Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Holidays!

There is no homework over break, but students should be reading. It was a great 2013 in 4B, can't wait for 2014!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Homework for 12/20

Complete Social Studies Packet

PTO Thank you

Our class was selected as a Google Chromebook Pilot Classroom. We are so grateful! Thanks PTO!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Homework for 12/19

** Complete Hyperbole Worksheet
** Complete Book Review Rough Draft - Students should practice completing a Book Review (which students will be required to complete after reading each of their independent reading books). In addition, students received a Book Review Help Sheet to guide them in completing the review. Students should make their best effort to complete the rough draft. If necessary, students may leave a section or two blank if they no longer have the book, but not the summary.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Homework for 12/18

** Complete Math Worksheet
** Read the 3 short science articles - Complete 4-6 sentence summary of why the oil spill was important, include 2-3 facts from the articles. Students only need to complete one summary, not one for each article.

Art Presentation

Today we had an amazing presentation about Vincent Van Gogh. The students had a great time and worked on art of their own!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Homework for 12/17

** Complete two-sided division (with remainders) worksheet.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Homework for 12/13

** Students should complete their spelling packet if they did not complete it in class
** Spelling test tomorrow
** Students should complete multiplication and division worksheet. Students brought home their math notebooks so they can use their notes if they need help. Many students are struggling with long division (which we are still learning) so students should make their best effort if they are confused.

Discussing the Holocaust

Today in class we discussed yesterday's field trip about tolerance and the Holocaust. The students were very interested in the topic as well as the events of World War 2. This is obviously a very important and complex topic, and a lot of thoughts and ideas were thrown out during the discussion. I encourage you to talk with your students about these events at greater length to help them form a basis for understanding going forward.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Homework for 12/12

Today we went on an amazing field trip where students learned about tolerance. For homework, students should complete the written reflection worksheet on what they learned. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Homework for 12/11

** Students should complete their first draft of their pen pal letter
** Students should complete the math division math sheet.

REMEMBER: Field Trip tomorrow!

Orchestra on THURSDAY

Orchestra is on Thursday this week, not Wednesday.


Tomorrow is our field trip to the Holocaust Museum. We are planning to leave at 11:00 am and return to Indian Trail by 2:30.  

Please pack a disposable lunch for your student, as we will be eating at the museum. Students who receive bag lunch at the school will be able to pick their lunch before the trip. Students who receive hot lunch will hopefully be able to pick up their lunch as well, but it depends on when the food delivery is made by the restaurant. 

I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE students who receive hot lunch to bring a back up lunch in case the lunches do not arrive on time.

Please let me know if you have any questions!!  Thanks again!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Homework for Tuesday 12/10

** Students should complete Do Now Worksheet regarding prime/composite numbers
** Students should begin their first draft response to their pen pal, and identify any metaphors or idioms in the pen pal's letter.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Author Visit - Katherine Applegate

Katherine Applegate, author and Newbery Medalist for The One and Only Ivan, will be visiting with 2nd-5th grade students on Wednesday, December 18th. If you wish to purchase a book to be signed by the author all orders are due into the library by Friday, December 13th.

Real Ivan
One and Only Ivan book website
Lincoln Park Zoo Lowland Gorillas

Indian Trail School Song

Friday, December 6, 2013

Shiloh and Orphans of the Storm

In conjunction with our novel study of "perspective" using the novel, Shiloh, we partnered with Orphans of the Storm today.  Orphans of the Storm is a Lake County animal shelter that provides care for animals that have been abused, neglected, lost, and/or abandoned.  Students drew connections between the animals in the shelter, and Shiloh in our novel. Students had the opportunity to learn about the shelter today in a presentation given by a volunteer.

In addition to learning about how Orphans of the Storm helps local animals, we are partnering with them to collect items the shelter needs on a regular basis.  Below are some suggestions for donation items to send to school.  Our grade-level will be collecting donations until December 20th, and will dontate all collected items to the shelter!

