Happy New Year!

We are in full swing here in 4-243.  Students are wrapping up their book partnerships and finishing their reading response assignments. Most students will revert to an independent book, but a few would like to keep reading with a partner. While we won’t have official meetings, children are welcome to stay in touch with a friend and read the same book.  All students are expected to continue to jot entries in their reading notebooks and to update reading logs regularly.

In math, we have moved into our fractions unit. Most students have a good foundation in basic fraction understandings and so we are moving rather quickly into equivalence and converting fractions.  We will do some operations of fractions in fourth grade, although some of that work is part of the 5th grade curriculum.

Our Writing Workshop is centered on writing literary essays.  This is a continuation of the work we have been doing around writing about reading and will be a big support for the upcoming ELA test. And speaking of the test….please see below

Dear Families,

As you know, the New York State tests are coming up. The ELA (English Language Arts) test will be administered from Tuesday, March, 28 to Thursday, March, 30.  The NY State Math Test is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2nd to Thursday, May 4th. We wanted to outline for you what our plans are and how you can provide support at home to make sure your child is prepared and confident for the tests.

Test Preparation In-School

To learn of your child’s current areas of needs and areas of strengths, we will administer a “mock test” in both ELA and Math. These practice tests will give students a feel for what the actual test will probably look like.  In fact, many students said they felt over-prepared last year.  Student responses will be carefully analyzed to plan our upcoming activities and lessons. Sometimes this test prep work will be with small groups who need targeted and specific practice with certain skills. Other days, the test prep will be in the form of whole-class lessons, when the skill is one that all students need further reinforcement with.  

Our school will be using the Finish Line books to support with test-preparation. This book will be used for classwork and for homework. Please ensure that the book is brought to school everyday. We also ask that you please avoid completing any unassigned activities in these books. We expect to give out the ELA book in the coming days. The Math book will likely go home later as the test is many weeks away. While we may not complete the entire test prep book, we will use additional materials as needed to help students prepare.

At home you can support your child by:

  • Reducing stress around the test.
  • Ensuring that they do homework assignments thoughtfully.
  • Making sure that they bring their test prep books back to school each day.
  • Helping them come up with a special “mantra” to say to themselves during the test if they feel overwhelmed, tired, etc.
  • Reminding students that their teachers have many years of experience in preparing students and that they will be in great hands.
  • Not overwhelming children with “extra” work.
  • Make sure they get good sleep and eat a healthy breakfast on testing days.

Additional resources:

We understand this can be a stressful time.  Please try not to communicate your anxiety to your children and we will do the same.  We will keep you updated if/when new information becomes available about the test itself. If we have any particular concerns about your child’s academic progress, we will be in touch with you directly.

Thank you,

Donna & Ms. Courtwright