Spotlight

Four Seasons A+ April 2022

Calendar

  • April 19-May 6 Reading & Math MCA testing grades 3-5
  • April 25-May 13 Science MCA testing grade 5
  • April 25, 5:00 Four Seasons Makerspace
  • April 28, APTT (Nelson, Gaslin, Becker, Taylor)
  • May 2-6, Teacher Appreciation Week
  • May 23, 5:00 Four Seasons Makerspace
  • May 30, NO SCHOOL, Memorial Day
  • June 10, last day of school

FOUR SEASONS A+ MAKERSPACE

Monday, April 25th, 5pm

This is an online event.

Join us VIRTUALLY on Google Meet

  • create
  • explore
  • learn
  • share

Makerspace is a chance for our community to get together and learn from one another.


Google Meet joining info

https://meet.google.com/vex-yzao-ibs

Principal Mickelson

Dear Four Seasons A+ Families,


Last Friday at dismissal time I had a student come up to me and say, "Ms. Mickelson! I can't wait until Monday when I can see your beautiful face again!" Of course, this made my day, my week, maybe my month! We've been wearing masks for so long now, it is normal.


So, when Monday arrived, I wasn't prepared for the emotional reaction not having to wear masks would bring to our learning community. First, it is such a game changer to greet students with a smile they can see. We can turn someone's day around by just smiling at them. Secondly, we aren't saying, "Where is your mask?", "Get a mask!", "Pull up your mask!" 1,000+ times per day. I'm sure our students appreciate that. I know our staff appreciate saying, "It's good to see you!" "Have a wonderful day!" "How are you today?" instead. Masks keep us safe, and they also hide a lot of facial expressions and non-verbal cues necessary to understand human interactions. For those of us who work with children, non-verbal communication can be vital to redirecting our children. Masks keep us safe, and they also muffle our speech. I can't tell you how many times I couldn't hear a student correctly or vice versa. This can make it challenging to pronounce names correctly and teach skills such as rhyming and letter sounds which are essential for learning to read.


We know that wearing a mask during times of high transmission of COVID is essential to the health and safety of those around us. We know we might see a rise in cases and have to reinstate a mask mandate. We respect and support all members of our community equally whether they continue to wear a mask or not, knowing that every situation is unique.


We also know that whether you choose to continue wearing a mask (and many of us do) or not, we love seeing everyone's beautiful faces at Four Seasons A+!


Sincerely,

Jennifer Mickelson


Find more information on the update to masking in SPPS here.

Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APTT)

APTT Conferences are April 28, 2022, for Ms. Becker ‘s and Mr. Taylor’s 4/5 classes and Ms. Nelson’s and Mrs. Gaslin’s Kindergarten classes. Please plan on joining us for these conferences. We will celebrate your child’s academic growth and to share ideas for continued academic growth for the rest of the year and into the summer. Look for specific information from your child’s teachers. We look forward to seeing you on April 28.

Learning at Home

During conferences, families wanted to know how to help their students reach their goals. Four Seasons A+ Elementary suggests:


  • Play board/card/dice games together
  • Read (independently or together)
  • Ask about the school day with specific questions like, "What did you do in math today?" "What did you read today?" "What specialist did you have?" follow up with additional questions.
  • Stay in touch with the classroom teacher. They have specific ideas to help each student reach their learning goals.


TutorMe, one-on-one, online tutoring, is available to all Saint Paul Public Schools students. For more information on TutorMe follow the links below.


It was great to see so many families at conferences. Thank you for supporting learning at Four Seasons A+ Elementary School.

Teacher Appreciation Week May 2-6

Help us celebrate our wonderful Four Seasons A+ Teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week May 2-May 6.


  • write a note, send a text, make a call...let your child's teachers know you care
  • send something in for Coffee & Treats Day on Thursday, May 5 (drop off items on Wednesday, May 4 or Thursday, May 5 in the morning)


For more information, contact Karen Shanahan at (651) 325-2492 or karen.shanahan@spps.org.

