January 4, 2015 Update

Greetings Fourth Grade Families,

I would like to take a few minutes to thank everyone who contributed to the SCRIPT cards for me.  I am not sure how I will use them yet, maybe for some camping equipment for my backpack trip this summer.

Coming up this week:


  • Reading:  We have been learning and practicing our reading standards in isolation over the past few months and now we will begin to integrate them.  Using Patricia Polacco books as mentor texts, we will use CAFE strategies to cover literature standards one through six.    These include making inferences, summarizing, story elements (character, setting, etc.) vocabulary, literature text structure, and point of view.  We will spend about two weeks on literature then switch to integrating informational text standards.  Guided reading groups will be all reading literature selections to support our whole class CAFE instruction.
  • Writing:  Our next writing unit is opinion writing.  You may remember that we had a unit on this in the fall and we return to practice again.  It is my intention that we will complete the entire writing assignment in class; however if your child falls behind, he or she will bring it home to complete.  The topic of this piece will be on the new sport of Parkour.  Students will read an article on this sport and then write an opinion piece on it.  The final copy may be typed if the child desires.
  • Spelling:  Core words:  eye, milk, choose, north, seven, famous, late, pay, sleep, iron.  Content words are:  characteristics, trait, inherited, observable, physical.  Content words are easily defined using a dictionary.  Homework for spelling follows the usual cycle this week.


  • This week in math we will begin to really focus on division…not just algorithms, but how to really understand the concept.    We will return to the multiple towers from previous units, play factor bingo, solve word problems, and develop strategies for dividing larger numbers.  I will introduce partial quotients late in the week and continue the following week.  I will not introduce the traditional “long division” method until I am sure that all students understand the concept of division and can use at least one other method to solve the problems.  There will be homework in math on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.


  • Illinois Our Home:  We will wrap up chapter 4 on the French settlers to Illinois.  This was one of the leftover lessons from before the holidays.   The students will be familiar with much of this information since it is on the French and Indian War.
  • Genetics/Inherited Traits:  This is a new unit for us as required by the Next Generation Science Standards.  We are excited to put this in place for our students.  The wonderful part is that they already know quite a bit from the Illinois Habitat lessons from the fall.  This week we will begin with a look at traits and characteristics of apples, onions, and each other.  We will be considering human physical traits like eye color and freckles.

Outdoor Ed:

  • This week we are scheduled outside for phenology on Wednesday.  Be sure to have your child dress for the weather.

Dates to Remember:

  • Green Assembly on Tuesday, January 6.
  • Early Release on Wednesday, January 7.

Here are some pictures from the Little House Holiday Party.  Thanks to all who made this possible!

LH Holiday 4LH Holiday 2LH holiday


Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!

Cynthia McGovern