December News

There are several projects due this month and I regularly remind students to do project work every day.   There has been a minimum amount of homework assigned over the past two weeks to give students time for projects.

Here are the projects and dates:

December 11   Social Studies Test on Southwest states.  Students have a study guide.

December 14  Family Tree for Religion

December 19  World Map project

December 20  Reading Log due


Friday, December 7 – St. Nicholas Program at 2:00

Friday, December 14 – Guadalupe Chapel at 9:45

Grades 4 and 5 are collecting  gift cards to benefit Youth on Their Own.  Gift cards can be in denominations of $10, $20, or $25.   We are requesting gift cards for Target, Walmart, Bashas’, Albertson’s, CVS, and Walgreens.  This is a great cause and the cards will be given to teens here in Tucson.  Thank you to the families who have already generously donated!


Students have been working on recording their Materials and Procedures in their science fair journals, and many students are finished way before our due date of November 30. We looked at examples of  what makes a “good” and “bad” list of materials, (i.e. instead of putting that you need ‘water’, be specific – distilled, purified, tap, etc.).    Here is a helpful website we refer to:  Click on Project Guides to see the samples we look at.

4th graders have been doing STEM challenges once a week to see the Scientific Method in action.

  • How long of a paper chain can you make out of one piece of paper?
  • How many drops of water can fit on a penny?  Does one side hold more than the other?
  • Can you fit your whole body through a 3×5 index card?

….and what exactly IS Magic Sand??   We will find out after Thanksgiving Break!


Current Event due Friday, November 30

4A News November 15

We have been collecting money and non perishable items for the last few weeks.  The Food Drive will end on Monday, November 19, 2018.  Food items will go to the St. Michael’s Food Pantry.  The donated money will go to the Tucson Food Pantry.

There is no school November 21-23.  Tuesday, November 20 will be a full day of school.

Reminder:  Parents who come to school during the school day MUST check in at the office and NOT come directly to the classroom.  The office will make sure that your child receives their lunch if you bring it in the morning.  If your child needs to leave early, please wait for him/her in the office.  The office will call the classroom to announce that you are here for a pick up.  This system is much less disruptive than having parents in the courtyard during school hours.

Academics:  Math we are working on division, problem solving, and soon interpreting remainders when dividing.  Students just finished reading Bunnicula and have completed the assessment.  We will begin a new book after Thanksgiving break.  Students are writing persuasive essays and writing about the featured article in Scholastic News every week.  Students are studying verbs such as tenses,  main, helping, and linking verbs.

A message from Dr. Antista:

Hello everyone,

Coming up on Dec. 7th at 2pm is our St. Nick Show.  The theme for this year is “Country Christmas.”  Please wear clothes that are representative of the farming lifestyle, like overalls or jeans with flannel shirts, or dresses that have a country print on them.  You should come to school on the day of the show in your regular school clothes, and then change into your costume for the show.  If you have any questions please call me at 520-954-6759.  Thanks.

Dr. Tony Antista

Choir Director/General Music

Music Theater Director

St. Michael’s School

4A News October 17, 2018

The students have been researching in class for their Arizona Project.  All research should be completed by the end of this week.  Students will work on the creative part of their project at home.  All of the information from the research needs to be included in their project.  All Fourth graders were shown a number of examples that could be made for the Arizona project.  Projects may be a float, mobile, travel brochure, shadow box, etc.  This is due November 9.

In math we are working on  2 x 1 and 2 x 2 multiplication.  Students who want more of a challenge may work on the zoo math packet.  Next week all students will receive the multiplication enrichment.  Another enrichment activity that students will the opportunity to work on this year is Scholastic Dynamath, which shows math applications in a variety of real-life problems.

Students are completing the persuasive writing unit.  They have written about the book we are reading in class, Bunnicula, and persuasive writing from Scholastic News.  For Social Studies we are studying the Southwest.  Students will have a quiz on the states and capitals of the Southwest on Wednesday, October 24.  In grammar students have finished a unit on  complete subjects and predicates, and are working on common and proper nouns and plurals.

Reading Logs will be due on Tuesday, October 30.  Please encourage your child to read every day.


Next week students will learn that minerals are the pure substances that make up rocks. They will  investigate four unknown minerals, record observations, and learn that color is not enough to identify them. Hardness is introduced as a property that can help identify a mineral. Students perform scratch tests, compare hardness, and identify minerals (calcite, fluorite, quartz, and gypsum) and learn more about Moh’s Scale.

Detailed information on our Science Fair will go home this week.  It is on YELLOW PAPER and should be kept somewhere safe because it has due dates on it for the assignments they will complete for their project.  Projects will be done in class, but anything unfinished will be homework and must be turned in on the due date.

September 14, 2018


If you bring lunch or a snack to your child, leave it in the office and they will make sure that your child gets the delivery.  Parents should not be on campus without checking in at the office.

If your child is absent, PLEASE contact the office.

Students have studied graphs, number forms, rounding numbers, and comparing numbers in math.  We will start factors and prime factorization, and soon multiplication. Students have worked on answering questions citing text evidence and how to compose a paragraph with proper conventions.  We will next study expository writing.  The first unit in Social Studies is about different landforms.  Throughout the year students will study different regions of the United States.  Next week the class will begin reading Bunnicula  together.

Dates to remember

September 19  Noon dismissal

September 21  Peek-A-Boo project due

September 25  Class pictures (wear red and khaki)

September 26  Individual pictures (K-4…Free dress day)

Please continue to collect box tops!


Students will have a quiz on Friday, September 14 over what they have learned about soil, weathering, and rock types.  They were given a study guide and a review today.   Students are encouraged to take their journals home to study.


Welcome to fourth grade Spanish! We are off to an amazing start reviewing greetings in Spanish! So far we have practiced our vocabulary by performing in skits and creating a comic strip. This week we are writing our own skits using the greetings. Have a great week!

¡Hasta luego!

Sra. Van Straalen


The 4th graders have been BUSY!  Here’s what we’ve been up to the past couple of weeks and a peek at next week, (no school on Monday, September 3)

Students investigated the properties of soil by comparing four different soils. They learned that soils are composed of essentially the same types of materials (inorganic earth materials and humus), but the amounts of the materials vary.

They began to explore how rocks break into smaller pieces through physical and chemical weathering.   They tumbled rocks in plastic jars to simulate rocks crashing into one another, (abrasion) and we froze a bottle of water to see how these two types of physical weathering can break rocks.

Students  conducted an investigation to test rocks for interaction with “acid rain.” (vinegar) They saw that some rocks (limestone and marble) are very susceptible to acid rain, one form of chemical weathering, but other rocks (basalt and sandstone) are unaffected.



Book Orders

Your child is encouraged to read, read, read!

The first Scholastic book order is due Friday, August 31.

You may go to and use class code Q932L

If you choose to pay by check, please make check payable to Scholastic Book Club and give me the order no later than Friday.

Thank you!

Mrs. Fenstermacher