Room 4- Emily

Classroom Updates

Emily's Update 1-4-2021

Welcome back! We are ready to make a fresh start in 2021 and I’m excited to share a few updates and changes with you.

Exploring the Oceans

Over the next few weeks, we will be diving down into the ocean biome. We’ll learn about the layers of the ocean and the diversity of creatures found there. Then, students will use their research skills to write about a favorite invertebrate. This is always one of my favorite subjects to teach and I’m excited to share it with the kids.

Xtra Math

We’ve started a new math program to simplify math fact practice. Xtra Math is a free program that helps your child practice just a few math facts at a time until they’re mastered. I will be introducing the program to children this week, and they’ll be able to link to it directly from Seesaw. Our expectation is that students practice their math facts every school day. With Xtra Math, this should take about 10 minutes or less.

I think most kids will really enjoy practicing with Xtra Math. If, after giving it a try, you’d like to discuss a different way for your child to memorize math facts, please let me know and we can work out an alternative activity.

New PE Teacher

Our new PE teacher, Jeannelle Mahle, will join us tomorrow for PE. We will be meeting up to get to know Jeannelle and learn more about what PE will look like moving forward. Please remind your child to come to PE in Carmen’s Zoom at 12:40 on Tuesday for our first PE with Jeannelle!

Reminder - Come to Scholastics!

Our afternoon Scholastics groups are not to be missed! Students practice navigating nonfiction, learn comprehension strategies and learn to write in response to texts. Every child is in one of the following groups:

Green group - 1:10 Tuesdays in Carmen’s Zoom

Blue group- 1:10 Wednesdays in Carmen’s Zoom

Orange group - 1:10 Thursdays in Emily’s Zoom

As always, let me know if you have any questions. Happy 2021!

Emily's Update 12-17-2020

As we prepare for winter break, I want to thank all of you for being a part of our virtual community. I wish you all a restorative and joyful winter break. School resumes on Tuesday, January 5. Rachel, Cheri and I are collaborating on curriculum for January and we’re excited to start fresh with you in the new year.

Always Use White Boards

I invite children to bring their white board (or a notebook and marker) to every lesson and every meeting, always! Can you tell that I am passionate about this?? White boards make interactive learning possible. I can test for understanding, take polls, and maintain engagement and accountability when kids have a white board at hand. Is your child's white board missing, or are you out of markers? Read on...

Consumables Available in January

We are scheduling the next supply pick up for Thursday, January 14th. Lower elementary classes aren’t sending home additional materials, so you won't be required to pick anything up. However, after three months of distance learning, you may be running low on whiteboard markers, pencils, notebooks, or other consumables, or you may need a replacement white board. These will be available for pick up at the Ridgeline office. Stay tuned for more details!

Heads Up for Screenshots

In the new year, we are going to be asking kids to take screen shots to capture some of their work. Every device has its own commands for this (for example, my MacBook uses command - shift - 4, but a Lenovo Chromebook uses control - shift - window switcher). You can do a search for your device’s commands. Kids will need to know how to take a screenshot and how to put it into Seesaw. We’re excited to introduce some new tools!

Have a wonderful break, everyone.

Emily's Update 12-11-2020

Writing Wrap Up

This week is the wrap up for our big animal research projects. By breaking the project into multiple steps, Carmen and I helped kids slow down and zero in on important skills throughout the process.

What an amazing outcome we had! I saw students make incredible progress from one meeting to the next, and the final products represented new personal bests for so many of them. I’m looking forward to more writing projects that build on the skills and practices we’ve put in place.

I’m encouraging kids to put their finished projects on the blog so that we can learn about a variety of animals. We can also continue our in-class tradition of asking questions and sharing positive comments about each other’s work.

Wiggly Teeth

Kids this age seem to always have a wiggly tooth, and we have had lots of teeth lost already this year. I like to talk about different cultural traditions. Did you know that some countries have a Tooth Rat? Or that in other places, kids hop around their house on one leg when they lose a tooth? This week we'll explore narrative writing and let kids tell some of their many tooth stories.


