Fun in Fourth Grade

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


Thank you for taking the time to read our classroom newsletter! You can expect to receive an emailed newsletter every one to two weeks, depending on what is happening on campus and in the classroom. This is one of my favorite tools for keeping families in the loop to support your children's success in the classroom.


Yes, this has become a term of endearment for my classroom kiddos. And they seem to enjoy this identifier. : )

Heartfelt Thanks

I sincerely appreciate my families for coming to "Meet the Teacher" last week and for the many sweet notes and tokens of excitement for the coming school year I received. Thank you!

Family Contact Survey

Many thanks to my families who have already completed the Family Contact Survey. If you haven't yet had an opportunity to fill this out, please click this link at your earliest convenience to provide me with essential information about your child. Thank you!

Back to School Night

Wednesday, Aug. 26th, 6pm

3800 Del Paso Rd

Sacramento, CA

Fourth grade will be a significant year for your child. Your child will be held to a new level of accountability for his or her work at WCS and the fourth grade curriculum provides a marked increase in rigor and workload than your child has previously experienced. During this school year we will work hard to develop effective organizational skills that your child needs to be successful throughout her or his academic career.

Back to School Night helps prepare parents for what is to come during this school year. We will be discussing the 4th grade curriculum, classroom routines and procedures, discipline policies and much more. Perhaps you’ve heard rumors about 4th grade’s overnight field lesson, “Age of Sail?” Come to BTSN and find out more.

At WCS, each teacher holds two half-hour sessions to allow you to visit more than one classroom. This is very convenient if you have more than one child attending our school. I’m looking forward to seeing all there!

Curriculum Updates

Baseline Assessments

During the next couple of weeks I will be conducting "baseline assessments." These are not recorded in the "grade book" and simply give me an idea of where each child is beginning 4th grade as I determine learning goals for students during the coming trimester. Upon completing these assessments, I will send home a summary of results for your review. This will give you a good idea of your child's strengths and where to focus attention at home during the coming months.

Classroom Norms & Growth Mindset

Last week we worked together to develop our learning and social goals for the coming school year. This week we will establish "classroom norms" for behavior expectations during 4th grade. Students will learn more about how their brains change and grow with every challenge they undertake. We will discuss how the words we say to ourselves have a powerful affect on our learning. Want to learn more about this? Check out this Ted Talk from Carol Dweck, Stanford University professor and author of Mindset.

A Few Curriculum Highlights

  • This week in language arts, we will begin introducing students to the different reading genres we will be reading this year. We will be discussing effective strategies for picking "good fit" books, monitoring our comprehension, cross-checking for accuracy and being on the lookout for interesting words to expand our vocabularies.

  • Spelling homework will begin this week. Students will play games on Spelling City to learn the spelling patterns in "List 1." On Friday, we will take the test in class. Students will receive usernames and passwords for the website in class tomorrow.

  • In math this week, we will begin our study of place value. We will be exploring the essential question, "How does place value help determine the value of numbers?" Nightly math homework will begin this week. Math homework is typically due the following day.

  • In social studies, we will begin studying California's place in the world as we launch our unit of our state's geography. On Monday, students received information about our "Journey to California" project. Students are asked to interview a family member about their history coming to California. Students should ask questions such as which family members first moved to California? Why did we come to California? They will then give a brief informal presentation (about 2 minutes) and share one family artifact. This item might be a photograph, map, family recipe or really anything of significance to your child's family story. This project is due on Monday, August 24th.

Specialty Schedule

The following is the specialty and library schedule for our class. Please remember that tennis shoes are to be worn on PE days.

  • Mondays: PE and Spanish
  • Wednesdays: Art
  • Thursdays: PE and Spanish
  • Fridays: Library

Other Important Reminders

  • Each day, your child records homework assignments in a planner. Please help your child to establish a homework routine that consists of reviewing this planner and deadlines with your child each evening during the upcoming weeks. This is a fantastic way to communicate your interest in what your child is learning while helping him or her to get into the habit of using this tool each evening.

  • Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork! Back to school season brings a lot of paper. : ) If you haven't already done so, please return the Westlake Charter School paperwork at your earliest convenience. I also sincerely appreciate your returning your letter about your child. I dearly love getting to know your kids through your lens as I read these letters. Thank you so much!

  • Conveniently, WCS provides all classroom supplies for students so that parents need not battle for the last spiral notebook at Target. : ) If you are willing and able, donations of $25 for the supplies provided can also be paid at A suggested donation for field trip fees are also at this link. Thank you for considering!
Thanks so much for your time! If I can answer any questions, please email me at


Heather Chastain