Update August 14, 2016



Dear FOURTH Grade Families,

And it begins again…I just returned from the library with a ton of wonderful books for our CAFE reading and the librarian recognized me and asked what grade I am teaching this year.  I have lived in this community for 19 years now and appreciate the connections I’ve made.  Our classroom is our own little family, a part of the larger PCCS community.  Together we can continue to build those relationships and connections.  The teaching staff and administration are here to provide a smooth transition to a new school year.  Contact us if you need any extra support.

Housekeeping:  Most of our procedures will remain the same, this is the beauty of looping!  We will have the same lunch procedures, although recess/lunch time is from 11:10 – 12:10.  We will still take turns using  EVEN/ODD student numbers to warm up in the microwave.  Please have all supplies delivered to school by Friday, August 19. Be sure that your child is dressed for warm afternoons on the prairie beginning this week.  Continue to be a weather watcher and adjust outdoor gear when necessary.

Behavior Management:  We are going to use Hawk’s Tickets to earn recognition for students and class instead of the clip chart.  If your child needs some additional support at home on some basic class rules, I will send home a “Behavior Alert” letter for you to review with your child, sign, and return the next day.  


Readers’ Workshop:  We will begin large group (CAFE) lessons right away.  This week we will use Patricia Polacco books to focus on comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary lessons.  I will reintroduce Word Work, Read to Self, and Work on Writing as part of our management system for Readers’ Workshop.  To practice Words Their Way spelling procedures, students will use their last sort from spring.  Next week students will be retested for new placement within the Words Their Way curriculum.  Core words are new:  box, start, that’s, class, piece, surface, river, common, talk, whether.  All students will be retest with the Fountas and Pinnell reading benchmark system over the next few weeks. During that time I will slowly begin guided reading groups.  Writers’ Workshop:  Initially students will complete benchmark writing samples in persuasive, narrative, and informational writing forms.  This will take about one and a half weeks.

Math:  We are very excited to begin a new math curriculum, Model Math, this year.  All classrooms are using this new and innovative program designed for Illinois students by Illinois math experts.  Teachers received initial training in June and we will be receiving additional training as the year progresses.  The program is Common Core aligned, so teachers will not need to supplement in order to be in compliance.  The math section of the report card will change to reflect the new curriculum.  Homework will be noted in the planner and on the homework calendar connected to our webpage.  This week our math will include a multi-step word problem pre-assessment that will help guide my instruction.  Then we will review addition and subtraction strategies with tape diagrams, use visual math to breakdown large arrays into simpler arrays, and work with multiplication story sorting cards.  There is no math homework this week.  

SS/Science:  This week we will begin our study of Illinois habitats with learning the Secrets of the Prairie, perform insect sweeps to introduce the biodiversity of the prairie habitat, make prairie tea, take the Prairie Challenge, play the game “Who Am I” to discover prairie animal adaptations, and write a short article highlighting a prairie animal and its adaptations.

Environmental Education:  This week students will return to Phenology, a study of nature and place through the seasons.  I will be revamping and retooling our study this year to improve our commitment to the study.  

Specials:  Here is a quick guide…

Spanish:  M:  8:10, W:  9:40
PE:   M:  8:55,  T:  10:25, W:  10:25
Art:  M:  12:10,  F:  12:10
Music: Th:  12:10, F:  8:55
Keyboarding:  T:  2:30

I will provide a detailed schedule to all families on Curriculum Night in early September.

Dates to Remember:

8/15:  First Day of School
8/22:  Band Assembly and recruitment
8/23:  Board Meeting, 7 pm
8/24:  Parent Band Meeting, 7 pm
8/29:  Picture Day

Can’t wait to see everyone one on Monday morning!  


Cynthia McG