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September 18, 2017

This is the first weekly update! I apologize for not sending one out sooner; however, it takes us some time at the beginning of the year to really get things established and to know routines.  We are now at the point where we are starting to dive into our curriculum! I’m pretty excited to be the teacher of 4/5 because this is an incredibly sweet and thoughtful class. This class is also full of students who are enthusiastic to learn and push themselves, which is amazing.

General Updates:

On Friday, September 22nd, we will have piano lessons as well as the Holy Spirit Hustle!

Subject Updates:


We just started diving into our religion book.  This year we will study Jesus Our Guide in the Faith and Life Curriculum. Students will have questions to study based off of the reading.  We will study these questions in class; however, students may also bring them home to study.  I will pick one question from the set for the particular chapter to be a bonus question on our Spelling tests each week.  Since we don’t have spelling words yet, on Friday I will just ask one of the questions as practice.  This week we will focus on Chapter 1, which is the fall of man.


We will soon dive into the first Unit of Study in Readers Workshop.  For both grades, the first unit will have us examine fiction books.  Readers Workshop is an awesome curriculum to use because while I teach a 4th-grade group and a 5th-grade group, it allows for students to apply the teaching point to books that are at their level.  Therefore, if your child is reading at a 6th-grade level the books that they are reading will be at 6th -grade level. Students have a book box that they fill with books that are interesting and mostly at their level. I say mostly because it’s okay to have one or two books that are challenging or are for a fun read.  Last week we really focused on stamina…how long we can read for at one time.  We are still working on that this week; however, the entire class can already read for 30 minutes without disruptions or reminders! This is awesome. Our new goal is to make it to 45 minutes.  This week we will continue building that stamina, building reading goals, developing a love for reading, and realizing God’s purpose within the subject of reading.


Just like for reading we will be diving into Writers Workshop.  There will be a 4th grade group and a 5th grade group.  All 4th graders will be in the 4th grade group and all 5th graders will be in the 5th grade group because while this is a workshop model the concepts build upon the previous year’s lessons.  Again, though, the workshop model is designed to meet students at their level while also encouraging them to challenge themselves. We will start out by writing realistic fiction stories for both grades.


For math we have been working in our different groups since last week.  Based off of their Saxon Placement test and Star 360, students were placed into different groups. Today we discussed how to properly use their math notebook.  At the top should be the lesson number and the date for the lesson.  Students should be showing their work and then making corrections in a different color in their notebook if they get a problem wrong.

Below talks about what each group will be focusing on:

Wolf Pack (4th grade): We will be reviewing subtraction, writing numbers up to 999, adding money, and adding with regrouping. This group also needs to focus on following the directions that are stated for them on the smartboard.  This is a transition time for sure; however, students need to really remember to stay on task to make sure they are getting the most out of math.

Team Taco Dog (5th grade): This group will focus on adding whole numbers, writing/comparing whole numbers, ordinal numbers, the relationship between adding and subtracting, and practicing subtraction. This group is really focused and on task! They are hard workers 🙂

Math Masters (6th grade): This week this group will focus on fractional parts, lines, segments, rays, linear measurement, perimeter, and ordering/comparing numbers on a number line.  The students in this group are extremely focused and put forth a great deal of effort.  It’s awesome!

Image result for hermit crabScience:

Our first unit has us focus on animal structures, diversity of life, and ecology. We will dive into all of these areas through our study of hermit crabs.  This week we will focus on what hermit crabs need to survive, their body parts, and comparing their life cycle to a plant’s life cycle.  Based off of reading what hermit crabs need, students designed their own crabitat in partnerships and worked as a whole class to solve the problem of the lack of humidity for the crabs’ survival. Our air is really dry here at school, but the crabs need humidity to survive.  I was really impressed with how well we worked as a whole class to solve the humidity problem and how serious the entire class is taking this unit.  This week I will be bringing in our hermit crabs into the class. By having the class have hermit crabs as a class pet, we will be able to have a deeper understanding of the role hermit crabs play in the world and how we are called to care for all of God’s creatures. The students are super excited to meet both Mr. Krabs and Victor.

Social Studies:

We will continue our study of the location of U.S. states.  This week we will focus on the Noncontiguous, Pacific, and the Western states.  We will have a quiz on the location of each of these states on Friday. Again like last week the capitals will be a bonus.

That’s a wrap on this week! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me! Thank you so much for all that you do to make our class a success.

God bless,

Sarah Spielbauer, 4th/5th teacher

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