May 31, 2018

Dear 4-243 Families,

In an attempt to help us all stay organized, I spent some time with students this morning going through the calendar for the next 2 weeks or so.  It’s very challenging to keep track of all of the various events and due dates so I thought it might be helpful to provide that information here too.  Please know that the dates/times are what I understand to be the best information. It is possible that there is a school event that I missed, so I encourage you to double check against the school’s calendar.

May 31- Today

ASAP-corrected/revised Science Fair Reports; Independent Writing Pieces (due last week!!)

June 1- Government research papers and independent projects are due. Refer to yellow handout for expectations.  I printed out a bunch today and will print out papers if necessary (they must be in Google Classroom) but projects are done at home. ; Awards Assembly for Math/Science in the a.m.

June 4-Final Wingspan Rehearsal; Students MUST know lines/cues; Written Science Test

June 5-Wingspan Dress Rehearsal a.m. Students must wear costume to school but can change afterwards if desired (send in a plastic bag to keep costume in until Wednesday)

June 6-Wingspan performance for students a.m.  Family show 6p.m. call time.  Show begins at 6:30–use your pass for quick entry to auditorium.  ; Donna will begin accepting Science Fair Boards today.

June 7-no school for students

June 8-Field Day; All Science Fair Projects/Boards (other than anything needing refrigeration etc. )

June 11-no school for students

June 12- All Science Fair projects/boards/Reports in school —Science Fair is TODAY!!

June 19-Publishing Party/End of Year Celebration



Grade 4: Ardsley Instrument Renewal



Dear 4th grade parents:

Bravo to our outstanding musicians for their hard work this year! As our school year winds down, please pay particular attention to Rental Renewal Invoices coming from the Ardsley Musical Instrument Service, Ltd., except those students who own their own instrument.

I highly recommend that you RENEW and keep an instrument over the summer.  This way, they are ready to begin music classes when school begins in September.  Any exchange to the next size larger or repair will be done at no additional cost as the need arises between September and October in the school year 2018-2019.  Summer is FREE if you renew your rental by June 20th.

To renew your existing rental, click here or call 914-693-6639.

I would like to make sure that no students leave their instrument in the school over the summer.   Please contact me at if you have any further questions.

Thank you for your great support this year!

Musically yours,

Ms. Kim


May 23, 2018


Dear Families,

A few important updates as our year begins to wrap up.
Students are working on a variety of end of year projects. In Social Studies, they have a written draft of their Government  paper due this Friday, May 25th. This is to be done in Google Classroom. They have had class time to work on this during the week. If they need more time, please support them in completing this task at home this week. Also due on Friday is a brief plan for their creative project, written on an index card.
In addition, all students have an independent writing (genre of their choice) piece due Thursday, May 24 at the end of the day. There has been some time to type this at school but they are welcome to type it or write it at home.
Please check in with your child regarding homework for this class and for others such as Science. This will help ensure that they stay up to date with homework assignments and other important school information.  Unfortunately, too many children are still coming in without required work despite many reminders!

Your children have been hard at work preparing a play about their social studies curriculum to share with you in early June. 

Our Wingspan Show for Families is Wednesday, June 6th at 6:30pm. Students must be at school at 6pm SHARP to get ready. The show for families begins at 6:30pm.

In addition, students must be present at school on June 5th, and 6th for our in school performances. Please let us know ASAP if this is problematic for your family. 

For costumes, students should wear any combination of red, white, and/or blue from their wardrobe and shoes that they can comfortably move in. They can wear sneakers. Shoes should be quiet. Blue jeans are fine. No shorts. If possible please avoid any graphics, t-shirt writing, or patterns on the clothing; solid colors are preferred. If your child is playing an “anthropologist” (he/she/they would know) we request a white button down shirt to wear over their red/white/blue costume. Students should wear the costume to school on Tuesday, June 5th and Wednesday, June 6th.

If you have a desire to help with the play, the greatest help would be to practice lines and blocking at home with your child, to help them become 100% memorized and confident. 


We hope you can join us on Tuesday, June 19th for a publishing party to celebrate recent work. This will be from 8:30am-9:30am in the classroom.


Thank you,


Wingspan update

Hello Families,

This is a friendly reminder that all actors are expected to have their lines and cues memorized for Monday.

The show is just a couple of weeks away and everyone needs to be ready.  We’ll send out more details very soon.  Save the Date though:  June 6th in the evening is the show for parents.



May 1, 2018

Dear 4-243 Families,

We are nearing the end of the 4th grade tests (YAY!) but not at all done with the year.  We still have lots to look forward to.  In addition to the Science Test, there is also our Wingspan Performance which is quickly approaching.  Show time for parents is June 6th in the evening.  Students will be doing 3 performances in total.  Information will be coming in about 2 weeks with details, but mark your calendar for the 5th and 6th of June–no out of town trips please!

Below, please read about just a couple of our other big items.



