Welcome to fourth grade, and for those of you that are new to our community, welcome to Barstow Memorial School! I would like to lead into our year with a quote for you to ponder.

Is the work that I have described-

the liberation of the genius and

goodness of all children,

the creation of the new mind

for the new millennium,

and the creation of learning communities

that invite and challenge the wonder and

awe of the human spirit-

is this the work that you want to do?”

                   ~Stephanie Pace Marshall

Yes, resounds throughout my mind as I read this quote. We have a challenge ahead of us in fourth grade, much the same as every year. Our year will be full of investigation and discovery both academically and socially. Your student may enter our classroom feeling reluctant and uneasy about the school year ahead.  I have found that many students request assistance in solving academic, organizational, and social issues. As the year progresses your student will learn and practice the skills necessary to independently solve obstacles and challenges that will arise. We as teachers, as adults, can help our students achieve this goal of freeing the intellect within, respecting each other, discovering new skills, and overcoming the challenges ahead.

The Homework Contract

Throughout the year your student will bring home school wide and classroom communication, completed class work, homework, and a homework contract. Please return any papers that require a reply as soon as possible. Most often, completed class work can remain at home. Should the work come home with a “correct and hand back in” stamp on it, your student should complete it that night and return it the following day. However, it is most likely that this work will be done in school.  Homework is to be completed the day it is assigned and brought to school the following day unless the assignment is long term or otherwise specified.  Once your student has completed the homework, I have asked that a parent or guardian initial in the designated area on the contract. This is wonderful to begin a discussion with your child about what is happening in school.

Homework is assigned with the notion that it will be completed independently by the student. It is of course possible that your student may need help. Please whenever possible encourage your student to use the skills they have learned in school to solve their question. I often am told by students, “I don’t get it.” My response is always, “What don’t you understand?” or “What do you need help with?” This returns the thought to the student and as they process what the question is, he or she may arrive at a solution.  Of course, rereading the instructions or examples may help a child to “get it.” If our goal is to help our students succeed in “freeing their genius” it will be best reached through questions. How, why, what, and where will focus the student back on the task at hand and promote thinking and problem solving skills. Simply showing the solution will not.

I understand that students are busy following school. However it is important that you help your child set aside time to complete his or her homework. The morning does not provide enough time, thought, or energy required to complete the assignments. A well lit and quiet space during the afternoon or early evening is best. To encourage focus, your student should bring to this space all that he or she will need to complete the assignments before the homework is begun.

Getting a Hold of Me

I will have need of contacting you just as surely as you will need to contact me. When contacting me, if you do not need a reply then please send a note in with your student. Trying to reach me by phone is more often like a good game of tag, but if you would like to try, the number is below. This leaves our new form of everyday communication, email, as the best possible way to receive a timely response to your questions, concerns, or friendly comments.  Please refrain from including confidential information in an email.

         School: 773-6926 ext. 23         Email:


What Your Student Is Up To


Our daily schedule changes from day to day; however, our general schedule includes the following:

8:05 -8:10              Greeting and Morning Announcements

8:10 -8:40    Morning Meeting                    

8:40 - 9:35 Language Arts (Grammar, Spelling, and Writer's Workshop)

9:35 - 9:45 Snack (Please provide a healthy snack and drink for your student if your student opts not to have school snack.                                                              (Remember we are a Peanut/Tree Nut Safe school)

9:45 -10:40    Bridges Mathematics

10:40 -11:20    Specials

Monday                  Library  (Please remember to bring your books)

Tuesday                  Physical Education (Please provide an appropriate pair of shoes and socks.)            

Wednesday            Art

Thursday                Physical Education

Friday                    Music (Remember to bring your recorder or instrument)

11:20 - 11:40            Number Corner/ Fact Fluency

11:40 -12:20           Lunch & Recess         

12:20 -12:35           Quiet Time

12:35 -1:40          Reader's Workshop

1:40 - 2:35 Social Studies or Science

2:05 -2:35             What I Need (W.I.N.) Tuesdays & Thursdays             

2:35-2:45               End of the day activities and closing circle

What Your Students Will Learn

Language Arts: The imaginations and prose of our students will take us across the genres. Using a writers' workshop model, students will be working on writing through composing pieces such as a narrative, essay, writing about reading, and memoirs.  Students will be using the Everyday Spelling program. Each week your student will get a new spelling list that has an accompanying focus.

