What’s Happening Week of Feb. 12

First off, thanks for all my lovely Valentine wishes and chocolate!  Oh my goodness, I will really need to do Zumba every day for the next few weeks!  Thanks for making me feel special.  There are highs and lows in teaching, and it’s times like these that help a teacher keep going.  Love to all.

Things to know:

• Rodeo Break is next week. Enjoy some family time and hopefully, relaxation.

• Re-enrollment contracts are due back before March 1.

• Love of Reading Week – March 5th – stay tuned for details.


• We continue to work on sentence fluency, organization, word choice and conventions.

• Students will be writing an expository piece about the Iditarod research they are currently doing.

Iditarod Writing:

• Students will be learning how to write an introductory paragraph outlining the information that will be included in their text.  They will continue to learn how to take researched information and paraphrase it into their own words. This shows comprehension of material.

• Studnets will be following a musher throughout the race.  We are also hoping to write a letter to the musher.

• Students are writing back to their pen pals in Pennsylvania.


• We are reading Sign of The Beaver and interacting with the book to develop comprehension.  Reading is an active not a passive activity. Students need to be thinking about what they are reading all the time: connect, predict, question, infer.

Book Report:

• Students were given instructions on a book report due Friday, March 17th.  It is a pizza-shape book report.  It will be easier for students to cut the triangle shapes and work on them individually, then create the circle pizza.  Only 6 slices of information is required.  However, some students inquired whether they can make an 8-slice pizza and add pictures or more information.  Absolutely!  It is preferred if the information is typed up.  If this is not possible, then I will accept neat ‘printing’ for this project because the space will be small.  Students must read a Newbery Award winning book at their reading level!  Again, if they can’t read or understand 5 words on a page, then the book is too difficult for them.  I can also supply two large sheets of paper if students require the supplies.

If you or your child have any questions about this report, please have them come to me for clarification.

Social Studies:

• Students are learning about the Iditarod and will be writing an expository text about same.

• We are also beginning to learn about the West – our last region.

• I apologize for returning the Arizona Projects so quickly.  We ran out of room in our class to put Valentine materials and the projects.  I did grade them and a rubric with a grade will be in your child’s Eagle Express. We had an opportunity yesterday to play the Arizona games created by students.  It was a lot of fun.  I hope they learned a lot, not only about Arizona, but how to be creative, synthesize/paraphrase information, and the logistics of putting together a project.




Spelling for Week of Feb. 26 – After Rodeo Break

 This lesson is longer because it is a review section.  You may want your child to begin the work early. 

Lesson 22


Word with ‘EX’

















HOMEWORK: Write in CURSIVE please

Due Tuesday: Write the words in alphabetical order.

Due Wednesday: Pages 98, 99, 100, 101

Due Thursday: Pages 102, 103 REVIEW


Science Fair Week

Monday, February 12 is the kick-off for our Science Fair Week.  Student’s projects will be displayed after Chapel in the Student Center.  Judging will be all week with our announcement of winners at our STEM Night.  Thursday, February 15 is St. Michael’s STEM Night.  Hopefully by now, you’ve seen yesterday’s Eagle Express where it tells all about the family fun we have in store for everyone.   In the Express, it says that welcome the 4th graders to be available from 6:00 – 6:20pm to present their boards to visitors that are walking around.  Last year, it was a lot of fun, so I hope to see you there.


Have a wonderful weekend.



The fourth graders did a great job on their puppet shows! We are finishing up our unit on the calendar and numbers.  There will be a short quiz next Tuesday, February 13. A study guide has been given with all of the information for the quiz!


Sra. Van Straalen

Spelling Week of Feb. 12


Lesson 21


Words with the /S/ Sound

(C, S)


















HOMEWORK: Write in CURSIVE please

Due Tuesday: Sort and write the words according to their ‘S’  spelling

Due Wednesday: Pages 94, 95, 96, 97




What’s Happening Week of Feb. 5

Things to Know:

• The Edible Car Race is Monday, Feb. 12 in the Gym in the morning. I am assuming it starts around 8:10 or so.  Last day to register is tomorrow.

• Tuesday, Feb. 13 – Mardi Gras – pancake lunch for all students.

• Ash Wednesday is Wednesday, Feb. 14. Please let your child know if they are to receive the ‘blessing’ or the ‘ashes’ at Mass.  We switch Wednesday and Thursday schedule for next week due to Ash Wednesday.

• STEM Night – Thursday, Feb. 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.


• Students can exchange Valentines and everyone in the class must receive a Valentine.  Candy is permitted.  Also, your child needs to bring in their own bag/box to hold the Valentines. We will be sharing Valentines at the end of the day.


• We watched the movie “The Indian in the Cupboard” and students had to complete a venn diagram comparing the book to the movie.

• We have begun our next book, The Sign of the Beaver.  This book is a nice overview of the relationship between white settlers and Native Americans.  It complements our social studies curriculum.


