Hart News

Check out what we've been learning!

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone is having a great start to their new year! Read on for our curriculum news and enjoy your extra day off!

If your child is planning on participating in "Read to Succeed" to win their free ticket to Six Flags, make sure they are keeping up with it. It is due in February, which always seems to sneak up on us! You can send in completed forms anytime.

Curriculum News

Reader's Workshop

To begin this year, we are reading nonfiction texts. We reviewed text features, such as headings, captions, sidebars, and more. We are not just learning what text features are, however, but why they matter and what their purpose is as a reader or writer. Next time you are reading a magazine or newspaper, see if your child can help you identify and explain some text features!

While text features are visible clues about what is important, text structures are the invisible formats that writers use to guide readers. So far we have discussed problem/solution, compare/contrast, description, and sequence. Next week we will go over the cause/effect structure. These structures help us subconsciously prioritize important information over extraneous details when we read. We are working on making this process conscious instead, so that we can use these structures to determine the main idea (what does the author want us remember).


Today we wrapped up our chapter on interpreting data. We looked at charts, tables, and a variety of graphs.This is an important skill that is used across the curriculum, we've even come across tables and graphs in our nonfiction reading! Not only did we learn to read the data, but we also practiced interpreting it and manipulating it. Moving forward, we will begin our fraction unit, which is one of the major foundational concepts in 4th grade!

Writer's Workshop

In writer's workshop this week we began opinion writing. Opinion writing is similar to what you know as persuasive writing, but without the requirement to be convincing (although it's always a plus!). We started out simply discussing what an opinion is- ask your child why "The best animal is a dog" is an opinion, whereas "My favorite animal is a dog" is not! We also talked about how opinions are stronger when we have good reasons! Below you'll see some examples of a quick activity we did to practice writing reasons (I'll work on figuring out how to rotate them!). We also looked at some great examples of opinion essays to determine the format they follow. Now we are focusing on how to write wonderful, exciting introductions that will get our readers' attention!


Since coming back from Winter Break, we have been discussing weathering and erosion. Ask your child to define and explain these two natural processes to you! You can also ask them what the 3 S's stand for. In addition to learning what weathering and erosion are, we have also talked about how they impact humans and what we can do to slow the negative effects of erosion. Coming up, we will look into how other natural processes help shape our Earth and their effects on us!

Ask your child about...

  • Weathering and erosion
  • Reading graphs and tables
  • What is an opinion?
  • Text structures and features