Ms. Poirier's Class

Norman E. Day School

Partial Quotients Division


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.  Attached, please find a step-by-step sheet outlining the Partial Quotients process.  Also, below, I have listed 3 YouTube videos demonstrating the Partial Quotients method.  I will also post a link to my blog so you have easy access to these three videos.

Partial-Quotients Division Method: Demonstration Videos

Please let me know if you have any questions!


Another March Update


Hi Everyone!

Report cards are now available through your Parent Portal account.  Click here to sign in.

Today we celebrated World Down Syndrome Awareness Day!  We watched a couple of great informational videos, had some awesome discussion, and created crazy socks, which is one way to get people talking about WDSD!  Check out our funky socks!

I sent home homework that is scaffolding our division unit.  I am asking parents to avoid showing your son or daughter the long division algorithm for the time being.  The letter explains a bit more.  Next week, we will be learning an entirely different algorithm.  I will supply you with videos and directions to the algorithm so you don’t feel helpless in helping your child.  For tonight, here is a video that may help.  It is done quickly and will lack the background of where we have been with this, but again, it may help.

Parent-Teacher Conferences are Monday and Tuesday!  No school for the students on Monday and a delayed open for them on Tuesday.  Please email me if you have specific questions or concerns you would like addressed at conferences; I will make sure to have an answer!  I look forward to seeing all of you!

2019 Talent Showcase

Come enjoy a fun night out at Day School!  See you talented classmates sing, dance, and perform for the crowd!
Friday night at 6:00
Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at the Day PTO page!  Click here for more information about the Talent Showcase, including a list of performers!

Mini March Update


Conferences – Conference forms went home with students today.  Please return theses ASAP so I can schedule and get back to you in a timely manner.  Also, if you feel your child is meeting the 4th grade standards and you have no specific questions, you may opt out of the conferences; they are not required. Conferences will be held Monday, March 25 from 2:00-8:00 (no school for students) and Tuesday, March 26 from 7:45-9:45 (delayed open for students).

Report Cards – Report Cards will be available vie the Parent Portal on Thursday, March 21 at 4:00 PM.

Literature Circles (Volunteer Opportunity!) – Our first official round of Literature Circles begins tomorrow.  We are fortunate to have Mr. Sardella, Mrs. Butterline, Mrs. Bransfield, and Mrs. Czado joining us in our book discussions for this round.  Literature Circles typically run Tuesday or Wednesdays from 10ish to 10:30ish and will run for 4-6 weeks.  Volunteers would need to be able to commit to the whole cycle, read the books outside of school (like the kids), and come to the group ready to chat about the book. Think of it as a book club!  If you are interested in volunteering for the next round of literature circles, beginning in April, please email me.


Cumulative Review


The answers to the cumulative review, worked on today in class, can be found in the Math Corner.

Test Date Update


A slight change to the previously announced testing schedule:

The Unit 4 Exam in Math will be on Wednesday, 1/30.

The Math Mid Year will be on Thursday, 1/31.

January Update


The Pillowcase Project – Today, our class had the opportunity to sit through a presentation by The American Red Cross called, “The Pillowcase Project.”  Folks from the Red Cross came to talk about disaster preparedness.  Part of the hour was dedicated to fire safety and the importance of knowing escape routes and having an emergency meet spot.  Hopefully, your students came home to engage their own families about these important steps.  The rest of the hour was spent talking about how to be prepared in the case of immediate evacuation for something other than fire.  A few children talked about the recent gas leaks and explosions as evidence of needing to be prepared.  I want to assure you that though we were circling around rather serious, often scary topics, the discussion was mostly kept lighthearted and positive.  I do want to say that I was extremely proud of my students.  The presentation wasn’t always exciting or engaging but they did an awesome job of staying focused, and most important, stayed respectful of the ladies giving the presentation.  They were so well-behaved and I did let them know that they were a credit to themselves during the presentation.

Class Spelling Bee – Next week, on Monday, January 28, we will hold our class spelling bee to determine who we will send to the school wide bee.  An email regarding the school wide bee, practice spelling lists, etc. was sent home from on January 10.  Please email me if you’d like me to forward that email along again.

Math Mid Year – We have reached the midway point in the school year and in our math curriculum.  That means…it’s time for the mid year benchmark.  This math assessment will cover material from the first half of fourth grade.  Our curriculum spirals so we haven’t left any of the concepts for too long.  Also, we will be conducting focused review in each math class for the next few days.  The Unit 4 math exam will be held on Wednesday, January 30.  The midyear exam will be held on Thursday, January 31.  For those looking to study, reviewing material a little bit each day is fine, but isn’t necessary.  This is not a mid-term exam like in the older grades; this won’t make or break your child’s year, but provide data on where they are and need to go within the curriculum.  Also, I have put focused games here on the blog to target specific concepts that the students will see on the exam.

Literature Circles – We are midway through Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  I noticed many scrambling to get their reading assignments completed when they get to school in the morning.  Please help me in making sure your son or daughter is getting his/her reading done before it is due.  With this book, they will be assigned 8-10 pages due once a week.

