Nick Lodge (Room 311)

Nick Lodge
Grade 4
Room 311
Contact Information

                                  October 19    
    Parent Conference Sign-Up

At Open House, many of you signed up for conferences. We still have plenty of openings, so if you have yet to secure a time, here are all of the available times, as of writing. If you would like a slot, let me know with a call or a note and I will put you in schedule.

Wed. Dec 5

Thurs. Dec 6



Abbegail Ferriman


Dylan Whitehill


Layla Hoffmann



Lyla Blanchard


Carter Voyer



Hailey Brown



Chase Hill



Estes R.







Emily Stearns



In a recent writing activity, the class tried their hands at list poetry.  Please enjoy the following small selection;

Gross Toppings for Pizza

My brother’s stinky socks

A used mop

My mom’s underwear

Or a bear

A moldy rat

Or my brothers bat

NOT my dads tv remote

NOT a dead goat

NOT  my dogs toy

Or a gross old boy

NOT even a dove




Things I Can Find Under My Brother’s Bed

My brother’s  dirty underwear.

A dead bird, half eaten by my cat.

His stinky,  really stinky socks.

Ramen noodle bowls.

Plates of ramen noodles.

He likes ramen noodles.

His Xbox One.

The shirts he blows his nose in.

Did I tell you that we have bunk beds?

And he sleeps on top...


A Carpenter's Toolbelt

Screw guns


Tape measure and square


Saw and Sheetrock knife

Paintbrush and sander

Wagon hammer and level.  


Having used primary and secondary sources to research schooling in Vermont in the 1860s as well as the use of corporal punishment, we are now moving into opinion writing. Students will have a choice of writing about the use of corporal punishment or whether school is better today than the nineteenth century.


Last week we welcomed Chris and the Echo Center to the classroom, as we entered our engineering partnership with the students. Having learned about sturgeon in Lake Champlain, students had to engineer a claw that could pick up sturgeon and move them over a dam so that they could lay eggs. Following the task we learned about fish ladders, elevators and canons that can be used to help this endangered species. This was an introductory activity for a science unit we started this week based on the theme of water.


All Green Mountaineer students are working with the Echo grant this year, as well as Kindergarten. Expect an engineering evening in the spring and a field trip to the center.


Students have completed a mini unit on measurement (linear, mass/weight and volume/capacity) in which they compared both metric and customary units in hands-on stations. Metric is worthy of inclusion as it is the standard unit for science and has been adopted as the official system of weights and measures by all nations in the world, except for Myanmar, Liberia and the United States.

Growth mindset is a goal in class. Students are encouraged to be active learners and engage with the habits of mind so that they can have a growth mindset and be lifelong learners. To encourage this, as well as to collect data, students have a learning target each week and self-monitor for this. If both they and I are in agreement that they met the target for the day, then they receive a Team Appreciation Ticket.

This for example is last week’s….

This week’s focus and rubric   

Informed and Integrative Thinking

  1. I learn from past experiences. Example;  knowing that morning work is due on Friday, I start it early so that I have time to complete it. Example; knowing that I have a hard time working sitting next to a friend I move to do my work. Example, knowing that if I don’t pay attention the work is harder, I pay attention to make it easier.

  2. I use use what I have already learned and know to solve new problems and challenges. Example; I can use traits to discuss somebody’s character accurately band with examples.

In maths, students have completed their post-unit assessments in models of multiplication and division. As well as looking at levels of proficiency, we also paid attention to how much growth each student made. This is reflective of growth mindset, and the class certainly did demonstrate this.  


October 4

With the first of the monthly progress reports sent out and Open House concluded, the new 311 is properly established and rolling forward into fall.  It would appear to be time for a catch up!


We are nearing the end of our unit on models of multiplication and division. By the end of grade 4 students are expected to be able to multiply a line digit number by a 4 digit number and a two digit by a two digit number. As the numbers get bigger, students are moving away from models such as repeated addition, skip counting and making groups and sets. Instead they are seeing the value of ratio tables, decomposition and arrays.

For example for 9 x 12

array model with decomposition

ratio table

Groups of 12







120 - 12 = 108

We have also been using these models and the associative property of multiplication (it doesn’t matter the order you multiply factors) to move from 2 x 2, to 20 x 2, to 20 x 20 and 200 x 20.  Prime and composite numbers, an introduction to algebra, division, measurement, word problems have also been put into the mix.

English Language Arts

We have been doing some formal grammar in writing and all students have demonstrated that they understand the 5 criteria for sentences; beginning capitalization, end-punctuation, subject, verb (either action or linking), and making sense. Clearly understanding the criteria doesn’t always translate into writing perfect sentences all the time... They have been practicing and will continue to do so. Let’s showcase some of their recent work right here and right now;


There once was a snail.  He wanted to be the fastest of them all!  So every day he raced with the human beans.

