Renie Petropoulos » Ms. Petropoulos' Biography

Ms. Petropoulos' Biography

Ms. Petropoulos is excited to be wearing several teaching hats at Decatur: 4th-grade Homeroom, 3rd-grade Mathematics, and Makerspace. She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and holds her BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. She earned her MEd in Elementary and Middle-School Education from DePaul University in Chicago. Ms. Petropoulos is endorsed to teach middle-school English Language Arts, French, Social Science, and Science.


This is Ms. Petropoulos' eighth year of teaching with Chicago Public Schools and her very first year at Decatur. Prior to Decatur, Ms. Petropoulos taught Exploratory Science (STEM Lab) for four years to Pre-K through 8th-grade students at Saucedo Elementary in Little Village. Before that, way back in the ‘90s, she taught Library Media to Pre-K through 8th-grade students and then First Grade. After that, she worked full-time for eighteen years creating K–12 curricula for the Great Books Foundation’s Junior Great Books program, Encyclopædia Britannica, and National Geographic Learning.


Being an editor allowed Ms. Petropoulos to work flexibly at home so she could cook healthy, delicious meals for her family and spend time with her two sons as they grew. When her sons reached middle-school and were more independent, Ms. Petropoulos realized she missed exploring this fascinating world with children and missed providing opportunities to help children find their passion in life! So, she returned to teaching.


In her spare time, Ms. Petropoulos loves reading, writing poetry, gardening, birdwatching, and thrift shopping. She also enjoys playing the violin, bass guitar, and electric keyboard—while her pet birds sing along.







Makerspace Activity Rubric
Makerspace Project Rubric
3rd-grade Math Rubric
3 = Mastery
2 = Emerging Mastery
1 = Below Mastery
0 = Insufficient Response
Classroom Behavior Expectations
* Respect everybody 
* Take care of our stuff
* Get into the work 
* Ask for help and help others
* Have fun
* Put our stuff back
Makerspace Science & Engineering Practices
* Ask questions and define problems
* Develop and use models
* Analyze and interpret data
* Use math and computational thinking
* Explain and design solutions
* Argue from evidence
* Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information


Week 5

Grade 3 Mathematics
Students are developing responsible learning habits in math class. This week we practiced for the chapter 1 retake and worked through half of chapter 2. (Both chapters have been posted electronically to this website.) 
GK–2 Makerspace
Students watched a video about what a
"proboscis" is and the many types of pollinators, made a pollinator out of clay, and completed a worksheet about the different types of pollinators and how pollination occurs.
G3 Makerspace
Students extended their math class into Makerspace this week to connect to our classroom in Prodigy and try it out for the first time. (I, too, spent this time learning how Prodigy works from the teacher's end.) CPS subscribes to this game-based online math practice. I told students select "4th grade" when they create their accounts and use my class code: 71608A6. Prodigy is supposed to start out easy and get harder as students use it.
G4 Makerspace
Hands-on Challenge: Build a maze with blocks that can guide a Hexbug successfully through it three times in a row. Jaden succeeded!
G5–6 Makerspace
Online Challenge: Complete the first challenge levels of Sculty Pet, in which you sculpt a pet's head with a virtual ball of clay and paint it.
Challenge options:
* Complete the first level of Dream Home, in which you use architectural software (SketchUp) to create the footprint and walls of a house.
* Build a maze with blocks that can guide a Hexbug successfully through it three times in a row.
* Code a Micro:bit to do at least three different things using three tutorials in
G5–8 LEGO Robotics
Students met on Monday and Thursday. Students completed an icebreaker activity and watched short videos about the new competition theme "Masterpiece" and the 15 new missions. We also went over the four concepts that will be equally judged in the competition: Core Values, Robot Design, Robot Game, and Innovation Project. Students were divided into two teams, given team roles to start with: builder, coder, or artist. They also worked together on their team names and logos. We also broke out some robots and started thinking about robot design a bit.