Welcome to the Fourth Grade Information Page

If you're interested in a particular project, activity or details about an upcoming field trip, then you've come to the right place! Scroll down past our calendar to get an idea of what we've been exploring and what's to come. Thanks for visiting and come back soon!

4th Grade

4th Grade Weekly Update 3/12/17

posted Mar 12, 2017, 4:11 PM by Tori Dahlberg

Dear 4th grade families,

Here's a brief update!

Exhibition Night

We are quickly approaching our school-wide exhibition night (Thursday, March 23rd)! For this exhibition, our class is putting on a play about the California Gold Rush. I will send the exact time of the play after I double-check with Natasha tomorrow. I also meant to send an emailed version of our Gold Dust or Bust scripts on Friday so that the kids could rehearse their lines at home but totally forgot to scan them to my email before I left school for the weekend. I will send the electronic copy on Monday!

3rd and 4th Graders

Recently, the 3rd and 4th graders have had some negative interactions on the playground. We have been having class meetings to figure out the roots of the problems and have practiced and talked a lot about taking accountability for our own actions. We will continue to work on it this coming week. If your child has shared anything with you that you would like me to know about, please feel free to email. 

Old Town Field Trip

Our trip to Old Town is THIS WEDNESDAY! There are no waivers for this one, but it does cost $8 for the kids and $3 for each adult chaperone. This field trip will be an interactive walk through the history of San Diego and California and followed by a picnic lunch! I would recommend sending your child with a hat and/or sunscreen for this outdoor field trip... looks like it could be a hot day!

We are looking forward to another great week or teaching and supporting your child! :)

4th Grade Weekly Update 3/3/17

posted Mar 12, 2017, 4:09 PM by Tori Dahlberg

Hello! It's me again with the weekly update. :)

FYI - Several students went home sick this week and lots of kids have stayed home sick, too. There's definitely something going around from coughs to headaches to stomach aches. We are very involved in project work, so please help them to be at school as much as possible.

Multiplication Strategies

Today, the 5th graders taught us 3 different strategies to solve multi-digit multiplication problems. It was a great opportunity for all involved! They became the experts, and we got one on one learning time with them. We will be practicing these strategies for the next couple of weeks.


As you may have noticed, the spelling words have disappeared from the weekly emails! I noticed that a handful of students already knew the words and weren't being challenged or making good use of their time. I also notice that the students who struggled with spelling would get all of the words right on the test, but then mispell the same or similar words in their writing.

Spelling will now be integrated into our reading and writing practices and discussions. We also have a space on our wall with frequently mispelled words for student reference. You can still support your child at home, too! Spelling, reading and writing are very closely connected - by supporting and encouraging them in reading and writing, they will grow as spellers, too. Thank you for being supportive of this change and of my growth as a teacher! 

Project Materials

Thank you so much for all of your donations! We are set for now, but I'll let you know if anything else comes up as we are working. I'm so lucky to teach kids with such supportive and generous families! :)

Old Town Field Trip

Our field trip to Old Town is March 15th - I will start collecting money this week! Remember, it is $8 per child and $3 per adult. We have enough parent drivers, but if you're still interested just let me know. I'm happy to include any parent who wants to join us! On this field trip, we will be going on a guided tour and learning about the early years in California.

Weekend Events

There are two awesome events happening this weekend that directly tie into our learning. 

1. Project Wildlife Baby Shower - Spring brings lots of wild animal babies! This is your chance to support the local organization that supported us during our project on endangered species. Join them on March 4th from 10:00 - 2:00 at the Central Traige Center to tour the center, meet animal ambassadors and participate in games and activities. For more information, visit their website: http://www.projectwildlife.org/news.php

2. STEM Expo Day - It's an understatement to say that the kids in our class love STEM challenges. STEM challenges are activities that typically incorporate science, technology, math and engineering. On March 4th, from 10:00 - 5:00, the Biocome Institue Festival of Science and Engineering is hosting a FREE expo day at Petco Park! I may be stopping by to check it out - let me know if you plan to go!

