Fun in Fourth Grade

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

Hello families,

I hope you are enjoying your three-day weekend. Thanks for taking the time to read some updates and highlights for the upcoming week.

Heartfelt Thanks & "Shout Outs"

I want to thank Darlene Castillo for donating items for our breakfast bags (and apologize for missing you last week!) Thank you so much for your support! Also, thank you so much to Katya Alfaro for your help with math on Monday and to Linh Nguyen for making copies on Friday (and for the much appreciated caffeine!) You ladies are such a help!

Curriculum Updates

Language Arts

  • Mid-trimester Accelerated Reader goals will be checked on Tuesday. By this time your child should be 50% of their 2nd trimester AR goal. Thank you for encouraging your kids to read, read, read!

  • This week, students will be working on Spelling City List #8. Just a reminder of our routine: Students should complete all activities at home during the week. On Thursday night, parents should supervise the test online and send a note or printed test with their signature indicating they proctored the test. Students should bring this to class on Friday.

  • With the shortened week, I am not assigning a vocabulary list this week.

  • Students will be introduced to commonly used suffixes this week and continue to practice these next week. Unlocking the meaning of unknown words by using knowledge of root words and affixes helps our students' reading comprehension to grow leaps and bounds!

  • We continue to apply comprehension strategies when reading fictional and informational texts. During the next couple of weeks, we will be working specifically on inferring what the author is not explicitly saying in the text.

  • We are into our final week of preparation lessons to enable success during upcoming book clubs. These literature circles involve students selecting books based on their interests and reading levels, determining a reading schedule and "norms" for their groups and discussing the books in depth. This week we talk about the difference between "thick" and "thin" questions and how to choose a book for book club discussions.


  • Students required a bit more practice with long division so I postponed the Chapter 6 test until Wednesday, January 21st. The following strands support our work in class: 4th Grade: E.1, E.2, E4, E.5, E.7 E.16, E.17, E.18, and E.25; 5th Grade: H.1, H.2, H.3, H.4, H.5, H.6, H.7, H.8, H.9 and H.15.

  • Next up...fractions! Students will be identifying factors and understanding the difference between prime and composite numbers. We are switching to Pearson Publishing's math program as part of our piloting of Common Core math curriculum. IXL Strands that support our learning on these topics include 4th grade: Q.1, D.4 and A.5. and 5th grade: L.1, K.1 and K.2.


This week we begin our unit focusing on the physical science principles of light and sound. Essential questions that will be answered this week include... What type of wave is a sound wave? What is faster: light or sound waves?

Odds & Ends

  • As difficult as it is to believe, our kids will be enrolling in middle school before we know it. You have an opportunity to learn more about WCS's middle school program this Wednesday, January 21st. This information night will be held on the Pebblewood Campus at 6:00 p.m. Don't miss it!

  • Mid-Trimester Progress Reports are coming home on Friday. Please sign and return a copy of this.

  • Shaan Merchant is missing his Age of Sail sweatshirt. We wrote students' names on the tag of all sweatshirts so it would be really appreciated if you could double check at home that you don't have two. Please send it to school or email Priti Merchant at if you find it.

  • If you took any fantastic pictures while accompanying us to Mission Dolores and the Hyde Street Pier, please send them to Rajan Merchant at As our historian, he will assemble all the photos taken and share them with our families.

  • Are you interested in having your child tested for Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)? Parent Referral forms are now available. Please fill out a referral form and I will take care of the teacher paperwork. Information about the GATE testing timeline can be found here. Referral Forms are due to the office on February 6th.

  • WCS's 3rd Annual "My Princess & Me Dance" will be on February 7th from 5:45 to 8:00 p.m. in the NP3 gym. Pickets can be purchased online at this link until February 2nd.

  • Looking for a summer enrichment opportunity for your child? Click this link to find out more about CSUS's Academic Talent Search.

  • Information about the Geography Bee will be coming home on Tuesday. If your child is interested in participating, a written test will be given this week to determine two representatives from 4th grade. The Geography Bee will be on January 28th 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Del Paso campus cafeteria.

Dates to Remember

  • January 19: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday - NO SCHOOL
  • January 20: Mid-Trimester AR Goal to be checked
  • January 20: Chapter 6 Math Test
  • January 21: Middle School Information Night at Pebblewood Campus at 6 p.m.
  • January 23: Mid-Trimester Progress Reports to be sent home
  • January 28: Geography Bee at 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Del Paso campus cafeteria
  • February 6: GATE referral forms are due
  • February 7: My Princess & Me Dance from 5:45-8:00 p.m. in NP3 Gym.
  • February 13: Talent Show in NP3 Gym
  • February 16-20: Presidents Week Break - NO SCHOOL
Thanks so much for your time! If I can answer any questions, please email me at


Heather Chastain