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Weekly Update 2/2/18

Dear Families,

We now have a date for our New Amsterdam celebration and we look forward to seeing you on the morning of Thursday, February 15. That is our last day of school before the February break. You will have the opportunity to read your child’s published book, hear poems for two voice, explore our model of what Stone Street looked like in the 1600s, see our timeline mural (see photos of the work in progress below), and much more. Prepare to be impressed!


This week in Poetry Workshop we learned how to annotate poems. We studied Maya Angelou’s piece, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, and students began their poems on Fears and Courage. We also worked on how to plan more purposefully for a poem before writing so that students understand that strong writers plan for poetry just like they do for writing in other genres.


Almost all students have revised their narrative nonfiction picture books and will begin publishing on Monday. This publishing stage will involve transferring the text to a hardcover book and adding illustrations and other text features. This will take hours of work, but the results will make the students proud.


Students are getting quite good at using protractors. Ask you child what the steps are for measuring an angle and for drawing an angle of a specific measure. Next week we will begin our unit on fractions. We will begin the unit with a rich problem about sharing submarine sandwiches between children. Fractions is a challenging topic for many students and using real-world problems to begin exploring some tricky concepts is very helpful.


We are taking a break from homework choice boards for the next while. The focus of homework is turning to test prep for the upcoming state test. There was information on how you can support your child at home around these tests in the Weekly Update that I sent last week. Please don’t help your child (or have a tutor or other adult help him/her) on these test prep homework assignments. We will go over the questions in class after they are due and it is very helpful for me to see how each student is independently handling this work.


I hope that you enjoy the weekend!




Weekly Update 1/26/18

Dear Families,

It was great to see so many of you at the Family Math Morning today. I know that the parents I spoke to found it very helpful to be able to hear about Peck Slip’s approach to teaching math and then to see some of what they discussed in practice in the classroom. Please see the attached photos of students hard at work on the new geometry unit.

Now that we are getting closer to spring, I know that the state tests are on parents’ minds. Maggie and fourth grade teachers put together some notes on how you can begin to prepare your child at home.

Here are some ideas for ELA:

-build stamina by increasing the number of minutes your child reads each night (reading WITH you kid)

-read short texts of all kinds and genres (including books and magazines)

Ask questions about their reading like:

What is the big idea/theme?

What is the author’s point of view? (What does the author want you to know?)

Check out these websites for short texts:




*sites are free but you may have to make an account


Here are some ideas for math:

-brush up on math facts

-practice checking writing and math work for errors

-have your child explain why they got an answer to a math problem




-Khan Academy 


We will be working on formal test prep in class after the February break. Please do not use released state tests from previous years to work with your child. We will be using all of these tests in class to prepare students, and it makes things very challenging if children have already been exposed to these materials.

Students will also be receiving a test preparation homework assignment over the school break. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.



Weekly Update 1/19/18

Dear Families,

I hope that everyone is enjoying the sunshine today! I also hope that you saw the notice in Denise’s weekly email about the Family Math Morning for Grades 4 and 5 that will take place this Friday at 8:30 am. Parents will begin in Room 226 and will have a chance to spend time with Peck Slip’s math consultant, Renee. After that, there will be a chance to visit our classroom and see students engage in a math activity. The program will end with a chance to debrief with families and some teachers outside of the classroom. I hope that everyone will be able to make it. Please be sure to sign up using the link that was in Denise’s email.

Our class welcomed a new student teacher to our community this past week. Jasmine will be with us three days a week for 2.5 months. She is already fitting in beautifully and students are glad to have her in 4-502.

After finishing up a detailed outline for our new narrative nonfiction writing project, most students are in the drafting stage of the writing process. Students are drafting text and illustrations for picture books that will be 10+ pages. It’s a big project and students know that there is pressure to meet deadlines in order to publish these books for our New Amsterdam celebration in mid-February. The vibe in the room feels very productive!

We just began a short unit on geometry in math. We reviewed perimeter and will soon move into classifying shapes and measuring angles. If you have a protractor at home your child is welcome to bring it in.

You may have seen that the homework choice board for the next two weeks has a Responsibility category. We have been talking a lot in class about building independence and taking responsibility for oneself and one’s belongings. The goal of these assignments is for students to step outside of their comfort zones at home and take on some tasks that require them to take more responsibility for their home space and routines. They are also asked to reflect, in writing, on how this feels. I hope that these assignments spark good conversations at home about chores and building independence.

Thank you to everyone who has sent in pencils for the class. It feels great to have so many families contribute to the classroom.

Enjoy these photos that I took of students during Choice Time yesterday.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!



Weekly Update 1/12/18

Dear Families,


We had an exciting week in 4-502. We welcomed Jacob, a new student, to our class. And we said goodbye to our student teacher, Caroline. See the photos below of the kids getting ready to surprise her with the party they all planned.


