Help with Multiplying and Dividing Decimals
Apr 30th, 2012 by jonmoss

Multiplying and dividing decimals can be tricky! Here is a tutorial video that I put together to help kids work through both operations.

sMILES for Sandy
Apr 26th, 2012 by jonmoss

Kate’s Fun Run and Walk works to raise money for clinical cancer research at St. Francis Hospital.  Mrs. Sandy Jarem, our valued and beloved school secretary, is a cancer survivor, and the sMILES for Sandy team from PGS works to raise money for this worthy cause in her honor each year.  Traditionally, the team has been made of PGS staff members, but this year, we are thrilled to invite the entire PGS community to join us!  To get more information and to register, visit our page at  The race is NEXT THURSDAY, MAY 3rd, at 5:30PM.  Please consider joining us!  Same-day registrations are accepted at Elizabeth Park.  It’s a beautiful path, a fun afternoon, and a terrific cause!  You can also check our class’ fundraising efforts by checking the widget on the top-left of this page.

Apr 26th, 2012 by jonmoss

Please wear your blue, PGS Gr. 4 signature t-shirts tomorrow!  We will take the fourth grade photo on the playground.  Thank you!

Help with Summarizing Articles
Apr 26th, 2012 by jonmoss

Good evening!  This summary of our week’s work with expository articles may be helpful to you this evening.

Creating a Thesis Statement
Apr 23rd, 2012 by jonmoss

In school today, we read an article about the American auto industry’s recovery after severe troubles many years ago.  When I asked the students what the article was about, there were any number of possible answers:  cars, the car industry, the US auto industry, the economy, etc.  When the question changed to “What was the main idea of the article?”, the answer had to be more precise.  After all, saying that the main idea of the article was “the US auto industry” isn’t reasonable because “the US auto industry” is a topic, not a main IDEA.  Students learned about the idea of a thesis statement and that it has some specific rules:

    • …is a full sentence.
    • …includes one broad, general fact that represents the article (as a whole).
    • …is a statement that explains what you’ll learn from reading the article.
    • …does NOT start with things like “You will learn…” or “This is about…” or “The main idea is…”
    • …does not use TTQA (turn the question around).
    • …can work as a TOPIC SENTENCE that begins an article.

With respect to the article about the auto industry (which the kids brought home in their Weekly Reader), we created four different thesis statements that all fit the guidelines:

  • The economy is improving business for U.S. cars.
  • The car companies in the U.S. are profitable now.
  • The U.S. car companies are recovering after a few tough years due to a bad economy.
  • In 2004, U.S. car companies were losing profits, but now, their profits have gone up again.
Each of these thesis statements synthesizes information from the article to present one general statement about the message of the whole article.  (Adults, I understand that my definition of a thesis statement differs from scholarly uses of thesis statements, but this works as an introduction for kids.)
Tonight’s homework asks the students to create a shorter thesis statement for the article “Small Wonders”, which is about tiny frogs.  Kids should use the same guidelines that we used to create a joint thesis statement in class.  We will share the kids’ ideas tomorrow.
(As an aside, I will be out of school tomorrow to stay home with a sick toddler! :-(  See you Wednesday, hopefully!)
Animal Research Project – Part 2
Apr 23rd, 2012 by jonmoss


Two weeks ago, you were assigned to download a Microsoft Word document and to choose certain animals to research for a joint project in the computer lab and art class.  I hope you saved the document, because your new assignment is to answer some of the questions about your animal.  DUE THURSDAY MORNING, your assignment is to complete page two of the document  by researching your animal on the eNature website and answering some of the questions about your animal.  You can type your responses into the document, or, if you are having issues loading the document properly, I have prepared a version that you can print and complete on paper.  Remember, you MAY NOT put down information that you do not fully understand.

If you need to download the worksheets, click here for the one you can type into, and click here for the one you can print and complete on paper.  (If you use the version that you print and complete on paper, please notice that the questions actually start on page ONE.)  Click here to go to the eNature website.


In class today, we discussed how to complete the questions on the second page of the worksheet.  The language in the articles on the eNature website can be advanced, and we looked at an article about the Gray Wolf to see that some facts may be initially unclear.  Our rule in class is that by signing a paper, which includes writing your name on top, students are pledging that they “stand by” their work.  When facts are copied without being understood, students cannot stand by their work.  I encouraged students to complete this part of the assignment with an adult at home, in case some parts of the articles are unclear.  Students may use other online sources AS LONG AS an adult is sitting with them to make sure they are visiting safe websites.  If you are helping your fourth grader, consider limiting your role to helping him or her to understand the article so that he or she can answer the questions on the worksheet independently or nearly independently.  As always, feel free to email me with any questions that you may have.

We need your help with Earth Day supplies!
Apr 10th, 2012 by jonmoss

(A note from your fourth grader:)

Dear Families,

Earth Day is coming up, and each class is going to decorate their door.  Mrs. Cohen organized an Earth Day contest, and the best door will win!  We need your help with the materials.  At least 50% of the materials we put on our door need to be reused or recycled, so we are trying our best to find pieces of recycled materials that we can use.  Here is a list of things we need for our door:

  • Two medium bags of potting soil
  • Fishing line
  • Three rolls of green duct tape
  • Three rolls of brown duct tape
  • Empty yogurt cups, particularly Chobani-brand cups (Please make sure I wash it before I bring it in.)
  • Any small or medium-sized clear or see-through container, even if it is colored.
  • Paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls
  • Old newspaper (color or black and white)

Please email Mr. Moss before buying the potting soil, fishing line, or duct tape, because we don’t want to have too much.  (It is an Earth Day contest!  We don’t want to waste stuff.)

If I (your son or daughter) find something else that could be useful, maybe you will let me bring it in, as long as I ask for permission first.

After we get the yogurt cups and containers and the potting soil, I will ask you if I can bring in a few weeds from the yard.  Don’t worry if you don’t want me to disturb the lawn; we should have enough if I can’t bring in any.  If you let me pick out weeds, please make sure that I pull them out with the roots still attached and that I pull them out in the morning so that they don’t die before I bring them to school.

We need to have all the materials in by this Thursday, if possible, so that we can plant our weeds on Friday.

Thank you for your support!


-Your fourth grader

Animal Research Project
Apr 9th, 2012 by jonmoss

For homework, please access the “Planning Worksheet” (below).  Here are the special directions.

  1. Open the Planning Worksheet in Microsoft Word and enter your name, teacher, and room number.
  2. Then, follow the directions on the page and choose your animal to research AFTER looking through several choices on the eNature website.  (Have a few backup choices in mind in case your first choice animal isn’t available.  We want to have as many different possible animals selected as possible.)
  3. Make good choices!  Don’t just pick an animal without looking on the website.  In order to make an INFORMED decision, you need to look at several choices!
  4. Save the document on your home computer, because you will need to continue working on it another time!
  5. Print out the first page and bring it to school.


Download the Planning Worksheet here: Planning Worksheet

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© and Room 209 Class Website by Jon Moss is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Best viewed with Mozilla Firefox.
Skip to toolbar