Endangered Species Magazines

We still have quite a few magazines left from our project on endangered species. I am hoping get them all sold by the end of the year. All money raised from the magazines goes to Project Wildlife. Any ideas on getting these sold? If you know anyone who would like to buy one, just send in money ($5 each) and I'll send them home with your child! Let me know if you can support us with this with ideas or connections.

4th Grade Weekly Update 2/24/17

posted Mar 12, 2017, 4:08 PM by Tori Dahlberg

Dear wonderful 4th grade families,

Bolling and I have both been having so much fun with the kids lately. Our conversations and learning have been so rich, meaningful and integrated. We have seen so much growth in the class as a whole and feel like we are reaching and supporting them in such deep and meaningful way both socially and academically. 

The big project in our class right now is the California Gold Rush. The kids:
  • are working on a musical performance with Natasha
  • have been reading and writing about different routes and stories from the gold rush
  • are looking at and talking about art from the mid 1800's related to the gold rush
  • will be creating a timeline of major events
  • will be creating a Star of India replica for a prop in the performance with Jeff, the robotics teacher
  • will be learning about the geography of CA by creating topographical maps
  • are starting another class book, By the Great Horn Spoon (about a young boy's adventure west to find gold) next week
With that being said, our classroom needs a handful of supplies donated to complete these projects! To organize and coordinate with other parents, I have created a spreadsheet. Please just put your name by things you are willing to donate and how many you can send in. Here's the link: 

Specials Update

In January, we switched from Nature Studies to Art with Nikki. The kids were loving chess so much that we decided to give them a few more weeks with Martin, the chess teacher. Next week, however, we will be switching from chess to robotics with Jeff. During the first 3 weeks of robotics, Jeff will be working with the kids to create a replica of the Star of India ship* by integrating our learning of shapes, angles, symmetry and lines in math! After that, they will be learning about an introduction to robotics.

*Though the Star of India was not actually used during the gold rush, it is the oldest, still sailing, iron-hulled ship and the most similar to the ships that were used in the Gold Rush.

Old Town Field Trip

As another field study for our Gold Rush project, we will be going on a guided tour in historic Old Town, San Diego. Our tour is scheduled from 10:00 - 12:00 with a picnic lunch afterward. We will be back at school around 1:15. The cost is $8 per person and $3 per adult. Please let me know asap if you are able to be a driver for this trip and how many kids you can take! :) 


We started a new "science learning path" this week all about electricity and magnetism. The kids will be creating parallel and series circuits on a circuit board, lighting up a light bulb with a battery and copper wire, and creating their own working compass.

Kindergarten Buddies

For a few weeks now, we have been working with our kindergarten buddies on writing a story about animals. During this process, the kids have had opportunities to:
  • brainstorm using a story planning web
  • collaborate, compromise and shared ideas with their buddies
  • share their writing with a small group of peers
  • receive feedback
  • and revise and clarify their story
  • create illustrations
Milton's Secret Film

Our passionately devoted Parent Connections Committee is bringing a once in a lifetime opportunity to our school this Monday (February 27th) from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. The event will consist of a viewing of the film, Milton's Secret, talks from Christine and Jennifer, and a mindfulness session. I hope to see you there! :)

Have a great weekend!

4th Grade Weekly Update 2/10/17

posted Mar 12, 2017, 4:07 PM by Tori Dahlberg

Dear 4th Grade Families,

February seems to be flying by! The next two weeks are 4 day weeks and next Wednesday is our Star of India overnight field trip! Here are the weekly updates:

Star of India Field Trip

We leave on Wednesday to stay the night on the Star of India and learn about the California Gold Rush! We will leave school at 1:45 on Wednesday and return around 10:00 on Thursday. There are very specific and limited items that the students need to pack for this trip. A paper copy of the packing list was sent home today with each child - you can also find the electronic copy here: 

If I am still missing medical forms and waivers for your child, I sent a hard copy of those home today as well.

James and the Giant Peach

We are almost done reading our current class novel: James and the Giant Peach. Next Thursday when we return from the Star of India field trip, we will be watching the James and the Giant Peach movie. The movie is rated PG (for some "frightening images") - if you have any concerns, please let me know. 

