, memorized algorithm.  We will begin using the Partial Quotients algorithm in class beginning this week.

I ask that, though it will be difficult, you resist the urge to teach your student the traditional, long division method.  They will be asked to use Partial Quotients in class.  Jumping between the two, especially to those just learning division, can be extremely confusing and frustrating.  Please note that your student will have the opportunity to work with the long division in class, towards the end of the unit.  It should also be noted that the district math guidelines mandate that the long division algorithm be taught to mastery by the end of 6th grade.  A 5th grade math unit spends an ample amount of time using the student’s knowledge of Partial Quotients to transition to Long Division.

I understand and applaud your efforts to help your fourth grader through his/her math homework; I do not want to leave you in a lurch.  To that end, I have included a few ways to guide you through the Partial Quotients method.  Being sent home on Monday, 3/12  is a step-by-step sheet outlining the Partial Quotients process.  Also, below, I have posted 3 quick videos demonstrating the Partial Quotients method.  Please let me know if I can be of further help!

Partial-Quotients Division Method: Demonstration Videos:

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One Book, One School


What a great way to start a week!  This morning, Mrs. Ford, Molly’s mom, was kind enough to come in and help us with our One Book, One School kick off!  Mrs. Ford showed up with a gift wrapped box for the class and after a little drum roll, revealed, The Adventures of a South Pole Pig as the novel chosen for this awesome initiative!  Each child received their book and Mrs. Ford read the first chapter aloud.  She went over the whole program with the class, stressing that is a book to read and enjoy together!  Each night, there will be 2-3 short chapters assigned to read from this book.  Every student and staff member, and hopefully their families, will be reading together.  Tonight, we’ve been asked to read chapter 2.  Here is where you come in…we really, really want to make this a family affair! We are hoping you can find the 10-15 minutes to read this chapter with your son or daughter. You can read, they can read, or you can take turns!  Whatever you both decide!  Siblings can be involved, grandparents are welcome, and even some pets will be great listeners!  If you can’t read with your child every night, please try for at least a few nights! It will make the program much more meaningful for your child!

The entire schedule of reading (sent home on a purple sheet on Monday 3/5) is here.  These are the assignments for this week:

  • Monday: Chapter 1, (pgs. 1-9) & Chapter 2, (pgs. 10-15)
  • Tuesday: Chapter 3, (pgs. 16-20), Chapter 4, (pgs. 21-25), and Chapter 5, (pgs. 26-29)
  • Wednesday: Chapter 6, (pgs. 30-39) & Chapter 7, (pgs. 40-47)
  • Thursday: Chapter 8, (pgs. 48-58) & Chapter 9, (pgs. 59-65)
  • Friday: Chapter 10, (pgs. 66-75)
 Also, I highly encourage you or your child to post your comments, questions, or just thoughts in general here, attached to this post.  Maybe we will get a whole conversation going!

Happy Reading!

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Literature Circle Announcement


The One Book, One School program kicked off today and there is a fair amount of reading expected at home.  Because I do not want to take away from the OBOS program and so as to not overwhelm the students, I will be moving the literature circle work, for this round, into our literacy blocks.  I will give the children ample time to complete each assignment within the confines of the school day so as to not overload the evenings.  Thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we accommodate the fantastic program that is One Book, One School.

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Quick Update


Hi Everyone.  Just a few updates for today:

Tomorrow is the Unit 5 math exam.  Students made choices as to where they felt they needed practice or guidance.  Many brought home choices they did not get to or finish in class.  The answers for each of these can be found in the Math Corner.

Today we began our first official round of literature circles.  The kids seemed quite excited!  Here is a link to information regarding our literature circles, including information the kids received today and copies of worksheet materials and schedules.

Living Lab on Thursday!  All about energy!

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What a Week!


It has been an incredibly busy week in 115 and at the Day School!  Here are a few of the headlines:

Mosaic Project – What a ball! I feel so fortunate that we were all involved in this awesome project.  Thank you so much to those parents that were able to come in and volunteer.  Below are a few of the pictures I was able to take during our 2nd mosaic work day.  On Wednesday, the finished products were unveiled to the whole community and they look amazing.  Please stop by the cafeteria to see all 6 pieces in their new home.  Also, check out the Lowell Sun’s article of the unveiling ceremony and the whole project! (In one photo, Isabella is turned to look at the camera in her #87 shirt…she is easy to identify in a few others…her classmates will be sitting in a line with her! In another photo, Eesha is representing the Student Senate and helping unveil a panel…Click through the 5 pictures posted on the Sun site. On the 5th picture, click on “Additional Gallery Images” for a look at the finished panels.)


“Soup-er” Bowl Week – This week, Day School collected more than 2,200 items for the Westford Food Pantry!  Our class came up with more than 80 items; thank you to those that were able to participate.  Along with the soup drive, we had crazy hair day (and it was CRAZY!), PJ day, and Patriots Spirit day.  Below are a few pictures of some of the crazy hair in our class and our energy collision experiments in pajamas!

Math – We are plugging away at Unit 5 which concerns fractions and, later, angle measurement.  Unit 4 and the Mid Year are all corrected…Unit 4 will come home for signature on Monday.  The Mid Year score sheet will also come home, though, being a district benchmark test, I am not allowed to send the actual exam home.  If you would like to stop in to see the exam, let me know.  I will also have them available for you to see at the March conferences.

