Spelling Week of April 3

Number words

thirty           fourteen

sixteen        million

eleven          nineteen

billion          twenty

forty           seventeen

thirteen       twelve

eighteen      fifty


Tuesday: Write/type words 5X each

Wednesday: Workbook: pages 123, 124, 125

What’s Happening in 4B week of March 27

Declamation Day:

First, congratulations to all the students for a very successful Declamation Day.  There were many nerves coming into this event, but your children did an excellent job.  Yeah!

Things to Know:

Standardized Testing: Week of April 11th -Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Thursday,  April 12 – Early Dismissal

Thursday: April 27 – Field Trip – Archeology Center.  I am still needing drivers for this trip. So far, two parents have volunteered but I still require transportation for 8 more students.  This is a nonrefundable field trip.


• We continue to plug away at fractions.  We are learning about mixed and improper fractions.

• We have practiced some problem solving strategies: guess and check, patterns, determining operation.

• We will be learning geometry next – area, perimeter, angles.


• We have almost completed Sign of the Beaver.  Students will be graded on their comprehension and packet.  I am hoping to end the year with The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo.


• We have completed our persuasive essay.

• We will be writing a Haiku.

• We will be learning about voice and perspective and practicing these skills.


• We learned about prepositional and introductory phrases.  We are reviewing grammar and reading skills prior to our Stanford test.

Social Studies:

• We are well into learning about the Southeast.  Students have done some research for their interactive notebooks.

STATE PROJECT: Students will be required to research a state of their choice (except Arizona).  This project is due Friday, May 19th. They will be creating an electronic report which they will start in computer class.  Please have them be thinking about a state to research.  There can be no duplicates in class.  Some states get overlooked and it would be nice for students to learn about states such as Tennessee, New Orleans, Wyoming, Vermont, or New Hampshire.  The popular states chosen are California, Florida,  New York, Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii.

We will do some  research in class.  I have a rubric and guide which I will email to you.

The State project is due Friday, May 19th.


What’s Happening Week of March 20

Things to Know:

Declamation Day: Tuesday, March 28 – 1:30 to 3:00 pm. Parish Hall. All are welcome. Students wear their regular uniforms.

Standardized Testing:  Week of April 3.  Please make sure your child is at school and well-rested this week for testing.  The testing is done in the morning so please do not make any appointments.   Thanks so much.


• We continue to work on fractions. This is along unit.  We had a short quiz adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators.

• We are learning to estimate fractions and improper fractions.


• Students should be completing their Naughty Leprechaun cartoon at home.  We simply ran out of class time.

• Students are finishing up their persuasive writing. They did a nice job researching facts to supplement their argument.

• We will be doing some research on Earth Day and writing about it.  We will also be learning about Voice and perspective.


• We continue to read Sign of the Beaver.  We discussed character change over time, bias in our beliefs, and the relationship between Native Americans and white settlers/pioneers in the 1700’s.

Social Studies:

• We have begun learning about the Southeast in earnest.  Students worked in teams to determine the main ideas or important info in each section of the chapter.  They  worked together placing their information (on sticky notes) in categories and labeling same. We began our note-taking using their ideas.  Categorizing and synthesizing information are important skills.




Spelling Week of March 27

Suffix – Ful – full of

Less – less = without

cheerful         wonderful

colorful           frightful

spotless           breathless

thankful          thoughtful

graceful           faithful

harmless        motionless

hopeful          beautiful



Tuesday:  categorize words according to their suffix

Wednesday: Workbook: pages 117, 118, 119

Thursday: Review Workbook: 120, 121

What’s Happening in 4B week of March 13

Things to know:

Friday, March 17 = Free Dress. St. Patrick’s Day. Wear green.

Tuesday, March 21 = Southeast state assessment.  Students will need to know the  Southeast states, their capitals, and placement on a map.  Spelling will be graded.  Students will lose 1/2 point for every misspelling.  They will have a study guide.

Thursday, April 27.  *New Field Trip*. 4A and 4B did not get enough drivers for Tumacocori so I had to cancel the trip.  I found another great place to take the students which is a closer drive.  We are booked for April 27 in the morning at the Old Pueblo Archeology Center.  It’s located at 2201 W. 44th Street in the Tucson Unified School District’s Ajo Service Center.  I will need enough drivers to take 14 students.  Thanks for your help.

Declamation Day: Tuesday,  March 28 – 1:30 to 3:00 in the Parish Hall.  All parents are invited to attend.  Please have your child continue to memorize their poem.


• We continue to work on fractions and their relationship between a decimal and percentage.  Students are learning how to convert fractions to decimals.  We will have a short quiz on fractions by next week.


• We continue to read and discuss Sign of the Beaver.  We read some chapters aloud as a whole group.  It’s important that your child continue to read aloud at home.  Reading aloud builds fluency and decoding skills.  When decoding larger, unfamiliar words, students need to break the work apart into syllables.  Using a small sticky note is a great way to break up the word.  Quite often, students skim over difficult words and this does not help them grow and develop as a reader.


• We are now learning how to write dialogue.  Students will be doing a cute activity for St. Patrick’s Day to practice dialogue and sequencing  events.

Social Studies:

• We have completed our Iditarod unit. Students had fun following their musher and learning about the race. They created a ‘film strip’ information piece with pictures.

• We have returned to the Southeast.  Students pair-read with their ‘kindness’ partner. They had to decide what is and isn’t important information.  Each team was given sticky notes to write down their details.  We will be categorizing these and using them to take notes in our notebooks.  Students need to learn ‘how’ to read for information.  They know to pay attention to pictures, bolded words, a summary, titles, and the first sentence in each paragraph (usually the main idea sentence).