• We have just received letters from our pen pals in Pennsylvania and are writing return letters.

• We wrote ‘thank you’ notes to Mr. Hoffman, our wonderful Docent, at the Pima Air and Space Museum field trip.

• We will be learning and writing about the Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska.

• We will be learning how to write a persuasive paragraph.

Social Studies:

• We are just completing writing a letter as a pioneer child traveling across the northeast/midwest to Arizona. Students were to incorporate their knowledge of settlers moving westward.  We will continue to explore this area as we learn about our last region – The West.

• The students did well on their Midwest Social Studies Test.  Please look for it in your child’s Eagle Express today.


• The Arizona State Project is due this Friday.  Students were allotted time in class to research the information.  They were to complete the actual project at home.   An information paper was sent home a couple of weeks ago in the Eagle Express.  All information gathered on the research paper is required on the project.  Students may create any of the following:

• a game

• brochure

• poster

• shadow box or float

• salt map or other type of map

• mobile

• booklet

• or any other interesting format (except electronic)

Spelling week of Feb. 5

(c, K, ck)

















HOMEWORK: Write in CURSIVE please

Due Tuesday: Sort and write/type words according to the K spelling.

Due Wednesday: Pages 90, 91, 92, 93


What’s Been Happening Week of Jan. 29

First of all, congratulations to all 4B students who participated in the Lion King.  Wow!  It was an amazing show.

Things to know. 

Thursday, Feb. 1 – Field Trip to the Pima Air and Space Museum.  We should have students back in time for lunch. (perhaps a few minutes after noon)

Friday, Feb. 2 – One dozen hard-boiled eggs are required from each student for Casa Maria.


• We are almost done with editing and revising our personal narratives.  Students will be writing a final copy by next week.  This writing focused on ‘figurative language’ and ‘show me’ details.

• Next, students will be learning how to write persuasive text.  They read persuasive text frequently in Scholastic News so they are somewhat familiar with the genre.

• We continue to focus on the Six Traits of Writing.


• We have completed The Indian in the Cupboard and are working on some deeper comprehension questions such as opinion of the book, what parts of the book did you like/dislike and why, what would you change about the book, and some comparison studies.

• Students will be seeing the movie The Indian in the Cupboard sometime next week. They will be comparing the book to the movie.

• Our next book is The Sign of the Beaver.

• Students read about the Wright Brothers from the Treasures Anthology in preparation for their Pima Air and Space Museum field trip. They answered comprehension questions, as well as completed a summary of same.

• We continue to read and discuss Scholastic News, as well as stories from various anthologies to promote higher level thinking and comprehension.

Social Studies:

Midwest test: Feb. 5th.  Students were given a study guide and I will give them time to study in class this Friday.

• Students are currently writing a letter as a pioneer child moving from the Northeast to Arizona. The letter should reflect their knowledge of pioneer life and the westward movement, including geography, and the successes and struggles of a pioneer family.




Monday, January 29  and Wednesday, January 31

4th graders will be putting together their science fair boards in class.   They are due on Friday, February 2 at the end of class.  By that time there should just be a few finishing touches.  Thank you for bringing in your materials this week to prepare for putting them together.  

Current Event is due for the month of January on Wednesday, January 31.  Thank you to those students who bring them earlier in the month rather than wait until the last minute.  


What’s Happening Week of Jan. 22

Things to know:

Science: The Science Project boards are due so students can begin putting them together in science class. They will need all their data, conclusion, materials, etc.

Casa Maria Eggs – 1 dozen hard boiled due Friday, Feb. 2

Pima Air and Space Museum – 1/2 day on Thursday, Feb. 1 – Permission slips due this Friday.

Social Studies:  Midwest Test on Monday, Feb. 5th.

Arizona State Project – Due Friday, Feb. 9.  Students should have already begun typing up (preferred) or neatly writing their information.

Math-A thon – information came home in the Eagle Express last week.


• We are writing another personal narrative and then we will be learning how to write  persuasive text.

• We continue to focus on the 6 Traits of Writing.


• We are very close to completing the Indian in the Cupboard.  Students will be watching the movie  and comparing the book to the movie in a Venn Diagram.

• Our next book is The Sign of the Beaver.

• We are learning how to ‘interact’ with the text. Ask you child what he/she needs to do in order to comprehend text better. There are 5 key things.

• We continue to practice writing summaries, answering comprehension questions, and reading different types of text to build fluency and comprehension.

Social Studies:

• We learned about MLK and students wrote what their dream for the World and the future.

• To develop  ‘authentic’ learning, students will be writing as a pioneer child moving west to Arizona.  They will be writing a letter to a cousin in Boston telling of their trials and tribulations on the Wagon Train road.  Students are expected to include details and information about their knowledge of pioneers and the landscape/geography of the the Midwest and Southwest. There will be a rubric to guide their essay.