What's Happening in Our Classroom?

  • The Penguin Post
    Ms. Chester’s Class Newsletter
    May/June, 2018 

    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 you, as well as your children, throughout the year.

    Furthermore, “difficult” doesn’t even come close to making the list of adjectives that I would use to describe all of you. On the contrary, I have found you to be friendly, helpful and supportive – and a true source of inspiration as a parent myself.  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 dearly 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 often 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!  Be sure to take a look at your child’s reading response letters, which will come home at the end of the year, to get a better idea of what kinds of books he or she has been reading throughout the year and how he or she is thinking as a reader.

    We are currently finishing 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, to wrap up our year.

    Please continue to read with your child, or ensure that they read, 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 informational, 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 have been sent home throughout the year and that will come home again all together 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 reading and writing journals and pieces 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 involves fraction operations and applications.  In this unit, students solve multistep number stories, work through real-life problems involving angle measures, revisit line symmetry, further explore line plots, use fractions in problems involving perimeter and area, consider fractions in measurement problems, and apply their understanding of place value and operations to solve puzzles.

    We finish the year with lots of testing – including the unit 8 test, cumulative test, and end of year test!  Please note that we will not have homework, 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 Khan Academy.  The students love using the computer for learning!

    Keeping in Touch

    Students will be taking the MStep and NWEA in May. The dates that I have reserved are as follows:
    Tuesday, May 1 – 12:45-2:45
    Friday, May 4 – 9:00-11:45
    Friday, May 11 – 9:00-11:45
    Monday, May 14 – 12:45-2:45
    Friday, May 18 – 9:00-11:45
    Tuesday, May 22 – 12:45-2:45

    The first four dates will be actual testing dates; the last two dates will be back-up / make-up dates.

    Please make sure that your child is well rested and has had a good breakfast each day during this window.  Please also try to avoid scheduling vacations during this time.  If you need to schedule appointments, please try to do so around these times as it will help to ensure that your child can take the test with our class.

    ACES will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 2, 3:15-3:45 for fourth and fifth grades.  Let’s get out and move together! 

    Wild Swan will perform Arab Stories from around the World on Thursday, May 3, 2:15-3:15 in celebration of National Arab American Heritage Month in April!

    We will be off for Election Day on Tuesday, May 8. NO SCHOOL!  Please mark your calendars!

    We will take our annual environmental education field trip to the Waterloo Recreation Area to learn more about our science unit of study on nature’s recyclers on Monday, May 21. Students will need to dress accordingly and pack a lunch. Parents can join us to chaperone on this trip, but you must ride the bus (per the environmental education program).  More information will come home as the date draws closer.  Please mark your calendars!

    Wednesday, May 23, is also an early release day for students.  Dismissal will be at 1:29, with students having lunch before they leave.  Please plan accordingly!

    Memorial Day is Monday, May 28.  NO SCHOOL on this day!

    The Ice Cream Social will take place on Friday, June 1.  Stay tuned for more information from the PTO.

    Our annual Field Day is scheduled for Thursday, June 7, with a rain date of Monday, June 11.  Thanks to Mr. Leonard for organizing this fun event for the children!

    The fourth-grade field trip to Fuller Pool is still being finalized but is expected to take place on Tuesday, June 12.  This trip is a tie-in to our science unit on Watery Earth, but it’s also a nice way for the fourth grade to celebrate the end of the year together!

    Our End of the Year Class Party will take place sometime during the last week of school.  Date and time TBD.  Stay tuned!

    The LAST DAY OF SCHOOL is Friday, June 15.  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!