We began looking at examples of narrative nonfiction picture books (see photos below) in preparation for beginning to write our own next week. We talked about the features of these books and about the options for tone, characters, and narrators in this genre. Students are very excited about this upcoming writing project.


We worked on solving several challenging division word problems this week. The emphasis was on not getting overwhelmed by complicated wording in math problems and on showing mathematical thinking for an audience. This sort of work is excellent practice for the state test in May.


During our poetry workshop this week we looked at poems written for two voices. Students rehearsed and recited these types of poems in pairs and they tried to craft their own.


Enjoy the long weekend and I look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday!




Weekly Update 1/5/18

Dear Families,

It has definitely been a strange week with yesterday’s snow day and the Monday off. We still managed to fit in lots of learning and fun!

In math students have been working on solving division story problems, with and without remainders. Students have been sharing their solutions and giving classmates feedback on how accurate and efficient their solutions are.

Students have been reading more about the first people to settle in New Amsterdam. Each student chose to focus on either relations with the Native Americans, the significance of Fort Amsterdam, or the unfortunate reality of slavery in New Amsterdam. Next week kids will trade the information that they have learned with classmates.

Today in poetry we read the poem Flint, by Christina Rossetti. We talked about the symbolism in the poem and about what the poet was trying to communicate. I am encouraging students to memorize this poem at home this week for an extra challenge.

Next week we will begin our new writing project. Students will be writing narrative nonfiction picture books about some aspect of our New Amsterdam study. We will be looking at many examples of picture books that both inform and entertain the reader. You will be able to see the published books at our celebration in mid-February (date TBD).

The vacation homework projects turned out so nicely. You can see how much effort students put into this work and they felt so proud to share them with the class. See the attached photos of our “Gallery Walk.” Regular choice boards are coming home today. Three assignments are due next Friday and another three the following Friday.

I hope that everyone stays warm this weekend.

All the best,


Weekly Update 12/8/17

Dear Families,


We had a very pleasant field trip today to Poets House in Battery Park. Students toured the library, listened to and discussed poetry, and wrote poems. Special thanks to Ronny, Emily, Kirti, Michael, and Jenny for chaperoning the trip.


Homework in fourth grade will look very different for the next several weeks. Students received their new choice board for today and it is a special vacation homework choice board. There are three project choices on the board and students must choose one to complete over the next three weeks. The project assignment is due on January 2. We spent time in class talking about this special opportunity to creatively express their New Amsterdam learning. We also spoke a lot about the importance of time management when it comes to project work. We discussed that students who won’t be at home over the holiday break will need to work on the assignment over the next two weeks. Students who will have a lot of free time over the vacation can do the bulk of the work during that week. Please encourage your child to come to me with any questions about this new choice board. I am really looking forward to seeing the the finished projects. I will hold on to homework notebooks until after the winter break.


We spent a lot of time this week preparing for our ship voyage simulation game. As you can see from the photos, students created ships and ordered supplies for their journeys. We made a game board and we all sit around this big “map” when we play the game. So far two weeks have passed (in “simulation time”) and the weather has been sunny and crews are happy. Definitely ask your child about how she/he is feeling about the game.


Your child should have brought home her/his old math work earlier this week. This packet had a letter stapled to it explaining our new math unit. We are about to begin a unit that is both a continuation of our last multiplication unit and an introduction to division.


We have been enjoying this month’s focus on kindness and I have noticed students paying a bit of extra attention to how they are treating one another. One highlight from the week was the “Kindness Web” that we created. You can see in the photo that we used a ball of yarn to connect us all together and when we passed the yarn we gave a compliment to a classmate.


I hope that you all enjoy the weekend!




Weekly Update 12/1/17

Dear Families,


It was nice to see so many of you at the Family Visit yesterday. The students are really finding their poetry voices and writing and reciting such beautiful poems.


Next week we will be taking a field trip to Poets House in Battery Park. Poets House is a large poetry library that, among other things, runs poetry programs for children–  including free workshops for school groups! I am excited to have the opportunity to visit Poets House with the budding poets from 4-502. A big thank you to Ronny, Anoushka’s mother, for suggesting this field trip. Permission slips will be coming home on Monday.


Our field trip to see Wonder was a huge success. It was a perfect culmination to our study of the book and the kids thought it was the best field trip ever.  Thank you so much to Liat, Judah’s mother, and Denise, Luke’s mother, for arranging the trip with the theater. Check out the photos of the kids in their “premium” seats!


If you read or seen Wonder you should try to make time to do so. The message of the story is very powerful and it is one that we have been discussing a lot in school. We want to continue to talk about “Choosing Kind” in class and have decided to make December a month of kindness in 4-502. This doesn’t mean that we will only be kind to one another for the month, but it does mean that this important value will get a lot of attention this month.


