Ms. Poirier's Class

Norman E. Day School

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!





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

Study Habits & Social Skills


The Study Habits and Social Skills section of our report card can be very abstract for the students.  The language is really such that the habit or skill isn’t necessarily clear or a behavior of which they are aware.  As report cards come out this week, we spent a bit of time on Monday translating each of these Habits/Skills into easier language that makes sense within the workings our our class.  The attached document shows each of the report card qualifiers in bold.  Underneath, there is a bulleted list of statements to help students, and hopefully parents, determine what these Habits and Skills mean, in a practical sense.  As a class, we went over each and your student “scored” herself of himself on each qualifier.  The students were remarkably aware and incredibly honest in their reflective evaluation of their own habits and skills.  I was very impressed! On Friday, when the report cards are released, they will be taking home their self assessment.  This may serve as a great discussion point over that section of the report card.

December Update


It’s the most wonderful…and busiest time of year!  Here’s a few updates and happenings!

Holiday Celebration – Our holiday celebration is scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 22.  By then, I have no doubt the pending break and holidays will have the students fully charged up!  If you have an idea for a craft or would like to come in an assist with one, I welcome the help!  Please email me if you are interested.  On that day, students will be invited to bring in a snack of their choice to enjoy during our celebration.

Day Playground – As I am sure you have seen, the playground committee has been extremely busy and is doing its best to motivate folks and raise the funds for the playground.  A few new fundraisers have been introduced in the last couple of weeks:

1. Buy a Brick! – Purchase an engraved brick to line the path to the new playground!  The purchase is tax deductible, a great way  to commemorate and event or person, and will get us so much closer to having a playground for our kids! Please see the Buy-A-Brick website for more details.

2.  The 99 – On December 19, from 5:00-10:00, enjoy dinner at The 99 in Westford! 15% of your bill will go towards the playground fund!  Be sure to bring the voucher to show your server when seated so Day receives the donation!

3. Basket Raffle – The committee has put together 8 beautiful and well-stocked baskets for an awesome raffle.  The raffle tickets can be ordered by sending in the order form that designates where you’d like your tickets to go.  Or, you can go to the 99 on 12/19 and see the baskets for yourself and order then!  Here are the pictures and descriptions of the lovely baskets and here is the order form!

Math Assessment – The kids will be taking the Unit 3 Math Assessment on Thursday.  Today, the students participated in a self directed reviewed.  They were able to choose the concepts they wanted to practice and teachers were available for additional help and coaching.  The students did a remarkable job i with making decisions that would best help them.  They are coming home with some of the paperwork they practiced with.  If they have unfinished ones they’d like to work on,  the pictures of the answer keys for them to be able to check their work are at the bottom of this post.

Social Studies – We have begun our unit on immigration and are having a great time delving into many contributions of  various cultures to make the United States a truly unique place.  Ask your students about the Irish immigration experience and what it was like for an immigrant to come through Ellis Island!  Today, they began a partner project on immigrants from an assigned country.  They will be creating posters to celebrate the experiences of their assigned group.  Feel free to tell them about your family and immigration experience you or your ancestors may have had!

Science – We are taking a break.  In order to concentrate on our Social Studies curriculum for a bit, we will be taking a break from the science curriculum.  We will return to science with our study of Energy after the winter break.

Literacy – We have begun our study of fiction in reading and in writing!  Starting off with the plot structure of a narrative, the students are concentrating on identifying the climactic point in text and in small animated shorts.  So far, it has been a whole lot of fun; I can see the engagement level rising! Also, the kids have been writing quick creative narratives inspired by different pictures I have been posting in class.  When they walk into the room for writing and beg me to post a picture to write about, something is working!!



Finding Equivalent Fractions


In class today, we did a whole lot of work comparing and ordering fractions. We used many different strategies but spent a whole lot of time making sure we think about the fractions…  Many want to jump to finding common denominators but that isn’t the most thoughtful method and doesn’t strengthen your fractions muscle… On your homework tonight, use many strategies to tackle the ordering and comparing of fractions.  As a reminder, here is a strategy sheet of what we covered in class.  Make sure to give your fraction muscle some solid exercise!