IN OUR CLASSROOMS

D/HH ECSE Preschool/Pre-K

Happy April Preschool families! Our littles wrapped up their Creating in Our Community Area of Study and have moved on to a unit focusing on cycles -- seasons, butterflies, frogs, flowers, birds, and them! So many changes have happened in these preschoolers since even the beginning of the year, we will have fun recognizing how much each student has grown!


May 5th begins our alphabet countdown to the end of the year - filled with a letter focused activity each day to celebrate the quickly approaching end of the school year. We hope everyone is enjoying Spring and we are thankful for both the rainy and sunny days we get to learn together!

Kindergarten

Kindergarten has just started enjoying our DOW unit: Creating and Constructing in Our World. We have been using our imaginations as we build, create, and construct new items often while using familiar items in new ways. So far, both the Art Center and the Math Center are extremely popular as students create Art projects out of paper, cardboard, paint, paper, glue, glitter, stickers, and playdough and build roads and construction sites out of wooden blocks, cars, plastic figurines, and other items. Our students excel at using their imaginations, construction workers have been sighted in the dramatic play center!


  • Literacy: we are still focusing on learning all our letter sounds and using this knowledge to say, read and write new words. We are reading beginning sight word and See and Say beginning level reading books. We are learning about Poetry and Nursery Rhymes.
  • Math: we continue to identify numbers, to count up by 1s, 5s, and 10s to 110 and to count backwards from 20 – 0, to recognize 2d and 3d shapes, to sort items by size, color, shape, and other attributes. Our new exploration will be money, its value and attributes.


Every day our Kindergartens use their imaginations while they grow in skills and knowledge.


APTT (Academic Parent and Teacher Team)

Our next and final APTT Conference is April 28, 2022, for Ms. Nelson’s and Mrs. Gaslin’s classes. Please plan on joining us for the conference. We are excited to celebrate your child’s academic growth with you and to share some ideas for continual academic growth for the rest of the year and this summer. Ms. Nelson and Ms. Gaslin will send specific information about the event. We look forward to seeing you on April 28.

KINDERGARTEN DOT ARTWORK

Ms. Gaslin's kindergarten class explored watercolors through Peter H. Reynolds book The Dot.

Grade 1-2

Here is what our 1/2nd grade classrooms are working on:


  • Math: In Math we are working on continuing to count by 2, 5, 10 up to 120. We are strengthening our addition and subtraction skills to begin developing fluency. And working on showing the many ways we have learned to represent numbers.
  • Literacy: We are continuing to work in our small reading groups and are looking forward to having our WINN specialist join us for the next few weeks. We have also been working on long and short vowel sounds; A, E, I, O, U.
  • Social Studies: We are beginning a unit on civic responsibilities and learning why and when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited.
  • Science: In Science, we are looking for signs of spring! Once the weather is warmer, we are looking forward to growing seeds in our class and watching the process unfold. And we’re watching the eaglets grow on the eagle camera.

Grade 3

3rd grade completed the reading MCA 4/13 and 4/14, and will take the math MCA 4/20 and 4/21. Spring Break was a nice little break, and we are looking forward to learning lots with the eight remaining weeks of this school year.


Please remind your 3rd graders to practice academics at home every day. We recommend:


  • 30 minutes reading
  • 20 minutes ST Math
  • 10 minutes of writing

GRADE 3 EXPLORATION - the art of JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

Grade 4-5

Our 4th and 5th grade team has been working hard to prepare students for the state testing (MCA) in April.


  • In literacy we have been learning about understanding character traits and development and different forms of poetry, and even writing some poetry as well! We also studied biographies and then practiced writing short summaries about what we learned from our reading and research. We are currently working on “Author’s Purpose” and whether the author of the book wrote it to persuade, inform, or entertain their reader.
  • In Math we have finished another unit that covered fractions and decimals and have started on our last unit that will go over topics such as area, quadrilaterals/quadrangles, and transformations - or how a shape shifts and rotates.


