Fun in Fourth Grade

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

Hello families! Below are important reminders and updates for the coming weeks. Students will be very busy! Thanks for reading!

Heartfelt Thanks and Shout Outs

We have yet another million-word-reader in our class! Congratulations, Yusuf Ahmed, for your fantastic reading achievement!

By now, you have heard all about the success of our Age of Sail field lesson from your children. I was so proud of your kiddos. They persevered with problem solving challenges and cooperated well with their crews in the process. This trip was only possible because of the support of several parents. I would like to sincerely thank the following:

Tall Sailors: Love Miller, Dia Siefker, Lorenzo Lee, Jeff Carter, Jeff Johnson and Scott Williams (Scott also organized our paperwork and coordinated snacks)

Ensign Seamstress: Jennifer Tran

Snacks: Emily Chan, Tanya Carter, and Mariana Valdez

Knot Tying Instruction: Brad Mott and Frank Gustafson

Hosted our Galley Crew to Bake our Snack: Mindy Morrow

Your support of our students is so appreciated!

Curriculum Updates

Important Curriculum Reminders for this Week

  • Mission Project is due on Wednesday.

  • Chapter 14 Number Theory test is scheduled for Wednesday; as always this may be pushed by a day if students require more review. Check student planners for updates.

  • Fast facts will be tested on Thursday (addition, subtraction, multiplication & division)

  • Monster Book of Factors is due on Friday. Students will have one more class period on Monday to work on this project. After this time, students will need to complete at home.

  • Students' mid-trimester progress towards meeting their Accelerated Reader points goals will be evaluated on Friday. More on this below.

  • No spelling or vocabulary this week because of the above mentioned deadlines.


  • We are wrapping up number theory (divisibility rules, prime and composite numbers and prime factorization.) IXL strands that support these skills include 4th grade: E.11, D.4 and 5th grade: K.1, K.2 and K.4.

  • Students have been completing a "Monster Book of Factors" in class noting the prime factorization of numbers to 20, whether numbers are prime or composite and creating monsters representing the prime factorization of the number.

  • By the end of the week, we will be moving into our study of fractions.

Language Arts

  • We begin a new round of literature circles this week. that will continue into next week. Students assigned to The Hobbit or Artemis Fowl will have four weeks to complete the books rather than two, due to book length.

  • We begin focusing on comparing and contrasting skills as we analyze non-fiction works.

  • Ask your child to tell you about a new resource we are using in class called

  • Students will be introduced to blogging this week! More on this next week.

  • As I mentioned above, students' progress toward meeting their 2nd trimester Accelerated Reader goal will be evaluated this week. This mid-trimester grade will hold students accountable for their progress before the end of the trimester when it is far more difficult to "catch up" while keeping families informed of this progress. Essentially, students who are 50% or greater towards progressing towards their goal receive A's, 40-49% of their goal receive B's, etc.

Social Studies

  • Last week, we began our study of Mexican California and the decline of the missions in our state. We continue our study of this period in California history this week.

Field Lesson Donations & Fees

If you have not yet paid for your child's Age of Sail sweatshirt and/or field lesson donation, please do so at your earliest convenience.

Directions for Sweatshirt Payment:

  • Go to PayPal on WCS website:
  • Scroll down to the field for "Student Scholarship"
  • In the memo field record: "sweatshirt, the student's first and last name, Chastain" (if ordering two sweatshirts record "2 sweatshirts, your name and student's names, Chastain")
  • Click "donate" and indicate the amount you are donating for sweatshirts. Sweatshirts were $20 each.

Directions for field lesson donation

  • Go to website and scroll down to field lesson donation.
  • Select 4th grade
  • Enter your child's name as well as my last name in the memo field.

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:
  • Wednesday, January 15: Mission Projects Due
  • Wednesday, January 15: Chapter 14 Math Test
  • Thursday, January 16: Timed Fast Facts Tests
  • Friday, January 17: Mid-Trimester Accelerated Reading Progress Evaluated
  • Friday, January 17: Monster Book of Factors due
  • Friday, January 17: Sports Spirit Day
  • Monday, January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day - NO SCHOOL
  • January 24: Mid-Trimester Progress Reports go home
  • Week of January 27-31: *Minimum Day Schedule All Week* Teachers are participating in Common Core State Standards training and curriculum alignment planning.
  • March 17: Guest Teacher Today. I will be attending the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development conference in Los Angeles on March 15-17, 2014.
Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! As always, please email me if you have any questions.


Heather Chastain