Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Week 13 Choice Week!

This week you may write about any subject that interests you. Take us on an adventure to a far away place, real or imaginary, by using strong verbs and vivid adjectives. Describe a scene or a person in colorful language to bring us up close to the setting or character. Or, craft a poem with carefully chosen words that paint pictures in our minds. It’s up to you!

Use at least 75 words to write your story, poem, letter or description. As always, do your work in a word processing program first. (MSWord can help you count your words.) Edit your work before copying and pasting it into the comment area of the blog. Don’t forget to include your first name and code. You may post your writing on your own blog this week if you prefer. (The paragraph you just read has 70 words. Don't be intimidated by the number. You can do it!)

Happy writing!
Mme Powell

Due Monday, December 17.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Week 12 Happy Holidays!

As the holiday season approaches, families create cards to wish their friends and loved ones good tidings. Please write a holiday letter about your family that could possibly be included with this mailing. Tell us some of the highlights of your family’s year. Be sure to mention something specific about each family member–including your pets! Go ahead and brag!

Please write this in correct letter format with a greeting and closing. Post your letter either on my blog or your own edublog. If you would prefer more privacy, you may choose to email your letter to me at kripowell@edina.k12.mn.us

—-Write your letter first in MSWord (or another word processing program).
—-Reread your writing before publishing and revise it to be clear and descriptive.
—-Edit your work - capital letters, punctuation, spelling
—-Add your first name and code to your writing (eg. Julie Sw27).
—-Lastly, copy your letter and paste it in the comment box on my blog, in a posting on your own edublog, or in an email to me, Mme Powell.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Week 11 Mmm, mmm, good!

I enjoyed some of my very favorite foods at Thanksgiving. I chose to write about one of them descriptively. See if you can taste it with me!

Every Thanksgiving my mother-in-law makes her famous sweet potatoes. Now, I have always loved baked yams, even as a little girl, but her concoction is the best of all. The orangey goodness is baked to tender perfection. A heavenly aroma of nutmeg caresses my nostrils as I bring the first piping hot spoonful to my lips. The topping, a lovely mixture of brown sugar and crushed pecans, creates a crunchy contrast to the creamy smoothness of the mashed potatoes. A delicate sweetness slides over my tongue, while the nutty bits of topping tumble down after. Perhaps I'll skip the dessert and have some more sweet potatoes!

So, kids, now it is your turn. What is a food you especially like? Think about how it looks, how it smells, its texture and its taste. You might start by making a short list of phrases that describe these features. Then weave them together in a paragraph that leaves your readers salivating! Don't forget to include a topic sentence and a concluding sentence to keep your main idea clear. I predict we'll all be feeling a bit hungry soon!

As always...
  • Write your paragraph first in MSWord (or another word processing program).
  • Reread your writing before publishing and revise it to be clear and descriptive.
  • Make your corrections - capital letters, punctuation, spelling - as well.
  • Add your first name and code to your writing (eg. James Sw28).
  • Then copy your paragraph and paste it in the comment box on my blog.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Week 10 Thanksgiving guests!

Dear Guests,

Welcome to Mme Powell’s blog! This week students were asked to write a letter expressing their gratitude for their families. If you are visiting this site, you are undoubtedly here to respond to that young person. Thank you for contributing to our blog. Please follow the guidelines below when posting your comment:

  • Click on the link at the bottom of this post that indicates how many comments have been left so far.
  • Type your comment in the large box.
  • If you like, sign your first name or relationship so that the student will know who is appreciating them! (e.g. Carol, Uncle Jim, Grandma, etc.)
  • Please identify the student by first name and last initial only. We want to protect the identities of our student bloggers on the world wide web.
  • Please limit your comment to 2-4 sentences. We know these are great kids and you could go on and on about them…but 2-4 carefully chosen thoughts will ultimately mean more than volumes upon volumes could.
  • Be sure to type in the special “word” in squiggly font in the narrow box before submitting your comment. This proves that you are not a spamming machine.

Your comment will not display immediately, but will be sent to me for approval before publication. (Don’t worry. I won’t critique your grammar or spelling.J)

While you are here, feel free to read some of the contributions of students from earlier weeks. They are really growing as writers.

Once again, we’re glad you could join us this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving by sharing our appreciation for each other. Thank you for your time and participation in this project. Children grow so much and so beautifully with support from family and friends.

Kind regards and best wishes for a wonderful holiday,
Mme Powell

Monday, November 5, 2007

Week 9 I♥NY! (Persuasive paragraphs)

In the story Grandfather’s Journey, Grandfather loved both Japan and California. Later, his grandson found that he felt the same way about these two very different places. Think of a place you really love. You might think of a place you have taken a vacation. Or maybe you’d choose a special spot in your house or yard. Or, perhaps there is a place away from home that you love to visit again and again – a grandparent’s home or a family cabin. Maybe school is a favorite place for you!