In March we had our wonderful outdoor field trip to Belwin and were able to explore so much about the nature we have around us. We will have another field trip coming up in May so stay tuned for more information coming soon!


As we reach these last few months of school we continue to encourage and support students to stay focused on school tasks, as we help to prepare them for the next grade level. Thank you for everything you are doing at home to continue to support the students and teachers in this goal. We are so proud of the hard work we have seen!

MLL (Multilingual Learners)

April is going by quickly. Summer will be here soon. Applications for summer school are available online or on paper in different languages. Paper applications can be found in the office, or have your child ask their EL teacher.


Four Seasons MLL Department would like to thank all everyone who helped make our ACCESS testing successful. We should have preliminary scores by the end of the school year.

Counselor - Class Lessons & Summer Programs

Greetings Four Seasons A+ students and families!


WOW, I can't believe we are in the 4th quarter of our school year. Time flies when you're working hard and having fun! Here is what we will be focusing on in classroom lessons:


  • Kindergarten through Fourth grade will work on lessons about personal safety.
  • Fifth grade classes will begin talking about the transition to middle school.



SPPS Summer Programs are still accepting applications. Here is the link for the online K-4 summer school application and here is the link for 5-8 summer school application.


Additionally, there are summer programs offered through other venues, including Summer Academic Enrichment Opportunities through Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth (MITY). MITY inspires and challenges intellectually curious students to pursue their passions within a diverse, inclusive community. MITY offers more than 50 unique STEM, humanities and fine arts classes featuring inquiry-based, hands-on learning experiences, small class sizes, and exciting field trips. Students entering grades 8 - 12 are eligible for MITY’s Expand Your Mind (EYM) program at Macalester College. Students can commute or live in the dorms as they experience post-secondary life, grow leadership skills and have fun with new friends. Full and partial need-based financial aid is available. Visit mity.org for more information. Go here for a 2-minute video that gives a snapshot of our Expand Your Mind (EYM) program.


As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions or concerns about your child.


In partnership,

Brooke Hardman


Office: 651-744-2018 Call/Text: 612-424-2163

Welcome to Four Seasons A+ Elementary

Four Seasons A+ seeks to build a welcoming community. A focus group will be meeting to look at what we can do to make students and families feel welcome when:
  • students start at Four Seasons
  • when families come to the building
  • when there are questions/concerns

If you would like to be part of this group, contact Karen Shanahan at (651) 325-2492 or karen.shanahan@spps.org.

Assessments & Instruction

At Four Seasons A+ Elementary School, and throughout SPPS, we use a variety of assessments to measure each student’s academic growth. When you hear the word “assessment,” you may think about standardized tests like the MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment). MCAs are one method of measuring reading and math skills for our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. MCAs are given in April-May. The test results are not fully available until late summer. Because of that timing, MCA scores are often used to look at overall trends, but do not play a large role in guiding instruction.


Other assessments are given at multiple times during the school year and are more helpful in planning differentiated instruction. These assessments include FAST, benchmarking, and unit/quarterly assessments in math. FAST is given three times each year (fall, winter, and spring) and measures each student’s knowledge/understanding of literacy skills such as letter names and sounds, decoding of words, vocabulary, and comprehension. Teachers also use a reading benchmark assessment (benchmarking) to determine each student’s reading level. This information is used to help students pick books at the appropriate reading level (not too hard or too easy), and to create guided reading groups. In math, teachers assess learning at the end of each unit or quarter. Based on this information, teachers know what students have learned and what needs to be reviewed or re-taught.


In addition to MCAs, FAST, benchmarking, and Math unit/quarterly assessments, our Multilingual Learners (MLL) take the ACCESS test, which measures their progress in reading, speaking, listening, and writing. The proficiency levels determined by this assessment are used by teachers to help plan instruction and support for students. ACCESS performance also determines when students exit the MLL program. Our MLL students completed ACCESS testing in March.


Ask your child’s teacher about recent assessments and how your child has grown academically during the school year. We love to share data.