Dear Families,                                                               April 30th


We are excited to share a government research project to support our current Social Studies Unit. It will prepare students for our Philadelphia trip while reinforcing the reading, writing, and research skills they have learned this year.

Please note the important due dates below. Students will have some time in school to research and to type their work.

Due Dates:

Index card with top 3 choices and why you are interested in each Friday, May 4th
Notes checked Friday, May 18th
Creative project idea & plan Friday, May 25th
Draft of written report shared with teacher (via Google Classroom) Friday, May 25th
Final report and project with self-evaluation Friday, June 1


We are expecting students to conduct some research at home using the internet and your public library. The sites listed here are some recommended child-appropriate sites. Please supervise your child researching beyond these sites.


Suggested research sites: (Videos-will require setting up a free account)

World Book (through the school-must use this link and our school login)

User ID: lowerlab

Password: student77

Fun Games to extend the learning:


If you have any questions or concerns please let us know. We look forward to your child’s continued growth.


Kind Regards,

Donna & Robin


May 1, 2018

Dear Families,


Our Philadelphia trip is happening soon! Thank you to everyone who volunteered to chaperone. We had more volunteers than spaces. Chaperones have been selected and notified. Thank you to all for your interest in supporting the class. As a reminder, the trip is on Tuesday May 15th from 7:45am-5:30pm.


As you already know, we plan to leave  from school at 7:45am. Please arrive to school by 7:45am so that we can leave on time.  To facilitate this, please plan to gather outside of the school along 95th St. between Lexington and Third Avenue (by the the Citi-bikes). Please avoid blocking the entrance to the yard. The trip will occur rain or shine, so in the case of rain, please send your child to school with weather appropriate gear, including umbrellas. Students should bring a small lightweight backpack in order to keep a notebook, lunch and water bottle, snacks, camera, sunscreen, money for souvenirs, etc. We encourage all students to eat a hearty breakfast. All students must bring lunch for themselves. We also suggest bringing a snack to eat on the bus. Your child will be responsible for any items they bring on the trip. We will visit the gift shop so send money with your child at your discretion.  Regular size backpacks are not allowed inside The Constitution Center. If your child might require ANY medication during the trip, a Medication Administration Form MUST be on file with the nurse and your child’s teacher. This included epipens, inhalers, over the counter medications, etc.


Our first stop will be The Constitution Center (525 Arch St, Philadelphia). Students will learn about the history and importance of this living document that continues to shape our nation. Our visit includes an educational film as well as self-guided exhibits. In the afternoon we will be going on a very special historic walking tour of the Old City (leaving from The Constitution Center). The tour will focus on points of inspiration in our historical fiction read aloud book, Fever 1793. This story was inspired by the real yellow fever epidemic that hit Philadelphia during colonial times. Students will get to see the real places that inspired the setting in the book. They will also learn about the importance of Philadelphia in our nation’s history.


We anticipate returning to school by  5:30pm. Please plan to pick-up your child on 95th Street. If another family will be picking your child up, please remember to send in a note to the teacher by Monday, May 14th.


If you have not yet paid the full balance of $72 for the trip kindly send the balance to your child’s teacher as soon as possible.




__Please complete the attached permission slip and return to school by Monday,  May 7th.


__Please make sure your child has:



Snacks for the ride there and the ride home

A lunch

Notebook and pencil for notes

A light backpack (optional)

Camera (optional)

Money for souvenirs (optional-suggested amount $10-$20)


__Please let the teacher know if your child experiences car sickness so he/she can sit up front. It’s a good 2-hour bus ride each way.


Thank you and let us know if you have any questions!


Best Wishes,

Donna & Robin

The Fourth Grade Team


March 29, 2018

Good Afternoon,

As we head off for our Spring Break I wanted to send a quick update to all families.  First, Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy Vacation. We have all been very stressed and now is the time to start to wind down.  I know that we still have the big days ahead but the children also have been feeling the pressure.  While we did send home a review packet, please try to avoid overdoing the practice tests, etc.  This is the time to remind the students that they are very well prepared, have the skills necessary to do well, and that they will do well if they take their time and read carefully.

I also wanted to mention that you might want to buy a small protractor (about 4 inches is good) for your child.  We will use them in 4th grade but they will get used later in school too, so it’s something to have at home, just like you have a ruler or a dictionary.

Have a wonderful break and we will see you soon.


p.s.  here’s the letter that was sent home on Tuesday regarding optional vacation review.

March 27,  2018

Dear Fourth Grade Parents,

As you know, we have begun preparing for the State English Language Arts Test.  Students have been reading passages and answering questions in a variety of formats as they practice for the upcoming tests.  To that end, we will be assigning a few sections from our preparation materials to be completed during the Spring Break.  We understand that vacations are a time for family and fun.  However, we also recognize that some students will benefit from continued, but limited, practice.