Students have been divided into “Ship Groups” for our New Amsterdam study. These groups of four are working to learn all about 17th century explorer ships and what life was like on these ships. Today they began sketching their ships and next week we will begin our simulation game on this topic.


In math we have been learning about factors and multiples and about how you can use the factors of a smaller number to determine the factors of multiples of that number. For example, all of the factors of 100 are also factors of 700, but 700 has additional factors which can be found by multiplying one of 100s factors by seven. Interesting stuff!


I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend!




Weekly Update 11/22/17

Dear Families,


There are many important dates and notes for next week:


We will be taking a field trip to see Wonder on Tuesday morning. Your child is bringing home a permission slip today and there is a copy of the slip attached to this email. Please be sure to return the slip on Monday.


Our Family Visit will take place on Thursday, November 30 at 8:30 am.


Students have three choice board assignments due on Monday. The new choice board will go home on Monday (11/27) and two assignments will be due on the Friday (12/1). After that, we will return to our Friday-to-Friday schedule.



Students have been working very hard on their model Dutch buildings. You can see from the photos below that they are really coming along. Next week we will begin to make furnishings for the homes based on artwork that we have seen from the period and based on photos that we have seen of reproductions from the time.


As part of our current math unit on multiplication and division we have been looking at multiplicative comparison problems. These problems ask students to figure out amounts in comparison to a known quantity (if Joe picked 16 apples and Suzy picked five times as many…). These can be a bit tricky for kids to figure out because it can be hard to visualize what it happening in the problem.


We are almost ready to publish our persuasive pieces. Students have been much better at revising on this round of the writing process. It is great to see that they have internalized this important step.


We only have a few pages left to read in our class read aloud, Wonder. We will finish on Monday– just in time for watching the movie on Tuesday. We are all really looking forward to this special field trip and can’t wait to compare the movie to the book.


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope that everyone enjoys a relaxing few days of family, food, and good times.




Weekly Update 11/10/17

Dear Families,


There are lots of photos attached to this Weekly Update because we have had a busy week! We began the week with a field trip to the New York Historical Society (thank you to Elena, Katie, Melissa, Vicki, and Denise for chaperoning!) and are ending it on a high note with the Fourth Grade Bake Sale, organized by fourth grade students and their parents.


In other news, we welcomed Caroline, a student teacher from Bank Street, into our classroom this week. She will be with us three days a week until mid-January.


In writing we are using graphic organizers to plan out the arguments for our persuasive essays. Students have all chosen their topics, so please ask your child what he/she will be writing about.


In math we have been working on addition and subtraction problems with numbers in the ten thousands. Students are challenged by reading complex problems and figuring out how to set up the number sentences and they are also stretched by having to use the newly-learned (for most children) standard algorithm strategy to solve problems with such large numbers.


Students have begun to work on their New Amsterdam building models. They have had to use lots of patience in this process as they have carefully measured walls and beams and fastened cardboard pieces together with glue. You will be amazed when you see the finished model at our final celebration in a couple of months.


I am looking forward to seeing everyone next week at our Parent/Teacher conferences. Please let me know if there is anything in particular that you would like me to think about or gather before our meeting.


Please remember to send in Book Fair money ($10.00) with your child. The form is coming come– a little late– this afternoon. Our class will be visiting the Book Fair on Wednesday morning.


Stay warm and enjoy the weekend!



Weekly Update 11/3/17

Dear Families,


We had a great week in 4-502. It was lots of fun to see everyone in costume on Halloween (see photos below) and we enjoyed greeting many of you at the parade.

On Monday morning we will be heading to the New York Historical Society for a program on New Amsterdam. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for good weather, but if it does look like it’s going to rain please send your child with a rain jacket and umbrella. We will need to walk to and from the subway. Also, please be sure to send your child to school with lunch, unless you noted on the permission slip that he/she should get a bagged school lunch.

We are beginning a round of book groups in class. Students will be reading a title along with several classmates and meeting together on a regular basis to discuss the nuances of the text. This is a time when I push kids to read a bit outside of their comfort zones and they are expected to think deeply and respond in writing to what they are reading. Students should continue to read their independent reading books at home.

Students are loving our weekly poetry workshops. At this point, kids have written three different poems that were inspired by the three “mentor poems” we have been studying. Students are trying out poetic devices like similes, metaphors, repetition, and personification. You will be very impressed when you see the work of these student poets!

We began learning about Henry Hudson and his role in the history of New Amsterdam. Ask you child to tell you a bit about him and about his first voyage in search of a Northeast Passage.

If you haven’t signed up for a Parent/Teacher Conference time, please be sure to do so. am looking forward to seeing you all at conferences.

Have a wonderful weekend!