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June 9, 2023 — Saying Goodbye to Our Lower School

Math with Luis

In math, the end of the year has meant me squeezing as much as I possibly can into two and a half weeks. Last week, we wrapped up our unit on the area and perimeter of rectangles and compound shapes. I was happy to spend extra time on it because 4th graders got lots of practice with straightforward problems that required multiple steps, critical thinking, and multiple operations.

When we were done, we spent a fun couple of classes learning and practicing how to use protractors to draw and measure angles. We also had a brief introduction to averaging numbers, which we did by meeting the new student named “average” and looking at how his statistics compared to the class’s. As it turns out, he’s not the tallest or the shortest, the fastest or the slowest, he didn’t have the biggest or the smallest hand, and he wasn’t the hungriest or the fullest – he’s just kinda in the middle, anywhere you look.
Seriously, though, teaching the 4th grade has been such a gift. The 4th graders have taught me so much – I really mean it when I say I will miss them over the summer. I am confident that your children are well prepared for the fun and learning that comes in 5th-grade math. Have a wonderful summer!

Humanities with Hilary

Dear 4th Grade Families,

… and in a blink of an eye, our year together has come to a close. Over the course of the year, there has been so much growth in your students! It is so apparent in how they write, how they read, and how they converse.

Next week, your student is bringing home a portfolio of their writing. Make sure to save it (or at least read through it) so that you can see how far they’ve come in their writing! It includes:

  • letters to their upcoming teacher (3rd, 4th, 5th)
  • “Whooo’s in ______’s Class?”
  • “The best part/parts of me is/are …”
  • narrative writing pre-assessment
  • fall realistic fiction story
  • opinion writing pre-assessment
  • winter personal essay
  • winter persuasive essay
  • literary essay pre-assessment
  • literary essay on a Cynthia Rylant short story
  • “How I’ve improved in literary essay writing” bullet point list/essay
  • historical realistic fiction story

In Social Studies, after delving into the Civil War, we began looking into the Reconstruction Era. Back in January, we discussed the Great Migration, talking about push/pull factors that were the reasons why millions of Black people migrated out of the South. We are now investigating how Reconstruction and the South’s POV affected these changes. One piece of data we looked at was the number of African Americans in the Legislative Branch between 1870-1876, and we inferred why certain states had more Black people in office than other states:

apushcanvas [licensed for non-commercial use only] / The Realities and Legacies of Reconstruction 1865-1877

Next week, before the last day, we are going to look at the history of photography and how this new technology was used during the Civil War.

Going to the middle school can be a scary feeling for children. There might be tears and fears this summer. Know that this is totally normal for this age. As well, the 5th-grade team is full of spectacular adults who will be there for your child as much as the 4th-grade team has.

Enjoy your summer — I will miss you all!

STEAM with Sammi

Over the last few weeks, the 4th grade has jumped into a mini-unit on viruses and vaccines. While Covid no longer controls our lives (thank goodness) this topic still feels as relevant as ever and the students have had amazing questions along the way. We started by learning what pathogens are and how they spread within our bodies. It was really impressive to learn how quickly a virus can multiply once it takes over a cell! Then, we learned about the 3 main stages of our immune system. You can ask your student to tell you more about our bodies neighborhood watch, police alarms, and FBI special agents which work together to keep us healthy. You can also ask your 4th grader who they decided to give their immune system hero award. There were many nominees from the humble saliva to the impressive T-cells. Finally, we are ending the unit by learning about the different types of vaccines scientists are able to develop using either the whole pathogen (in a weakened or dead state), the antigens of a pathogen, or the modified RNA of a pathogen. Each of these vaccine types has advantages and disadvantages.

It has been an absolute pleasure teaching your students for the second year. They have grown immensely in their teamwork, communication, inquiry, and lab skills. I can confidently say they are ready to take on the challenge of middle school science and I can not wait to teach them all about the world around us through physics next year! See you all in the fall!


Music with Heidi

In Music class, Fourth Graders shared their thoughts about the year and suggestions for next year’s fourth-grade music class. Then they played the blues on the xylophone! Have a wonderful, musical summer. Wishing our Fourth Graders all the best in middle school.