Babymouse! Squish! Matthew Holm!

SIS is excited to host Matthew Holm on Tuesday, May 26th. Fourth grade students will meet with Matthew Holm twice. The first session will be an assembly and the second session an art workshop! Fourth graders have begun an illustration unit with Ms. McCrea in preparation for Mr. Holm’s visit.

MATTHEW HOLM is the author and illustrator of more than 25 books for children. He is the co-creator (with his sister, Jennifer) of two series of graphic novels for children: the Eisner Award-winning BABYMOUSE series and the Indiebound-Bestselling SQUISH series, both from Random House Children’s Books. He is also the co-editor of COMICS SQUAD, a new anthology series of comics for kids. He currently lives in Portland, Ore., with his wife and dog.

Learn more at:

Student Reflection at the Highest Degree

Last Thursday, all learners made their claims about their growth and achievements toward the Expected Student Learner Results, academics, and their areas of interest and passions.  Every learner had parents smiling and complimenting them as they provided evidence for the claims they made.  The growth that they have made in self-assessment and reflection alone is enough for me to know that we have had a very good year.  They spoke of their strengths and areas for growth for the rest of the year, and all included a 5-week focus to get them ready for fifth grade.  It was an incredible day as their facilitator.

Apologies to Doris, Molly, Jaeyoon, and Wonji for not getting their photos taken!

Decomposition Isn’t Pretty: To Some!

Eleven full days have passed since our biologists set up a rotting experiment to inquire about what factors affect rotting or decomposition the most.  On the 7th observation day, to some, it was disgusting, to others, the fungus colors and changes were fascinating.



Checking internal temperatures and the comparison of experiments set in the freezer, the dark in the classroom, outside covered and outside uncovered to their own and the control experiment, which is covered in the classroom, are giving the groups clues as to what factors speed up or slow down the decomposition process.




They all know now that there are as many good bacteria and fungus as bad!  And as The Banana Slug String Band sing, munch, munch, munch, munch, munch…Decomposition!

A Busy Week = Student-Led Conferences + Swimming

Thanks for signing up for our Student-Led Conferences this Thursday.  The learners are busy organizing their evidence for their claims of achievement and growth.  Don’t forget to plan extra time to go to your child’s specialists classes either before or after their own.  Their is no sign up for these, just drop in.  There will be two conferences running concurrently.


As well, your learner has swimming this week and next.  Please help them make sure that they are prepared for each session.

Wright Swim letter April 2015 (1)

The Halls are Alive, With the Sound of Music!

Apologies for the tardiness of this post, but it is worth it!  A few weeks back grades 4 and 5, with the hard work of Mrs. Overlie, put on a fantastic concert celebrating music that related to our social studies theme of migration and compositions by grade 5.  Thanks to Mrs. Overlie, these learners love to sing. Anywhere and anytime, these kids will bust into song whether it’s one from music or not.  This love of performing and appreciation of music will last their lifetimes!

They all wrote great reflections on their blogs, so hopefully you will visit a few of them and leave comments.

“The song Beneath the African Sky, students learned the story of Clemantine, a girl from Rwanda who fled her home during the genocide, who lived in refugee camps in seven African countries before ending up in America. Through My Little One they learned of the lost children of Romania who left overrun orphanages to fend for themselves on the streets. And through Freedom Is Coming they learned of the struggles of apartheid in South Africa, and how this song brought hope for freedom and a better tomorrow.”
-song descriptions taken from Mrs. Overlie’s blog

Sacha gave the introduction for Freedom is Coming below.

If you want to see all the songs, click here.


Planting + Physicality = A Great Day in 4A

planting1After researching about the seeds we had available, each environmentalist chose one species to germinate, and hopefully, survive and thrive.  To the 3rd floor we went to observe what was in our soil, what our seed looked like, and to plant at the appropriate depth in a container of their own design.

After they germinate, they will plant them in larger planters, observe and care for them, and hopefully see them reach maturity.  We aplanting2lso want to get the rooftop greening up, so we will be experimenting with different plants and different containers.planting3


The afternoon had us tugging, parachuting, basket balling, balance beaming, and soccer shooting.  We had a fantastic time at Field Day 2015.  Pictures will be forthcoming as I was too busy with the soccer shoot.

FieldDay Badge

Last Week, 4A was Launchpad Central

Since we wrapped up our integrated Migration unit, we needed to take off with our Poetry and Environment units.  Once again, we used a See, Think, Wonder approach to activate our writers’ prior knowledge and get them excited about this unit.


poetry3 poetry1 poetry2


It worked.  When Ms. Blase introduced the poetic devices that we will learn on Friday; she focused on metaphors.  Comparing two things without using comparison language specifically like or as.  They wrote some together as a class and then worked in small groups to write some more.  My evidence that “it worked” is below.  They are spectacular.  Please let me know in a comment if you agree or disagree.  Or, try one on your own, but please post it as a comment!

Poetry 4A Metaphors


4A is Rested, Relaxed, and Ready to Go

While we all did not travel on our final big break of the year, we all had some great experiences that will become a blog post for you to read and comment on.  Our topics include, but aren’t limited to: hometown visits, family time, Hong Kong shopping, feeding tigers, riding wild rides, a surf house, indoor skydiving, a very bad plane ride, the Galaxy wave pool, “chillaxing” and planning a birthday party, the terra cotta warriors, zip lines, watching movies, and I went to Yangshuo.  Whether they sound adventurous, exciting or not, we all need to enjoy some down time to let our bodies and minds heal and process as we ramp up for the long stretch to the finish.

Be sure to head to their blogs and check out their posts!

Image by Jaeyoon

Image by Jaeyoon


Image by Molly





Image by Darren

Image by Darren

My wife and I went to one of Caper’s families favorite spots, the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. After an interesting 13 hour overnight train ride, we woke to a chilly Guillin morning waiting on our taxi.  Once we got out of the city, we knew our trip was worth it.  The mountains and farms spotted amongst the Karst formations and river valleys are spectacular.

The rains did not dampen our holiday as it only made the air seem that much fresher.  If you have not visited this area, I highly recommend it.  It was the longest period of time that I had not thinking about work or the long list of thing that I had to do.  Just a lot of reflections!

A great brain break was had!

yanghole yanghut yangreflection

Blogging Buddies in Vietnam!

Your children are now globally connected with learners at the South Saigon International School in Vietnam.  Mr. Ross and his fourth graders are going to be helping us raise the quality of our work and blogs by providing quality feedback.  We will be doing the same for them.

Our learners comments today were on their “fraction projects.”  They tried to teach us about fractions, and we’re letting them know how successful they were and what could be done to make it even more effective.

It also gave us some ideas about our presentations.

Check our their comments at: