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Local School District

301 South Oak Street
West Lafayette, OH 43845
Telephone: 740-545-6354
Fax: 740-545-6336
Middle School
517 South Oak Street
West Lafayette, OH 43845
740-545-6335: Phone
740-545-5300: Fax

From the Desk of Ms. Blust

4th Grade Social Studies

Ridgewood Middle School

"Building Excellence Every Day!"


Check out Progress Book for student success.  Make today a super day!


QUIZZES - on OAA questions

PORTFOLIOS - on classwork

OPEN-BOOK AR TESTS - on non-fiction leveled readers

PROJECTS - every now and then

EXTRA CREDIT - see below



(NOTE:  Items may change due to unforeseen school activities or class pace.)

1. Cover – 3 points

(Must have student name, chapter number, and chapter title.  Picture is optional.)


2. Rubric – 5 points

(The rubric must be complete. The pages must be in order.)


3.  Time Line - 10 points


4. Vocab sentences – 30 points

    (Sentences begin with a capital letter and end with punctuation. Both words must be used in ONE sentence.)

5.  Expert Teacher/Chapter Packet - 5 points/page

6.  Outline - 10 points

7.  Historical Friend - 10 points

8.  Imagination Station - 10 points

9.  Five Facts Video - 5 points

10.  Graphic Organizer - 5 points/page

11.  Extra Credit Reports - 1 point each

12.  AR TOPS Report - 5 points




1st Quarter - Geography Standard

2nd Quarter - History Standard

3rd Quarter - Economics Standard

4th Quarter - Government Standard

 1st Quarter - October 22-26
2nd Quarter - December 17-21
3rd Quarter - March 11-15
4th Quarter - May 13-17


  • Please remember to leave all papers in your child's Social Studies folder.  When we are finished with them, they will go into the KEEP AT HOME side of the Parent Folder (orange folder), at which time you are welcome to remove them from your child's binder.
  • Remember, use the OAA Focus Questions to study for upcoming Standards Quizzes.  They are located in the right side of the SS folder.  There are no surprises on these quizzes as the questions are almost always the same/similar as the ones we study in class.
  • The students and I have discovered that the best pencils in the world are made by TICONGEROGA and SANFORD.  There is a big problem with other brands.  The lead breaks easily, even while still in the sharpener.  Also, often the wood around the lead does not sharpen low enough for the lead to be used.  I recommend investing in MECHANICAL pencils with 0.7 lead (versus 0.5 lead) or the TICONDEROGA or SANFORD wood pencils.
  • I have terrible luck with traditional pencil sharpeners in my room.  So it is absolutely OK with me if students have personal silent sharpeners in my class.  (This is not the case in some classes, so students will need to check with their other teachers, too.)



I really didn't know how to describe my teaching style until Mr. Guilliams, the 7th grade Social Studies teacher, put a name to his:  "Project Empowerment".  After two years of observing him and reflecting on my own teaching, I realized that since organization is my greatest attribute, and that it is transferred to the students in every assignment I give, the perfect name for my Social Studies class should be "Project Organization"...and so it is!  This is why...

In this class, students organize their assignments.  They keep all their papers that build their portfolio (usually two weeks) in a Social Studies folder.  (In the past, parents would clean out their child's binder and toss anything they believed was not needed anymore.  Parents, do not do that!  In my class, this responsibility is shifted from the parent to the student.)  Sequencing is a 4th grade standard so students put all of their portfolio assignments in order according to their rubric, which is the page in their portfolio where their grades are recorded.

In this class, students organize their handwriting.  They utilize their ability to write in cursive.  Cursive writing is taught in 2nd grade, practiced in 3rd grade, and (relatively) perfected in 4th grade.  Writing in cursive helps students to think in terms of words rather than letters.  This helps develop their reading ability.  I do not grade cursive writing, but I expect it (don't worry...I'm patient).

In this class, students organize their thinking.  They develop their skills in researching the informational text.  Students get to know the lay-out of their book very well since almost all assignments in their portfolio use the text.  Every chapter test is open-book.  Page numbers are required next to each answer on the test and are scored.  Ridgewood adopted a fabulous 4th grade Social Studies text book that covers all of the 4th grade standards, and adds a bit more to make the story of Ohio's history flow. 

In this class, students organize their time.  They experience an organized environment with routine.  The pattern of doing things is usually the same every day, but the activities vary.  Students learn to determine what can be done in class and what needs to be homework.  Most quickly learn to use their class time wisely and get their assignments done by the portfolio due date.  Some are late bloomers.