He kept on losing but he never gave up!

So one day he went to the park and there was this weird human. He was kind of weird looking! All humans look weird to snails.

The snail looked up at the human and the human looked down. Then magically…

Puff... like that the human swapped places with the snail!

Somehow he turned into that weird human, and the human turned into a snail!

Then the snail (that used to be a human) said, “hey you! How come I am a snail?”

Then the human (that used to be the snail) said, ”I don't know. Why are you a snail?”

The snail (that used to be a human) said, ”somehow you put me here!” and BANG! He walked right into a tree.

The human (that used to be a snail) started laughing but the other guy didn't care.

The next day the human (that used to be a snail) won a race! But he didn't feel right.

So afterwards the human want to the park.

There he met the snail.  He said to the snail (that used to be a human) “do you want to switch back?”

The human ageed.

Puff...they switched back and they were happy.

The theme is be happy with who you are!

                                                                 Lyla Blanchard.

There were once 3 kids.

One kid wanted to go to a forge. The two other kids laughed and laughed. You'll never be a blacksmith !!!

The second kid wanted to be a famous poet. The kids said what do you mean a famous poet you can't even write normally !!!

The third kid wanted to be a famous soccer player. The kids laughed it up for the final time. A soccer player who doesn't even know what a soccer ball is !!!

The first kid who wanted to be a blacksmith didn't work out so well.  He tried to make a knife. His hand got cut off! And then he was like I can't forge with only one hand.

The second kid who wanted to be a famous poet never learned his words. Do you know how to write?  I should just be a cashier he said.

The third kid who wanted to be a famous soccer player... Well it came true ! He played 24/7 and he became the one and only Neymar ! Neymar, the best soccer player from Brazil!

Persit! Don't give up!

                                                             Estes Rodriguez

Addition and Subtraction Poems





Big brother+laryngitis=peaceful                      

 cookie+mouth=cookie gone

In reading students are doing genre studies, so far having read realistic fiction and fantasy. Whilst reading, they are also identifying elements of fiction such as character, setting, problem and solution, and theme. This week we are expanding our understanding of character by widening our vocabulary tool box by becoming familiar with a range of traits.

Science/Global Citizenship

Science focused on claims and evidence. Having practiced on picture mysteries, students worked on properties of  matter. They measured mass, calculated volume, recorded hardness by scratch/smear tests, and assessed states of matter. From here they were presented with 5 white powders and had to test them for chemical properties. Once this baseline data was gathered, they could then test mystery powders and use their data to figure out what the powders were.

Does it FIZZ in baking soda water?

Does it FIZZ in vinegar?

Does it go black with iodine?

If you heat it, does the solid turn to liquid?

Mystery powder E





Powder E has to be baking soda & sugar and cornstarch



Baking soda fizzes with vinegar.

Corn Starch turns black with iodine.

Sugar melts from fire.

Salt maybe?                          

These are the powders in E


Global citizenship has introduced students to history as a series of causes and effects, where claims are made by studying primary and secondary sources. All students have demonstrated that they can identify what are primary and what are secondary, and have had the opportunity to work with 100-200 year old artifacts, trying to figure out their purpose. They are now researching what Vermont schooling  was like in the 1860s using primary sources, as well as corporal punishment and the philosophy of punishment (reparation, deterrent, reform, protection, revenge). This research will then give them a choice of opinion essay that will be written in ELA.

It was great to see so many of you at Open House last night.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Heather and Grady Rodriguez in advance for offering 4 Winds to 311 this year!

September 6

In establishing the classroom society, we have now fleshed out our 311 Constitution.

...Here are the class rules and expectations. They were written as if we did not know who we would be in the class (male, Violet, short….) so that whatever rules we decided on would be good for everyone!

Respect ourselves and others,

which means treat them as if they are important because they are!

which means make them feel important because they are!

  How do we show respect?

We treat other people like we would like to be treated! Examples;  we do not blame one another, but are positive and encouraging, we are not  rude, we don’t interrupt people when they are talking, we listen to people, we include everyone, we have freedom, we have fun...

We keep ourselves and others safe!  Examples; keep hands to yourself, no jumping from chairs...   

Things are earned through good choices (respect)! Examples; team rewards, class rewards, raffle prizes….

We are fair, and also recognize that people (ourselves and others) should get what they need!

We take care of our resources. We try to improve the resources that we have and make them better. Our knowledge, skills, and abilities  are resources, so we should be active learners and we should let others be active learners.

Active Learners

We have a growth mindset. We are patient! We persist (don’t give up) so that our “not yets” can become “I did it”.

