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Happy Spring! PTA Pizza and Bingo Night 6:00-7:30pm in the Cafe this Friday 3/24/17
This week for homework we will practice reading comprehension, multiple choice, and typing. Please remember to sign your child's homework log each night. This is part of his/her nightly homework. It is important that you are aware of assignments as well as the completion of assignments. I post assignments weekly to our webpage. This week I am sending home two MCAS readings and multiple-choice questions (Monday and Wednesday) in part to let you see what the upcoming state test will look like in ELA. The signing of the log in fourth grade now is a way to foster home-school connections. Some students need help with organization and staying on top of their assignments. Being involved in homework is particularly important as your child transitions into fifth grade next year, where he/she wil receive multiple assignments from different teachers. I have told the class that getting a parent signature is part of their homework that needs to be completed. Many thanks for your help with this part of the nightly assignment. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Newsletter #17                                                                                              Monday, March 20, 2017

Dear Fourth Grade Families,

Homework this week:  Students will practice reading comprehension and multiple choice questions, as well as typing practice online.

Here are some happenings in 4L:

ELA (Reading and Writing)

Students will read grade-level passages and practice multiple choice, short answer questions, and longer response writing.  Some of these passages will overlap with science and social studies standards.  This will help students prepare for the ELA MCAS tests in April (ELA 4/4, 4/5, and 4/6).  I will send home examples of our MCAS prep so that you can see what the test content will resemble.

Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Apply grade 4 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions].").

Apply grade 4 Reading standards to informational texts (e.g., "Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text").

We will use graphic organizers (i.e. brain frames and EMPOWER) to help plan our writing.

Social Studies: U.S. Geography

In grade 4, students study the geography and people of the United States.  This month we will focus on U.S. states and regions, as well as map and globe skills.  We watched a fun video on YouTube that helped introduce the states and capitals to the students (“Tour the States” – Official Music Video).


Engage NY Grade 4 Module 5: Fraction Equivalence, Ordering, and Operations

In this module, students build on their Grade 3 work with unit fractions as they explore fraction equivalence and extend this understanding to mixed numbers.  This leads to the comparison of fractions and mixed numbers and the representation of both in a variety of models.  Benchmark fractions play an important part in students’ ability to generalize and reason about relative fraction and mixed number sizes.  Students then have the opportunity to apply what they know to be true for whole number operations to the new concepts of fraction and mixed number operations.  We explore the following concepts in a Cathy Fosnot investigation prior to starting this module.

·       Fractions are relations – the size or amount of the whole matters

·       Fractions may represent division with a quotient less than one

·       With unit fractions, the greater the denominator, the smaller the piece

·       Pieces don’t have to be congruent to be equivalent

·       For equivalence, the ratio must be kept constant


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).

Science: First Peas with Island Grown Schools (IGS)

Last Friday, IGS educators came to our class to introduce their annual curriculum regarding Thomas Jefferson and his "First Peas to the Table" contest. The introductory lesson consisted of reading the book by Susan Grigsby, First Peas to the Table, discussing the contest, and then diving into the botany of peas and engaging the students in the process of selecting pea varieties for our class to grow over the next few weeks.  Over the next few weeks Melinda will be working with the students to prepare the garden beds for their peas, and then planting the peas. IGS will be back in April to do some measuring and documentation, as well as a bit more of the history of this contest. Then again in May, and in June for harvest!  We are very excited for this opportunity!


Our state MCAS testing in ELA will take place on Tuesday 4/4, Wednesday 4/5, and Thursday 4/6. 

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

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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