This last week before winter break is a time for us to celebrate! We have built some extra fun into our schedule this week, and every day is a little bit special. Tuesday's zoom lunch is just for fun and open to all students. We especially invite kids to bring their Legos or other building toys. We can chat, build, and show off our creations.

Monday - Blanket day

Tuesday - Lunch day

Wednesday - Stuffy day

Thursday - Hat day

Friday - Pajama day

Best wishes to you all!

Emily's Update 12-4-2020

Antarctic Scientist Visit

On Friday we were delighted to be joined by Tula’s dad, Paul Cziko. He is a professor at the UO who studies animals under the Antarctic ice. We learned about the challenges of doing research in the cold and saw amazing footage from his dives. As the students do their animal research projects, it is truly special to be visited by a real-life, professional animal researcher. Ask your kids about what happens when sponges grow on scallops under the ice!

Animal Research Projects

In December we are learning about animals of the polar regions. This is a long term project designed to take students through a structured research process. We are prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. Our project will culminate with students creating a simple display and presenting their work.

The writing process that we are following parallels the process that students use in the classroom in many ways. In-class projects offer teachers many chances to touch base and help students who need information, a jump start on a topic sentence, or a quick refresher about punctuation rules.

Distance learning means fewer opportunities for these impromptu help sessions. Carmen and I are encouraging kids to visit Carmen’s Zoom to work or get help, and I’ve been taking some extra time at the end of lessons to check in with kids about their progress. Please encourage your child to take advantage of this help. And, of course, thank you for all the support you are providing your student at home.

This past week students chose an animal, created a planner with four topics and collected information. Some groups learned strategies for writing topic sentences for their paragraphs. Next week we will complete our drafts. Older students will complete a revision and editing process culminating with their research typed up in Google docs. We will eventually turn our reports into poster board presentations with a drawing and a title. Poster board or cardboard from an old box works great. Stay tuned for more on this step later.

Winter Break

Winter Break - 12/21 - 01/04

School resumes on the 5th of January

Emily's Update 11-16-2020

Native People of the Willamette Valley

This week we continue to learn about the indigenous cultures of the Willamette Valley. In today's lesson, students were introduced to the Pacific lamprey, a boneless, jawless, ancient fish that was once abundant in our rivers and that is still harvested by tribal people. Over the next few days we'll hear more native stories about the lamprey and learn to play a traditional stick game.

Spelling Twice a Week

We've adjusted our spelling schedule to make it easier for kids and families to manage. Thanks to our spelling volunteer, Bethany, there are now spelling assignments twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. The amount of work is the same, it just comes in two packages.

Art on Wednesday for Everyone

This week and next week, our art schedule is shifted a bit. Everyone will have art on Wednesday at 12:40 in Carmen's Zoom room. We return to our regular schedule after Thanksgiving. Students will get a reminder about art in their Seesaw feed on Wednesday.

Thanks to all of you for supporting your students! We truly appreciate you.


Emily's Update 10-22-2020

Pumpkin Week Begins

This coming week we’ll be weighing, measuring, and studying pumpkins. If you have a pumpkin at home (carved or uncarved), your child can get some hands-on measuring experience. If you don’t have a pumpkin, never fear! Your child can join me or Carmen in measuring our classroom pumpkins and they will still get to participate and have fun. If your child does use their own pumpkin, this is what they’ll need on Monday:

1. pumpkin

2. string for measuring circumference

3. tape (optional)

4. measuring tool capable of measuring in inches

5. scale if available

Conferences Thursday and Friday - No School

We're looking forward to seeing you at conferences next week. Children are welcome at these conferences. If you'd rather speak with Carmen and me without your child present, that's fine too.


Thank you to everyone who helped us complete EasyCBM testing this week! It was a big logistical undertaking and we couldn’t have done it without your cooperation. We truly appreciate you.


It is so important for students to attend their level lesson each day. This is the "synchronous" time of instruction where we actually teach students the skills they will need to complete the Seesaw activities. Without this lesson students may not be able to complete their assignments and fall behind. If your child misses a lesson and needs assistance they can join Carmen's help zoom or reach out to me for help. Life happens and we know that lessons will be missed at times. It only becomes a problem when the lessons are frequently missed. Thank you for your support in getting your child to their orange, blue, or green lessons.