Book Order – The latest book order opportunity will go home tomorrow.  Book orders are due to by 3:00 PM on Friday, February 1.  Our class code is H4FBQ.

Multiplication Facts – Some students are truly struggling with the memorization of their multiplication (and division) facts.  I am not a fan of memorizing for memorizing sake but not knowing math facts in an automatic way is really hurting some of the students.  Everything we do in math requires students to know their math facts really well; some are struggling with many concepts due to this weakness.  Next week, with about 1/2 the class, we will begin a new math facts initiative.  More information will come home on Monday with your student, but basically, they will be completing daily multiplication activities and will be required to get checked by someone at home.  It will not be every student, but it will be many.

Reading Logs – Completion of reading logs, and I suspect the reading too, has fallen off for many students.  Please make sure your son or daughter is getting to their reading at least a few days per the week and logging it into Bookopolis.  They cannot improve in reading unless they read.



Literature Circles


This morning, the class began our trek into literature circles.  Different from reading groups where we read smaller text to target specific skills and concepts, literature circles is the time when we read novels and come together to discuss our reading in a semi open-ended format.  True literature circles, where students have a choice in the books they are reading, will not begin until after February break.  Right now, we are introducing Lit. Circles to go over the routines and expectations with the lit. circle sheets and how we discuss books in class.  For this introductory period, each student will be reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  In class, we will read the odd-numbered chapters and I will model the completing of parts of the literature sheet with each chapter.  The students will then read the next (even-numbered) chapter independently and complete the assigned piece of the lit. circle sheet on their own.  While time will be given in class each week, it will be impossible for student’s to complete the entirety of the assignment at school; at home time will be essential.

In class we read Chapter 1 today and students received a “sample” lit. circle sheet (clipped in their binder).

After, they were assigned Chapter 2 and the Summary (yellow sheet) to be due on Thursday.  I have guaranteed that I will give them 30 minutes in class tomorrow to work on this assignment. (Mrs. Creighton and I will be assisting many students to make sure they are feeling confident in their reading and with their summary.)

If you would like to read along with your child and discuss the book, please feel free to do so.  The literature circle sheet should be done entirely by your son or daughter.  If they are unable to get through it, please send me an email so I may address that concern.

Math Today


Today in math the students were introduced to the Partial Products Multiplication strategy.  This looks a whole lot  like the traditional method at the start but changes quickly.  To help you help your student, here are a few short videos that explain the process:

Partial Products Strategy 1

Partial Products Strategy 2



Hello! Happy New Year to you all!  We have begun the first full week of the new year and we are off to a roaring start.  Big math, literature circles, and the reemergence of science all highlight the month of January in 118.  I will send a more comprehensive update later, but wanted to give you an important heads up about math…

Moving Forward with Large Multiplication

First, the students are beginning to tackle larger multiplication.  For a number of wonderful reasons that will bore you to tears, we cover several different methods of larger multiplication that may seem unnecessary to parents.  (When I was in school, we learned to multiply one way; that is not the case anymore.). Please trust that the way we unveil this truly benefits the student in the long run.  To that end, I ask you, if they do not already know the traditional algorithm (the way you and I would most likely multiply), please do not teach them.  Please try and support their progression through the steps we take in class.  Today we covered single digit x double/triple digit multiplication using the “partitioning” method.  That is the method your sin or daughter will have to do on their homework tonight.  They all seemed to feel very comfortable with it, but just in case they…or you…would like demonstration, see the video in the Math Corner.

Factors Challenge and Parent Involvement

Second, I gave out a “Finding Factors Challenge” today.  I want to give the kids a bit more time to work on some very important skills; but, make no mistake…finding factors of 300 is a challenge.  As the kids embark on this, I want to preemptively address a few concerns:

One of the first questions a student asked was, “can my parents help me?”  The question was asked by a very strong math student and my gut instinct was to immediately say, “no.”  This is because I want the students, especially those who tend to be stronger at math to feel the discomfort of the struggle.  For so many kids, they jump to seek immediate help because if it is hard, they instantly think, too hard.  They aren’t comfortable with the difficult, so give in too soon.  For those kids, the ones who do not often have math troubles,  I ask you to allow them to struggle, within reason.

For those students that do not approach math with confidence or who frequently struggle, please do help (also within reason ;).  Better yet, encourage them to see me during our morning work time for a hint.  I’d be happy to steer them in the right direction.  (If you are helping, we are NOT doing long division to find factors, nor are we using divisibility rules; these will boggle the mind of some of the strugglers!)

Math Homework and…Parent Involvement (there’s a theme!)

From many students, homework is being turned in that cannot be replicated in class.  In other words, a student’s homework comes back perfect and he/she is unable to be successful with the same concept the very next day.  My sense is that many are getting too much help from home or, in some cases, the after school program.  Helping your student is well-meaning and admirable.  I do not want you to abandon that endeavor.  But, I absolutely need to know the degree of help your son/daughter received.  Also, for some families, checking homework can mean checking to make sure it is done, but not necessarily to make sure it is done correctly.  I will certainly do that and the information I get from analyzing mistakes is more valuable than not.

Thank you for reading until the end!  I will step off my soap box now 🙂



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