Valentines Day

We decided yesterday that we are going to have a little class party at the end of the day on Tuesday for valentines day. The kids are, of course, not required to bring in valentines to hand out, but if they do, they need to bring one for everyone in the class (see attachment for class list). We will be decorating paper bags to collect valentines in and Bolling and I will have a few games planned as well. :)

Scholastic Order

The next scholastic book order will be placed Friday, February 24th. 

Have a wonderful weekend! I will be out of town again and not responding to emails until Monday. As always, thank you for all of your support.

4th Grade Weekly Update 2/3/17

posted Mar 12, 2017, 4:06 PM by Tori Dahlberg

Dear 4th Grade Families,

Here are the updates and announcements for the week:

Star of India

Our trip is quickly approaching! Please see previous email for the field trip logistics. Student waivers and medical forms went home with them today. Please fill out and send them back! You can also print them from the last email. 

Portfolio Review

Next week is Portfolio Review week! During this time, the kids will be showing you some of the work that they are most proud of. The kids have short days all week and will get out at 12:30. If you haven't already, sign up for a time slot in the link below! We expect 100% family participation, so if you have any questions please let me know.

Healthy Bodies Project

We are wrapping up our first project of the new semester. It wasn't as in depth as ones prior, but I think the kids had fun learning about the very real topics of health. They made posters about the importance of exercise and presented them to other classes this week. We are going to hang them around the school to share our learning as well. We also learned about healthy foods and the food groups. Each child made an individual nutrition card to keep in their lunchboxes with suggestions and personalized ideas to help them make healthy eating choice. This is by no means meant for you to need to go out and buy different foods at the grocery store, but instead a way to help the kids be thoughtful of the nutrients that their bodies need.

The California Gold Rush

Our next project will be about the California Gold rush! The kids have been working with Natasha twice a week in performing arts to work on a play/ musical called Gold Dust of Bust that they will share on our next Exhibition Night (March 23rd). The Star of India field trip will be a great experience for us to build off of for this project.

Next week, students will audition for a part in the play with Natasha. If they bring home a script to read this weekend to practice, please help them remember to bring it back. :)

Old Town Field Trip

Our next field trip will be to Old Town on Wednesday March 15th for a guided, California history-centered tour. The tour starts at 10:00 and we will have a picnic lunch there as well. We will be recruiting parent drivers soon! FYI - the cost will be between $8 and $10 per child.

Specials and P.E.

This week, our specials on Tuesday mornings changed. We are continuing chess with Martin but have switched from Nature Studies to Art. With all of our creative minded kids, I am excited for them to have this experience because I am not artistic in the slightest. In PE, we are continuing our unit on basketball. Many of the kids have started playing basketball during their break times! We checked in with coach today about some of the most important rules of the game to make sure we could all play fairly.

Milton's Secret Film Screening

The parent connections social committee is putting together a big event for Innovations Academy. On February 27th, they will be screening Milton's Secret and hosting a discussion with the film's director, Barnet Bain! Please help them spread the word by sharing information about this event with family and friends outside of the IA community (more details found from IA Info. email). We hope to see you there!

I will be out of town this weekend and not checking emails until Monday. Happy Friday everyone! We hope you enjoy the weekend.

PS- Bolling (the Georgia native) says, "GO FALCONS!" :)

4th Grade Weekly Update 1/27/17

posted Mar 12, 2017, 4:04 PM by Tori Dahlberg

Hello and happy Friday!

We've had a week full of learning and fun in fourth grade!

First, our field trip to the Feeding San Diego Food Bank was fantastic. Our "project" was helping with the kids program. We filled mesh bags with food for them to take home over the weekend and decorated the paper bags as well. It was fun to make such an impact in our community with the kids. Here are the stats:

We decorated 60 paper bags.
We filled 280 mesh bags with gold fish, pasta, tomato sauce and apples.
We went through 759 pounds of apples!
We donated more than 80 "cans" of food from our class.

Thank you to all involved in helping with this service project!

If you did not pick up report cards by 3:30 on Friday, they will be dropped off at the office for you to pick up from there.

In writing this week, we learned about topic sentences, supporting sentences and concluding sentences. We practiced by writing letters to our classmates about the reasons why we appreciate them. 

