What's Happening in Our Classroom?

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    The Penguin Post
    Ms. Chester’s Class Newsletter
    May/June, 2022

    Note from Ms. Chester

    I wanted to take this opportunity, in our last newsletter of the year, to thank you for making this year such a wonderful experience. 

    I will share, as I do each year, that, when I first started teaching at Burns Park, many folks who I encountered from outside of the school community offered words of caution…  “I’ve heard that those Burns Park parents are too involved and can be quite difficult.”  Well, in my opinion, there is no such thing as a parent being “too involved” in his or her child’s education, and it has been an absolute pleasure to have so many opportunities to get to know your children, and many of you, throughout the year.

    Furthermore, “difficult” doesn’t even come close to making the list of adjectives that I would use to describe you. On the contrary, I have found you to be friendly, helpful, and supportive – and a true source of inspiration.  So, in short, I want to extend my deepest appreciation for both your involvement and support.

    I also want to share, as we near the end of your child’s fourth-grade year, how truly impressed I am with all of your children.  They are a kind, generous, fun, curious, and bright group of children, and they have taught me as much as I hope that I have taught them. I will miss them as they continue their educational journey into fifth grade.

    With that said, thank you, again, for all of your help and support.  I hope that all of you have a wonderful summer and that you stop by next year to say hello!  Take care!  Have a wonderful summer! 

    The Book Nook

    Well, we’ve spent the year doing guided reading, literature circles, and lots of independent reading! 

    We recently finished up literature circles.  During their weekly discussion, students asked one another questions and shared thoughts about the story and the author’s craft.  The circles provided a great way to develop reading comprehension – a primary focus for 4th graders.  Most students report that they really enjoyed lit circles!

    As we wind down the year together, I am doing spring reading assessments so that you have some idea of your child’s progress throughout the school year. After, we will be doing some independent and shared reading, through read-alouds, and watching videos that correspond to our literature circle books to wrap up our year.

    Please continue to read with your child, or ensure that he or she reads, daily throughout the summer.  As you can imagine, this is the time of year when children can most regress in their reading skills, so, to help them reach that “Happily Ever After” goal, please make sure that they continue to read, read, read!

    The Pen Is Mightier…

    After spending the year learning and practicing the writing process, the children are ready for fifth grade.  We’ve done a great deal of writing, including research, essay, and personal narrative writing, which has given me yet another venue for getting to know them better, throughout this year.

    Please take this opportunity to see how your child thinks about his or her life by perusing the writing projects that will come home again altogether at the end of the year! 

    And, again, remember to encourage your child to write throughout the summer.  Whether it’s the grocery list, a letter to Aunt Lillie, or a detailed explanation of how to play soccer, practice makes perfect.  And, of course, continued practice will help your child feel better prepared for his or her return to school in the fall!

    May I Have a Word with You?

    By the end of this year, your child will have learned to spell at least 300 new words that he or she didn’t already know!  How do I know?  The word study component of the district’s balanced literacy program encourages students to select their own spelling words from their own reading and writing as well as learn patterns that they personally have not yet mastered.  Take a look at your child’s writing to see if you notice a difference!  I did!

    Sum News

    Students completed an exciting unit that includes multiplication of fractions by whole numbers as well as measurement.  In this unit, students considered fraction multiplication situations; solved division, measurement and fraction number stories; explored measurement conversions; generated and identified patterns; and used line plots to display and analyze data.

    Our last unit of the year involved fraction operations and applications.  In this unit, students solved multistep number stories, worked through real-life problems involving angle measures, revisited line symmetry, further explored line plots, used fractions in problems involving perimeter and area, considered fractions in measurement problems, and applied their understanding of place value and operations to solve puzzles.

    We finish the year with lots of testing – including the unit 8 test and end-of-year test!  Please note that homework will not be available, other than test reviews, while we move through testing and wind down the year. 

    Parents, please remember to continue to work with your child to secure his or her basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts, as appropriate, in preparation for next year.  When students don’t have to take time to figure out their basic facts, they can focus their mental energy on the more complex, higher-level thinking that math problems increasingly begin to entail at this level. 

    You might also consider encouraging your child to exercise his/her brain through continued exploration of math on Dreambox and Khan Academy.  The students love using the computer for learning!

    The World Around Us

    We finished up our social studies unit on the federal government, including the three branches of government and their powers.  We’re currently wrapping up our study of economics, thinking about wants and needs, scarcity, economic opportunity, supply and demand, circular flow, substitute goods, incentives, specialization, and imports and exports.

    Next, we’ll return to health to wrap up our last unit on safety, which includes fire and burn prevention, injury prevention at home, home safety when home alone, dangerous objects and weapons, internet safety, personal safety (good touch / bad touch), and protection from HIV and other blood-borne infections.  Remember that these last two lessons are a state-required part of the fourth-grade health curriculum.  Materials are selected and approved at the district level.  Parent letters will come home on the day of the lesson to support continued conversations that may arise at home.

    Students have been enthusiastic participants in science, social studies, and health this year! 

    Keeping in Touch

    The NWEA is scheduled for the afternoons of Thursday, April 28; Monday, May 9; and (if needed) Thursday, May 16.  Please make sure that your child is present and does not leave early on these days, if possible to ensure that your child can take the test in a quiet classroom with our class.

    Again, there is NO SCHOOL on Tuesday, May 3, for Election Day.  Please mark your calendars!

    On Friday, May 13, the fourth graders will participate in a disability awareness workshop that immerses students in the world of the disabled and gives them experience with various types of disabilities, from fine motor and gross motor to speech, hearing, vision and learning disabilities. 

    Wednesday, May 18, is also an early release day for students.  Dismissal will be at 1:18, with students having lunch before they leave.  Please plan accordingly!

    The annual Burns Park Ice Cream Social will be on Friday, May 20!  Mark your calendars for this special evening out for families!

    We will take our annual environmental education field trip to the Fox Science Preserve on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 24. Students will have lunch at school before they leave.  They will also need to dress accordingly. More information will come home as the date draws closer.  Please mark your calendars!

    Memorial Day is Monday, May 30.  NO SCHOOL on this day!

    Burns Park’s Annual Field Day is Friday, June 3.  Students will want to bring a swimsuit and/or change of clothes for our fun outdoor activities on this day!

    The LAST DAY OF SCHOOL is Friday, June 10.  This is a ½ DAY for students!  Look for report cards to come home!

    Consider This...

    Can you imagine being away from work for ten weeks and picking up right where you left off?  This is exactly what we expect from our children each summer.  Help them to exercise their minds by reading and writing with them every day.  Challenge them to keep learning in other ways by establishing a pen pal for them, letting them research and estimate your grocery bill each week, or encouraging them to research and create a family tree.  These activities can be fun for the whole family, and your child will certainly thank you in September