• We learned about prepositions and prepositional phrases and the conventions of dialogue.



Spelling Week of March 20

Suffix – ly words  (most ly words are adverbs, they answer ‘how’ a person or thing is doing something.

lonely                 eagerly

wisely                 safely

barley                  totally

rapidly                freely

finally                  perfectly

truly                    certainly

secretly               personally



Tuesday: Write/type words 5X each

Wednesday: Pages 113, 114, 115


Students read about energy today and explored evidence of energy when sound, heat, and light are produced, and when objects are in motion.  They watched a candle burn (time-lapsed!) and produced their own sound using vibration and melted ice in their hands to see the evidence of heat.
Later this week, students will explore series and parallel circuits and compare the functioning of the components in each circuit. They formulate and justify their predictions, based on their observations of electricity transferring energy to produce light and motion. D-cells and solar cells are used as energy sources. Students also learn about alternative energy sources.

What’s Happening 4B Week of March 6

Sadly, classes 4A and 4B did not get enough drivers for our trip to Tumacocori.  We will look for another field trip towards the end of school that is closer to school.

Friday, March 17 – St Patrick’s Day – Free Dress Day – Wear Green! 

Friday, March 17 – Religion Project Due

Friday, March 17 – Can-A-Character Book Report Due

Thursday, March 23, Students will enjoy a visit from the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, wind ensemble. This is always a treat.  

Over the last couple of weeks, students in 4th grade have enjoyed some very interesting guest speakers.  We had a young lady by the name of Kit come in to speak with the class about her service dog, Angus. Angus was a huge hit with the students.  Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Stagg, and Madeline, for introducing us to Kit and Angus.

We also had a guest speaker come in to speak with us about the Iditarod and learn the Iditarod song.  Students have been researching the Iditarod and following a musher.  They will also be writing about what they have learned.


We continue to learn about fractions.


• We are reading Sign of the Beaver.  Students are enjoying the connection between this book and our social studies curriculum.  Sign of the Beaver showcases the relationship  between early settlers/pioneers and the Native Americans.


• Students are learning how to write persuasive text. Initially, they practiced this skill  by writing whether schools should celebrate Halloween or not.

• For this current lesson, students chose their own persuasion topic. They had to research two facts to advance their argument or point of view.

• We will also be writing about the Iditarod.

As you can see, we continue to write a lot in class. The skill of writing takes time to learn and only practice will produce growth.


• We learned about prepositions and prepositional phrases. We learned that prepositional phrases answer certain questions and make a sentence more complete and specific.  Generally, prepositional phrases can be removed from a sentence and a shorter (nonspecific) sentence will remain.

For example:  The bird flew under the branch to its nest.  Prepositional phrase is ‘under the branch to it its nest.  Under is the preposition.  ‘The bird flew.’ is a very simple sentence.

Grammar is always practiced and revisited when we edit writing.

Social Studies:

• We haven’t gotten very far with our Southeast Region.  I hope to get on a roll next week.  We have mapped out the states and their capitals.

Spelling List Week of March 13

Prefixes – DIS, MIS

DIS = opposite

MIS = wrong or lack of

dislike                          disappoint

disturb                          misfortune

dismiss                          discover

misery                            disappear

dishonest                       distribute

disease                          mistake

misplaced                      discuss


Cursive or type:

Tuesday: categorize words according to their prefix

Wednesday: Workbook: pages 109, 110, 111

What’s happening first week of March.

Things to Know:

Report Cards:  report cards go home with students this Friday.

Love of Reading Week – Begins Monday, March 6th.  St. Michael’s is collecting gently used ‘bedtime story books’ for the Angel Heart Pajama Project.  This charity donates new pajamas and bedtime stories to underprivileged  children in the Tucson area.

Tumacocori Field Trip – Friday, March 17.  This is a half a day field trip (9 am to 11 is our docent- led tour) .  I will need several drivers.  It will take approx. 1 hour each way.  Please let me know ASAP if you can drive.

*****March 17 is a free dress day but 4th grade will not be able to participate.  They must wear red shirts and khaki pants for our field trip that day.

Declamation Day: Tuesday, March 28, 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm.  Students will need to practice reading their poems aloud at home. We will have limited time in class for practice.  The poem must be at least 12 lines long and from an established poet, for example: Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Emerson, etc.  Try to have your child select a poem that ‘speaks’ to them and one that they can understand.  I have some poetry books in class for your child to peruse, as well.


• We are learning about fractions: equivalency, addition/subtraction, comparing.

• We brainstormed items in the grocery store that are fractions: cupcakes, Kit Kats, Hershey Bars, bread, etc.

• We are coloring pictures to understand equivalency. This is a difficult concept and somewhat abstract.


• Students wrote back to their pen pals in Pennsylvania.

• We revisited sentence fluency and how to cut out unnecessary words in our writing.

• We learned how to write an ‘opinion’ or ‘persuasive piece.  The students practiced writing their opinions using the prompt: “Should schools celebrate Halloween?”.


• Students completed a Words Their Way categorizing ‘ie, ei, and ‘cei’ words. We learned I before E except after C.  We also learned about words that don’t follow that pattern such as weird, neither, seize.


• We have begun reading The Sign of the Beaver.  We will continue answering comprehension questions, as well as revisiting the elements of literature: plot, theme, cause/effect, summary, characterization, prediction, connection, visualization. comparison.

• We did a fun small group lesson on ‘theme’.  Students had to determine the theme of  our read aloud, City of Ember. They have learned that friendship, love, happiness, etc.  are subjects but not a ‘theme’.  Themes are universal and can be applied to many different books or movies.  They did a nice job on this lesson.