October 8, 2019

Dear 4-243 Families,

We are at about the one month mark for 4th grade and students are starting to get into a groove.  We have launched most of our curriculum at this point, however, we are still working on routines and expectations.  Please support your child in his or her efforts to stay on task, follow expectations for participating without calling out, moving through the halls and stairways quietly, and being prepared for school each day.   In particular, it is important that children are quiet and attentive during all drills–the safety of all students is of utmost importance.

In Reading Workshop, we continue to build our reading muscles.  Students are working on thinking about BIG ideas in reading, summarizing the most important parts of stories, and writing about reading with detail.  Students are expected to jot in the Reader’s Notebook at least 4 times per week.  The menu in the notebook is a great place to get ideas to jot about.  Encourage your child to mix up the kinds of entries he/she writes about–not just retells or character traits.  Go deeper and use evidence to support your ideas.  Individual assessments are ongoing; please be patient.

Writers have just completed their first pieces, personal essays in which we reviewed the structure of an essay, worked on writing strong introductions and conclusions, incorporated examples and quotes, and learned to edit using COPST: Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation, Spelling, and Transitions.  Students used dictionaries and thesauruses during the revision and editing process.  We began using our grammar workbooks, starting with a review of where capitals go.  Feel free to reinforce the rules of capitals whenever your child writes anything.  In addition, we launched our Word Study Groups.  Whether your child is in Zoe’s or Donna’s group, the work is the same while the words may be a bit different.  The cycle is Friday to Friday–quiz and new words each Friday, homework due on Thursdays.

In Math, we have finished for now our review of 4th grade topics.  Of course, the 5th grade curriculum will loop back around to many of the subjects again.  We will cover multiplication and division further, review fractions, and also review and expand geometry work.  I was glad to see a lot of progress was made on mastery of multiplication facts.  Please continue to practice these with your child as needed.  CML problems are given out and reviewed on Tuesdays.

Our Social Studies work is evolving…we have just begun our Native American Studies.  The main focus will be on NY Native Groups but we will also do some independent research of groups across the Americas in the coming weeks.  Our first trip is on Tuesday, the 15th of October to learn about the Lenape, a local Native American group who lived in the area of NY/NJ.

Fourth Grade provides many opportunities for children to branch out and take on more challenges and responsibilities.  Math Team, Peer Mediation, Classroom Monitors, and much more are options for students.  I encourage kids to step out of their comfort zone and try something.

With kind regards,

Donna