The next scholastic orders will be placed on February 10th! You can order online at scholastic.com/readingclub

Questions you can ask your child:

1. Can you draw parallel lines? Perpendicular lines? Do you see any (around the house)?
2. What is going on with James and the sharks in our class book, James and the Giant Peach?
3. How was the Feeding San Diego field trip?
4. Did you taste the raddish sprouts (from our hydroponic fish tank)? If so, how did they taste?
5. What are you and your kindergarten buddy writing a story about?

We hope you have a fantastic weekend!

4th Grade Weekly Update 2/20/17

posted Mar 12, 2017, 4:03 PM by Tori Dahlberg

Dear 4th Grade Families,

A quick update from this week and for next:

Feeding San Diego

Next Thursday we will be going on our field trip to the food bank as a service portion of our project. Julie is coordinating drivers so if you have not signed up to drive but would like to, please let her know. You also need to be cleared by the office. I also talked briefly with the kids this week about bringing in canned foods to donate to the food bank. We will talk more about this next week, so if you would like to make a donation we will be collecting the cans in our classroom. If I haven't gotten a signed waiver from your child, I sent another one home with them today. Please sign and return before Thursday. 

Project: Whole Body Healthy

Last week, the kids became experts on the food groups. This week, they found out why exercise is so important for our bodies. They created informational posters and presented them to the class today. Next week, the focus will be "brain health" and mindfulness. 


In math, we applied our learning about angles by measuring the angles in the letters of our names and finding and measuring angles around the classroom. It could be fun for you to go on an "angle hunt" this weekend! You can find angles in your house, at the grocery store or outside... anywhere really. Ask your child to estimate the degrees of the angles that you identify using a right angle (90 degrees) as a reference. I'm excited to hear what they find; and if you send me a picture of a unique angle that you find, we can print it and share it with the class.

New Student

We welcomed a new student into our class this week! Laniyah seems to be fitting right in. Many of the kids have stepped up and taken on leadership roles to include and involve her in our routines. She will be a great addition to our classroom community.

Portfolio Review Days

During the week of February 6th, we will be having our Portfolio Review Days. These are similar to the student led conferences we had a few months ago. I will be sending out a sign-up list next week with times offered both before and after school. Just a heads up to start thinking about what is going to work best for your family!

The spelling words for next week are: mood, broom, smooth, raccoon, bloomed, souvenir, routine and loose. 

4th Grade Week 17 Update

posted Jan 13, 2017, 5:55 PM by Tori Dahlberg

Dear fourth grade families,

THERE IS NO SCHOOL ON MONDAY in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Our field trip to the Feeding San Diego Food Bank is Thursday, January 26th. Julie is coordinating the drivers. Each child and volunteer needs a signed waiver in order to participate! I sent home a blank waiver with each child today; please sign and return as soon as possible. 

Last call for Star of India chaperones! As of right now, we have exactly 11 chaperones (the maximum number we can have for this field trip). I would like to confirm all chaperones by next Friday, so if you have not emailed me about chaperoning, please do so asap if you're interested! If you haven't already, please send in half of your child's field trip payment ($37) this week. 

This week, we got a class pet: Pyro, the beta fish. The kids are learning about hydroponics in Nature Studies so Mary set up a tank with us in our classroom. We are growing wheatgrass and radish.

This week, we continued our project by learning about healthy eating, food groups and their importance for our bodies. Teamwork, presentation and public speaking skills were also incorporated into this assignment. The students worked in small groups and had to "teach the class" about the food group that they became an expert on. Some chose to make a poster, while others chose a skit, song, or "documentary". All impressed me with their knowledge, cooperation with others and creativity.

Each child has a typing.com account to practice keyboarding and typing skills. One of the games on typing.com is called "Nitro Type". This week, it was all they could talk about! They can add each other as friends and race against each other and their race car moves faster with typing speed and accuracy. 

Questions you can ask your kids:

1. What is hydroponics and how does it work?
2. What are the different food groups? Why are they important?
3. What is the name of a 90 degree angle? <90 degree angle? >90 degree angle?
4. Can you summarize what you've read so far in James and the Giant Peach? What do you think could happen next?
5. What are the hand signals we use in our class?