Video permissions -

In order for me to record and share lessons, I need video permission forms to be filled out. If you haven’t already filled out this form, please do it now!

Distance Learning Recording Consent Form- Rm 4

Care Provider Permissions -

Do you want a grandparent, tutor, or other adult to receive these updates? Is another adult helping your child access Zoom? If so, please fill out the permission form below.

Care Provider Permissions to Digital Classrooms

Have a wonderful Fall weekend. It is such a beautiful time of year!

Emily's Update 10-16-2020

Coming in October... Botany and Math with Leaves and Pumpkins!

We will be enjoying autumn in the temperate forest biome next week. We'll learn about different types of leaves,

explore why they change color, and create leaf collections to graph. Your job this weekend is to help your child notice and collect a variety of leaves so that they have some hands-on materials for next week.

During the week of October 26, we'll do some pumpkin math. We will weigh, measure, estimate, graph, and count up our pumpkins. Please plan on having an uncarved "math pumpkin" available at this time. Small "pie" pumpkins are fine for this activity... but giants can be fun too!

Family Conferences

Carmen and I want to know how distance learning is working for you! Please sign up for a 20 minute conference spot on Thursday, October 29 or Friday, October 30.

Emily's Class Sign Up

If you have a particular concern or question, please send me a quick email. I’d love to start working on problem solving strategies ASAP and then use our conference time to see what progress we’ve made.

Student Conferences

We meet with students individually every week. This helps us focus on the social and emotional well-being of students, check academic progress, and find ways to individualize instruction. If there’s something you’d like us to check in on during our weekly conference, let me know. Parents are also welcome to pop in with a quick question.

Easy CBM - Take 2

This next week we will be doing part 2 of Easy CBM, an assessment used by 4J schools.

In order to do this testing through distance, we need assistance from you to get your child logged into the testing site. We are a team!

I have compiled some step-by-step directions on how things will look on your end. We can coach you through but it might be useful to have these instructions on hand.

For Computer Based Assessments:

1. Join the testing Zoom link. Please have video on.

2. Ridgeline staff will guide your child through expectations and instructions.

3. Open your internet browser (Chrome, Safari, etc.). It will cover up your Zoom view, but that’s okay, as long as the teacher/assistant can still see your child.

4. Go to this website:

5. Your screen should look like this:

6. Click on the Students “Click Here” link.

7. Type in the teacher’s username. It is emilyoburton

8. Once you click “Go!” then you should be taken to a screen that asks you to select the group. Click on “All Students”.

9. Scroll through the names until you come to your child’s name, and click on it.

10. ***Confirm it is on your child’s test, and not another student’s!

11. It will prompt you to enter a password, which is a six-digit number from your child’s birthdate. MMDDYY, with no slashes.

12. Once entered, you will see “Select the Test”.

13. Scroll through the array of tests offered and select the one your teacher/assistant has indicated.

14. If your child is doing the math, your assistance in reading the math problems aloud to your child may be needed. No reading assistance is allowed on the reading assessments.

15. Your teacher/assistant is required to observe your child taking the assessment. There will likely be one group at a time on Zoom, testing at the same time.

These groups will happen in Carmen's zoom and will be available in the morning and afternoon time slots. There will be an assignment in Seesaw with more instructions and times next week.

Thank you for helping to make this happen.

Emily's Update 10-8-2020

Biome Exploration Next Week

Let’s get ready to travel the world as we explore all the beautiful biomes - deserts, rainforests, polar regions, grasslands, mountains, wetlands, and even the ocean. We’ll learn what a biome is and identify its living and nonliving parts. In Wednesday’s writing lessons, students will choose a biome to research and write about. On Friday, we’ll creatively recreate a Room 4 tradition, the biome fashion show. Students who want to participate can shop their closets to create an outfit for exploring the desert, diving into the ocean, or braving the polar winds. I can’t wait to see what we all come up with!

