Weekend Roundup

Dear parents. What a busy week! Here is a summary of what we were up to. 🙂

In Reading, students have been focusing on studying characters in their story books and using academic language to describe  what they see and hear. This is linking in with their own story writing that they are working towards.

This week in writing, students in 4C published their first realistic fiction story. A few students were brave enough to share with the class on the carpet and received feedback from other students. From here, we will now begin our second piece of work and continue refining by using more transitional language and adding sensory details. 

In Math, we wrapped up the first half of their Unit 1 Module. The kids have gained a deeper understanding of place value, the Base-10 system, inequalities, and rounding using number lines. We will now move into fluently adding and subtracting whole numbers using tape diagrams as well as the standard algorithm.

And finally, this week in our Cultural Unit we explored other cultures in our classroom as well as our own culture. From here, students will be creating interview questions to gain a deeper understanding of their family background.  

Please be aware that due to the incoming typhoon, school may be canceled on Monday. While I certainly hope this is not the case, do look for an email from me giving the kids some activities to complete during the day.

And one last thing…on Wednesday, we will have our first round of Parent-Student-Teacher conferences. Hopefully by now, you’ve signed up for a time using SignUpGenius. I look forward to seeing you all then!

Have a safe and dry weekend!


Teaspoons of Change


Today, our Grades 4 & 5 were treated to an informative assembly by d’Arcy, the founder of the organization, “Teaspoons of Change,” wherein he shared stories of his experiences living and volunteering aboard. The kids were challenged to think of ways they could positively affect their communities. Even what seems to be the smallest act, he shared, could snowball into something powerful. When we returned to class, the kids began thinking of things they could do and did a Seesaw post about it. However, this was just the beginning. It is a conversation we will return to throughout the year as I believe that these kids, as the future leaders of the free world, are in the best position to make big changes.

I, myself, shared the story of one of the orphanages I’ve worked with in Honduras for several summers and also extolled the virtues of the life of service and volunteering as it is something I am very passionate about. We’d like to encourage you to have this same conversation at home with your kids as it is an important one to have when they’re young. I have added a link in the “Links” section where you can check out his good work for yourselves!

MAP Testing…it has begun

Dear parents,

MAP Testing began today with our first assessment, Math. On Thursday, we will take the Reading portion and then on Monday of next week, we will finish with the Language Usage tests. Any students absent or who needed more time to finish will do so towards the middle of next week (after all classes have finished their regularly scheduled assessments).

Checking In

Hello Parents of 4C Students!

The year has gotten off to a whirlwind start in grade 4 at SIS. The group of kids moving up from grade 3 is excited and ready to fill the shoes of the previous fourth-grade class. Starting a new year is always a complicated transition. For some, it is exciting and fun and for others, it is a little bit intimidating. My goal at the beginning of each school year is to create a safe and comfortable environment for the class where the students can begin to forge new friendships, take risks, make mistakes, and push their learning to new heights. I aim to empower the class to pursue their own lines of inquiry, develop a new maturity and responsibility, and hopefully uncover some new passions for them to explore.

In our subject areas, the beginning of the year is about building routines, establishing expectations, and developing the stamina necessary for extended periods of reading, writing, and math study. Our reading unit will be focused on analyzing characters in fiction. We will be looking at how authors use characters to make meaning in stories as well as how realistic characters are flawed just like real people. We will be working to engage with our books and choose books that allow us to dig deeper. I have been encouraging students to find chapter books they can spend time with and use for this type of analysis.

In our first weeks of writing in the 4th-grade students have learned what to expect from the workshop model of teaching writing and how to come prepared to write. 4th graders are expected to take on the role of writers and begin to see things around them in more detail so they can explain it on paper. By the end of the first few weeks of writing the students will understand, develop, and follow routines for Writing Workshop without needing many reminders. They will know the lessons will start with a short period of group instruction followed by independent work time and ending with reflection and share-outs. Understanding this routine frees up our learning time to focus on exploring new genres, gaining skills in writing structure, and getting a firm grasp on the process. Grade 4 is an important year for developing writers and we start the year with a solid foundation and a clear understanding of how each day will be structured.

In math, we’ve been focusing, in much the same way, on the structure and routines of the math class. We’re discussing problem-solving strategies, explaining our thinking, and investigating the mathematical practices taught at SIS. We’ve had some baseline assessments and started working on our first unit. The first unit focuses on our base ten number system and place value as well as exploring grade level understanding of addition and subtraction algorithms. The math class will push students to explain their thinking in words and use multiple representations to demonstrate their understanding.

There’s been so much more happening in the classroom so expect another update coming soon. This group of kids is eager to get into the content of the year and so is the grade 4 team. I appreciate your support as parents and this awesome opportunity to work with your children.

Our first few days

Well here we are at nearly the one week mark! It’s been a lot of fun getting to know your kids. We have a great classroom full of excited, precocious students ready to learn. Now that we’ve taken care of many of the procedures and expectations, we look to begin our units of study in the Readers & Writers Workshop, our PYP units of inquiry, and our first Maths module.

As you all saw in the email I sent out this week, I want to make sure that kids are taking time every night to master their multiplication facts. While I am not giving them time to specifically study them in class (as this can easily be done at home), we are playing some review games, taking timed tests, etc. Please continue to work with them to help ensure their success this year.

I look forward to seeing you all tonight for “Curriculum Night/Back to School” where we will do a big overview of the year ahead. I will be able to address any questions or concerns you may have at this time. And of course, if you ever need to contact me to discuss anything, please don’t hesitate!