Help us provide for animals who have been in unfortunate situations like Shiloh!

  • Newspaper (we go through hundreds each day)
  • Blankets (during the winter months every dog goes to bed with a blankie) (not too large or heavy as we wash and dry every blanket daily)
  • Towels
  • Dog bones, chew bones, treats, balls
  • Cat trees, toys, beds, treats
  • Sturdy dog and cat combs and brushes

Learn more about the wonderful animal shelter, Orphans of the Storm:

Homework for Monday 12/9

*** Summarize ch.1-5 of Shiloh in 5-8 sentences.
*** Make a prediction about what happens in the novel based on evidence (clues from what they have read) -- minimum of 3 sentences.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Homework for Friday 12/6

*** Spelling Test
*** The homework is to find a national or international current event, and write a one-paragraph summary (4-6 sentences) to share with the class on Friday.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No Homework for 12/5

I will be out of the building tomorrow (Thursday 12/5). I expect excellent behavior from all students.

For Friday, we have a spelling test, and all students are required to have an appropriate independent reading book on Friday as we are changing our home reading process and I will be logging and monitoring all books.

Computer Lab Work

1) Online Jamestown Game

2) Math Factor Tetris

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Homework for 12/4

** Prime Factorization Worksheet. Try to complete with just your notes, but may use calculator if necessary or to check.

** Read for 30 minutes

REMINDER: Early Release Tomorrow

MISSING: Sideways Stories from Indian Trail

During conferences our short story booklet went missing. I'm assuming it got mixed up in a student's portfolio. If you find it at home, will you please return it? Thanks!

Today in Figurative Language...

Field Trip 12/11

Dear Parents,

A permission slip is coming home today for our class field trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.  We will be touring a special youth exhibit called "Take a Stand."  This exhibit focuses on teaching students strategies to help them become responsible citizens, with a focus on learning to speak up for those being bullied or treated unfairly.  We will NOT view exhibits related to the Holocaust.

If you are interested in more information, you can visit the website at

The permission slip forms are coming home today.  Please return them to school as soon as possible.  If you are interested in chaperoning this field trip, please let me know.

Thank you! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

SouthEast States Quiz

This quiz will be held in two weeks on December 16. Students recorded this in their assignment notebooks today, but this is a digital (and legible) reminder.

Homework for Tuesday 12/3

** Write all 12 states, capitals, and abbreviations TWICE on a lined piece of paper. ONCE in print writing, ONCE in cursive

** Read Ch.4 and Ch.5 in Shiloh

Saturday, November 23, 2013

No homework over break

There is no reading log for over break, but I encourage all students to continue reading for 15-30 minutes a day.

See you at conferences!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Homework for Friday 11/22

** Complete SouthEast Brochure - Put States in order, climate questions, and back page questions.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Homework for Thursday 11/21

** Complete Prime and Composite Numbers Worksheet

And bring in any spare quarters!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Homework for Wednesday 11/20

** Spelling Test on Stems and Meanings (Fill in the Blank Study Guide is homework)
** Reading Logs due

Friday, November 15, 2013

Homework for Monday 11/18

** Work on Year of the Boar Project. Due Tuesday 11/19
** We need cover(s) for our Sideway Stories from Indian Trail book. Students are encouraged (but not required) to draw or make a cover. (Examples from previous classes are below)
** Lastly, I have added a link for, a site founded by Sandra Day O'Conner that teaches students about government and civic duty through interactive games.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Homework for Friday 11/15

** Complete Math Meets Fashion Packet
** Continue working on the Year of the Boar Project, due Tuesday 11/19

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Classroom Coin Challenge!!

Homework for Thursday 11/14

** Complete math multiplication factors worksheet to the best of your ability
** Continue to work on Year of the Boar Project (due next Tuesday 11/19)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Homework for Wednesday 11/13

Students should work on their Year of the Boar project and read for homework tonight.

