December Update

4th Grade with Mrs. Brigham

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Report Cards

Report cards are available in PowerSchool today. Please contact me if you have any questions about your child's report card.

By the end of the year, all fourth-grade standards will be taught and students will have many opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency. I don't expect students to show proficiency in many of the standards that were addressed this term.

For example, this term, we assessed multiplication and division. We'll continue to do A LOT of work within these standards as the year progresses. So far, students have worked to multiply one-digit times two-digit numbers and two-digit times two-digit numbers. By the end of the year, all fourth-grade students will be expected to multiply two-digit numbers times two-digit numbers and one-digit numbers by numbers with as many as four digits with efficiency and accuracy. I'm really happy with the progress our students are making. As the year moves along the content will become increasingly difficult. While your student may have scored a 3 (meeting the standard) this term, don't be entirely surprised if his or her score dips to a 2 (approaching the standard) next term. The curriculum will become more rigorous and the depth of understanding demanded within each standard will increase too.

Even though our report card paints a picture of how your student is performing in relation to quite a few fourth-grade standards, the report card is a small snapshot of the standards taught in fourth grade. The report card standards represent some of the most important and most in-depth concepts taught. Remember, the report card, like iReady data, or MCAS data, is just another snapshot of how your child is performing. While I work hard to grade as objectively as possible and our new math program goes a long way in making this easier for our district's teachers, much of grading and report card assessment is subjective. Looking at all of the snapshots of your child's learning together will really give you the best picture of how your child is performing.

Again, please don't hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.

Parent Teacher Conference Feedback

Last month I sent out a SHORT survey about your Student-Led Conference experience. I realize that November and December are really busy months. Last month, only 4 parents out of the 20 families I conferenced with were able to fill out the survey. I'd really like a bigger sample size before making decisions about the conference types I'll offer next year. I promise It will take only a few moments. The initial results are captured in the image to the right.

LINK to the SHORT survey

Charlotte's Web

I hope your child is enjoying Charlotte's Web as much as I enjoy reading it with my students. I have probably read this text close to twenty times and it never gets old for me.

The students have lots of opportunities to practice their fluency with peers, to work on responding to higher-level comprehension questions, and to respond to literature using text-based evidence and effective writing. While the work is challenging, they are truly engaged and putting tremendous effort into their work.

Please ask them about Charlotte. E.B. White also wrote Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan. Both are delightful. Perhaps your child would enjoy reading another E.B. White book over winter vacation? I have copies of both. Let me know if you'd like me to send a copy home with your child. Stuart Little has also been made into a movie. Sometimes the promise of seeing the movie is motivating.


We continue to LOVE the moments spent reading our daily picture books. Below are some of the books we've read recently. The invitation for parents to come in and read a book is open. Let me know if you are interested. This can also be done via Zoom from your home or office. We can be flexible around your work schedule.

A Conversation with Your Student

Here is your December cheat sheet. I hope this bulleted list helps to start some great conversations with your child.

  • We have started our first unit focusing on fractions in math class. The students made fraction models out of colored construction paper. They are beginning to move fluently from mixed numbers to fractions greater than one (improper fractions). They really are making sense of fractions in a way that I never did as a student. It is exciting to watch. We're also using an egg crate model to look at equivalent fractions. This model has amazing utility. Consider pulling out your eggs and asking your student what fraction of eggs are missing or what fraction of eggs are still in the carton. Can they name the fraction in more than one way? 2/3 is the same as 4/6 or 8/12.
  • We've been studying Canada and Mexico in social studies. We've taken some virtual field trips and have been exploring and learning in cooperative groups.
  • The students are studying Earth's features and its processes in science. We've looked closely at the Ring of Fire and the two different types of volcanoes. Students had a lab where they experimented with two different kinds of lava. They'll be using sugar cubes to think deeply about mountains and erosion. Root wedging and ice wedging are two forces that cause weathering and erosion. Your student should be able to explain these and show you examples of these in your own neighborhood.

What I love most about this year is that all of my students are in school. They are developing their academic skills while also working on soft skills like collaborating, sharing space and materials, and delegating tasks in small groups. Learning is hands-on again and far more engaging. Perspective is everything. I'm feeling so grateful for the opportunity to teach your children using best practices that are engaging and help to make learning meaningful.


The 23rd of December is a half day. School will be closed through the New Year. We will return to the classroom on Monday, January 2nd. I hope that the week away from school allows your student to rest and recharge his or her battery. I'm hoping to do the same. We have a quick trip to the Cape planned and we'll be celebrating the New Year with a family ski trip to Sunday River. Last year we didn't ski once which is extraordinary for our family. It is one of our favorite things to do together. We're looking forward to getting back on the slopes.

For those of you who will be celebrating holidays over the break, I hope they are jam-packed with fun and beautiful memories made.

Happy New Year! I look forward to working with your family in 2022!