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

Welcome to 4A!

This year started with much positive energy and high temps.  The average classroom temperature was 87 degrees during the school day.  A very generous parent donor made it possible to purchase a new A/C unit and we have been very comfortable ever since!  Thank you!

Students have been working on reading and creating bar graphs, finding the main idea, spelling short vowel sound words, and discussing Kokopelli’s Flute.


•Please go to the office if you need to pick up your child during the school day.  Office staff will assist you in locating your child so that you do not have to interrupt a class.

•If you bring lunch for your child, leave it at the office.  I will be informed that there was a delivery.

•Students are not allowed into the courtyard before 7:30.  If you need to drop off your child before 7:30, they need to go the Tankersly Hall for before school supervision.

•Please encourage your student to walk into the courtyard alone.  They are safe in the courtyard after 7:30.  Plus, you have the luxury of remaining in your air-conditioned car!

•Students have P.E. on Thursday and Friday.  Please send your child with a clean P.E. uniform each of those days.  If you have two uniforms, (red shorts, gray shirt) you may send your child with both uniforms to leave in the cubby.

•Please check your child’s planner every night to make sure that he/she continues to stay organized and completes homework.

Dates to remember:

Friday, August 31    Noon dismissal

Monday, September 3    No School

Friday, September 7   SMA Coffee Corner

Wednesday, September 19    Noon dismissal

Tuesday, September 25    Classroom Pictures (uniform required)

Wednesday, September 26   Individual Pictures  (K-4) Free Dress

(More details about pictures soon!)

Please email me at if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.


Information about our Science Fair for 4th graders went home last week.  It was just a brief memo that the 4th graders are responsible for a science fair project this year and that more detailed information will be coming home soon.  We will be working on science fair projects in stages while we learn the Scientific Method.

4th Graders are also responsible for bringing in a Current Event article about science once a month.  The first one is due by September 28 – students are encouraged to bring them in before the actual due date because we present them in class.  The article can be printed from the Internet or cut from a newspaper or magazine.   Students are to read the article and summarize it to present to class.  It has to be science-related and must be current.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  Here’s to a great year of SCIENCE!