It is with great pleasure that I welcome you and your child to fourth grade at St. John LaLande. I have put together a brief itinerary of our daily curriculum for each subject area. I hope it will help you to understand what is expected.
The text is entitled Christ Our Life. It provides a balance between doctrine, scripture and the liturgical year. The beatitudes and 10 commandments are studied throughout the year.
First through eighth grade will attend Mass on Thursdays, unless there is a holy day of obligation during the week. If there is, the Mass is on that day instead. The fourth graders will have the opportunity to read at several of the Masses this year. I will let you know in the Friday Newsletter when that will occur. We are prayer buddies with the second graders. We will sit with them at Mass and do occasional activities with them.
Each week a spelling list of the following week’s words will be sent home in the Friday folder and through e-mail. A mid-week test will be given on Wednesday. If they receive 100% on the Wednesday test, they will not need to take a final test. The final test is the last day of the week, usually Friday. Please encourage your child to study a little each night.
We start the year with types of sentences, subject and predicate. We will cover all parts of speech. The students will have tests per chapter. Parents will be notified by newsletter of an upcoming test.
We will do something with writing every day. We will work on six trait writing skills concentrating on the writing process, especially paragraph writing and the essential parts of a paragraph. We will write personal narratives, comparative, persuasive, exclamatory papers and story writing.
We will read from the Reading textbook, as well as, novel sets. We will focus on comprehension strategies and skills.
Fourth graders should read at least 15 minutes a night, and they should keep a reading log. (There is a separate handout given out with detailed directions) This is in place of the projects that have been done in past grades. Most fourth graders should be able to get through two books a month, but some will not. The book should be on the fourth grade reading level. If there is ever a question about the level of a book, please send it in, and I will check it out for you. The reading log is graded so make sure your child is keeping up with their nightly reading.
Fourth grade uses the textbook Saxon math. Constant review and practice is spiraled throughout the year. It is an expectation that all fourth graders have their multiplication, division, addition and subtraction facts memorized. Timed fact tests are given every day. We will review the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, time and money. We will do many problem solving activities. We will also cover decimals, fractions, measurement, and geometry.
When helping your child in math, please check the book first. Sometimes the method you learned is not the method taught in class, and it makes it very confusing for your child. He or She should be able to tell you the page we worked from. When in doubt, drop me a note or e-mail, and I can help him/her the next day.
The four Sciences are studied: Life, Earth, Physical, and Space and Technology. Labs are generally conducted once a week. Tests are usually at the end of each chapter covered. Students should study from worksheets, vocab., notes, and /or study guide.
Fourth graders participate in Science Family Fun Day working in teams to complete projects.
This year we will focus mainly on the 50 States. We will start out learning our country’s regions and landforms by focusing on map skills. We will learn about each region of the USA separately along with state capitals. The fourth graders are expected to have their states and capitals memorized by December. After Christmas break, we will do an integrated study of Missouri. The students will have tests per chapter. A completed study-guide will be sent home ahead of time to review.
Each Friday, a folder will be sent home with the week’s work in it. There will also be a “Friday Newsletter”. It is a general note to inform you of the things we will be studying or doing for the next week. It will let you know when tests are coming up, so that you can encourage your child to study ahead of time. It may also include information for a long term assignment or project, so check papers carefully.
(This will also be sent via e-mail.)
Please sign the sheet stapled to the folder and return the folder by the following Wednesday. You may keep all of the papers. It is helpful for you to go over mistakes with your child. Do not send these papers back to school unless I have specifically written “correct and return” or “fix”. On most occasions, I will not adjust a grade on a paper.
There will be some homework assignments, but generally the students will be given time to do it each day during class. The assignment will be due the next day. If they do not finish the assignment in class, it is their responsibility to take it home and have it completed by class time the next day. The books and assignments do need to be here everyday. They should plan to study their spelling list nightly.
Occasionally, homework that they have not worked on in school is sent home.
As stated before for Reading, a reading log is to be kept at home. The fourth graders are expected to read 15 minutes each night, four nights a week. The log is due at the end of each month. Each night is worth 5 points, so the total scores vary from month to month.
Homework, as stated above, is mostly unfinished work. The children are given ample time to finish most of it in school. If your child has excessive homework, more than an hour, please let me know. I will try to investigate to see why, and then work with you and your child to fix whatever needs to be fixed.
Please continue to sign the planner as you did in third grade. To start the year I will check to see if it is signed and let up as the year goes on. If a student continually chooses not to do assignments, it will be required that the book is signed nightly for the rest of the year after the work is check off with a parent. If a student is absent, he or she will have one extra day for each day missed to make up the assignments.
If there is a legitimate reason why the student is unable to finish a homework assignment, a parent must send a note on the day the homework is due stating the reason it is not finished. The note must be signed and dated by the parent.
I feel that the parents are the key to making homework a positive experience for their children. Therefore, I ask that parents make homework a top priority by providing necessary homework supplies and a quiet environment in which to study. I recommend that parents set aside a specific time each day for homework to be completed. Parents should provide praise and support for all homework efforts, but should not allow children to avoid homework.
Parents should help with homework only after their child has tried his or her best to do the assignment independently. Under no circumstances should parents do homework for their children.
Homework should be done neatly and completely and turned in on time. Assignments not turned in by the second missed day will be a zero in the grade book. Look for a red “no assignment” stamp in their assignment book to see if they are not turning in work.
Accountability Cards are used to monitor organization and behavior. Please review it on pages 13-14 of the student handbook.
Academics and Sports:
This is the first year your children have the opportunity to play interscholastic sports in the Diocese. There are guidelines for grade requirements in the student handbook on page 8-9. Please familiarize yourself with the policy.
Adopt a School:
Fourth grade has been adopted by the Blue Springs Fire Department. One day each month they meet with both classes to discuss fire safety in the home, school and community.
Thanks for sharing your children’s lives with me. I am pleased to be given the opportunity to work with every child. If you need to reach me, please call the office, e-mail or send a note with your child. I will make every effort to get back to you quickly. Like you, I want the best for your child. Let’s work together to help him/her achieve all that he/she can!