4D Classroom News

March 31 - April 4, 2014

Welcome Back!

Dear Parents,

I hope you had a restful break and were able to enjoy some time with your family and friends. It's hard to believe that April is already here! This marks the final stretch of the school year. It will be a busy time at school, with end of the year activities such as the 4th grade play, MAP testing, concerts, and more, but I think the kids will find it quite enjoyable. You can find all of these important dates on our class HAIKU page (see the calendar).

On another note, I'm looking forward to meeting with you all next week for our spring conferences. I have sent home the confirmation letter with your conference time. Please let me know, either through email or on the sheet, if that time will not work for you. I will do my best to reschedule.

Lastly, Mrs. Moon will be having a meeting on Friday, April 4 at 8:30 a.m. in the SFS coffee shop. As you know, the auditions for The Phantom Tollbooth happened before break. She is eager to fill you in on production details, answer questions, and give you an opportunity to volunteer to use your talents in any way you think will best help the production. We hope that you are able to make it! (Photo above: theater workshop in the Lyso Center with Mrs. Moon)

Academic Update

Language Arts

In reading, we have recently concluded our study of nonfiction and are now focusing on the comprehension and analysis of literary texts. This week we will explore questions and concepts such as the following:

  • What makes a good story?
  • What are the elements of a story? (characters, setting, problem/conflict, plot, resolution, etc.)
  • How can we use a graphic organizer to record and recall the key elements?
  • How do we retell a story?

Word Study groups will continue this week as usual. Patterns covered include the following:

  • Review of CVVC long vowel pattern
  • Suffixes -er, -est, -ier, iest
  • Long -a patterns in accented syllables

Our grammar focus this week is adverbs and we are currently in vocabulary lesson 4 of Wordly Wise.

Lastly, we will be finishing up our informational report in writing. Students have been working very hard to complete this. We have written first drafts and will be going through the editing and revision process this week. Students will also learn how to write a bibliography and cite their sources.

You can find a copy of your child's work in LA included with their Student Feedback Form.


In math, we have recently concluded Chapter 5 on Data and Probability. I will be sending the chapter 5 tests home for the kids to do test corrections. I have been asking that they correct any basic or direct application problems that they missed. While it would be great for them to attempt the novel and complex problems again, I do understand that these problems are quite challenging and this may be too difficult for some. Correcting these problems is optional, but certainly feel free to work through these with your child if you would like.

We are now beginning Chapter 6 on Fractions and Mixed Numbers. Based on their recent pretest, I can tell that a lot of the concepts covered in this chapter will be new for most of the students. We will finish lessons 6.1 and 6.2 on adding and subtracting fractions this week. We will also begin lesson 6.3 on mixed numbers. Students are already catching on quickly, but we're taking our time to work through this slowly to ensure that they learn this new material. (Photo above: McKenna using the geoboard to show fractions)

Lastly, students continue to challenge themselves in math and have been using Khan Academy to work on their math goals, as identified on the winter MAP assessment. I try to give them a short amount of time daily in class to work on this, but this doesn't always happen due to our busy schedule. However, they are more than welcome to use Khan Academy at home to continue to challenge themselves and learn new content. I'm VERY IMPRESSED with their work! They have been learning all sorts of new things related to geometry, decimals, graphing, converting measurements, and more. I have even witnessed other students 'teaching' and 'coaching' a neighbor as they work through a concept that we haven't yet covered in class.


In science, we are currently exploring and studying heat. We have just finished two experiments related to heat transfer through conduction and convection. We will do one final experiment this week related to heat transfer through radiation. Students will be working with a partner to construct a solar oven. Inquiry questions for this experiment include the following:

  • When is the best time of day to use a solar oven and why?
  • What design will have the best results?

If we're successful and have good weather (and solar oven designs), we will have a tasty smore treat with this experiment!