October 17

Halloween Help!

Halloween is approaching quickly! There are a few ways you can get involved. The 4th grade team is looking for volunteers to help with tie-dye on Tuesday (Halloween) morning, and for help with the Halloween celebrations taking place on Tuesday afternoon. Please use the link below to read more detailed descriptions of times and jobs and to sign up! We are also in need of paper towels for Halloween activities (and to be used in the classrooms after the parties). Please feel free to send these in with your child at any time.

Lastly, please make sure your child brings in their white cotton t-shirt so they have something to tie-dye! I’m asking for all t-shirts to be sent in by Wednesday, 10/25.

Halloween Volunteers, Click Here!

October 13

Looking into Next Week (& all the way to the end of the quarter!)

There are many significant things happening in Room 208! Please see below for important information regarding new and ongoing events and assignments.

Picture Day is Monday! If you have not placed an order for pictures, and would still like to, I can accept order forms up until Monday.

Bell Walk – We had a great time on Wednesday morning. Thank you to those of you who were able to come by! Final donations for Bell Walk will be collected on Tuesday 10/17.

White T-Shirts – a note will be sent home with your child on Monday, but I wanted to get the information out even sooner; your child will need to bring in a white cotton t-shirt for our tie-dying activity. Shirts need to be sent into school by Wednesday, 10/25. Please make sure the shirt is 1-2 sizes bigger than your child’s typical size as they will shrink (and your child may grow a lot throughout the year!), and that you write your child’s name in permanent marker on the inside of the collar. We will be tie-dying the shirts on Halloween.

Book Reports – First quarter’s book report due date is quickly approaching! All book reports must be turned in by Monday 10/30. I will be discussing and sending home the rubric that will be used to grade the projects on Monday. Hopefully, your child has been putting some thought into the book they are reading and the project they will be completing!

Social Studies Project – On Monday, the class will be assigned this quarter’s social studies project on countries of the Western Hemisphere. Your child will be researching and selecting 2 choice projects with 1-2 other students on a country in the Western Hemisphere. We will spend all week this week in class working on the projects. Final products will be due the following Friday on 10/27. I anticipate many groups will need to spend at least some time outside of school following this next week, working to complete their projects. Please see the assignment sheet for this project through the “Projects” link under “Homework & Assignments”. Your child will receive the full project packet on Monday morning.

I realize having two projects going at once can be difficult! I try to give as much notice as possible, providing due dates well in advance. We have been frequently about time management and anticipating this second upcoming project. While homework isn’t wildly abundant, we will have multiple long term projects assigned at a time. It’s important to keep track of these long term assignments, plan, and manage time well in order to avoid many things building up at once. This year, I hope to help your child build these executive functioning skills that will help keep them organized and successful.

October 11

Bell Walk, Picture Day, Poetry, and Greek & Latin

Bell Walk is tomorrow!! T-Shirts for Bell Walk will be distributed in class so that your child can wear it as we do as many laps as possible around the school tomorrow morning. Please continue to donate online or send in donations for Bell Walk. The final collection will be next week on Tuesday, 10/17/17.

Picture day is also coming up on Monday, 10/16/17. Optional order forms were sent home. Order forms can be returned back to up until Monday when I will give them to the photography vendors.

During our poetry residency, your 4th grader will be writing many poems inspired by those that they read and analyze during class. Part of this poetry unit includes having the class type their poems into final copies. Your child is bringing home their first “rough draft” poem today, with instructions on typing their final “published” copy. This first assignment is due Friday, 10/13/17. If you don’t have a printer, please email me a copy of your child’s poem so that I may print it here.

This week, as we did not have school on Monday, there is no Wordly Wise. As previously mentioned, during these weeks we will study Greek and Latin roots in vocabulary. Your child has been working on this week’s roots in class and brought home a double-sided worksheet for homework last night. This homework is due on Friday, in addition to studying for the Greek and Latin quiz on this week’s roots and vocabulary. They should be bringing their Greek and Latin notebook back and forth to school to complete their work and studying.

October 10

Bell Walk


Dear Bell Families,

The Bell Walk is this Thursday, October 12th and we encourage you to come out to watch your child participate! This year we have a special event at the end of the day. The two classes with the highest pledge totals will participate in an additional COLOR RUN! The color run will take place at 2:45 p.m. on the south lot. Parents can come a few minutes early to watch the fun. We will announce the winning rooms on the school website Wednesday night and again on Thursday morning during morning announcements.

Thank you for your continuing support. We hope to see many of you on Thursday at Bell.

October 6

Friday Folders

Friday Folders are coming home today. Please make sure to empty, review work, and sign the folders before returning them to school with your 4th grader. This week’s folder contains your child’s progress report for the first 5 weeks of school. The most recent Bell Link and an informational form on signing up for OST classes is also inside. Please let me know if you have any questions and enjoy the three-day weekend!

