February Newsletter

Feb. 5, 2017

A Quick Month

February always seems to fly by. The Fourth Grade Music Concert will be everyone's priority this week.

Chinese New Year

Great books to share, both fiction and nonfiction. We made lucky fish, compared the Chinese and American traditions, and did a quick write using the newly learned info to write an informational or narrative piece. 2017 is the Year of the Rooster, in case you were wondering.

Valentine's Day Party on 2/14

We will plan the food for the party on Monday or Tuesday this week. If you didn't contribute to the Halloween celebration look for a note specifying your contribution.


One for every child in the class. To and From noted on each card. Class lists will come home. A MUST PARTICIPATE activity. No candy or treats allowed. Valentines are print-based expressions of affection. The candy thing puts a completely different emphasis on the exchange.


Baby Contest - Every child needs to bring in a baby picture of his/herself. Preferably in an envelope as it is best if no one sees the picture in advance of the guessing contest. Your child should be 2 or younger in the photo. I will return every photo.

Secret Valentine Contest - Each student should think of something secret, or not commonly known, about himself/herself. This is not the same as "private" as I will explain. Examples from the past include 1) My great grandfather invented the Otis elevator,

2) I have lived in 5 states, 3) We once had 2 cats and 2 kittens, 4) My cousin and I have the same birthday.


This month we will continue to practice division, but our primary focus will be fractions. We will be comparing fractions using models and the number line. We will be learning to add and subtract fractions with like and unlike denominators.

All our fraction work requires rapid recall of the multiplication facts. ST Math will help with fact fluency. Be sure your child is practicing their facts nightly with JiJi.


We will complete the SciFi section of the Luvtaread Reading Log on Feb. 17th. The assigned project is a setting diorama based on exact quotes from the text of a SciFi book. Reading, identifying, citing, etc. We will be completing them in class.

At that time, we will start the Nonfiction Paired Texts in class. Every child will be picking a pair of science books from those I have collected. I have pairs on ornithology, physics, meteorology, astronomy, forensics, etc.

Students will be tasked with comparing and contrasting their two books. They will need to read the books at a slower pace than fiction requires. Many of them have never before read a nonfiction book in its entirety. The time is now. Word for word. Headings, sidebars, photo captions, the all of it. The skill emphasis will be on identifying the main idea and supporting details in text & spotting text features and text structures. We will do some outlining.


As soon as we finish our Chinese New Year pieces, we will begin writing Go-Togethers for Valentine's Day. The students chose a common pairing like Thunder & Lightning, Salt & Pepper, Beginning & End, etc. From the point of view of one half of the pair, they will write heart-felt email pleas for the couple to remain together. I really enjoy this assignment as 4th graders are very clever. This group is quite funny so these should be entertaining.
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Maker Faire

On March 8th we will be having an all school Maker Faire. Some students in Room 09 will be coding. Others will be making and assembling game elements. Still others will be doing art work or learning to fly a drone. I will be needing a number of parent volunteers to assist with this work. Thanks in advance for helping us.

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