Read on to learn about a place I love. As you read, try to find: my topic sentence, two clear reasons (tabletops), supporting details for each of them (legs), and finally, my concluding sentence.

I have had the pleasure of exploring many marvelous places in the world, but I think I could happily spend an eternity in England. One reason I find this island nation so fascinating is its history. This is the land of kings and queens. The Beefeaters at the Tower of London are eager to tell me all their gruesome tales. It seems there is a castle and a story to go with it in every tiny hamlet. Hundreds of museums and manor homes stand ready to transport me into the past. Even the cobblestones and hedgerows have watched centuries of activity pass by.

Another reason I love England is its charm. As I take a Sunday drive through the hilly countryside, the rolling green pastures remind me of a poofy quilt speckled with wooly polka dots. I’ll spend the day strolling through a village of thatched roofed cottages. Each one is surrounded by gigantic rose bushes dripping with pink and red blooms. Swans and long boats float lazily down the Thames. I feel lazy too as I sip my afternoon tea and munch on my scone slathered with fresh clotted cream. While I chew, I read a book by C. S. Lewis or A. A. Milne, two of my favorite British authors. I can’t imagine that I would ever grow tired of exploring England!

Now it’s your turn. Be sure you include a topic sentence. Then, state a reason you love your special place (tabletop). Next, give several good supporting details or examples (legs). Last, write a concluding sentence that restates your main idea. (One good reason is enough for this assignment. Just make sure you make it convincing with your descriptive details!) Important tip!: Use an I-chart to organize your ideas before writing.

Challenge: Try jazzing up your topic and concluding sentences. Give it some personality. Instead of simply saying, “I love my cabin.” Try “There’s no better summer retreat than our cottage on Lake Lila.”

Monday, October 29, 2007

Week 8 Halloween!

“Mom! I can’t be a pumpkin AGAIN!” I protested on that crisp Friday afternoon. I couldn’t bear the thought of parading down my street in the same costume I had worn for the last two years – and my big sister the two years before that! Ugh.

I had to admit, it hadn’t been such a bad costume once-upon-a-time. But now the felt stem hat was droopy and wrinkled, and the orange fabric hung sack-like around my hips. No amount of plumping would prevent the feather pillows from clumping around my mid-section, making it hard to carry my goodie bag, and harder still to carry my head high.

Mom studied the whining gourd with pleading eyes standing there in her kitchen. At first she looked slightly annoyed, but then a smile crept its way to her lips. “Well, honey, I don’t know what else we can come up with on short notice, but I think I have to agree. That costume makes you look like a potbellied squash for certain.”

“You could make that dragonfly costume we saw in the McCalls pattern book!” I suggested hopefully.

“I don’t think so, punkin’,” she said, smiling at her own humor. “That one is too complicated for me to tackle at this point. I’m not the seamstress my mom was. Of course, she wasn’t teaching full-time while mothering three children either.” Mom dove for my one-year-old brother at that moment, just as he reached for the cord of the antique lamp standing in the corner of the living room.

“No,” she said to me after redirecting Steffen to his Tonka truck, “I think you will have to see what you can do with the big box in the garage. Maybe you can go as a robot or a giant grocery bag or something.”

I shuffled down the hall to my bedroom and plopped my padded bottom on the floor. What could I do? I didn’t relish the idea of stumbling around inside of a big box. I wouldn’t be able to see what was going on. I wanted to participate fully in the Halloween experience, something I couldn’t do if I couldn’t run away from the neighborhood boys after beaning them with the acorns from Mrs. Anderson’s oak.

I needed a good costume. Fast.

This is the beginning of a Halloween story loosely based on my childhood memories. How do you think it should end?

This week you may choose between two writing options.
1. Write the rest of this story as you think it should happen
2. Write your own story about a memorable Halloween experience of your own.

Remember to leave out the boring parts and focus on the details in the most exciting part of the story. You may publish your story as a comment on my blog or post it on your own blog.

Challenge – Help your reader get into your story by including dialogue (people talking). Important rules: Use quotation marks to show what your characters are saying. Start a new paragraph each time someone new is talking.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Week 5 Kindness!

Dear Students,
First of all, I am really happy to see the great effort you are putting into writing comments each week. Good work so far, fourth graders! This week, you will be writing about a true experience. If there are fellow students involved, please do not identify them by name to avoid embarassing anyone.
Mme Powell

Last week Normandale fourth graders participated in a fun day-long retreat all about kindness!