October 3

4th Grade Parent Committee

I realize it is 2:29 pm right now, and I hope nobody cleared their schedule to come in this afternoon, but the 4th Grade Parent Committee meeting isn’t until this Thursday at 2:30! Anybody who is available to come then is absolutely welcome to learn more about the committee, tie-dying and Halloween celebrations. I apologize for the confusion!

October 3

4th Grade Parent Committee

There will be a brief meeting this afternoon for any parents interested in being on the 4th Grade Parent Committee. Right now, we have no parents signed up through the signup.com site. Today’s agenda will include tie-dying and Halloween celebrations upcoming at the end of the month. If you are able and would like to know more about just these events or the whole committee, please come by. We will be meeting at 2:30 pm in Room 205. Thank you!

4th Grade Parent Committee Official Sign Up

September 28

Homework, Book Reports & Math Facts

Homework for tonight indicated in your child’s planner reads, “Send picture for poem”. We did not actually get to this poem writing assignment, so please disregard the note for now. Tomorrow, your 4th grader will be writing a poem inspired by an object that I will need a photo of. A note with details will be sent home tomorrow. For tonight’s math homework there are 3 sets of problems. Your child only has to solve 2 of the sets, and they should have circled their 2 choices on the worksheet already. They also do not need to worry about the “game board” portion at the top of the assignment.

I have been receiving many questions from students regarding details on the quarterly book report. I’m so glad it seems that so many are already in planning phases of their reports! I will be discussing further details with the class next week, including a rubric, which should hopefully clarify some details. In the meantime, I want to address two “FAQ”s. The list of various ideas under each category is just a list for students to select from or to help them brainstorm. They do not need to complete all the bulleted ideas. Providing a wide range of academic choice can also lead to ambiguity. While students are only required to complete one item, and could technically meet requirements by completing a project with minimum effort, my goal in providing these choices is to empower students to demonstrate self-driected effort and creativity. The rubric will reflect this as well. Some ideas for demonstrating extra effort and creativity could be completing more than one project, presenting their project in a original way (more than a typed document), reading and reporting on multiple books in a series, etc. As a reminder, all projects must be turned in by Monday, October 30.

Your child has taken their first official multiplication fact quiz of the year. With the new adoption of timer-less tests, it was not longer appropriate to count these as “assessments” in terms of grading. I wanted to update you on a change to my grade book since curriculum night. The weighted categories for math are now as follows: Assignments – 45%, Assessments – 35%, Math Facts – 10%, Participation – 10%. Please let me know if you have any questions.

September 25

3rd & 4th Grade Girls Basketball

Please see the following note from a parent starting a 3rd & 4th grade girls basketball team.




Good evening, yes it is that time of year again to start talking about Girls Basketball. My name is Juan Gonzalez and I have had the pleasure of running the 3/4th grade Girls basketball program at Bell for the past 3 years along with Tom Pearl. Since there is no sanctioned CPS sports for 3/4th graders, this team(s) is completely ran by parent volunteers. We have been part of the Bell Family for the past 9 years, my wife Kim and I have a 1st grader (Juanito), 3rd grader (Sofia), 4th grade (Gabriela), 5th grader (Elena) and a Sophomore Alyssa who was part of the Bell team who won the 5/6th grade City Championship and were the 7/8 th grade city runners up, they also won the NBL league title 4 out of 5 times during that span. I say all this  to emphasize that Bell has a very proud tradition of girls basketball, which we would like to continue for years to come.

If you don’t have a daughter in 3rd grade, I apologize for bothering you with this email and you can just disregard it.

For the rest of the parents who have a daughter in 3rd grade please email me at juang@gkmmi.com if your daughter would be interested in playing this year. I would like to get a head count by October 1. As I plan to start practice the 2nd or 3rd week of October.

In years past we have had enough players to accommodate 2-3 teams, which will participate in the Northside Basketball League (NBL). We will hold 1-2 practices a week usually on Friday or Saturday and more than likely our games will be on Saturdays. Last year or division played at either Amundsen High School or Welles Park, which was great for the parents and players.

If we have multiple teams they will be mixed, meaning they will be made up of 3rd and 4th graders. Over the last 3 years Tom and I have done a pretty good job of dividing the grades and talent equally across the teams, where no one team is better than the other and we have still been very competitive in the league. Even with the multiple teams and the talent pool divided a Bell team has either won or came in second over that last 3 years in the 3/4thgrade girls division. This is a testament of the work the girls put in over the season and even during the off season.

Also please pass this email on to any other 3rd or 4th grade parent whose daughter might be interested in playing this year. No one will be turned away, we will figure out how to make it work.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. I will have a better idea on cost once I know how many girls are going to participate. However it will be approximately between $130 to $150 per player, which will cover Gym rental for practice, uniforms, League fee per team and referee cost.

Thank you and I hope to hear back from you.

Juan Gonzalez  juang@gkmmi.com