Class Update

Dear Families,

With a quarter of the school year already behind us, it is a good time to check in with your child to see if they need more supplies, such as pencils, erasers, and extra lead for those with mechanical pencils. It is also a good time to make sure you have wide ruled notebook filler paper at home for your child. Finally, please continue to check in with your child about homework. The easiest way to do this is to go over your child’s homework planner with them each evening, and remember to always have them look ahead and not just at tomorrow.


This week, the class learned how to play Name that Number. Directions for the game can be found below, and the game can be played with a regular deck of playing cards (Jacks = 11, Queens = 12, and Kings = 13). When playing with your child, please keep in mind that they have not been introduced to the order of operations yet, and were only introduced to the use of parentheses last year. Games provide the opportunity for frequent practice that is necessary to attain mastery of skills, and games do not tend to become tedious, as drills sometimes do. Another great game to play with your child is Yahtzee. We have not played it in class, yet, but will in the next few weeks.

On Tuesday, each student was given a light bulb, a battery, and a wire, and then asked to make light. After several perplexing moments, the children began to touch, arrange, and twist components. Three minutes later 70% of the class made light through the process of discovery. This is how they were introduced to simple circuits. On Wednesday, they were introduced to the power of the switch, and they will have an engineering challenge on Friday. If they have not yet shared with you what they have learned, ask them. You might be shocked.

At our full faculty meeting on Tuesday, the faculty discussed the book The Tech Savvy User’s Guide to the Digital World by Lori Getz. The book is written for tweens/teens and focuses on how to safely and smartly navigate the digital world and how to have a positive online presence. At the end of the discussion, I reflected on how I was told growing up to “look left, look right, look left, again” when crossing the street and “Don’t talk to strangers” when I was out and about on my own at ten and eleven. It made me wonder what cautionary words the children of today are being told as they get closer to exploring the internet on their own. When visiting sites that allow comments, like YouTube, are they making comments? How are they processing the comments of others? When playing online games like Minecraft, are they “talking” to strangers? Do they know what to share and what not share? If you haven’t started having these conversations with your children, now might be the right time to start. Lori Getz will be presenting on Thursday, November 29 from 6:00-8:00 pm. Keep your eyes on the Gateway Family News for more information.

Grandfriends’ Day is in a couple of weeks, and the fourth grade hosts a very special spaghetti squash luncheon. Please be sure your child’s guests RSVP to by November 17th so we can plan accordingly.

Finally, as a reminder, next Friday, November 17th, is a half day. Dismissal is at noon, and child care is available at no charge until 3:00 pm.

Your children continue to be thoughtful and engaged writers. Last Friday, we had a special guest in our writing class: John Malkin. John told the class about his experience as a journalist and led everyone in a fun and dynamic lesson, which gave fourth graders a chance to interview someone they admire (represented by their interview partner). Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and knowledge with us, John! If any of you would like to share your experiences as a writer with the fourth graders, please let us know and we’ll find a time that works.

Kaia and Kurt

Let There Be Light

Rules for Name That Number

(click above to zoom)

When using a regular deck of cards, have Jacks = 11, Queens = 12, and Kings = 13.