Room 9 Updates

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hi All,

This week 4th Grade will be celebrating the second writing project, our "Expert" Informational Writing. The kids will have a chance to read and celebrate work from all three classrooms, about the topics that interest them the most. In the last 2 weeks before break, our class will do a short fiction writing unit.

In math, we will continue working on Unit 3: fractions. Kids that are using the workbook at home can do any pages from the first 2 units, as well as the first couple of pages in the fraction section. Students also brought home their Unit 2 test last week, and can decide with parents if they wish to retake a portion of the test on Wednesday. Directions for the retake are attached to the test, which must be returned to me.

Stick it to Hunger is happening this week, and it's an exciting event, for a good cause. Kids are also adding any loose coins to a collection container in our classroom.

Have a great week. This is an exciting and stimulating time of year!

Carroll Mayer

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hi All,

Thanks for a week of great meetings!  I enjoyed discussing each and every one of your children; hearing your insights and questions, and sharing mine. Please feel free to follow up if via email if more questions arise.

We are going into a very short week, but it'll be a full one. We are having a math test on Unit 2, which will begin on Monday. We worked most of last week on a practice test, which is formatted just like the real one. Your kid should have brought home the practice test on Friday, which we corrected together. Each kid was responsible for making corrections to any errors in their practice test. It was my intention to attach a copy of my corrected version of the test to this post, but I locked myself out of the classroom!  For the most part, the problems should be a familiar type and solved in ways that make sense. However, the area model, also known as "open array", is something fairly new. I've attached a short video explaining how it works, in case your child is still having trouble with solving problems in this way, or seeing the connection to multiplication. Please support your kid in preparing for the test.

Open arrays--area model

We will also be conducting our second "Mystey Science" investigation on energy. The kids loved the first one. After Thanksgiving, we'll begin a Hyperdoc on Energy, which will involve some reading and a small -- in class-- research project.

Finally, we will continue reading the very fun book, By the Great Horn Spoon, and writing our "Expert" Informational text pieces.

Have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving,

Carroll Mayer

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Hi All,

We have a fast couple of weeks ahead!

First of all, I'm looking forward to meeting with you all and discussing your beautiful children. I sent out an email with a photo of the conference schedule, but please contact me if you're having trouble with it, or have misplaced your day and time. Kids will be dismissed every day at 12:20, and there is no Afterschool program.

In class this week, we will continue reading By the Great Horn Spoon. It's a very fun historical novel about a young boy and his butler traveling to California and the Gold Rush.  Mr. McMillan has linked the audiobook from his blog, and kids may bring the book home to review, as long as they return with it each day.

We are finishing up the current math unit, and will be working on the practice test this week. We'll have the actual test next week, before the Thanksgiving holiday. After that, we'll be working with fractions!

See you later this week,

Carroll Mayer

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Hi All,

This week, we have lots of excitement!  On Tuesday, Rio will have its annual Halloween parade, which has been moved back to its former time: 8:30. Our class party is scheduled for after lunch at 12:00. If you have any questions about the party, please contact our room parents: Allison and Carole-Anne.

Then on Friday our class is heading off to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on a field trip. On that day, kids should bring lunches, and be prepared to be off campus most of the day.

In RTI, we are wrapping up the informational text unit, and then will begin a fun novel about the Gold Rush called By the Great Horn Spoon. In Math, we are continuing with multiplication strategies, as well as beginning division. We will also return to multiplication later in the year.

Finally, most of you have scheduled conferences, and I'll be sending home reminders with your date and time in a week or so. If you haven't yet set up a conference, please contact me.

Take care, and have a great week!

Carroll Mayer

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hi Parents,

This Monday, October 16, several important papers are coming home in the homework folder.

First of all, the Unit 1 Math test is scored and in the backpack.  As a group, the kids did well, and reflected a strong understanding of the math concepts addressed.  There were a few kids that struggled, and many more who had a single area of weakness. The Fourth Grade teachers encourage students to improve their understanding (and test scores) by practicing and retaking the sections of the test that were inaccurate, or incomplete.  There is a note explaining this policy attached to your child's test.  Please review the test with your kid, and then decide if it makes sense to practice similar problems, and then take a different (but similar) test on a portion of the exam. In order to do this, the original test must be returned, with section for retake clearly marked.

Secondly, the kids have the permission slip for our field trip to the aquarium.  Currently, I have enough drivers. Please return the signed permission slip this week.

Next, we have run out of Kleenex. Please send a box or 2 in if possible.  We are great on hand sanitizer and all other supplies.

