Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Author Visit

The first author at Indian Trail for the year has been announced. Follow this link to get more information

Coat and Boot Drive

Indian Trail Fall Coat & Boot Drive

Fall is the time of year to clean out our closets, and during the month of October, we are holding a community-wide winter coat & boot collection. Due to the growing need in our community, we are collecting new and gently-used, warm, clean coats and boots of all sizes from infant to adult. The items will be distributed to families in need within our community in mid November.

Please drop off your donations in the Fall Coat & Boot Drive box outside of the main office at Indian Trail from October 13th – October 30th.

Thank you for your generosity!

If you have any questions about the coat drive, please contact Shirley Harwood at 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Scholastic Book Club!

The first Scholastic Book order of the year was sent home today!  Please return your money and order forms by next Monday, September 29.  All checks should be made out to Scholastic, and you only need to write one check--even if you order from multiple forms.  

You may also place your order online!  Visit and use our class activation code LLGH4.  You may order and pay for your books quickly and conveniently!

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Also, picture day is next Monday, September 29th.  Please return your order forms by Friday, 9/26.  

Chromebook forms and insurance enrollment needs to be completed by October 1st.  Please contact me if you have any questions!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dot Day is coming!!

Help Indian Trail celebrate in Dot Day - September 15th

This year Dot Day falls on Monday September 15th. Dot Day is a celebration created by Peter Reynolds, author of The Dot, to encourage students find their strengths and use their own creativity to make their own mark. To help your student make their mark on September 15th encourage them to wear any kind of polka dot, spotted, or any kind of representational dot on their clothing that day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Math HW on ALEKS tonight!!

Here is a quick reminder on how to access the math HW on ALEKS.

1. Log onto ALEKS

2. Click on the ASSIGNMENTS tab across the top bar.

3. Your homework assignment will be right there!

Email me if you have any trouble!

Don't forget, 1:00 Early Dismissal tomorrow!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Important Dates!

It is the third "full" week of the new school year, and we are already very busy in 4-W!  Here are a few important dates to keep in mind:

Tuesday, September 9--MAP testing in reading

Friday, September 12--1:00 pm early dismissal

Thursday, September 18--Open House program (begins at 6:30 pm)

Tuesday, September 23--MAP testing in math

Thursday, September 25--NO SCHOOL

Wednesday, October 1--September All About Me due

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Good afternoon!

I just wanted to make sure that the due dates for the weekly homework assignments are clear.

--Your weekly Current Event is due on Friday.
--All spelling tests will be on Friday.  This week we are doing math number words for spelling.  The spelling words are the numbers one through fifteen.
--Tonight there is an additional page of math homework that is due tomorrow.

Please let me know if you have any questions!    Mrs. Weinstein

Friday, August 29, 2014

First Full Week!

It has been an awesome first full week of school!  I hope that you enjoy our crazy new class picture.

Don't forget to read over the long holiday weekend.  Your Biblionasium reading log is due on Tuesday morning.  The expectation is 150 minutes of reading.

See you on Tuesday morning!  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Help Wanted!!

Please remember to complete your Classroom Job Application!  The classroom job descriptions can be found in your Google Drive.  They are located in the folder "From the Desk of Mrs. Weinstein" in the Homework folder.

The actual job application was just emailed to your student account.  Please email me tonight if you have any trouble.  Good luck!  I hope you find the perfect job for you!

Monday, August 25, 2014

New reading log!!

Good afternoon!  What a fun day of school.....I'm still drying off from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! I hope the students enjoyed seeing their teachers soaking wet!

Today, I introduced the website Biblionasium to our class.  Biblionasium is a virtual library customized for each student and his or her reading interests.  We will also be using Biblionasium to log our reading minutes each week.  The 4th grade expectation is to read 150 minutes per week--which works out to 30 minutes, 5 times a week.  The number of minutes read is easy logged on the Biblionasium site. Please ask your student to show you this interactive new learning tool!

Also, please remember to check your Homework Calendar.  All students need to bring in a smock for art and a pair of headphones.  You should also begin studying for the Classmate Name spelling test. First names are required, and last names are bonus!  See you tomorrow!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Welcome back to school!!

Today was a wonderful day back at Indian Trail!  I had a great time meeting all of my new students.  I can tell already that we are going to have an awesome year together!

I hope that all students shared my "Welcome to 4-W" letter that went home today. Each student needs to return the back page--signed by a parent and the student.

We have another fantastic day planned for tomorrow!  See you soon!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Earthquake Week Day 2

Good evening!

The students continue to be engaged and excited by our Earthquake Week activities. Here is the recap of today's events:

Social Studies:  
Today in Social Studies, we discussed and researched key geographical features that are found in regions that experience earthquakes. In addition, we covered plate tectonics and the movement of the continents, from Pangea to present day. Students read informational text to learn both about global geographical features as well as the history of some of Earth’s largest recorded earthquakes.

Literacy: Today we dug deeper into  the theme of interdependence.  We read aloud Dear Children of the Earth, A Letter from Home, by Schim Schimmel.  On their Chromebooks, students made webs using Google Draw, to identify interdependent relationships in the book.  Students were creative in the different ways they connected  the ideas and relationships.  Ask your child to show you his or her web in their Google Drive! Once we develop a stronger understanding of interdependence, we will connect this theme to everything the students have been learning about earthquakes.  

