from Ms. Koepfle and Mrs. Rise

We’ve Started the Year on the Right Foot!

The students have been busy getting to know each other and learning all about our classroom and procedures. We are so proud of our wonderful students and how kind and helpful they have been to each other, as we all make the transition from summer to school routines.

Our community circle time allows us to share our lives outside of school with each other and helps us practice our listening and questioning skills. From summer vacations and attending sporting events to big catches on the ocean and small finds in the sand, we get to hear it all! Currently, students are sharing about their families by bringing in a family photograph and telling us a little about each member of the family.


Students have set reading goals that not only include the total number of books they want to read this year, but they also require that different genres of books be completed. Students could choose to set their 4th grade reading goal to be 20, 24, or 30 books. Many are finishing their first book for the year this week, and others are on their second (or third!)

Students are expected to bring their independent reading book to class each day, as time is set aside throughout the week to read. The importance of sticking with one book until its completion has been emphasized. Reading the same book at home and at school will benefit the student and will help him/her reach the independent reading goal for the year.

We have begun at-home reading logs. A letter came home explaining how these reading logs work with an attached sample reading log. Reading logs will come home on Monday and are due back to school the following Monday. 4th graders are expected to complete at least 80 minutes of at-home reading each week. Please let me know if you have any questions!

We have also immersed ourselves in a read aloud which supports our social studies curriculum, The Kid Who Ran for President. It's an entertaining story of a young boy whose idea of running for president becomes a reality. With the help of his friends, babysitter, and news crews... he just might have a chance! In conjunction with the read aloud, students are learning how to summarize a chapter of a book, focusing on the characters, setting, and ONE main point. This is a fantastic skill for them to transfer to their independent book!

Social Studies

Our first social studies topic has taught students what a government is, what type of government the US has, and the rights and responsibilities that are bestowed upon us as citizens in a democratic society.

They have witnessed planning for both a Dictator Pizza Party and a Democratic Pizza Party, and decided they were happy with our government system! We read about rights (a freedom you are given and did not earn) and responsibilities (a duty, something you should do) and did a partner sort, reinforcing the difference between the two. We even discovered that some things, like voting, are both a right and a responsibility!

The important of being an informed voter was emphasized this past week as they voted on helping the zoo... not knowing exactly HOW they would help. Ask them about it!?! We then identified ways citizens can get informed and put it into practice researching global issues on a website for elementary students. From this research, students made a decision to stand behind a cause and developed a letter written to a kid on the presidential campaign trail, Judson Moody, asking for his support with the issue.

We look forward to witnessing one of the 3 branches of government at work this Wednesday with the Gold E. Locks vs. The State courtroom drama. The responsibility of being a juror will be emphasized as students take part in the judicial branch of government. We will wrap up the unit by looking at the Constitution, and a final test will be on Friday, September 11. Social studies is a great subject area to start teaching students how to study. They should know the material from classroom activities, but can use their lap books created during class as a study guide.

The government test will be this Friday, September 11. A study guide will come home in your child's homework folder on Tuesday, September 8.


This year our writers will be writing for a wide variety of purposes and across all subject areas. We began the year focusing on paragraph writing as we wrote about our goals for the upcoming year. Creating topic sentences without including any of the details is a big hurdle in fourth grade. It has been very guided thus far but will be developed independently throughout the year!

Letter writing has been an additional focus. We have written letters to teachers, parents, and even the kid who is running for president (in our read aloud), Judson Moon. The first two letters focused on the different parts of a friendly letter and sentence structure, whereas the purpose for the last was one of persuasion. Paragraph writing was incorporated throughout the letter to Judson Moon, and was recently published on patriotic stationery.


In math class, students have been reviewing place value and the value of digits within large numbers. We have been working on representing large numbers in various ways, including base ten form, standard form, expanded form and word form. Students are becoming rock star rounders and are working to round large numbers up to the millions place.

This week, we will be reviewing adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers, using estimation to determine if our answers are reasonable. We will also begin solving word problems that require students to use keywords to determine whether they should add or subtract.

The math test over chapter one is scheduled to be on Monday, September 14. A study guide will come home this week in your child's homework folder on Wednesday, and will be due on Friday.

In addition to the skills and concepts in chapter 1, students are working toward becoming multiplication masters. Fourth grade students are expected to be able to complete 30 multiplication facts in one minute. At the end of each week, students will take a fact test and graph their progress in their math binders. To help students reach the fourth grade fact goal, students are expected to practice their facts regularly at home. Students should be logging onto at least fourteen times this month as part of their math homework responsibility. Please check in with your child regulary to see how they are progressing toward this goal.


Fourth grade scientists have begun our study of earth's surface. We have studied the ratio of water to land and have discovered that the earth is made up of mostly water. This week we will learn about how much of earth's water is fresh water and where that fresh water is contained. At the end of the week, we will begin our study of soil and observe different types of soils.