Finally, Picture Day is this Friday, October 20th. Be sure to send in your order on or before that day.

Have a great week!

Carroll Mayer

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hi Parents,

I emailed a note this last Friday, so hopefully that reached you all at a convenient email address. If you weren't at Back-to-School Night, I used an email address on file with the school.

Currently, I'm looking for volunteers to drive on our field trip to the aquarium on November 3. I have 4 volunteers so far, and they can take up to 19 of our 34 students. In order to drive, you must already have your fingerprints and TB test on file in the office. If you'd like to help, please update your driver information this week, as the district now requires it to be on file several weeks prior to the trip. Also, please send me an email with the number of students you can carry. The aquarium does limit the number of chaperones given free admission and attending the lab.

Please contact me if you were unable to schedule your child's conference at Back-to-School Night. I only have a few spots left!

Finally, a head's up that we are having our first Unit test in math on Tuesday. The kids are bringing home a corrected math practice test and checkpoint with their Monday Choice Board. Please encourage your child to review and clarify any material they're feeling unsure about.

Have a great week and a super 3 day weekend next week! (Teachers have an SBC day next Friday. )

Carroll Mayer

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hi All,

I hope you're having a great weekend!  I am continuing to find this class hardworking and collaborative; it's a pleasure working with them.

Almost everyone returned their homework, and many kids enjoyed their first reading partnership. This is a choice on the homework, but reading daily is not an optional activity. I will be sending home  the Choice Board weekly, and it is due each Friday. Please make returning this page your kid's responsibility, not yours. It's very frustrating to hear kids blame their missing homework on their parents. So, reminding them and having routines is terrific, but it's a kid's job to place the Choice Board in their backpack, hopefully in a Homework Folder.

On another note, Dav Pilkey  ( of Captain Underpants and Dogzilla fame) is coming to our community soon. I've made his name a link to Bookshop's site, so you can get information if you and your child are interested in this event. Dav Pilkey is responsible for growing a lot of book readers and book lovers!

Finally, if you haven't had a chance to sign up for a Parent/Teacher conference in November, please email me and we will find an open time. Many people signed up at Back-to-School Night, so some days are already pretty full!

Have a great week!

Carroll Mayer

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hi All,

It was terrific to see so many of you at our Back-to-School Night on Thursday!  For those of you unable to attend, information about the year, including field trips, homework, volunteer opportunities, and content was shared. In addition, parents signed up for conferences. I have 9 time slots left, which means there are 8 of you that need to schedule conferences.  I will be contacting you directly, but feel free to contact me. The conference week is November 13-17, and they are scheduled at 20 min. intervals beginning at 12:45 and ending at 2:45. I can also make special arrangements for alternative days and times, and all of the Monday times are booked.

This week kids in Room 9 will begin the homework I explained on Thursday.  They are expected to read every day, and note it on the back of their form. In addition, there are a huge number of activities listed on the Choice Board. Please feel free to modify the list for your child/family if you feel it's appropriate.  I am sending home the math workbook "Home Connections", and kids may work on any pages up to 8.

Take care,

Carroll Mayer

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hi All,

We had an excellent and exciting 5 day week. Although it was foggy, many kids were able to make the pinhole projectors work with terrific support from wonderful parent volunteers. We also watched a livestream throughout Monday morning.

This week, kids will be taking a district-mandated assessment (MAP). After completing Fact or Fiction poems, we'll begin Writing Workshop. In reading, I am doing minilessons on comprehension strategies and then kids are reading self-selected books. After several lessons using Stanford's youcubed Week of Inspirational math, we've begun the Bridges math curriculum. Our first unit is on multiplication and division. The kids will be learning a variety of strategies to approach number and story problems, with the goal being a deep understanding of number relationships and fluency building.

On Monday, kids will bring home classwork from the past week, as well as any handouts from the office, etc. I try to keep all important papers until the Monday folder, and encourage you to check folders/backpacks on that day. This week I'm  sending the first of 4-5 Scholastic book orders ( for the year). Your book orders are one of the primary ways I fill our classroom library; donations is the other big way. If you wish to purchase books, you may order digitally --or the "classic" way, by filling out the form I'm sending home. Please make any checks out to Scholastic, so that I can just send them on directly. Our class code, for digital orders, is noted on the blog.

