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. 2524 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What Your Student Is Up To
Our daily schedule changes from day to day; however, our general schedule includes the following:
8:05 -8:20 Morning Announcements, greeting, and 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)
8:20 -9:08 Specials
Monday Art (1:08- 1:58)
Tuesday Physical Education
(Please provide an appropriate pair of shoes and socks.)
Wednesday Library (Please remember to bring your books)
Thursday Physical Education
Friday Music (Remember to bring your recorder or instrument)
9:08 - 9:30 Morning Meeting
9:30 - 9:50 Read Aloud
9:50 -10:10 Number Corner/ Fact Fluency
10:10 -11:15 Bridges Mathematics
11:15 - 11:55 Lunch & Recess
11:55 -12:15 Quiet Time
12:15 -1:15 Language Arts (Grammar, Spelling, and Writer's Workshop)
1:15 -2:00 Reader's Workshop
2:00 - 2:35 Social Studies or Science
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
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.
Mr. Christian Steven