We are asking students to complete the enclosed passages and questions from previous state tests.  Also included are the answer keys for the multiple choice questions and two exemplars for the extended response.  One area to pay attention to is time management.  Although the test is untimed, we have been helping students plan their time by section.  We recommend that passages be read twice: the first time is a quick read for the gist of the story and start thinking about big ideas, the second is a close read when students annotate the text for specific elements of narrative or informational texts.  For the extended response, students should need about 10 minutes to plan and about 20 minutes to write the essay.  You might try to remind students of timing to help build their “internal clocks.”  Short responses might take 10 minutes maximum each.

For math, we have assigned some lessons in the Finish Line book:  Pages 32-39 & 56-59 which will serve as review of already learned subjects.

We do not plan to go over these sessions when we return to class and will continue to work through the materials to best prepare and support students.  Of course, we recognize that some families will choose to not have children do this work during vacation time (or maybe only some of it) and this is your option.  Students will not be penalized.

Thank you for your continued support of your child and Lower Lab School,

Donna and Ms. Courtwright


March 23, 2018

Dear 4-243 Families,

Good Morning.  I want to just write a brief note to keep you up to date on what’s happening here in class.  We continue to learn about the Revolutionary War period through readings, note taking, and watching some video.  Our Wingspan program will be linked to our Social Studies Curriculum and I did want to remind you that on Monday, March 26th, we have a short presentation in the auditorium from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.  to preview just a snippet of the preparation for the show which is currently being written.

Book Clubs are still focused on Historical Fiction and while some groups have reorganized, the reading and preparation continues.  When we return from the next school break, we will do some writing work in more formal literary essays around these texts.

Our fractions unit in math is wrapping up, although we will revisit it during our Test Prep.  Now it is on to geometry.

Oh yeah, there’s a state test coming up too……early next week, we will be sending home an OPTIONAL packet for the break .

With best regards,



March 8, 2018

Dear Parents,

We continue to work on preparing for the ELA test.  After taking a practice test, we have spent the bulk of our time on written responses to texts, either short responses or longer extended responses.  The most important takeaway is for children to understand that the crux of any response is to say something (your answer or idea) and then prove it with multiple details from the text.

In math we continue to focus on fractions.  Students have done a lot of work on finding equivalence using models, grids, and finding a common denominator or numerator.  We are currently practicing ordering fractions and will move to addition and subtraction of fractions in the coming days.  During our Math Test Prep, we will address geometry and review the other aspects of the test that we’ve already covered.

Social Studies reading and research is on the events leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Next week we have Parent Teacher Conferences.  The sign up sheet notification was sent home on February 13th, yet some families have not signed up.  Please make sure your 4th grader is clearing out their HW folder every night and giving you the notices.  On the rare chance that this does not happen, you can send in a note or in an emergency, email me.  As I have said, I should be your first point of contact with issues regarding this classroom.  PTA or Afterschool issues/questions can be addressed to those in charge of those areas.

Here, again, is the sign up information:




February 6, 2018

Dear 4-243 Families,

Here’s an update on what’s happening in 243.  It’s that time of year when we start to think about the State Tests. This year, as I’m sure you know, the tests have been reduced to 2 days each for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math.  We will be doing practice tests and beginning to do more formal “test prep” in the coming days, but I want to reiterate that all of the work children do in Reading, Writing, and Math should be considered preparation for these tests.  If children are able to read a text, formulate an idea, and support that idea, in writing, by including examples and details, then they are well on their way to success on the ELA test. Of course we will do more focused work during the coming weeks so that students feel confident and ready.

In Math, we are moving into our study of fractions.  Students will work on determining fractions, comparing fractions with like and unlike denominators and doing some operations with them.  Please refrain from teaching your child “tricks” or “shortcuts” as we launch this unit. If you are interested in the State Requirements, feel free to research NY Common Core Standards for Math.  We will also continue to review multiplication and division throughout.  Math test prep will begin in a few weeks.

Our Social Studies unit is well into the Colonial Period and will transition to the Revolutionary War in a few weeks.  We will be reading and learning a lot about this important period in our history.  Additionally, our book clubs are focused on this time period so that children may further their understanding through reading historical fiction.  Students are still expected to jot in their reading notebooks and also to come to meetings prepared to have a thoughtful book talk with peers.

Our writing work is centered on essays.  We started with personal essays, are currently writing historical persuasive essay ( quite a challenge), and then we’ll be fully into literary essays. This will further support the ELA test.

Word Study, Grammar, CML, and other routines continue throughout this time so please help support your child by checking in on homework and organization, as things ramp up in the second half of 4th grade.

If you feel that your child is struggling, please do not hesitate to contact me directly so that we may come up with solutions and strategies for success.

Best regards,



4th Grade Music, Next Tuesday, January 23rd

Dear 4th grade parents,

ALL 4th grade students will have gym next Monday, 1/22, due to the Winter Sing concert rehearsals.  On Tuesday, 1/23, I plan to have the Violin group, instead of the Viola/Cello group, since the Violin group will miss music for two consecutive Mondays.  Please make sure that all violin students bring the instruments and viola and cello students do NOT need to bring the instruments next Tuesday, 1/23.  

Thank you!

Ms. Kim