4th Grade News

Life in Room 251

Happy October!

September was a busy month for 4th grade!

Literacy and Writing

We have our differentiated small reading groups established and have been meeting regularly for several weeks. Students are learning to apply reading strategies to texts on their instructional level. They are also writing to respond to their reading in their thoughtful logs and on discussion boards in Canvas. In fourth grade, many students are transitioning from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." Throughout the year, students will learn strategies to determine what is important in a text, analyze the author's message and to form an opinion that is backed up with evidence from the text. This month, students completed a non-fiction writing (a scientific findings report) on our schoolyard ecosystem and are beginning to learn about opinion writing.


In September, students reviewed addition and subtraction strategies and are beginning to learn a variety of strategies to multiply and divide. The fourth grade curriculum takes off quickly into multiplying multi-digit numbers, assuming that students learned the basic multiplication facts (0-12) the previous year. If your child is shaky on their facts, please take time to work with these at home. It is easy to make flashcards, and there are many free apps available.


We finished our Science unit "Nature Unleashed" this month. Students enjoyed observing the changes in their biomes over the last couple of weeks. We had a lot of plant growth, and some of our insects even survived in our habitats. We also added decomposers (worms) and compost to our domes. Unfortunately, this made our room pretty smelly, so we set all of our organic life free in our playground. Our culminating field trip to the Watershed Center was so fun! Students learned about the purpose of a watershed and made excellent observations in the pond, prairie and forest ecosystems. Their favorite part was determining the health of the stream. We worked with a Stream Team volunteer who taught us to use the nets to trap micro invertebrates that can be used to determine the overall health of the stream.

We are just beginning our first Social Studies unit on Missouri Geography. In Missouri, fourth grade is the year to learn about Missouri history, government and geography. Every other year, Pershing Elementary takes it's 4th and 5th graders to Jefferson City. This is our year! Our trip is scheduled for Wednesday, March 30, and we just beginning the planning phase of the trip. If you are interested in attending the trip and/ or joining the planning committee, please let me know!

Donors Choose Project Funded!

We are so thankful to have had our Donors Choose Project fully funded! Thank you so much for getting the word out and donating to put flexible seating options in our classroom! We have already received our materials, and the kids have been so excited! Donors Choose asks that I post photos of our students using the materials for our donors to see and celebrate with us. In order to do this, they require a separate permission slip, even if your child is not on the media block list. Please be watching for this permission slip, and send it back in as soon as possible so that I can thank our donors in a timely manner! We will also be writing and sending thank you cards to our donors!

Parent Teacher Conferences this Month!

This last week in October is dedicated to Parent Teacher Conferences! Please sign-up for a conference on our Sign Up Genius (link above). Conferences will be 15 minutes in length, and we will discuss your child's progress and set goals for the rest of the year. Students are welcome to attend!

The Paperless Classroom

We are so lucky to have 1:1 laptops in our classroom! Much of our work will be completed electronically. Here are some things to help you stay up to date on your child's work:

  • You should have received a unique code for your child's Home Access Account at Open House or in your child's Take Home Folder this week. This is access to our live grade book. You can see if your child has missing work and how he/ she did on completed assignments. If you did not receive your password, Sharon Baker in the main office can help you with this.
  • Each student also has a Canvas account. This is a place where we have built learning modules, have quick access to links, programs like Aleks and Lexia and on-line textbooks. Students will also use this to submit electronic assignments. For students, their user name is their ID number (what they typically call their "lunch number") and the password is student. Parents also have an account, and the username and password is the same as your Home Access Account. Every time something is published on our canvas site, you will automatically get an email. If you would like to change this, you can log into your (the parent's) Canvas page and change your email notification settings. On our Canvas homepage, you will find a button called "What's Going On?" I will post our twitter feed and newsletters here for easy use.
  • Springfield Public Schools has set up each student with a google account. We will mostly be using the google apps (primarily google docs) features. Your child may work in their google account at any time. The student's user name is their IDnumber @ sps.org. For example: 123456 @ sps.org (no spaces). Their password is their first initial last initial and ID number. For example: jt123456
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Every Kid in a Park!

Here is some exciting news for 4th grade families! The White House and the Federal Land Management Agencies have launched the Every Kid in a Park Initiative. Every 4th grader in America (and everyone in their carload) can visit any national park for FREE! The pass is valid unit August 31, 2016. Visit Every Kid in a Park for more information and to get your pass!

Upcoming Dates to Remember

October 2 - Picture Day

October 9 - End of 1st Quarter

October 12 - No School (Professional Learning/ Work Day for Teachers)

October 26-29 - Parent Teacher Conferences (Sign-up Genius)

October 28 - Field Trip to Springfield Little Theater to see Huck Finn (tentative)

October 30 - October Reading Calendar Due

November 2 - No School (PT Conference Day)

November 3 - No School (Professional Learning/ Work Day for Teachers)

November 24 - Mrs. Benton's Last Day :(

November 25-27 - Thanksgiving Vacation