Mathematics: While tuning our mathematical minds, students will work on skills in the following areas: Operations and Algebraic Thinking- This involves solving problems involving the four operations, generating and analyzing patterns, and gaining familiarity with factors and multiples. Number and Operations Base Ten- This involves generalizing place value understanding for multi-digit whole numbers, using place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic, fractions-extend understanding of equivalence and ordering, and building fractions from unit fractions.  Measurement and Data- This involves solving problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements, and representing and interpreting the data. Geometry- This involves drawing and identifying lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles. An additional thirty minutes will be set aside each day for Number Corner, an extension of the Bridges in Mathematics program.

Science: Students will study topics of Natural Resources, Survival of Organisms, Cell and Tissue Differentiation, Chemical Reactions within Cells, Interdependence within Ecosystem, the Rock Cycle, Earth Changes and Forces, and the Weather and Water Cycle.

Social Studies: Through our adventures during Social Studies students will gain knowledge of Geography, Calvin Coolidge, Pioneers, Colonial America, and the Regions of the United States of America.

Literacy: Our Students can read and they enjoy every moment! Students will continue to read for meaning across various leveled texts throughout the disciplines. Their skills will be built upon through the implementation  of a version of Reading Workshop.  

So Much to Say


There is so much more to say and you can check it out at I will be updating the fourth grade web page as the year progresses.  Check in every now and again to see what the students are up to in our classroom.   Please check it out for further information on what’s happening in our class as the year progresses and for helpful information on school programs.  I look forward to getting to know each of you as we journey through your student’s year.

                                                                             Be well,              

                                                                            Mr. Christian Steven  

Fourth Grade Supply List

posted Jun 16, 2015, 6:23 AM by Christian Stevens   [ updated Sep 21, 2017, 6:30 AM ]

Suggested Student Supplies

    Our school will provide general classroom supplies such as pens, pencils, erasers, scissors, rulers, paper, glue, markers, and colored pencils. You are welcome to bring in your own personal supplies if you wish. Please leave mechanical pencils at home. If you choose to bring markers, the markers should be washable.     

Personal student supplies needed:

  • A few pads of square sticky notes for reader’s workshop (replenish as needed throughout the year)

  • Pencil box (approximately 5”x9”) or pouch

  • Sketch pad (for free drawing during quiet time, science, and social studies)

  • Ear buds/headphones

  • 1” binder

  • Scotch Tape (to be replenished throughout the year as needed)

  • ½” or 1” binder for homework folder (one with side pockets)

  • Quiet water bottle

Classroom Wish List:

  • iTunes gift cards for classroom iPad apps

  • Area rug for our classroom library

  • Himalayan Salt Lamp

  • Puffs Tissues with Vicks

See you in the fall,                 

Fourth Grade Teachers

Readers' Workshop

posted Oct 17, 2012, 9:05 AM by Christian Stevens

What does Reading Instruction Look Like in 4th Grade?


What is Readers’ Workshop?

Readers’ Workshop (RW) is a research-based approach that addresses the needs of all students in the class. RW begins with a focus lesson where the teacher explicitly models a strategy or skill. After the focus lesson, the students read independently to practice a strategy or skill. During independent reading, students are reading “just-right” books that are matched to their individual abilities and interests. The teacher confers with students during independent reading to be sure they are successful in their practice or to provide 1:1 instruction around any particular needs. Sometimes, the teacher may work with a small group of students who have similar needs during independent reading. Finally, RW ends with a group share to summarize the important understandings of the lesson.


What are Strategies?

Strategies are “in the head” problem solving processes. Strategies are tools for decoding and understanding what you read. Strategy instruction helps students develop, access, and apply these strategies independently. Some examples of strategies your child will learn about include the following:

§ Retelling

§ Creating sensory images

§ Making connections

§ Asking questions

§ Inferring

§ Determining importance

§ Summarizing

§ Synthesizing


Why Readers’ Workshop? 

We will be using the RW model for a number of reasons, including the following:

§ Assessment drives instruction

§ Every student reads a “just-right” book

§ Key strategies are explicitly modeled

§ Students have choice and ownership in their reading

§ Experiences foster a love of reading


What about the “Other” Literacy Skills?

Readers’ Workshop is one component of balanced literacy instruction. Other components of our balanced literacy instruction will include Writers’ Workshop, Word Work, Everyday Spelling, Book Clubs, and Interactive Read Aloud. 





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