Fun in Fourth Grade

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

Heartfelt Thanks

Thanks so much to the McDonagh and Manning families for contributing items for our Fall Festival raffle basket! Also, many thanks to Maria Lopez Valencia for your help with copies today! I sincerely appreciate your supporting our class!

Curriculum Updates

Language Arts

  • Work on the narrative writing genre will continue through the month of September. This week we focus on creating bold beginnings for a narrative we brainstormed last week. Ask your child what characters, setting and problem/conflict are central to the narrative that they are developing.

  • We continue to work on character analysis, comparing/contrasting and finding the main idea as we read The Westing Game. We have been examining details and strengthening strategies for understanding what we read. Next week we dig more deeply into the characters by examining what they say, do and think as well as what other characters think and say about them. We will learn valuable information through this investigation.

  • Finding the main idea and identifying supporting details continues to be the focus as we work on informational texts.

  • Next week's Spelling City List is #3. It is now available online if your child wants to get an early jump on it this weekend.

  • We are continuing to work on Westing Game Vocabulary List #1 in class. Students should have adequate time in class to work on activities and be tested on this list. However, it is not a problem if students wish to work on this list at home as well.

  • In grammar, we are wrapping up work on contractions.

  • Students' progress towards meeting their trimester Accelerated Reader goal will be recorded in Engrade on Sept. 23 for the mid-trimester. By this date, students should be about 50% of their trimeter goal. Ask your child how they are progressing towards meeting their AR goal. What book are they reading right now? When do they expect to finish the book and take an AR quiz on it?


  • We continue to investigate strategies for adding and subtracting whole numbers this week. If pacing continues as expected, the chapter test will likely fall on Tuesday, Sept. 23rd. This is subject to change depending on students' understanding of concepts.

  • Fast facts will be tested on Thursday, Sept. 18th. This timed assessment measures students' ability to calculate 100 fast fact equations in five minutes. There are four tests in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These assessments will be recorded on Engrade and help me to assess student progress towards meeting the 95% math facts fluency goal for 4th graders.

  • In the coming week, we continue to explore the essential question: What strategies can I use to add and subtract whole numbers? In the coming week, students will work on developing mental math strategies, estimating sums and differences as well as adding and subtracting whole numbers. IXL Strands that relate to the work we did this week include: 4th grade: B.8, B.9, C.6, C.7, B.1, B.2, C.1 and C.2. New strands for next week: B.7, C.5, K.1, and F.8.

Social Studies

  • We will be assessing students' understanding of finding locations by latitude and longitude coordinates on Thursday, Sept. 18th.

  • Students will continue to look at the characteristics of the four regions of California by doing a hands-on overlay project in class to see how the regions intersect with other systems in California (waterways, interstates, major cities, etc.) Deep thinking comes from questioning and drawing conclusions as we participate in this activity.

Mark Your Calendars: Mandatory Age of Sail Parent Meeting on Sept. 23rd

As mentioned at Back to School Night, 4th grade will be hosting a mandatory parent information meeting about our overnight field lesson, Age of Sail. This meeting will be held on September 23rd at 6 p.m. in Mrs. Miksits's classroom. We will provide an overview of the field lesson itinerary, what your child can expect while aboard the Balclutha, important information about how to prepare for the trip and answer any questions you may have. This experience will likely be your child's favorite memory of 4th grade. Come and hear why this trip is so special. Parents who wish to be put in the lottery for chaperone spaces MUST attend.

Fall Festival on September 27th

Please mark your calendars for the Westlake Charter School Fall Festival on September 27th from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on the Del Paso campus. This is a fun family event with booths, food and a silent auction. It is the perfect way to celebrate the start of the fall season with WCS friends!

Please see the following message from our terrific room parent:

Coming up soon on September 27th is our school's Fall Festival! For the festival each class organizes an Auction Gift Basket for the silent auction. The money received from the class basket goes Directly to Our Class, which is awesome! The teachers can utilize the money towards supplies, activities, etc.

For our class, we'll be organizing a "Let's Eat" Gift Card Basket! To make this successful, your help is needed and much appreciated. Please choose which gift card(s) you can donate for the basket from the following link: Please enter the requested details as well (gift card amount, 4th grade student name, your name). If you have another local restaurant that you'd like to include a gift card for, please just enter all information on the document.

Please send to school no later than September 23rd (sooner is always great). When sending the gift card(s) to school with your child, please include gift card amount and your child's name.

There are rewards for donating too! For every $20 you donate, you receive one volunteer hour (Ex. $40 Panera Gift card = 2 volunteer hours). Friendly reminder, there is a cap on how many hours you can earn through purchasing items. Please refer to Parent Handbook.

Lastly, please sign up to volunteer at the class booth, which is the Henna Booth at the festival. Volunteers will assist in "crowd control" and making sure the lines are moving smoothly. Please refer to Heather's google doc link:

Thank you so much for your support. This can't be done without your fantastic help. Feel free to contact me via email at if you have any questions.

Girls on the Run

Do you have a daughter who would be interested in Girls on the Run? Please see the following message from a parent in our classroom:


My name is Michelle Hewitt. I am a parent of 2 kids at WCS Del Paso, and I'll be coaching the Girls on the Run fall season this year. We're looking for a few more girls to join since we need 10 to have a full team. If you could, I would appreciate maybe mentioning that enrollment is still open until September 22nd. We're a few girls short of a team and if we can't get to 10, there will be 8 really bummed girls (and a coach!). Please share with your families the following information. If you or any parents have any questions, please feel free to call me at 916-296-5057 (I run a daycare so I may not be able to answer right away) or email me at this email address. To register:

Thank you for helping spread the word!

Girls on the Run Fall 2014 Season

First Practice: 9/18/2014

Meeting times: Friday 3:30pm-5:30pm & Sunday 8:30am-10:30am

Location: NP3 track

5k- December 13th, 2014 (more details to follow)

What is GOTR?

Over a period of 10-12 weeks, girls in the 3rd through 5th grade participate in an after-school program like no other. Designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, the Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique.

The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age. They also develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. We start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them. Then, we look at the importance of team work and healthy relationships. And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.

Physical activity is woven into our program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. At the end of each three month session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5k event. This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum. Completing the 5k gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible.

Dates to Remember

September 18: Fast Facts Tested

September 23 at 6 p.m. in Mrs. Miksits' Classroom: Mandatory Age of Sail Parent Meeting

September 23: Mid-Trimester AR Goal Check

September 25: Picture Day

September 26: Mid-Trimester Progress Reports Come Home

September 27: Fall Festival

October 6-10: October Break

Thanks so much for your time! If I can answer any questions, please email me at


Heather Chastain