4th Grade News

Mrs. Crain's Class: May 2 - 6, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Week!

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at Alamance. Please join me as I celebrate my love for education! Check out the "Interesting Read" for my reflections on teaching.

Secret Phrase: I know...I still owe prizes for last week's secret phrase! Time just kept getting away from me. But don't worry - I made a list! Those kids will go first this week and I promise, it will get done!

This week's phrase: "They may forget what you said but they will not forget how you made them feel." ~Carl Buechner

Updates and Reminders

  • Wednesday, May 4: 4th Quarter Progress Reports come home
  • Monday, May 16: Talent Show
  • Monday, May 30: Memorial Day (no school)
  • Wednesday, June 2: EOG Reading
  • Thursday, June 3: EOG Math

Language Arts

In Language Arts next week we will review non-fiction text. The "Reading for Information" standards count as 45 - 49% of the 4th grade Reading EOG! This week we will focus on the following standards:

    Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
    Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
    Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
    Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.

We will use the StoryWorks selection "The Killer Smog" as our primary text. Tested vocabulary words are: smother, gloomy, slathered, media, ability, confirm, outcome, insist, alternative, highlight


In math next week we will review Numbers & Operations in Base Ten, which accounts for 22 - 27% of the questions on the Math EOG (approximately 11 questions). These standards require students to work with numbers by understanding place value. Students will use this understanding to solve multi-digit computation problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This was one of our first units in math. Students have detailed notes in their math journals for these standards, including key vocabulary terms and sample problems.

Specific standards covered:

    Read and write multi-digit whole numbers using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form. Compare two multi-digit numbers based on meanings of the digits in each place, using >, =, and < symbols to record the results of comparisons.
    Use place value understanding to round multi-digit whole numbers to any place.
    Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
    Multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a one-digit whole number, and multiply two two-digit numbers, using strategies based on place value and the properties of operations. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.
    Find whole-number quotients and remainders with up to four-digit dividends and one-digit divisors, using strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and/or the relationship between multiplication and division. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.

Area model of division

Social Studies

In social studies for the rest of the year we will focus on North Carolina's State Symbols and Historical Sites. What makes North Carolina unique? Students will create a project demonstrating their understanding of the following Essential Standard:

  • 4.H.2: Understand how notable structures, symbols and place names are significant to North Carolina.

Reflections on Teaching

While getting my master's degree, I took a class entitled "Teacher as Researcher". In that class, I had to develop my own philosophy of education and create an action research project to demonstrate that philosophy. I am NOT sharing that document; it is not the most exciting read, especially on a dreary Sunday!

However, I did come across something else I wrote. Written several years after my I received my master's; perhaps I wrote it during my licensure classes for AG, or the classes I took when I thought I wanted to become a principal. Anyway, I would like to share this piece with you as I reflect upon what "Teacher Appreciation Week" means to me. Some of you will not make it to this part of the newsletter, but for those who do, enjoy!

I am a Teacher

What does being a teacher really mean? Of course I love teaching. Of course I love children. Naturally, I also love summer vacation! But no one goes into education simply because they love teaching and they love children. There are jobs where you can love to teach and love kids and that all works out great, but public education is not one of them.

Yes, I choose specifically to work in Public Education. The Public Education system accepts ALL students with open arms. We don't require our students to provide job applications, resumes, prior work experience, or references. We don't turn kids away after a "trial period" because "they simply aren't the right fit." We never close our doors due to lack of funding. We never shorten our work hours due to declines in productivity. The only profit from public education comes from the investment our kids will make in the future. Becoming a teacher in public education is making a long-term commitment to our children; from early years through college years. I choose to be a part of that commitment; a part of the commitment that ensures all children are provided with a quality education and are able to become fully productive in today's society.

However, I am still just a teacher. I am not a superhero. I am not a martyr. There are thousands of people who work much harder than I do every day: mothers who struggle to find a job which understands when you have to take off work for a sick child, fathers who work 2 - 3 minimum wage jobs to ensure their families are provided for, nurses who work 15 - hour shifts so no patients go without care, and so forth. Migrant workers who work for wages below anything we would deem acceptable, just so their children can have a better life here in the United States.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the support. I am overwhelmed with gratitude at the beginning of the year, when I ask for supplies for the classroom and receive much more than requested (and we do end up using it all!). I love bragging to my friends that I received 28 separate valentines on Valentine's Day. I delight in the gifts, notes, and tokens of appreciation offered to me during Teacher Appreciation Week.

But I am not a superhero. I am not a martyr. I wake up late sometimes and rush around to find enough clean clothes to create an outfit, and make sure none of it is something I wore recently (because kids notice these things). I eat junk food and lie on the couch, binge-watching my favorite TV shows on Netflix. Sometimes I don't get all the papers graded, because I fall asleep with the pen in my hand.

There are thousands who work much harder than I do every day. Mothers who have to find a job which understands that sometimes they need a day off to care for a sick child. Fathers who work 2 - 3 minimum wage jobs and hardly get to see their kids, but make sure they are provided for. Migrant workers who come to our country and work for wages much lower than the minimum, just so their children can go to American Schools and have a better hope for the future. Nurses who work 15 hour shifts so all patients are cared for. And so forth.

I want kids who come to school ready. Kids who know that it is important to listen and follow directions. Kids with manners, who hold the door for others and know that it's okay to not always be first. Kids who will pick up trash because it's not right to leave it on the floor or the ground. Kids who understand that "fair" does not always mean "equal". Kids who are problem solvers. Kids who will work even on Fridays, even on the day before Winter Break, even on sunny days when we'd all much rather be outside.

These are life skills which will help our kids become productive members of society. Can I teach these skills? I can try...but as a former principal once told me after she observed my classroom..."[Mrs. Crain], you need to teach the standards. Teach the Common Core. That's it. If it's not in the Common Core, I don't want to see it in your classroom." And I need to keep my job.

~Terra Crain, September 2013