Live Lessons… The Instruction Manual for Remote Learning

Our seesaw activities are designed to be follow ups to our daily live lessons, not stand alone works. Being with students live lets me introduce new concepts, clarify expectations and answer questions. If your child misses a lesson, they may struggle to complete the Seesaw activity on their own. Pending permissions (more on that later), we will have recorded lessons available. Until then, encourage good attendance! If your child misses a lesson and needs some help, please have them visit Carmen’s help zoom to get back on track.

Permission to Record Lessons

Our lessons are highly interactive, and I often have students in view on my screen in order to see raised hands and check for understanding. This means that the lessons I record include students in the video. In order to share these recorded lessons with students who need them, we need your consent. Please fill out this form ASAP so that our recorded lessons can be made available.

Distance Learning Recording Consent Form- Rm 4

Remember, lesson videos will only be made available to families within our classroom.

Easy CBM Update

Next week we will be starting our first round of EasyCBM with some one minute reading tests. Students will be tested during their conference time and tests should only take a couple of minutes. We ask that your child be in a quiet space where they can give good, undivided attention. This is an assessment, which means the student will need to do the task without your coaching. Our students have all done this before and it should feel familiar to them.

Thank Yous

I had a beautiful birthday this Monday, with many surprise cards, gifts and well wishes from kids and families. I am so deeply grateful to you all.

Please continue to contact Carmen and me with any questions. We love to hear from you!

Emily and Carmen

Emily's Update 10-1-2020

We are getting ready for week 3 in our distance learning journey. Carmen and I have loved seeing all the great work coming in this week. I have to admit that some of the talent show submissions were my favorites. We have a funny, fearless, creative group of kids. Extra points to all the grown ups who joined in on those videos!

I also want to thank all of you who are doing real work to support your children behind the scenes. These times have made big demands of all of us and I don’t take for granted the efforts that families are making right now. Carmen and I are here to try and make the learning side of things as positive as possible for your child and your family. Please reach out by email - we would love to hear how things are going and to help troubleshoot distance learning with you.

Our Place in Space

For week 3 we are continuing with our astronomy thread, bringing it closer to home with planetary motion, the seasons, and shadows. Students will act out orbits and rotations, do shadow tracking experiments and maybe even some shadow play for PE. We are shifting into fall at the moment. This makes it the perfect time to talk about why our planet Earth has seasons as we watch for signs of fall.


We are now in full swing with writing, grammar, and math. Each week your child will receive instruction in these different curricular areas. It’s important that your child come to their daily morning lesson, especially as we move out of review and into new content.

This week we started our spelling program and placed students into our “best guess” spelling groups. We’ll be adjusting spelling levels as necessary over the next few weeks. If your child’s list seemed super easy or way too hard, let us know.

Work Plans

We track work using work plans. We’re sending out a new one on Monday that is pre-populated with some of the works your student will be doing that week. Remember, some works aren’t assigned daily. For example, some math works have multiple pages. Each time a student practices their math they should be doing a few equations and then saving the work as a draft so that they can come back to it later. It may take them 4 practices to finish the entire assignment. Each time they practice the math they get to mark it on their work plan. There are also additional math activities they can do so they are not doing the same activity each and every day.

Visit Carmen’s Zoom Room

Carmen asked me to put a shout out for her very fun, very helpful zoom room. This is open just about all day long and Carmen is ready to help! Here are some things Carmen can help with:

  • Catching up on a missed lesson

  • Extra practice with a new skill, or review of an old one

  • Help with logins or technology (spelling, scholastics, etc.)

  • Supervised meetups with a friend to do work

  • Work plan check ups - a great idea for first graders!

  • And just to say hi!

Carmen is an amazing resource and she’s there for you all day long. Our hope is that she’s the first place kids go for help. Yes, even before they go to you! Encourage your child to make use of the amazing Carmen zoom room!

Schedule Reminders

Remember, students have a morning lesson every day and a reading group lesson once a week (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 1:10). Send us an email if you have questions about your child's specific schedule. This week we've added art instruction. Students are separated into two groups, one that meets Wednesday at 12:40 (mostly younger students) and one that meets Friday at 12:40 (mostly older students). Your child has gotten a Seesaw notice with a link that lets them know which day they have art. Please add it to your calendar!

Thank you families. Have a great weekend!

Emily and Carmen

Emily's Color Coded Schedule.pdf
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