In this class, students organize their work.  Quite often, there are details that adults tend to take for granted, and we think our children already know them.  A little teaching time on the fundamental details can make assignments go a lot smoother. 

Our top ten details for writing on notebook paper:

1)  The holes go on the left and the large white margin goes at the top.

2)  Skip lines to allow for teacher comments and white space.

3)  Begin writing at the red line on the left and continue all the way across. 

4)  If the whole word does not fit on the line, erase it and put it on the next line, not curved down the side of the page.

5)  After a sentence is finished, begin the next sentence on the same line right after the previous sentence.

6)  Put one pinky-finger space between words.

7)  When indenting, indent only two finger spaces.

8)  Write one line high.

9)  Write your words on the lines, not floating in the air.

10)  Add quality to your work and write in your best cursive.


Keeping an organized environment on the outside keeps your brain organized on the inside.


I SUGGEST a 2 to 3 inch binder with the clear plastic pockets on the outside.  There should be one separate folder for each subject, each a different color, each with the name and period of that subject written on the front.  The folders should be placed in the same order as the class schedule.  One extra folder should be in the binder too, the PARENT folder.  This folder is for all the papers that can be taken out by the parent and kept at home. The binder should have a flat pencil pouch with binder holes in it.  Ridgewood will supply the Parent folder and the agenda.  The orange plastic Communication folder can act as the PARENT folder.

Kudos to ALYSSA GROVE for maintaining a separate binder at home that holds all of her tests and study guide papers for the quarter, separated by tabs for each subject!  She shared her idea with her class and says this helps her be prepared to study for the 9-Week Exams.  THAT'S GOOD ORGANIZATION!

If you have other suggestions to help keep students organized, I would love to hear them.  Good Luck!



1)  I greet the students at the door with a smile and a few OAA Focus Questions.

2)  We review the standards and answers to the OAA Focus Questions. 

3)  We discuss the agenda for the day/week.

4)  We read or discuss a lesson, sometimes in small cooperative groups.

5)  We work on our portfolios, sometimes in small cooperative groups. 

6)  We review assignments, then dismiss.




1)  Treat others with respect.

2)  Come to class prepared.

3)  Complete all assignments.

4)  Follow directions.



Verbal Warning


1 - 10 minutes of recess detention

2 - 20 minutes of recess detention

3 - 20 minutes of recess detention and call parents and/or refer to principal



A safe and happy environment in which to learn

(and an occasional tootsie-roll)



Homework is rarely assigned.  Class time is split about 30/70, where 30% of the time I deliver lessons and 70% of the time students are working on their own or in groups, but I am mingling to assist where needed.  So there is plenty of time and help to get assignments done in class. Students can always correct their work for a better grade if they are not satisfied.  My philosophy is "I don't care when you learn it, just as long as you learn it."  If you want it to count on the grade card though, it has to be finished by the end of the quarter. 


Class time wasted is free time wasted!  Don't let your classwork turn into homework!


Extra credit reports are accepted all year long.  They must be in the form of a report.  One report is accepted for every interim report card and one is accepted for every final report card, for a total of eight (8) extra credit reports for the year.  Reports are worth 5-25 test points.


1)  at least one page, no more than two

2)  typed (size 14 font) or written in cursive

3)  double-spaced (skip lines)

4)  on one of the approved topics


Approved  Topics

The Wright Brothers

Charles Kettering

Garrett Morgan

Granville Woods

Thomas Edison
The Constitution
The War of 1812
Transportation Systems in Ohio
The Underground Railroad
The Three Branches of Government
The Northwest Ordinance
The 13 Colonies


Corrections are accepted on all Standards Quizzes.  The questions must be written out completely (or drawn out if there is a map or table of some kind), as well as the actual answer only (not ALL the answers and NOT just the letters in multiple choice).  We only want the correct answer in our heads!  Corrections are also accepted on portfolios and can be made within the portfolio itself. Corrections are worth 1/2 of the points and can up the test grade considerably.  Sometimes, these corrections are mandatory.



Scholastic book orders are accepted any time.  Please make checks payable to "Scholastic Books."  Typically I send orders in at the end of each month, sometimes earlier depending on school vacations, etc.  Also, I have to wait until I collect $20.00 worth of combined orders to avoid shipping and handling charges.  At times, this may cause a delay in sending orders in.



"Every Child...Every Day!" ~Unknown

"Change is inevitable. Progress is a chioce." ~Me

"Be the change you want to see." ~Mahatma Ghandi



Home - 740-202-0286

School - 545-6335

Email - kathy.blust@omeresa.net

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