Conference Notes


Thank you all for taking the time to meet with me about your child.  I know the conferences are only 15 minutes, but it was so nice to sit down with you and hear how 4th grade is going for your student and to hear your questions.  Here are just a few thoughts as I head out for the Thanksgiving break.

As requested, information on the activities the students complete during reading class has been added to the blog in the Reading Resources section.  Most folks were particularly interested in the reading journal and associated expectations which can be found there.

As announced, the science test is on 11/29.  The students are able to study with the checklist, their science notebook, and by accessing the TCI online materials.  The link is on the blog homepage and the sign in information is on the sheet in your child’s binder.  There is a “game” where the students can practice answering questions.  It is a one time only question game, but I will try and reset it a few times over the next several days for kids who may want to complete it more than once.

Safe travels for those of you heading out of town and Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Turkey Trot!


Here is our team picture from the very successful Turkey Trot!  We completed the course with a very respectable average of 29 seconds per a student!  Your children cheered for each other and competed admirably!  They also made their cup turkeys chirp the whole time.  They will be bringing these home today…you’re welcome 😉  The entry donations for the entire school are still being tallied but this will be a massive donation to the Westford Food Pantry.  Thank you to all who were able to donate.

Happy Thanksgiving!


November Update


The Earth’s Changing Surface unit exam was announced today.  The kids received a checklist to help them target their studying.  The test will be on Wednesday, November 29.  Throughout the unit, students have been putting notes into their science notebook to support the items on the checklist.  We also have several videos posted to our blog, in the science section to augment the learning done in class.  Please encourage your children to come to me with questions or concerns regarding the science test.

Unit 2 math exams went home for signature today.  Please review the test with your son or daughter.  We talked today about learning from our mistakes so I am hoping they are able articulate where they may have gone wrong.  If they can do this, mistakes made take on immense value! 

The Book Fair is on Friday.  If your child will be purchasing items, they can certainly bring in cash or check.  Checks can be made out to Scholastic.  You may leave the amount blank, but write, in the note section, “Do not exceed $?.”  Please make sure that cash or check is in a bag or envelope labeled with your child’s name.  It is very difficult to place the $10 bill found on the hall floor with its rightful owner!

Next Wednesday, the fourth graders will be taking part in the Turkey Trot relay races! As part of this very silly, fun event, Mrs. Claycomb is asking that each child who is able bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the food drive.  Additionally, we have been challenged by Mr. Fligg and Mrs. Braga’s classes; they insist that they can bring in more food than our class and the other 4th grade classes.  As a team, we are working to prove them wrong!

I have received a few of the blue conference note forms back.  These are certainly optional but if you would like me to have advance notice of items you wish to address in our conference, please return the paper by Friday.

I think that is all for now…Phew!

Mummy Madness!


Take a look at your silly children wrapping each other up like mummies!  Thank you to Mrs. Tartarini for leading the craft project and helping us make our mummy luminaries 🙂

Quick Video of the Mummies- IMG_0005-1uwg91u





Day  School has purchased DreamBox Learning’s Math Program, an online, Intelligent Adaptive Learning(tm) program that helps all students achieve better, faster math proficiency. Your student can access DreamBox Learning from any computer, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using this link:  The DreamBox link is also available from our Math Game Sites on the right.
To access DreamBox on iPad, search for “DreamBox Math” in the App Store. Download DreamBox Math Green and DreamBox Math Blue to ensure your student has access to the full catalog of DreamBox Learning
Math lessons. When prompted in the app, use this School Code: 3aaq/y9rt

DreamBox is a great addition to the “at home” technology repertoire.  I can monitor student progress and adjust assignments as needed for each individual child.  It is truly adaptive and a great way to augment what is happening in the class.



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