4A Prayer

At the beginning of the year, I asked the students of 4A to work together to write a prayer that we would say at the end of each day. The idea was to make a prayer that would be more meaningful and personal.

We brainstormed some ideas as a whole class and decided on a few topics we believed needed to be included.


Then we split off into groups to write different parts of the prayer.




A few students then took the different parts, edited, and meshed them together so it would flow smoothly. Finally, a few students transported our message onto a large sheet of paper and decorated it for display. Below is a photo of the finished product.


Simple Math App


For those wanting extra practice with basic math facts, I have a good app for you. I wanted to pass along this free, simple, helpful app called FlashToPass (it can be found in the App Store). Check it out.


I know this is available for the iPhone and iPad, but I am not sure about Android. Any feedback on that would be welcome,

Working Together to Understand “Borrowing”


Yesterday, the students of 4A were given a subtraction problem. With a partner, their task was to display their method of problem solving in four ways: 1) with base-ten pieces, 2) by drawing a picture, 3) by writing words, and 4) traditional arithmetic. The idea was to actually see what happens when you “borrow” while doing a subtraction problem rather than just following a process, thus gaining a deeper understanding of subtraction.

As I walked around the room and eavesdropped on conversations, I became more and more impressed with each group I watched. They became completely engaged in their learning; communicating their thinking with their partner and working through struggles.

I was blown away. This level of independent thinking and cooperative learning doesn’t normally happen this early in the school year. I was so proud of what the group accomplished.

Here is a sampling of some of the learning that took place:

Understanding Subtraction from Kevin Baumbach on Vimeo.

What is Khan Academy?

If you haven’t noticed, I have included a few “Helpful Links” on the site. One of those links is to the Khan Academy, whose goal is to provide “a free, world-class education for anyone everywhere.” I recommend Khan Academy to my students looking for extra work in math (other categories tend to be higher level – math begins at basic arithmetic). Whether you are struggling or excelling, Khan Academy is a great place to practice skills and push yourself to a higher level of understanding.

It’s very simple. You choose a category, watch a tutorial video, and practice problems until you prove your proficiency in that area. To learn more about how it works, feel free to watch Salman Khan explain Khan Academy at TED 2011.

Science in the NW

Today in science, we discussed how scientists use models to help them collect data and answer questions. We defined and compared two and three-dimensional models and discussed examples of each. One excellent example of a three-dimensional model we found was the tsunami research lab at Oregon State University.

I encourage all parents to watch the video with your child and have a discussion about it. This is a great example of how interesting and cool science can be.


On October 19, we will be heading to the NW Children’s Theater to watch a performance of The BFG. If any parents would like to be considered to chaperone this field trip, please sign the top of the permission slips that are attached to Thursday’s (9/27) weekly evaluations.

Fwd: Get to Know the Columbia River

A Native American fisherman fishes just west of the Bonneville Dam

4th grade is the year we learn about Oregon and you can’t get to know Oregon without getting to know the Columbia River. Our Northern border is loaded with rich history, natural beauty, and economic possibilities. If you get the chance, click on the link below to take a look at an incredible photo essay from Bruce Ely and Jamie Francis of the Oregonian and oregonlive.com.

Columbia River: Great River of the West