Writing – We continue our work with narrative writing.  We got to read the group stories that they had been working on for a little over a week.  There are always things that can be addressed but the class, as whole, did a fantastic job building the tension in the story to the eventual climactic point.  They have taken the story structure lessons to heart!  Also this week, the students were given a comic strip like picture with no dialogue on it.  They had to imagine the story to go along with it.  Most are in the planning stages but this will be a challenge as they must write from a 3rd person narrative view…they cannot be the main character OR the one telling the story.  They were psyched about the challenge so I can’t wait to see what they turn out!

Reading – In conjunction with our writing unit, we are reading fiction text and discussing character traits and the arcs of a character, point of view and perspective of storytelling, and literary theme.  In addition, we are still in the introductory stages of literature circles.  The whole class is reading Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing.  At the conclusion of these introductions, the kids will be choosing their literature circle books and will have a much larger role in group discussion in a book club-like setting.  I am very much looking forward to this level of reading work; they are ready for it and are embracing it!

Science – As you may have seen by the pictures above, we are involved in our energy unit.  Right now, the kids are working with kinetic energy and the transfer of energy after a collision.  Later, we move into sound, light, thermal, and electrical energy.  The unit covers it all!

Social Studies – This week we began our tour of the Southeast…With Cape Canaveral, the Everglades, and New Orleans on the tour list, the Southeast is one of my favorite regions to cover with students.  They get so into it!  Stay tuned for the lesson where we compare jazz, bluegrass, and delta blues music!

Now if only we could stop having snow days and delays so we cab get through some of this stuff!!

Valentine’s Party – We will be having a Valentine’s party on the afternoon on Feb. 14.  Valentine Day cards are optional; if your child wishes to pass out cards please ensure they have one for each student (I attached a list of names to the email update about the blog post, dated 2/2/2018).   Your child should bring a single-serving treat of their choice (in addition to their daily snack).

Book Orders – I sent home a book order today, 2/2.  I am hoping to have all orders in by 2/8/2018.  I am making this a quick turnaround so I can ensure delivery by vacation.  To order online, click here.  Use code H4FBQ, if prompted.

Have a great weekend!  Go Patriots!

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January Update


Hello Everyone!  Happy New Year to you all.  It has been a very strange month with sicknesses and snow days but we are starting to settle back into our routine…just in time for a 4 day weekend!  Here is an update of some of the happenings in 115:

Math – We are at the halfway point in out math curriculum!  We will test Unit 4 next week on Wednesday.  Please see the Math Corner for review information.  Before we move onto Unit 5, it will be time for the students to take the mid year exam.  We will spend a few days reviewing the 1st half of the year before the assessment is given.  It is not expected that students cram for this test at home.  While they will bring home review materials and a bit of support and practice is always welcome, we do not need to put undue pressure on any student!  This test will not be a factor in determining accelerated math.  Unit 5, which focuses largely on fractions, angles, and line plots.

Reading – Beginning the week of January 22, I will be introducing literature circles to the group.  Literature circles are a great shift in our reading curriculum.  While we will still be participating in guided groups, vocabulary, etc., we will be making room for literature circles which is a lot like participation in a book club.  Students will be reading awesome novels, with some choice in what they read, and engaging in rich discussion sessions about the books.  This will entail reading and written preparation at home.  We will thoroughly go over this in school, but a fair warning that the overall homework amount will be increasing slightly.

Writing – In conjunction with our study of fiction in reading, we are dissecting the format of a story from rising to falling action.  The kids have done an awesome job finding the climax of a story and figuring out the events that get the characters there.  With this knowledge, we have begun to plan out short stories that unveil a problem, build tension, and eventually find resolution.  As I had hoped all the students seem engaged and are itching to put their many ideas to the page!

Science – Today, we began our next science unit with a quick hit on discussing the scientific method.  We discussed the differences between a control and a variable and how to properly conduct a test.  We planned out an actual experiment and on Wednesday, will conduct our tests.  This quick hit on the scientific method will prepare the students for an energy unit, which I intend, will be heavy on running experiments. After our brief experiment, we begin our study on potential and kinetic energy.

Social Studies – Our next stop in our tour of the United States regions is the Southeast.  We learn about the Everglades, jazz and bluegrass music, the settlement of Jamestown, and the history of segregation.

Other – As you may have seen, the Day School is welcoming Lizz Van Saun of Kast hill Studio as our artist in residence during the week of Monday, Jan. 22 – Friday, Jan. 26.  With her guidance, the Day School will  create a community mosaic project with the help of the entire student body, faculty, staff, and parent volunteers. Thank you so much to those of you that have already signed up!  We will figure out how this works together! It does look like we have 1 more open slot on each of our scheduled times: Wed., 1/24 at 10:40 and Fri., 1/26 at 12:55. Click HERE if you’d like to volunteer for one!



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Today, we were having a great time using this interactive map to look at immigration trends in the United States over the last 100+ years.  Take a look!  Think about why folks are immigrating from their country at that time…or why they’re not.  Think about why they may have settled in a particular part of the United States, over other parts. If there is “no data available,” why could this be? Have fun!

New York Times Immigration Explorer

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