Welcome to Fourth Grade!
All things bright and beautif ul,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Hello Parents, Guardians, and Students,
Happy New Year, and, as Tiny Tim would say, "May God bless us all" and all our endeavors. Half of the school year is over but there is still much to accomplish. Last month was filled with so many wonderful, seasonal extras and now it is time to work hard and catch up in some areas. January 22 brings us to second quarter report cards.
Catholic Schools Week begins on January 27th with a Family Mass followed by an Open House and Book fair.
RELIGION. We will start the month with the celebration of the Epiphany by reading Matthew's account of the Magi and the flight into Egypt. We will begin the study of the Ten Commandments with Bible references and readings to accompany. The study of the Commandments will be the focal point of the months to come.
MATHEMATICS I hope that there was some time over the Christmas vacation to practice Math facts--all four operations for some students. If your child is having trouble with addition, subtraction, multiplication or division facts, give short (five-minute) reviews at home, concentrating on the facts that he or she finds difficult.
We went over half way through Unit 4 in December and will shortly begin Unit 5. In Unit 5, your child will continue to multiply multi-digit numbers. Another important focus in this unit is on fractions: all operations; comparing/converting to decimals; breaking down fractions to see parts.
Concepts that will be covered:
- Multistep multiplication and money word problems
- Area models for rectangles and rectilinear figures
- Fraction decomposition [breaking down]
- Mixed numbers—converting to irregular fractions
- Adding/subtracting fractions and mixed numbers
- Writing fractions as decimal
- Line plots
- Exploring angle size and rotation
READING The students really enjoyed reading Isaac Bashevis Singer short stories last month; of course, he is an excellent writer and the children appreciate good literature. We will read more of his stories as well as selections by Elspeth Huxley, poetry, and a play CALLED “Ramita, the Frog Princess” which takes place in Spanish ruled Mexico.
Some of the skills that will be covered in this month are:
- Author's purpose and point of view
- Making predictions
- Compare and contrast
- Cause and effect
- Analysis and Comparison of characters
- Fact and nonfact
- Note taking—using a graphic organizer
SOCIAL STUDIES. This month the students will begin to take a look at the main European colonizers, the cultural clash that evolved, the legacies left to us from these peoples. So, enter the European explorers starting with the Spaniards. We will spend a bit of time with the Spanish as their empire was great and their missionaries brought Christianity to North and South Americas. Skill building: Reading a chart; using a map and globe; reading a time line. Students also study the art and architecture of these cultures.
SCIENCE. Students will continue the study of the human body: the digestive and circulatory system. They will also be using microscopes to view slides of tissue from the various systems of the body.
ENGLISH. In the next few months, students will still be spending a good amount of time on writing for different purposes. The writing will include personal narrative, description, andcomparison. There is a far way to go in attaining clear, accurate descriptions. We need to take another look at sentence structure, including identification of fragments, run-on sentences and the writing of more than simple sentences.
We will be honing in on the following:
- Sticking to the main idea when writing
- Using adjectives to make writing more interesting, more vivid
- Forming possessives
- Use of quotation marks in dialogue
- Researching: choosing important facts and details; note-taking
The use of correct English is expected in all subjects, both oral and written. If we study something in English, it is to be correctly used in the other subjects. This is part of the English grade.
Now, I know that the weather of this month may be dreary and drag our spirits down a bit, but keep in mind:
"The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer. Minute by minute they lengthen out. It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change. It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour."
- Vita Sackville-West (English, 1882-1941)
Happiness, good health, and many blessings to you this new year,