This week we will be meeting with our Buddy classroom for the first time. Our class will be working with Mrs. Hegerle's 2nd Graders. Along with reading, our big focus will be reviving the school gàrden, located behind the 3rd Grade portables. The first several weeks will be spent weeding, so kids should wear appropriate clothes, and bring gardening gloves if you feel they're necessary. We will be in the garden on Tuesday afternoons, at 12:45.

I will not be sending home any homework until after our Back-to-School Night, on Thursday, September 7th. At that time I will be explaining the 4th Grade team's expectations, as well as scheduling parent volunteers, and sharing my plans for the coming year. During these weeks, your child should be reading every day after school, at home or in their after school program.

Have a great week,

Carroll Mayer

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hi All,
Here is the link to some different types of pinhole projectors. They look like fun projects. I've also heard that slotted spoons, colanders, ets, can be used to aid in viewing. We will be making the traditional one with 2 pieces of stiff paper with a pinhole poked in foil taped to one. If your kid makes some other kind of viewer, he or she is welcome to bring it to school to share. I sent home a yellow note on Friday explaining the plans for our class. I am welcoming volunteers, from about 9:45 on, and I'm not sure how long we will be outside. Fog may make it pretty impossible in our area. Please review eye safety with your child, and I will again on Monday.

On another note, we had a great first few days!  The kids worked well together and made some interesting math discoveries using Jo Boaler's WIM. I will not be sending any structured homework forms out next week, but kids should be reading every day after school. Reading to and with family members is fine, as well as independent reading. I don't have a specific time limit, however the more you read, the better you are at reading. Kids also build a huge bank of knowledge from reading!

Most parents have returned the forms sent home Wednesday, but if you haven't, please do so on Monday. The yellow Emergency cards are the most crucial!

Have a great week!

Carroll Mayer

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hi All,

Welcome to 4th Grade!  I am excited to start a new year and have lots of fun ideas to share with you all. I have met many of you over the years, but here's a brief bio. I've taught at Rio del Mar for 14 years, and it's my 4th year in 4th Grade.  I have 2 adult children who attended Rio, and live in the neighborhood with my husband. I love reading, including children's books, and play Bridge weekly (with Mrs. Clouse!) I love beach walks and am very grateful for the amazing summer we just had.
I also traveled to Italy and Kauai this summer.

I usually update the blog weekly, often on Sunday. Please try to check for new information weekly. Parents, if you subscribe to this blog in the space above, you will receive emails when I post. I won't be arranging volunteers until Back-to-School Night, but it'd be great if you submit driver information as we will have field trips in the fall.  If you wish to volunteer regularly, or even drive on a trip, you need to have fingerprints and TB tests on file with the office. This is a great time to get that taken care of.

This first week will be focused primarily on community, although we will be doing some great math activities from Jo Boaler's WIM (Week of Inspirational Math.) Google Youcubed if you want to read about it. The primary homework is assigned to the parents---you know the packet!  Please try to return it this first week, especially the Emergency Card. I'd also like you to email me with your preferred email addresses.

I have a small list of supplies, but provide all materials needed.  Our materials are mostly communal, and I find that many kids are distracted by cool new erasers, sharpeners, notebooks, etc. So I'd prefer you keep those items at home. If you wish to contribute to the class supplies, donations to the group are welcome.  I am also thrilled with gift cards to Amazon, Staples, Palace, and Bookshop Santa Cruz, as I make purchases throughout the year. Checks to our classroom fund are also handy!

Feel free to email with any questions,

Carroll Mayer

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hi Families,

It’s a busy time of year!  This week, the kids are excited to present their Artist Wax Museum on Thursday, June 1, from 10:30-11:30. Students will be practicing their short speeches at school, but please check in with your child at home to be assured that their speech is memorized. In addition, please support your child in putting together a dress-up style costume for the wax museum.

We will also be having our final math test this week, on Friday. The focus is solving story problems using multiplication and division strategies. I will send home some practice problems on Tuesday, but feel free to make up your own.

The AR test deadline is June 1st (not set by me), so encourage your child to finish their books, if possible, and to plan on taking the AR test by that day. Your kids have had several reminders throughout this term, as well as personal check-ins regarding their AR goals.

Permission slips and money are also due for out End-of-the-Year Celebration, and we still need 1-2 more drivers. You may drive if all your volunteer paperwork is in order in the office. Also, make sure that insurance information and CDL are up-to-date.

Finally, it’s been a great pleasure to work with your kids this year. If I don’t see you personally, please know that I have had an interesting and fun year, and have appreciated all the support you have given to your kids, and the greater Rio del Mar Elementary community.

