Fun in Fourth Grade

A Newsletter About Our Fantastic 4th Grade "Chastain-ians"

Hi families,

Thank you for taking the time to read updates from our classroom. Have a wonderful weekend!

Heartfelt Thanks and Shout Outs

My appreciation goes out to volunteers who assisted with math groups last week: Kim Gustafson, Mariana Valdez, and Emily Chan. Thank you so much for your help!

Smarter Balanced Testing

This week, students will have the opportunity to experience the Smarter Balanced testing that will be used next year to assess students' understanding of the new Common Core state standards. The Smarter Balanced testing will replace the STAR testing used in previous years. Results from this year's testing will not be reported to parents or our school. This year's testing session is merely practice for students and to ensure that the test is ready for next year. The schedule is as follows:

Monday: Classroom activity to prepare students for performance task assessment

Tuesday: Performance Task Assessment

Wednesday: Math Assessment

Thursday: English Language Arts Assessment

Curriculum Updates

Homework This Week

While Smarter Balanced testing results don't count, it can still be tiring and stressful for students. For this reason, homework this week will be lighter than is typical. There will be no spelling or vocabulary lists this week. Students are still expected to read for 30 minutes each night but a book response letter will not be due on Friday. However, math homework will be assigned and students may need to finish work begun in class.


  • By Tuesday, we will have completed our decimals unit focusing on adding/subtracting and rounding decimals, as well as estimating sums and differences. Because of Smarter Balanced testing I will delay the chapter review until Thursday and we will be taking the chapter test on Friday. In the interim I will be introducing students to our next math unit on measurement. Please see your child's planner for assigned IXL strands.

Language Arts

  • We continue to read aloud a novel called The Stout-Hearted Seven: Orphaned on the Oregon Trail. This historic tale, based on a true story, helps students to envision what life was like for pioneers making the journey west.

  • Students will respond to a non-fiction article about hardships on the Oregon trail and be looking for telling evidence about characters in literature-based activities in class.

  • Our writing focuses on personal narrative experiences during our Oregon Trail simulation.

Earth Science

  • Preparing for Disaster! Last week students received guidelines for a long-term project due on April 30th. This project is a great opportunity to learn more about a natural disaster that shapes the surface of the earth. Students can use the following symbaloo to research websites for their projects:

Social Studies

  • We continue with our simulation of westward emigration on the Oregon Trail. Our 4th grade pioneers are enthusiastically overcoming obstacles faced on the journey and are getting a very real picture of life on the trail.

Dates to Remember...

I have an up-to-date calendar on my website as a handy reference for you. But here are some dates to keep in mind:
  • April 8, 9 and 10: Smarter Balanced Testing in Class
  • April 8 in 4:00 to 6:00 in NP3 Gym: Talent Show Auditions
  • April 14-25: Spring Break
  • April 30: Preparing for Disaster Project Due
  • May 15 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. in NP3 Gym: Talent Show
I hope all of you have a wonderful week ahead! As always, please email me if you have any questions.


Heather Chastain