We communicate and get help when needed

  • We reread directions, anchor charts, board

  • We ask classmates as they will support you

  • We ask teachers.

We allow ourselves and others to be successful.

We extend your learning if we finish early.

We used this format of big idea and examples of what we would expect to see if this were happening, in relation to learning objectives and criteria. Students initially wrote the criteria for what they would expect to see in a chocolate chip cookie, if the cookie were a good cookie.  They then used these criteria to evaluate if the cookies that I brought in were “good cookies”or not. None of them were! Violet’s mother’s cookies, however, did score VERY well today (so thank you!). This then allows students to have more control of their learning.

For example;

Learning Objective: Students will have writing stamina

Criteria: I can write solidly for ten minutes

             I can write 4 correct sentence

             My writing has elements of style (voice and tone for example)

Students now understand what the goal is and how it will be measured.

Having established the community and begun to grow it, we have started core academics.


Our first unit is on multiplicative reasoning. An opening question revealed that the models that students were using were

a.) repeated addition

b.) skip counting and number lines

c.) sets and elements

d.) decomposition

Students came to see that the first three models were inefficient for bigger numbers. As such we introduced arrays/area models and ratio tables that will be practiced.

English Language Arts

In writing it became apparent that grammar is important in terms of clear communication. The illustrations for

Mrs. McKnight loves cooking her students and her cat and Mrs. McKnight loves cooking, her students, and her cat, made that abundantly clear. A preassessment also revealed where there was a lack of clarity about sentence structure. Due to this, we are working on some formal grammar as well as practicing this in short writes.

In reading we are working on good reading habits and building stamina for independent reading.  


Students completed their first engineering activity. In this they had to construct a way for Daphne the Duck to elevate her eggs above the reach of predators in a wetland.

A fundamental part of engineering is analysing problems in the design and using interdependent thinking. Check out Emily and Violet’s prototype;

Using this tripod design, students tried to scale it up..

They decided that the tripod design was indeed the way to go!

We then moved on to making claims and supporting them with clear evidence. This was done by analysing crime scene pictures and solving cases. Claims and evidence  will run through maths, reading, science, global citizenship and…. life.

As always, please never hesitate to contact me with any questions or feedback. I am always only a phone call or email away.

Nick Lodge (Abbey, Hailey and Emily)


 August 2018

 A summer of unseasonal heat that has baked both North America and Europe alike, is drawing to a close. School and a new academic year are nearly upon us, and the fans in the classroom are working overtime and almost winning the battle of keeping 311 cool enough to write this letter in.  Very warm (literal) greetings to both new families to grade four and returning families.

If we are yet to meet, I am your fourth grade homeroom teacher for the coming year. British by birth, from Oxford, England, I married an American and ended up in rural Vermont and have stayed put for the the past 30 years. While I am thus a flatlander, at best, I can take pride in having worked at Johnson from before the extentenson was built and now seem to often have the children of former students in class. And I still call multiplication and division, maths!

The advance of time is inescapable, and so too is change. Whilst much stays the same this year,  such as the core teachers, there are a number of changes for the Green Mountaineers. Looking at the schedule for the year will indicate some of them.






7:30 - 7:50

Arrival/Breakfast in the classroom

7:50 - 8:15

             Morning Meeting (inc. Calendar, Team Building, Beat The Teacher)

8:15 - 9:15


9:15 - 9:45






9:45 - 10:15


Tech in classroom



10:15 - 12:15


12:15 - 12:45


12:45 - 1:15


1:15 - 1:35

Number Corner/Math Fluency

1:35- 2:20

Science/Global Citizenship


Daily Classroom “Trivia” Quiz



So what are the most important things or changes in this schedule?

  • Note that the day runs a wee bit longer as we have have negotiated the bus times with the high school. This does not make the afternoon so rushed, and has been something that the teachers have been wanting for a while.

  • We now know for certain when sneakers are needed for PE (Wednesday and Friday) and when library books are due (Monday…or before if the students are finished with them).

  • Our lunch remains the late lunch of 12:45.  As such, it will be really important for students to have a decent breakfast and a sustaining snack each day so that they can survive without having to resort to eating the crayons, pencil shavings, and the contents of the recycling tub! As of press time, we will still be providing free breakfast in the classroom before 7:50. In addition we still have the grant that supplies all students with fresh fruit and vegetables for snack each day at no cost to families (if students choose to take it). Snacks from home can also be brought from home if so desired.

The set-up class may be a little different for students. Forsaking desks, we have round tables. Students will be put in teams for two weeks (Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta). The teams are then reassembled. There are are also alternate work spaces in the classroom; team extension tables, stand-up desks and solo spaces. To coincide with the two week rotation, there is a fortnightly end of the day “trivia” quiz that is played between the teams. “Trivia” allows news rounds, problem solving, critical thinking, the exposure to new concepts and the review of others...We started it last year to add a positive closing structure for the day that fostered teamwork. It was popular with the class, so it is returning this year in a refined formatt.