All the best,

Carroll Mayer

Monday, May 15, 2017

HI All,

Thank you so much for all the special gifts and acknowledgements for Teacher's Day and my birthday! It was a fun week, capped off by Mother's Day. I hope you all enjoyed a special time with your family as well.

This week we expect to complete the state testing. Many kids will be done tomorrow, and others will finish up on Wednesday or Thursday.

When we're not testing, the kids have begun a short research project on a famous artist. I'm pretty flexible about their artist choice, and they can research using websites, as well as books I have in the class.  They will be writing a "first person" speech that is 8-10 sentences long, and then saying their speech during a Wax Museum. The speech has to be short, because they will repeat it many times as various students from other classes come to listen to them talk. We will be in the cafeteria on June 1, from 10:30-11:30 if you'd like to attend. As homework, kids need to memorize and practice their speech, think of a beginning pose, and put together a dress-up style costume to represent their artist.

Some kids are also bringing home a note attached to their weekly homework Choice Board notifying you that they have not completed their Social Studies Hyperdoc. Please discuss this with your child, and encourage them to work on this assignment at home. (This work is web-based, so let me know if your child needs hard copies of the work due to technology problems.)

Finally, I am sending home the Geometry test. Kids will have the option of retaking portions of the test if they are unhappy with their outcome. Please be sure to clearly mark those portions that were unsatisfactory and have your child return with the original test. Also, please have your child review the problem areas prior to taking a new test version.  I will only give retakes on parts of the test to kids who have returned their original. We will do the retake next Monday.

Have a great week!
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hi All,

What a terrific weekend! I hope you enjoyed this gorgeous weather. It felt like it began early with the festive Jogging for the Arts event. Thanks to all who donated and/or came out to support our kids!

This week students are wrapping up their California Reports (in class). At home, everyone should be well into fun projects on their topics, which are due on Wednesday. They will be presenting to classmates on Wednesday and Thursday.

In math, we are completing our Geometry unit and will have our Unit test on Friday. I will send home a study sheet, but kids should be able to identify all types of quadrilaterals, each type of triangle, and estimate and measure angles. They should also know how to calculate area and perimeter.

Finally, Open House is this Thursday from 6:30-7:30. I look forward to seeing you all then!

All the best,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hi All,

Just a head's up for the week!

First of all, the kids are bringing home a handout explaining the California project they are working on as this week's homework. In case the information gets misplaced, I'm copying it  to the bottom of this post. The goal is to work creatively on a project applying the information gathered for the written report, which we are doing at school.

Secondly, Jogging for the Arts is this Friday. It's a favorite fundraiser, and a great opportunity for the kids to support the school through their efforts.

Have a great week!

Carroll Mayer

California Research Project

You have worked so hard in class to write an amazing research report on a topic related to California. Now it’s time to make the report come alive by creating a visual aide that supports your report!

This visual aide will be done at home and will replace the homework choice board. There are several ideas so we know there will be something for you. If you have an incredible idea that is not on this list, just let your teacher know and we can add it to our list so future students can benefit.

If your visual aide requires the use of technology be sure to communicate with your teacher on the best way to share it with the class. If you can find a way to get it onto your Google Drive then it will be super easy to share with the class.

Visual Aide Ideas

Diorama - Find an empty shoebox and create a scene that represents your topic
Brochure - Create a tri-fold description with visuals that teaches us about your topic
Photo essay - Share important images about your topic with captions explaining their importance
Google Slides - Include photos, graphics, diagrams, text, and more to teach about your topic.
Video - Make a video about your topic! Get creative and we’ll sit back and enjoy.
Board game - Design your own board game that is related to your topic - Come up with rules, game pieces, game board, and anything else needed to play the game
Painting - Paint something that is inspired by your topic
Puppet show - Create a puppet show that dramatizes your topic
Song or dance - Create an original dance or song inspired by your topic
Skit or play - Partner up with some friends who chose the same topic and create a short skit to teach us about your topic
Mobile - Create a hanging “sculpture” to display in class
Sculpture - Use modeling clay or any other materials to create a sculpture about your topic
Game show - Create a game show and invite us to participate during your presentation
Coloring book - Draw several illustrations that we can color in - just like a real coloring book
Poster - Create a poster that displays some important information about your topic
Float - Decorate the outside of a shoebox in a way that is informative and creative

Any other ideas, ask your teacher!