Science/STEM: Things started SHAKING UP today in STEM sessions. Students watched video of real earthquake (EQ) engineers testing models.  Next, students helped test 1 story and 4 story models of buildings with NO EQ technology/structural supports using our very own EQ simulation shake table.  Movement was recorded using grid paper, and documented via photos/video.  In groups, students used our interactive web page to chart movement shifts on their own grid paper and answer questions about the process and reasoning behind results found. To communicate their findings, groups used the iPad app, Educreations, to record screencasts (images, live annotations, & voice) explaining the movement, observations, and explanations behind our 1 story and 4 story CONTROL GROUP tests today.  We loved “BREAKING GROUND” with our first experiments!
See daily photos/videos posted at:

Math:  Today in math class we began analyzing graphs of real earthquake data. We learned about the importance of the graph title, the categories on the x-axis, and the increments along the y-axis. All three of these pieces of information help us to correctly interpret the data. We also began the 100 coin flip challenge to test the concept of probability.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Earthquake Week--Day 1

Things really started shaking today in fourth grade!  We had an amazing first day of our integrated Earthquake unit.  Here is an update from each teacher about what happened during their class today:

Social Studies with Mr. Brandstrader:  Today in Social Studies, we defined and illustrated key terms and concepts as we begin exploring the history of earthquakes. Students examined the geographic locations of past earthquakes and researched the tools used to measure and compare earthquakes across the globe.

Literacy with Ms. Labellarte: Today we began to explore the last fourth grade language arts theme of interdependence. Students defined it in their own words by breaking the word into parts “inter” & “dependence”.  We studied pictures and reflected how they were connected to interdependence.  

Science with Mrs. Petlak: Today in the STEM lab, we explored earthquakes and the engineering design process. Students used technology to watch videos, share comments via interactive Padlets, and worked in teams to determine how they would use the engineering design process. Students were introduced to their team challenge and began defining the problem to be solved!  They also began taking nonfiction notes and learning new vocabulary. Follow our earthquake engineering explorations at: See daily photos posted at:

Math with Mrs. Weinstein:  Today in math, we began by discussing the meaning of the word data and the different ways that data can be collected.  We made two group charts, and used those charts to explore the idea of sample size.  In order to have reliable data, we discovered that we need to have a larger sample size.

Stay tuned for further updates throughout the week!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Earthquake Week!!

Dear Fourth Grade Parents, 

We are very excited to "shake-up" learning all across fourth grade next week.  As a team, we are going to launch a comprehensive earthquake unit, integrating science, social studies, language arts, and math together.  Students will be traveling with their classes to visit and learn from all of the different fourth grade teachers to engage and develop a well-rounded understanding of earthquakes, as we learn about the western region of the United States.  

What will kids be learning? Mr. Brandstrader will be teaching social studies where students will be conducting research and building their background knowledge of earthquakes.  Mrs. Weinsten will be teaching math, focusing on on data collection and interpretation. Ms. Labellarte will be teaching language arts, focusing on the theme of interdependence and the impact of earthquakes through the reading of survival stories. Mrs. Petlak will be implementing STEM projects generously donated to our classes by ETA Hand2Mind, focusing on tectonics, geologic processes, and earthquake engineering challenge and construction.  

We will be posting exciting learning updates and happenings on our blogs, so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bud, Not Buddy Interviews

Over the past few weeks, our class read the novel Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.  This novel is told from the perspective of the main character, Bud Caldwell.  As an extension activity, the class was divided into small groups and asked to create an interview told from the perspective of another character in the book.  The students used their creativity to retell the story events from their assigned character's perspective.  We hope that you enjoy our videos!

Thank you to all of our dedicated camera crews:  Brady, Alex, Matt, Jake, Taylor, Jack, and Liliana

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Fundraiser

Four 5th grade students are running a Jelly Bean fundraiser which begins on Monday.  Here is the information:

›Attention, Attention!!!

Would you like to help the St Jude Hospital
Would you like a jelly bean jar?
$1 for 1 ticket to guess how many jelly beans!
If you guess the right amount you will win a new razor spark scooter 2.0 and a jelly bean jar!
And if we raise $200$ Mr. Keer will wear an Elmo suit for a whole day!
All donations go to the St. Jude Kid Cancer organization.
If you guess within 10 of the amount will get a small prize!
From March 10-19    
Brought to you by the Giving Loot Foundation
If there is more than one person who guesses the correct amount, there will be a second raffle for the winners

Friday, February 14, 2014

Student Council Fundraiser!!

Have a Heart

Students at Indian Trail have adopted a gorilla at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  Her name is Bahati! We are raising funds to help care for Bahati’s habitat.  

Classes that raise $55 will receive a certificate and one plush gorilla to display in the classroom.  Classes that reach the goal of $55 will also have a chance to win a special field trip and tour of the gorilla habitat at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Two classes will get this unique opportunity.

We will collect donations from Tuesday, February 18th - Friday, February 21st.

Thank you for supporting our efforts!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thank you PTO!!

Thank you Indian Trail PTO for your support of the Chromebook pilot!  Here is the link to the video that we made at school to show our appreciation!!  You are the best!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Here come the Chromebooks!!

I hope that you are having a wonderful last few days of winter vacation!  I look forward to seeing you all on Monday!

Indian Trail Chromebook Announcement:
Greetings parents!  Beginning in January, your child’s classroom will be a part of the first phase of the NSSD112 1:World Adoption. Students in 1:World Classrooms will be issued Chromebooks for school and home use. To learn more about the  1:World initiative as well as how you can partner with us to promote exciting new learning for our students, please mark your calendars for Thursday, January 16th at 3:45pm in the Indian Trail Library. We will discuss learner and family expectations, insurance details ($20), and initiative logistics. Students will be afforded the privilege of using Chromebooks at school and at home after parents have participated in this orientation session and there has been student training at school. If you cannot make this session, please contact your school office to attend another meeting. Thank you to the Indian Trail PTO for funding this amazing program.