Students also have a variety of seating options; chairs, yoga balls, wobble chairs and standing at the stand-up desks. Negotiating within the teams about the use of these resources is part of the social curriculum. This is also the main emphasis of morning meetings in 311, where group activities such as initiative tasks, trust activities and inclusive cooperative and competitive games encourage cooperation, communication, a variety and difference of input, active participation, intrapersonal problem solving... All these skills are necessary for building a community, and the building of class community is emphasised within 311. It is the community in which learning will happen, and the community that will process and solve problems and issues when they arise.

In terms of academic learning,  as a fourth grader (and to lay out the course of study for this year) these will be some of the key areas of proficiency we will be working on for year’s end.


As determined by the Common Core, and using Bridges as an outline/framework

Practice Standards

Makes sense of problems and perseveres in solving them. Attends to precision.

Constructs viable arguments and critiques the reasoning of others. Reasons abstractly and quantitatively

Uses appropriate tools strategically; models with mathematics

Looks for and makes use of structure. Looks for and expresses regularity in repeated reasoning

Content Standards

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Uses the 4 operations to solve problems

Gains familiarity with factors and multiples

Generates and analyzes patterns

Number and Operations Base Ten

Generalizes place value understandings for multi-digit numbers within 1,000,000

Uses place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic


Extends understanding of fraction equivalence and ordering

Builds fractions from unit fractions by applying and extending previous understandings of operations on whole numbers

Understands decimal notation for fractions (0.1=1/10) and compares decimals (0.1>0.01)

Measurement and data

Solves problems involving measurement and conversion of measurement from a larger unit to a smaller one.

Represents and interprets data

Understands the concept of angles and measures angles


Draws and identifies lines and angles: classifies shapes by properties

English Language Arts

As determined by the Common Core, and using Guided Reading and Lucy Calkins as an outline/framework


Foundational Skills

Knows and applies grade level phonics and word analysis skills

Reads grade level text with accuracy and fluency to support comprehension

Informational Text

Uses key ideas and details, text features and content vocab to deepen understanding of text,  integrates knowledge and ideas, reads range of texts varying complexity


Uses key ideas and details, craft and content vocab to deepen understanding of text,  integrates knowledge and ideas, reads range of texts varying complexity


Writing Standards

Uses writing process NARRATIVES (real or imagined)

Uses writing process opinion /Argument (point of view and support)

Uses writing process informative/explanatory (examine topic, convey ideas)

Researches to build and present knowledge/ideas

Recalls experiences or gathers info from print and digital sources

Writes routinely over extended and shorter time frames for a range of disciplines

Conventions Standards

Demonstrates conventions of English grammar, usage,  mechanics and spelling

Acquires and accurately uses grade appropriate  Vocabulary words and phrases

Science and

Global Citizenship

Practice Standards

Demonstrates an Understanding of the Concepts Covered

Engages in the Inquiry Process, Discussions, and Activities

Science is  determined by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This year grade 4 will also be working in partnership with the ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain.

Global Citizenship in grade 4 this year is moving to meet the standards set out by College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards.

This year students in grade four will again be eligible for each trimester’s academic awards; Principal’s Academic Achievement List and Principal’s Lifelong Learner Award. Expect to also see an increased number of progress reports this year!

Our weekly “Blue Jaguar Folders” will remain our means of communication (along with the phone, e-mail…). These will be stuffed with parent letters, Jaguar Journals (if you do not elect the electronic version), notifications, homework. This consolidates communication and lessens the chances of things not being seen or being lost in the darker corners of the backpack. These will go home on Fridays. Once seen and emptied, please return them to school so they can be refilled for the next week.

As the school year starts, please feel free to call me with any questions or comments. If I can alleviate any anxieties, or provide information, I am always only a phone call away. As noted at the top of the letter, 888-6760 is my school number. Please leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible. In addition there’s also e-mail; Continue to enjoy these last long August days. I look forward to seeing you all very soon.


               Nick Lodge

Attached is a short family “getting to know you” sheet. The purpose is to kick-start our communication and individualizing learning process. It has proved to be very useful in the past. If you could take the time to complete all or some of it, I would be much obliged.


Student Name

Parent Name

Phone Number

Best time to call for non-emergencies

E-mail (for non-confidential communication)

A wish that you have for your fourth grader this year.

Things I should know about your fourth-grader (recent changes, medical, fears, concerns, strengths, weaknesses etc.)

Words that best describe your fourth-grade student

Student’s favorite music, hobbies, interests

"Homework"- Out of School Learning Opportunities