Spelling words for next week: smile, arrived, divide, library, mine, decide, blind, drive

Have a great weekend. :)

Tori Dahlberg and Bolling Winborne
Innovations Academy | Grade 4 Teacher and TA

4th Grade Week 16 Update

posted Jan 13, 2017, 5:54 PM by Tori Dahlberg

Dear fourth grade families,

Star of India - URGENT CHANGE

Our overnight field trip to the Star of India is CHANGED from February 8th to February 15th. This field trip will be an enriching experience for all involved with a hands on and immersing approach to teaching kids about the gold rush. The gold rush is the theme of our next project that will start in February so this field trip directly ties into our hands-on curriculum and learning.

Flip Force Fundraiser

To raise money for our Star of India field trip, we are hosting a Parents Night Out fundraiser at the Flip Force gym on Saturday January 14th from 6:00-9:00pm. The cost is $25 and includes dinner! Please help us spread the word to other families, too.

January Project: Whole Body Health

We launched our next project this week by talking about foods with added sugar, how sugar affects our body, and by brainstorming what our bodies need to stay healthy. Next week, we will be focusing on nutrition, the following week on exercise and the next week on mindfulness and brain health. Talan's mom will be joining us on Tuesday to talk to our class about food allergies. After we learn about healthy foods, I may decide to have each child bring in a healthy treat to share. Details about this to come.

Reading Comprehension

This week, we started our new class novel: James and the Giant Peach. While focusing on reading fluency with out last novel, Lucky, we will be focusing more on comprehension with this new novel. Students will be predicting, summarizing, making comparisons and answering comprehension questions.


In PE this week, we practiced our hand-eye coordination by learning to play ping pong with Coach Curry. Soccer will resume next week when the fields are less muddy.

Since Evan (clay teacher) is out on vacation, we the kids will be learning how to play chess with Martin for the rest of January during their specials time. We went for the first time this week and I was amazed how much the kids were engaged in the rules and strategies! They did fantastic.

With Natasha, instead of doing Zumba like usual, we will now be working on Performing Arts. For our Gold Rush project, we will be performing a play at Exhibition Night (March 23) as a class. We started this week with some improv. games.

Parent Mid-Year Survey

I have carefully read over the feedback so far and look forward to using it to grow as a teacher. I am constantly trying new things and reflecting about how things are going with the kids. Thank you for taking the time to do that!

Scholastic Order
I sent home a few scholastic order forms today. I will be placing another order on Friday, January 20th! Please order online at www.scholastic.com/readingclub and use our class code: QDW4P 

**The spelling words for next week (Jan 9 - 13) are: queen, deal, needed, feelings, tea, keeping, agree, and coffee.

Questions to ask your child about this week:

1. Can you draw a point? Ray? Line? Line Segment? Angle?
2. Tell me about the "starburst vs. popcorn" activity.
3. What does sugar do to your body?
4. What is a sedimentary rock? Metamorphic? Igneous?
5. What does it mean to improv.? (think "that's not how it happened" game with Natasha)
6. How were the magazine sales?

Tori Dahlberg and Bolling Winborne
Innovations Academy | Grade 4 Teacher and Grade 4 TA

4th Grade Week 15 Update

posted Jan 13, 2017, 5:53 PM by Tori Dahlberg

Hello fantastic 4th grade families!

Our exhibition night was such a success! We sold lots of magazines and raised $175 to donate to Project Wildlife. We will continue selling the magazines at the Farmers Market. I am overwhelmed with the support from the families in our IA community and so very proud of the kids for the work they put into learning about and helping our local endangered species.

Yesterday, Josh's mom, Ruth, came in to teach us about Chanukkah. Her and Josh also taught us how to play the dreidel game and the kids got the chance to play with a group. It was a great time had by all!

I also got spoiled with love, appreciation and gifts! My heart is so full of gratitude for all of the generosity and thoughtfulness that went into the celebrations yesterday. Thank you to all involved from the bottom of my heart. I feel so loved.

I will be on a ski trip in Colorado for the first week of break so will not be checking my emails. I am sending you and your families my warmest holiday wishes and hope that you get to enjoy your time together making unforgetable memories! Bolling and I are looking forward to hearing about the kids' experiences when we get back to school. 

Happy Holidays! 

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