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Dear Families of 4L, We have changed the date of our field trip to the Boston Museum of Science. We will be going on Monday 6/19. Same times: 7:00AM boat out of VH (arrive by 6:45AM) with 3:45 boat returning to Oak Bluffs (4:30 pick up time).
Homework this week: Reading 20-30 minutes each night

Newsletter #25                                                                                  Monday, May 30, 2017

Dear Fourth Grade Families,

Homework this week:  Reading for 20-30 minutes and practicing lines for 10 minutes each night

Upcoming Reminders/Dates:

Friday, June 2: Landforms and States Project Shares – 9-10AM in the Library at school. We hope that you can come to see the student projects!

Friday, June 2:  $14 Cash or Check (made out to the Edgartown School) to cover your child’s off island trip to the Boston Museum of Science (Wed June 14).  Please send in money by Friday, June 2.

Wednesday, June 7: NOON DISMISSAL due to professional development.

Thursday, June 8: For an hour in the morning, Polly Hill educators teach us about tree structures and adaptations.

ALSO on Thursday, June 8 at 6:30 in the school's cafeteria: OUR PLAY!! Students need to be dropped off at 6:00 sharp to get into their costumes and warm-up.

Monday, June 12th: Edgartown Fourth Graders go to Polly Hill in the morning.

Wednesday, June 14th: ALL DAY FIELD TRIP TO BOSTON'S SCIENCE MUSEUM. DROP OFF at VH ferry at 6:45am and PICK UP at OB ferry at 4:30pm. More information to follow soon!

Monday, June 19: FIELD DAY (Rain date: Tuesday, June 20)

Wednesday, June 21: Kayaking Field Trip, weather permitting

Thursday, June 22: Last day of school - NOON DISMISSAL


Reading: We have begun a shared chapter book (James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl).  We are practicing questions before, during, and after reading, predicting, noticing descriptive language, exploring elements of fiction (character, setting, plot, point of view, problem, solution, and theme), and vocabulary (5-7 words per chapter).  We will also be reading about energy and electricity, which is connected to our science unit.

Writing: We are revisiting information writing by writing about the states we have researched.  We are thinking about subtopics in a research project.  How might we organize our facts into subtopics?  What is the purpose of a lead and how does it invite the reader to read on?  All students are publishing final writing projects: a five paragraph information essay and a opinion slideshow OR a narrative story.

Math: Engage NY Grade 4 Module 6: Decimal Fractions

This module gives students their first opportunity to explore decimal numbers via their relationship to decimal fractions, expressing a given quantity in both fraction and decimal forms.  Utilizing the understanding of fractions developed throughout Module 5, students apply the same reasoning to decimal numbers, building a solid foundation for Grade 5 work with decimal operations.  We have also been exploring the connection between fractions/decimals with money/clocks.

Spelling and Vocabulary: In fourth grade we focus on expanding our vocabulary by tuning into interesting words as we read.  We will review content vocabulary (connected to Social Studies, such as longitude, latitude, continent) as well as word parts (prefix, suffix, Greek and Latin roots, compound words, homophones, synonyms, antonyms). We are also looking at science vocabulary words (energy, conductor, circuit, d-cell, system, magnet and landform vocabulary). 


Science: Tree Detectives with Polly Hill Arboretum

We have been doing a "Tree Detectives" unit with Polly Hill that combines classroom visits with trips to the arboretum.  We are revisiting the internal and external structures of trees that support their survival, growth, traits and reproduction. Students have been keeping a journal documenting all their findings over the visits which will include drawings, written observations, collected data, measurements and life cycle studies of their tree. The last visit in June will put it all together as the trees are now full of leaves and flowers. Students will be asked in the classroom (6/8) to organize pictures of all the stages that their tree has gone through as they put together its complete life cycle and share with the rest of the class. At the arboretum (6/12) students will enter their last journal entry drawing their tree in full bloom along with a detailed drawing of a leaf of their tree that scientists can use to identify their tree. We are very excited for this collaborative opportunity with one of the island's most precious natural resources.

