Dear Fourth Graders and Families,
Welcome to Fourth Grade! Here is some information about what to expect this school year
In Fourth grade, our Literacy program consists of reading, writing, word study, and grammar. This is accomplished using a balanced literacy philosophy and the district’s Units of Study. We will be reading independently, in small groups and whole class. Students will be guided through literature books and skills will be connected through both their reading and their writing. Many times their reading and writing will be integrated with Social Studies, Science, and Math.
Our expectation is that each student reads for120 minutes a week outside of school. This averages to 30 minutes a night Monday – Thursday. We understand that life gets crazy and a weekly average often works better with everyone’s busy schedules. We will leave it up to your family to build a reading routine that fits your schedule to accomplish the required minutes. Your student will have a reading log that will need to be initialed by Friday. Parent participation is key. We understand we all have busy lives, but please make sure your student is actually completing the reading homework before you provide your initials. Reading logs will be checked every Friday. In addition to reading, we will be learning how to journal our thinking about our reading. Your child’s reading journal will be checked on Fridays as well.
Our Math program is Everyday Math. We will be learning about geometric shapes and their properties, solidifying our multiplication techniques, advancing our division skills, and investigating fractions and decimals. After your child has finished their Study Link, please check the answers together. The answers are located in the family letter that comes home at the beginning of each unit. It is important for fourth graders to know their basic multiplication and division facts. Please have your child study their facts 10 minutes each evening. Our class will have access to Prodigy, EDM games and ST Math – computer based math programs used to support and expand Math concepts taught in the classroom. Students will sometimes have assignments to be completed at home. If your child does not have internet access, let us know and we will provide extra time at school to complete the lessons.
At the beginning of each unit a family letter will be coming home that includes information about the unit, along with helpful hints and answers for the home links. The family letters provide the needed information to help parents help their children. Students will be given Home Links on most weeknights as homework. We do not grade Home Links, but we will collect them each day, review them for growth, development, and additional instructional needs. Math grades will be based on Daily Assessments and Unit Assessments. Homework must be done, because the concepts in fourth grade become increasingly difficult.
Our Social Studies curriculum focuses on Colorado History – from the earliest inhabitants to modern times. We will learn about Ancient Puebloans, explorers, trappers, traders, mining, railroads, and all the influences that have made Colorado the state it is today. We will also explore Colorado’s Government, Economy, and Geography.
Science will consist of three major areas– (1.) Fossils and Rock Layers: A study of environments and living organisms through an investigation of fossils and rock layers. (2.) Energy: A study of the forms and transformations of energy and (3.) Organisms and Ecosystems: A study of the interaction and interdependence between and among living and nonliving components of ecosystems including similarities and differences between living things. These concepts will be taught through the scientific process using our science notebooks to record and analyze our thinking, along with explorations and experiments.
Homework in fourth grade should not average more than about 40 minutes Monday-Thursday (excluding nightly reading). If your child frequently spends more time than the average doing their homework, please let us know. Homework is always due on the following day unless otherwise specified. We require all work to be turned in even if it is late. However, consequences will be given for late work. If homework is frequently not completed, We will contact you and we will come up with a plan to help your child become successful. The purpose of homework is to reinforce learning, not do busy work, so we expect all homework to be completed. Work missed because of absences will be given upon student's return, not before the absence. This is a district wide policy.
Your child will typically have a Math Study Link (max. 20 min.), a computer based assignment (max. 20 min.) and a nightly (Monday-Thursday) reading log and reading journal (30 min.). Students will be recording their reading minutes on a reading log. We do require the parents initial each home entry to make sure the reading is taking place. Logs will be checked on Fridays. Your child will need a total of 120 minutes of reading for the week. This does not need to all be done on school nights. If your child reads for an hour over the weekend, those minutes count. Eventually, your student will be required to write one-paged papers summarizing their reading, or discussing an element of the book (Characters, Setting, Plot, Theme, etc.) Work on these will take the place of the 30 min. of reading time. On these nights, your child will record “written response” on their reading log.
Snacks, Water Bottles and Breakfast:
Feel free to send your child to school with a healthy snack. The classroom expectation is that students will eat healthy snacks- primarily fruits and veggies- or any high protein type of food such as; hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, Greek yogurt, and cheese sticks. Please keep in mind that what your child puts in their body affects their minds. Please no chips, candy, cookies, etc…
We highly encourage your child to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. No sports drinks, juice or Starbucks please.
Studies have shown that eating a healthy breakfast each day helps our students learn. Make sure your child eats breakfast before coming to school or takes advantage of the free breakfast that is being provided daily at 7:40 am in the cafeteria.
Birthday celebrations are absolutely encouraged here in class! We are respectfully requesting that classroom birthday treats follow our Healthy Snacks guidelines. Creativity is encouraged and welcomed. In past years, we’ve enjoyed chocolate covered bananas or strawberries, fruit kabobs with yogurt dip, etc. We will celebrate birthdays at the end of the school day. Also, if your child has a birthday that falls during summer vacation, we will celebrate it at the end of the school year. In order to avoid hurt feelings school policy requests that birthday invitations be distributed outside of school hours.