** If your student did not finish their short story typed rough draft today and you have computer access, they should finish their writing if possible.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Link for Friday's Math Work

Click here to get to the Math Site. 
Find your name. 
Students should take the mini-tests in this order:
1) Nums and Ops
2) Measurement
3) Nums, Ops, and Algebra

Homework for 11/12

** Reading Logs due
** Students must create 5 multi-operation math word problems along with the solutions, showing their work.

Nick has 5 pieces of candy. Darren has three times the amount Nick has. How many pieces of candy do they have total?

Nick and Darren have 20 pieces of candy total. 

In addition, I have provided a link to a new math practice site, The site looks very fun and educational. However, it appears that the site will be shutting down at the end of the year, so I will not be creating a class roster.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Homework for 11/8

** Complete brainstorm for Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson Project
** Study for Spelling Test
** Study for SS test (for those students who need to re-take)


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Homework for 11/7

** complete math packet (questions 6-10)
** find 15 words for your Wednesday spelling sort

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Reading Comprehension Tool - RAZ Kids!!

On the toolbar above the blog posts, there is a new link for RAZ (Reading A-Z) Kids. This program allows students to read leveled passages and answer comprehension questions. Students also have the option to hear the passages read and to read them aloud (I believe the internal microphones on most computers will work). I have heard great things about this program, and many students were familiar with the program already.

Please check it out (go to, go to Student Log-in, type bbrandstrader in the teacher's name, click on your student, and enter the password - same as for Spelling City and written in each assignment notebook)

Supply Alert - Earbuds or Headphones!

Hello 4B parents - This year we are very fortunate to have some amazing technology to utilize in the classroom. However, many of these programs have audio components, and while our computer lab have headphones, the laptops do not. If you have an extra set of headphones or earbuds, I would greatly appreciate it if you would send them to school so your student can get the maximum benefit from these programs. (And if you have more than one set you are willing to part with, that would be amazing!)

Homework for Wednesday 11/6

** Complete the first 5 problems in the math packet
** Complete your Tuesday sort for Spelling
** Get SS NE States Test signed if you got 16 or under and prepare for re-test on Friday

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween from the 4th grade team!

(FYI - We are box cars and one eyes jacks, part of the math curriculum)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Homework for 10/31

** Complete Skip Count Multiplication Sheet 6-10

ALERT! Update for Halloween

From the office of Craig Keer...

In an effort to be proactive about the bleak weather forecast (100% chance of rain) for
Halloween Festivities, we are going to move the parade indoors for Thursday, October
31st. We ask that you arrive between 2:35 and 2:45pm and sign in the main entrance
on St. Johns. This will allow our parade to begin at 2:50 and be over by 3:05pm.

Please follow the parent viewing area (Library and Cafeteria) map below.

For dismissal, PLEASE communicate with your child your dismissal plan before
the beginning of school on Thursday. We will have multiple staff members located in
the library for those who wish to sign out their children a few minutes early (3:10pm).
This will help with our potentially crowded dismissal. Please remember, all after school activities (other than ASAP) on Thursday, October 31st have been cancelled.

While not an ideal situation, we want to keep our students, parents and staff warm, dry, and safe during the Halloween Parade.

Thank you in advance for your assistance and patience.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Homework for Wednesday 10/30

Today we finished Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. For homework, students should complete the reflection worksheet with complete thoughts on changes they would make to the book, an additional chapter they would write, and what they think Shirley would have become when she grew up and became an adult.