Choose one of these two ideas to write about:
1.) Think of a time when someone was kind to you. How did you feel before they showed you kindness? How did you feel afterward? OR
2.) Think of a time when you showed kindness to someone else? How did you feel before and after? How did the other person react?

Write a short story about one of these times. Besides telling what happened be sure to include words that express your feelings about it. Feeling words will help the reader to connect to your story.

Challenge: Choose to do three specific kind things this week! What would make someone else's day brighter?

  • As always, please write your answer in complete sentences using correct capitalization and punctuation.
  • You may find it easier to write your ideas in a Word document and then paste them into a comment on this blog.
  • Be sure to include your first name ONLY and your homeroom number (e.g. J17) before publishing your comment.

Comments must be posted no later than 8:00 A.M. Monday, October 15, to receive full credit.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Week 4 Saturdays!

Though I’d love to sleep in on a Saturday morning, I rarely do. Instead, I am up at the crack of dawn. I grind a batch of coffee beans and savor the aroma as my hot cup of joe brews. Then I sip its dark richness while cupping my hands around the warm ceramic mug and giggling over Baby Blues and Pearls Before Swine.

Most days we eat healthy food for breakfast, but years ago my husband and I decided to indulge our inner children once a week. Thus started a tradition of “Saturday cereal”, a time to occasionally enjoy sugary Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms, our old favorites. One bowl of either is about all I can handle these days, I’ve become so used to Grape Nuts or a toasted English muffin.

Then, I race back upstairs to rouse the rest of my sleepy family. Elsa, my dog, does her best to assist me. She licks the faces of the girls and fans them with her fuzzy tail. Often, however, she is won over by the enemy and plops down next to them on their beds, giving them one more snuggly reason to stay put rather than get up like their mother is asking!

If it is a sunny day and the kids don’t have too much going on, we’ll sometimes take a bike ride. My legs pump furiously as I try to catch up to my speedy children. I tease Britta that she is only faster than I because of her lightweight new bike. It’s probably not true, but it’s better than admitting that I am getting old and slow! Our spinning tires glide over gentle hills and rumble over wooden trail bridges. Dogs bark, but thankfully, don’t chase us. The sunshine pushes its way through the green canopy, plopping polka-dotted patterns on the pavement.

Sweaty and panting we return home. Spoonfuls of mint chocolate chip ice cream slide easily down my throat. I put my feet up on the hammock and sigh. Elsa flops down next to me on the grass. The squirrels chatter at her from the safety of a branch high above us. My neighbor’s mower hums in the distance. It is reminding me that I have things to do too. But I choose to ignore it for another glorious minute or two. Saturday is special, after all.

Saturdays are special days. What do you like to do on a Saturday morning? Tell about your Saturday activities using descriptive words and phrases that include your senses. (Don’t forget to capitalize Saturday! Days of the week need capital letters in English.)

Challenge: Try including some alliteration in your writing. (That's when you use the same starting sound on several words in a sentence...like I did right there! Can you find the alliterative sentence in my story?)


  • Please write your answer in complete sentences using correct capitalization and punctuation.
  • You may find it easier to write your ideas in a Word document and then paste them into a comment on this blog.
  • Be sure to include your first name ONLY and your homeroom number (e.g. J17) before publishing your comment.

Comments must be posted no later than 8:00 A.M. Monday, October 8, to receive full credit.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Week 3 Let's Write!

Autumn is an amazing time of year in Minnesota. What are some of your favorite features of fall? Do your best to be specific and descriptive. (e.g. "Our neighbor's maple tree explodes in fiery red during autumn," is more interesting than, "I like the colorful leaves.") I look forward to reading your great ideas!


  1. Please write your answer in complete sentences using correct capitalization and punctuation.
  2. You may find it easier to write your ideas in a Word document and then paste them into a comment on this blog.
  3. Be sure to include your first name ONLY and your homeroom number (e.g. J7) before publishing your comment.

Challenge! (This is an optional activity for students who wish to stretch their writing muscles further.) Write a poem about autumn in any style you like.

Comments must be posted no later than 8:00 A.M. Monday, October 1, to receive full credit.

Friday, September 14, 2007

So many books, so little time...

I love to read great books. Tell me about some of the great books you have discovered. What book would you recommend to me or a friend? Tell the title and a little bit about it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Welcome to Mme Powell's class blog! It's a new school year, so let's start something new. Having been inspired by the keynote speaker at our before-school teacher meetings, I am inviting my students to participate in an exciting form of communication. This year we will discover some of the wonderful uses of blogging. I hope that soon you will even be creating your own blogs! Let's go, Normandale fourth graders!