Important Dates
Monday, April 24th - Project description goes home

Wednesday, May 3rd -  Visual Aid due

That’s 9 days to work on your project! Get started early and have fun!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hi All,
How time flies!  I trust you've all had a terrific week off, and are rarin' to push through these next couple months of school!

In RTI we are beginning a poetry unit. The kids are all very excited. They also did a terrific job during our biography unit, and seemed to learn a lot about the genre, as well as many significant people.

In math, we are continuing with geometry, which has many vocabulary words. Many kids find this topic to be extremely interesting, but encourage your kids to put some time into Moby Max, BrainPop, or the workbook ( up to page 102 this week.) This will help with all the new and vaguely familiar words!

In writing, kids are working on a California research report. I'm excited to read about topics as diverse as the role of Chinese-Americans in Ca, the state government, the transcontinental railroad, as well as old favorites like the missions and California Indians. All research and writing is taking place at school, although kids who have fallen behind might be given work to complete at home. I'll send an email if your child is in that category.

Finally, in Social Studies we are learning about the period leading up to California's statehood, from the ranches of early California, through the Bear Flag revolt, and including the Gold Rush. It's a big, exciting topic!

Take care, and have a great week,
Carroll Mayer

Monday, March 13, 2017

  Hi All,

A few updates for this week:

First, we will be celebrating “Pi Day” tomorrow, 3-14. Ask your kid what we did and what Pi is all about.

Second, we are having a Unit 4 math test on Friday. I’m sending home a blank copy of the pretest as a tool for review. The final test is formatted in the same way as the pretest. I’m attaching the answers to this post, so if you have any questions, please feel free to refer to the answer sheet.

Third, report cards will go home on Friday. Please return signed envelopes next week so that we may reuse them for the last report card in June.

Fourth, we will be reading biographies for 3 more weeks, including this one. Encourage your child to read several books, and about different people. 

Finally, have a great week. Enjoy the daylight!
Unit 4 Pretest

Carroll Mayer

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Hi All,

I hope you've had a great weekend!

First of all, thanks to our chaperones, David, Heather, Victoria. We had a great field trip to Cabrillo College and some terrific examples of the educational opportunities this great school has available.

This week the kids will begin a biography unit in RTI. Each student will be reading their own biography, many more than one. I have quite a few in the classroom, and our school library has more.  However, your child may want to visit the public library or purchase other alternatives. This unit will continue for 4 weeks.

On that note, I'm also sending home a Scholastic book order. There are biographies available through Scholastic, as well as many other great books!

We will be working on our current math unit, addition and subtraction of big numbers, for 1-2 more weeks. Then, we'll be moving into Geometry.

Our trimester ends this Wednesday, March 8th, and report cards will go home on Friday the 17th.

Take care,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hi All,

I hope you're enjoying a gorgeous weekend!

First of all, thank you to all the parents who drove and chaperoned our field trip to Mission San Juan Bautista. The kids got to see a beautiful example of the mission "world", which we are also learning about through our Social Studies text and technology.  In class we have been working on a Hyperdoc about explorers who came to California and built various settlements, including missions. The kids know that the Lesson 1 and 2 portion of the Hyperdoc is now homework if they haven't completed it during the hours of class time we've used. This week we'll continue learning about California missions with some whole class lessons, which are Lessons 3 and 4 in our text.

We are also wrapping up our math unit on fractions and decimals this week. I gave the kids a brief quiz and many did well, especially with decimals. I'll be sending it home this Monday, corrected   Any problem areas from the quiz would be valuable review for the final test, which I'll give on Thursday and Friday. I will also work with the kids on a Chapter review that is formatted almost exactly like the final test. We'll work on it in class on Tuesday, and then kids will be bringing it home as a resource to study.

Take care, and have a good week,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hi All,
I hope you're enjoying this rainy weather!

On Friday of this week  we'll be heading to Mission San Juan Bautista for a field trip. Please send your child with a lunch and drink. If you haven't returned the permission slip, please send it ASAP, along with $2.00 toward the cost.

We are also beginning a new writing project this week. The kids will be studying examples of Opinion writing, and then doing their own essay. This will be our focus in writing over the next few weeks.

In math, we are wrapping up our fractions unit, and have shifted focus somewhat to decimals. We will have an end of unit exam mid next week. We are still reading By the Great Horn Spoon in RTI. Please check in with your child regarding progress on their AR goal. The due date for points is the first week of March, so kids should have achieved about 50% of their points. I've also asked the kids to read earn 10% of their goal in nonfiction.

Have a great week!
Carroll Mayer