Page to Stage with Donna Swift (IMP): Before the break, students began to work with Donna to develop a theme and characters for a play that we will create together and perform for families on Thursday, June 8 at 6:30pm.  This is an exciting fourth grade tradition!  Please work with your child to practice his/her lines for at least 10 minutes each night.  Please see the letter that went home on Friday from Donna Swift for more information about learning lines.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at or at school at x216.

Kate Lefer


I wanted to take a moment to emphasize that I promote a growth mindset in the classroom.  

What is growth mindset?
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for the setting of goals and the reaching of great accomplishments.  Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in classrooms.  Students who believe that intelligence is a potential that they can develop do fare better when faced with challenges.  Students can be taught that their intellectual skills are things that can be cultivated - through their hard work, reading, education, confronting of challenges, etc.  When they are taught this, they seem naturally more eager for challenges, harder work, and welcome obstacles.  

That being said, in Fourth Grade, independent consistency in performance takes time to develop. The fourth grade curriculum is rigorous.   For example, students are taking on multi-step word problems in math, multi-paragraph writing, and answering reading comprehension questions that require critical thinking skills.   For some, proficiency happens mid-year, and for others later in the school year. All students in 4L are putting tremendous effort into their learning, and for that they should all be very proud!

We believe that challenges are opportunities in disguise and that our potential to learn is limitless.  The way we approach challenges is with effort and perseverance. Our strategies and mistakes are shared and understood so that we stretch and grow our brains.  We know that hard work and effort leads to growth and higher achievement!




Newsletter Weekly Newsletters

File Cabinet File Cabinet for Ms. Lefer's Class

April 28, 2017
Landforms Project.docx
This project is an at home project due on or before Friday, May 25.
Click here to download.

December 23, 2016
Immigration Museum 2017.docx
We are hosting an immigration museum in our classroom on Wednesday January 11 from 10:30-12:00. We hope you can come to see our immigration projects.
Click here to download.

November 22, 2016
All About Immigration Book.docx
Our class researched different parts of the immigrant experience from homeland through Ellis Island in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Each student wrote a paragraph and we put it together into a multi-paragraph book.
Click here to download.

October 28, 2016
The Statue of Liberty by 4L.pdf
Here is a collaborative slideshow made by the students in 4L. It was presented to the K-4 classes at community meeting on Friday, October 28.
Click here to download.

October 26, 2016
Fourth Grade Curriculum Overview.pdf
Here is a Power Point that was shared at our curriculum night Fall 2016
Click here to download.

March 4, 2016
Parent Child Math Club for 3-4.docx

Click here to download.

September 11, 2015
Non-food birthday celebration ideas
Please refer to this Wellness Committee resource for non-food birthday celebration ideas.
Click here to download.

September 11, 2015
Healthier alternatives and treat ideas for birthdays
Please refer to this Wellness Committee resource for healthier alternatives and treat ideas for birthdays.
Click here to download.

January 12, 2015
Immigration Museum 2015.docx

Click here to download.

Recommended sites
Growth Mindset
Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference. In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong. In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities. Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity.
Engage NY Parent Resources
We use the Engage NY (Eureka Math) program in fourth grade. At this website you can find resources to answer any questions that you have about math instruction.
Kid Helper Project
Kid Helper is a teacher-created approach to encourage students to share and develop problem solving strategies. As a result, it empowers children to collaborate to address social challenges in school. The class takes on the role of Kid Helpers. Realistic (and age-appropriate) student problems are summarized and generalized in the form of a “Dear Abby” letter, which is addressed to “Kid Helper.” The problems come from the teacher's observations, actual students, as well as parent concerns. Students work whole group, in pairs, and individually to write a response to the letter, giving good advice and strategies. When necessary, a school guidance counselor serves as a Kid Helper consultant, providing support around problem solving strategies.
Individualized Math Fact Practice
Xtra math is a non-profit program that individualizes math fact practice. Sign up for home use. It's FREE!

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