2020-2021

  • You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

    --Winnie-the-Pooh

Mr. Quisling's Online 4th Grade

  • Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet

Classroom News

  • Conference Thank You! 10/25/2020

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 10/25/2020

    Hello Parents and Coaches!

    Thank you all for meeting with me to discuss goals at your child's conference. I enjoyed all of them!

    In addition to the goal setting, you gave me a ton of information about your and your child's experience so far and several ideas to think about as we continue through the school year.

    I'm hoping you all will join me at the coaches/parents meeting Thursday at 4:00.

    Thank you again for supporting your child and me!

    Have a terrific week!

    - Mr. Q.

    Comments (-1)
  • Thoughts About Writing 10/16/2020

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 10/16/2020

    Let's talk about kids and writing.

    I posted the kids' first narratives on the "Project Gallery" page, and I really hope you have a chance to read and enjoy.

    Like painting, drawing, and all forms of art, writing is creative. When we first pick up a brush and dip it in some paint, who knows what will happen? If we manage to paint something and those around us are critical and judgemental, we might never try that again! That's why you often hear adults say things like, "Oh art just isn't my thing. I guess I just don't have the art gene!" Not that everyone can achieve what Van Gogh or Picasso did, but we can all paint, and paint well, if we're willing to try and learn from each effort, and if we are encouraged by those around us.

    Writing is no different. When kids have the freedom and encouragement to create, there are no limits to what they can achieve. Like any art, writing in all its forms can become a lifelong pursuit. You know if you write. We never stop learning.

    Conversely, if we focus too much on the "correctness" of kids' writing, many of them get stuck and unwilling to take risks.

    For the kids' first writing project, a story from the perspective of an object, they weren't given a whole lot of detailed instructions. There were given some guidance by me and by some pages in the ELA activity book, but for the most part they were given the opportunity to create whatever they wanted.

    For their second project, a personal narrative, there is a bit more guidance, but I hope not to the point of stifling their creativity or willingness to take risks with their writing. The first set of lessons are about the writing process up to the point of a first draft. Later there are some lessons about revising, editing, and proofreading after they write their first drafts.

    Let's celebrate what they have created so far, and let's encourage them as their journeys continue.

    Onward!

    - Mr. Q.

    Comments (-1)
  • Classroom Update 10/9/2020

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 10/11/2020

    Hello Families of Fantastic Fourth Graders!

    Take a look on the Student Project Gallery (link to the left) at the slides the kids made about Oregon Monuments. I enjoyed reading through them, and I'm sure you will too! I'm also finding myself thinking about our country's current struggles with monuments and who they might offend.

    The kids also wrote creative narratives from the perspectives of objects which will be posted on the Student Project Gallery page soon. I'll let you know when they are there for your enjoyment.

    We made solid progress on the K12 lessons this week. We're getting into the second units of ELA and Math Summits, and we worked on the first 2 lessons in Social Studies. I had a conversation with one of my student's parents about how much time students should be spending on the K12/FuelEd lessons. I don't have a definite answer for that, but I added a "Suggested K12/FuelEd Progress Benchmarks" section at the bottom of the Overview of the Week slide on our schedule. We're currenlty trying for one ELA and one Math lesson each day, and two Social Studies or Science lessons each week. A question I have about the benchmark guidance is, "How can I give pacing guidance without creating undue stress?" I also want everybody to know that it's OK to end the work for the day when coaches/parents think it's time.

    I had another conversation with parents about the amount of time we're all spending right now behind screens. There's a lot to think about along those lines, and I'm thinking that offline projects would sure benefit the kids, not to mention us adults. I know that the K12/FuelEd program has some opportunities for offline projects (like the Try It pages and mini-projects) and I'd like to emphasize the importance of those. I'd also like to "offline" other schoolwork along our journey this year. This week I'm giving the kids a "Scenes" project for them to draw and describe everyday scenes from their lives. It's technically in addition to their other work, but it's not that much and I think they will enjoy it. If it seems like too much, please let me know.

    Our academic focus this week, and the subject of live whole-group and small-group lessons, is on non-fiction reading in ELA, some fraction work in math, and our government along with citizens' rights and responsibilities in Social Studies. The kids also have a second narrative to begin writing this week.

    One more note, the kids' really seemed to enjoy their clubs on Friday. More about that and other opportunities for kids to interact with each other to come!

    Have a terrific week!

    - Mr. Q.

    Comments (-1)
  • Classroom Update 10/2/2020

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 10/2/2020

    Hello Families!

    It seems like many of the bumps we've experienced the first few weeks have smoothed out, and it seems like the kids are making progress with the K12/FuelEd lessons and the other things we've been working on.

    I think all coaches now have K12 login credentials. Please let me know if that is not true! We'll continue our Thursdays@4 coaches meetings each Thursday, at 4:00pm. Use the "Thursdays@4" link to join the meeting.

    The kids have had a lot to say about the Cinderella stories. They've wondered about the story appearing in most cultures around the world. They've pointed out themes of actions and consequences, jealousy, what beauty really is, and holding on to hope. In our language arts small groups this week, some kids wondered about and inferred what might have happened in the stepmother's past that turned her to the dark side. I've read that there is evidence that the Chinese story of Yeh-Shen might be one of the first "Cinderella" stories to appear in the world.

    This week's goal is to finish the first ELA unit and begin the next, including a short narrative that was part of the unit and a mini-project in lesson 1.13. More about the narrative and mini-project coming soon!

    For math this week we'll work on the end of unit 1 and begin unit 2. The work so far has been laying foundations for whole number multiplication and division, factors and multiples, place value and breaking numbers into parts, and comparisons with =, >, and < symbols. In our math small groups, we had some fun hashing out what to put in the blank in the following equation:

    4 x 5 = ___ + 3

    You might or might not be surprised that the most common first response was "20." By the end of our discussions, most had a more accurate understanding of what the = sign really means, and therfore realized what number really should fill the blank.

    The schedule for next week is up. There are things in it that might be changed/added to over the course of the week, but not the live meeting times. I'll do my best not to change those!

    As always feel free to reach out to me with questions/comments/ideas/concerns/...

    Until next time, have a terrific week!

    - Mr. Q.

    Comments (-1)

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