4th Grade News

Happy Thanksgiving!  We hope you enjoy the break and have time to reflect on what you are thankful for. 

December 8th is an Assessment Day.  All 4th graders will be taking the Math Map Assessment test from 10:00 to 11:30.



Students are writing to explain.  They will establish a clearly defined topic, develop multiple paragraphs and sections that group related information together. To sound knowledgeable on their topic, students will use specific vocabulary to explain the topic, concept, or idea.  Students are actively working on finding the main idea of a text.  Next, they will determine a theme in both literary and informational text.  In literary texts, students will also begin to identify the theme of the story and understand the difference between theme and main idea. They will know that main idea of a text is specific to the text, whereas the theme is more general and addresses a lesson or message that the author is communicating to the reader.  As you read with your child, ask him/her to summarize the story plot and discuss the author’s message or lesson learned.



Students are becoming more comfortable with division.  In this unit, students apply the understanding of multiplication and multi-digit numbers to explore the concept of division of numbers through thousands, with or without remainders. Students relate multiplication models and methods to division as they learn strategies for division based on place value, properties of operations, and the relationship between multiplication and division.  Talk with your child about real world situations where they would need to divide. For example, Johnny had 47 cookies and three friends over.  How many cookies would each person get?  What would you do with the remainder?  Check out Khan Academy for extra practice on skills and concepts.



Students are exploring the different forms of energy.  Students may engage with electrical circuits that lead to outputs of light, sound, heat, and/or magnetic effects. In this unit, energy will start from “stored energy” such as a battery, food, or a power plant.  Students will be able to construct models of energy transfers and transformations both in an electrical circuit and energy transfer chain. We are also discussing renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy.


Social Studies

Students are investigating how physical geography impacts people.  They are analyzing geographic sources to acquire information about patterns of physical geography, like climate, rainfall, plants, and animals. They will explain how physical geography provides opportunities and places constraints on people.  Next, they will compare how geography affects how and where people live.



Students are learning why typing is a valuable skill.  Mrs. Jones has set up speed typing practice for students to use.  Go to the Vanderhoof website, Classrooms, Library, BBC Keyboarding.


What’s Happening in Music:  4th grade Students are continuing to increase our recorder and reading skills. We have been working on songs that go with the classes Colorado History curriculum and will be doing a Colorado Program in 2018 more details to come in future weeks. Lyrics and practice songs are on my website.

Practice:   Songs (windows media files) and Lyrics (in pdf format) to practice can be found on my webpage. Directions:

1.Go to the Vanderhoof Main page.

2.Click on the “Students clubs and Activities” tab

3.Click “Choir.”

4.When the choir page loads, go to and click “Colorado Program” in the list on left hand side.

5.When the page opens Lyrics and Song files are listed in alphabetical order in the middle of the page.

a.To listen to the songs you need to click the download arrow on the right side of the song you are choosing. Song should download to your computer download file and start playing in windows media player once clicked.


What’s Happening in Art for Fourth Grade – Fourth grade is beginning a unit in Landscapes. We will learn about what makes a good landscape, including using the Rule of Thirds and Power Points to create a visual interest. We will then tie in our landscapes to the fourth grade African Social Studies unit to create an African Landscape.


5th Grade Features

Important Dates:  December 8th- Assessment Day- All fifth graders are scheduled from 11:30-1:00


The focus of this unit is for students to craft fictional narratives to entertain, inspire, investigate or analyze. Students understand that writers think about the complexity of a character and the events of the story to help explore a theme or teach a lesson. Students wrote narrative short stories developing a character with depth and believability, which experiences change throughout the course of their story. Students are expected to include descriptions and dialogue that enhance the experiences or events, as well as show the responses of characters to situations. 



Students are analyzing how text features are used strategically by the author for specific purpose. Throughout this unit students rely on informational text features to answer questions and perform specific tasks. 5th graders gain skill in learning how an author reflects their point of view through the evidence and details they include. They are also beginning to realize that authors use text features in order to convey their intended meaning, both implicitly and explicitly.


In math students are applying and extending their previous understanding of multiplication and division to multiply and divide fractions. Using visual models and connections to real world problems, students extend their work with the multiplication of fractions. Students will also connect fractions with their understanding of division as equal sharing.



We have begun our new unit "Wind, Water, and Ice: Moving Mountains" 

This unit covers glacial movement, streams in steep mountains vs. streams in flatlands, sand dunes, shorelines, landslides, mudslides, avalanches, floods, how freeze/thaw cycles impact rocks, and how wind impacts rocks and mountains. Students will learn that the Earth’s surface is changing rapidly and slowly based on multiple processes.  We will also discuss how some land features (mountains, valleys, and volcanoes) are formed by plate tectonics.

What’s Happening in Music:  5th grade is beginning to understanding what key signatures are and how they affect music. We will also begin to explore chords and how we build them into the music. They have been using many different songs to help bring the learning into focus and promote understanding. Around this time of year students should have a good grasp of note and rhythmic symbols and reading for treble clef and some bass clef. Students should be making connections to the music we read, sing and play. These skills will be put to use in writing a piece of music set to a poem that each student picked. We will be using computer software called Finale Notepad 2008 to write and listen to their compositions. We will also be working on music for a future program in the spring.

What’s Happening in Art:  Fifth Grade – Fifth grade is beginning our new unit on Bodies in Motion. We will learn about the proportions of the human figure and how to draw a body in correct proportion. We will then create art which includes the human figure in motion.

What’s Happening in PE:  In 4th, 5th, and 6th Grades, we have continued to work on different fundamental skills in Physical Education class. We worked on the basics of Soccer by dribbling with the inside and outside part of our foot. We also spent a day on how to properly pass to a teammate and how to trap the ball. Students did such a good job with the skills we even got some mini soccer games in. The next unit we did was Basketball, and we went over the basic fundamentals of dribbling, shooting, and passing. Have your student show you what they learned and encourage them to be active 60 minutes a day!

I am excited to do the second year of Jump Rope For Heart with the kids! We will have the Jump Rope For Heart assembly on Wednesday November 29th and the students we bring home a packet. Participation is 100% optional and will not be pushed on the students. Jump Rope For Heart is through the American Heart Association and collects donations towards helping children with heart problems. All money goes directly towards helping out kids by providing research and funds for families who desperately need help. If your student decides to participate, please collect all money and hold onto the packet until December 18th. The only thing students turn in to me before the 18th is the little coupon on the bottom of the first page once they have raised their first $5 dollars. Please turn in just the coupon as I will not collect money until the 18th. There is an online way to raise and donate money that is a lot more convenient and gets the students their prizes quicker. I highly encourage using the online option as it is easier for all, but I will collect cash on the 18th as well. 

**All students who donate at least one dollar get to watch Mr. Martin and Mr. Buelter compete in an egg splat competition on Dec. 19th!

Feel free to contact me at  at any time with questions about Jump Rope For Heart! 

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