Reminder for Thursday (Halloween)

Students should not come to school dressed in costume. They will be able to change at 1:45pm for the 2pm party. Indian Trail Parade starts promptly at 2:45pm. Students will then report back to class after the parade and dismissed at 3:17pm.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Homework for Tuesday 10/29

** Complete Social Studies States and Capitals worksheet
** Read Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson through page 157 (December)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Homework for Monday 10/28

** Complete multidigit multiplication worksheet using the different strategies listed. (All strategies are detailed and explained in the students' math notebooks)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Homework for Friday 10/25

** Complete map of Northeastern States, listing the state names and capitals
** Spelling Quiz
** Weekly Reading Log Due
** For those that have missed class, read Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson through Chapter 8

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Homework for 10/24

** Read for 30 minutes and make DETAILED entries in reading logs, showing in-depth comprehension of the reading material.

Today in class, we discussed nouns, and watched this classic clip. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Homework for 10/23

** Complete spelling word work packet (definition, sentences, and illustrations)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Homework for 10/22

** Make corrections on 4.NBT.4 Math Check-In. Use Notebook for reference.
** Read through Chapter 7 in Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Homework for Friday 10/18

** Write explicit, detailed directions on how to construct your paper airplane. (Imagine you are writing to a younger sibling or cousin who had never made a paper airplane. Each step must be written down. Pictures illustrating each step are encouraged)

** Study for Spelling Test

** Turn in Reading Log

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homework for 10/17

** Complete any math worksheets that were not finished in class.

Reminder, tomorrow is an Early Release day!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Homework for Wednesday 10/16

** Complete social studies packet on latitude and longitude. Read the directions carefully as there are answers to questions in the text.

** Complete paper airplane building reflection. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Homework for 10/15

** Decorate Traveling Tourist cover for Social Studies Porfolio
** Research paper plane building techniques for engineering contest. Students will be required to construct working paper plane with one sheet of paper. Students should come to class Tuesday with step-by-step instructions on how to construct a plane. Students will work on perfecting their plane and reflecting on the engineering process.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Homework for 10/11

** Complete Multi-Digit Addition Worksheet (if not completed in class)
** Complete Letter to Mr. Brandstrader (if not completed in class)
** Spelling Test tomorrow
** Weekly Spelling Test

New Resource!! XtraMath

XtraMath is a math program specifically devoted to math facts, like digital flash cards. I think this is a great resource to help solidify these foundational skills.

To Sign in, you must enter my email -, your student's first name, and a PIN that your student has in their assignment notebook.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Homework for Wednesday 10/9

** Make corrections on Math Quiz
** Complete Math Notebook Problems
** Complete Comprehension Questions for Chapters 3 and 4 in Year of the Boar

And READ!!!!

Author Visit!

Today we had the pleasure of meeting authors Kate and Sarah Klise, who discussed their books and told great stories about their lives, their characters and their writing process. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Homework for 10/8

** Read Ch. 4 in Year of the Boar
** Complete Comprehension questions for Chapter 1 and 2
** Complete Monday's section in the Spelling Practice Packet

Friday, October 4, 2013

Exciting News and Homework for Monday 10/7

We have been chosen to pilot the premium membership for Spelling City!!! This means students have access to all of the games and activities related to their words, and all data is kept and recorded on the site, accessible by students (and parents) at any time. Students recorded their logins and passwords in their assignment notebooks. Please use often, and ask to see your student's score from today's test! The site is accessible on my website (tab above the posts) or at

Homework for Monday is to complete the political map worksheet.

In addition, we began our reading logs today, to be submitted every Friday. Students will record what they have read (pages and minutes) as well as answer questions about what they have read. Once they have completed their sheet on Thursday night, they will need to have it signed by a guardian/parent to verify and hold them accountable for their work.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Spelling Quiz on Friday 10/4

On Friday we will be having our 4th spelling quiz. All students have a master list to study from, and all lists are posted on Spelling City for practice.

Math Quiz on Thursday

In class on Thursday, students will be taking a quiz on place values, comparing numbers, and rounding (4.NBT.1 - 4.NBT.3). Student can study from their math notebooks, review packet, IXL, and Learn Zillion. (Tabs are on the top of the page)

Also, we have read 2 chapters in Year of the Boar. Any students who missed the in-class reading should complete the reading at home.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

No Homework for 10/2

In honor of Shimi's birthday, there is no homework this evening. 

However, there will be a math quiz on rounding, place value, and comparing numbers (4.NBT.1 - 4.NBT.3) on Thursday and a spelling quiz on Friday. Please utilize (Math) and (spelling) for practice. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Reminder on D112 Birthday Policy

Hello Parents,

Just a friendly reminder that the District no longer allows students to bring in treats, healthy or not, for birthday celebrations. This is a district wide policy. If you have questions, please contact the office for further explanation.

Homework for October 1

This week we begin our Words Their Way differentiated spelling lists. The homework for tonight is for each student to cut out their individual words and put them into the provided envelope so that we can begin word sorting work tomorrow.

Homework for Monday 9/30

The homework for Monday is for students to explain the directions and strategy for the game Twisting Dominoes, a math game that we have played in class this week. It is very important for students to be able to articulate their thinking and reasoning, so this is a practice we will be working on throughout the year.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homework for Friday 9/27

The homework for tonight is a rounding worksheet. For extended practice, students may practice on IXL, or use to watch videos about what we are learning.

Also, picture day is Monday! Please submit picture forms as soon as possible.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No Homework for Thursday 9/26

We had an absolutely amazing day in 4B today. Students were extremely focused and we were able cover a great amount of material. Tell your students to keep it up!

Also, please turn in picture forms asap if you would like to order pictures. Picture Day is next Monday.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homework for Wednesday 9/25

Students have a rounding worksheet to complete for Wednesday. If they are having trouble, here is a video that helps explain the concept.

Also, picture packets are due as soon as possible.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Spelling Test #3 on Monday

Students will be taking their third spelling test on Monday on academic vocabulary. In order to help students study, they received a study guide packet that is also due on Monday.

If you are planning on ordering picture on Picture Day, please turn in orders as soon as possible. Picture Day is next Monday September 30th.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Homework for Friday September 20

Students have a Place Value Review Worksheet to complete for homework for Friday. Students were given twenty minutes for study hall so some students completed their homework already.

Today students also got to participate in the SkyDome activity, learning about the planets and constellations. Ask them about it tonight!! (See if they remember how many moons Jupiter has.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Homework for Thursday September 19

 In class, we are beginning to examine different cultures. For homework due Thursday, students should complete their Family Culture Survey, where they will be researching, examining, and sharing some of their family traditions.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No Homework until MAPS testing completed

Students at Indian Trail will be MAPS testing this week. There will be no homework (except a good night's rest!) until the testing is complete.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Homework for Monday September 16

Homework: Students should complete their brainstorm graph organizer for their "Sideways" Indian Trail fictional short story.

2013 Open House

2013 Open House

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Early Release on Friday!

School ends on Friday the 13th (scary!) at 1pm.

Online Math and Spelling Practice!

Here are links to math and spelling sites for at-home practice.

Spelling -

Math - (students know their username and password)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mr. Brandstrader OUT Tuesday (9/3) and Wednesday (9/4)

Due to the passing of a family member, I will not be at Indian Trail on Tuesday or Wednesday. I will do my best to check email. If there is an emergency, please contact the front office.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Early Release on Friday 8/30 and other Notes

ALERT! Friday will be an Early Release (1pm) for students due to the hot weather.

Also, Picture Day will be Monday, September 30.

Lastly, our class will be going to the Library on Wednesdays, not Mondays.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Early Release Today!

Today students will be released at 1pm due to the very hot weather. Please remember to bring in water bottles so that students can stay properly hydrated and ready to learn.

Also, please bring in art smocks as soon as possible. We do not need them this week but will in the near future.

Have a great, and cool, day!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


This is the official homepage for Mr. Brandstrader's Fourth Grade Class. I am very excited to meet everyone!

Blog Archive