Tuesday, January 8, 2019


The fourth grade had an exciting December completing a number of projects, participating in many December activities and of course getting ready for the arrival of Jesus at Christmas.  To get ready we decorated our classroom and made advent wreaths to remind us that Christmas is about Jesus.  Before vacation we had a big party to celebrate Christmas!

In writing the fourth grade completed their five paragraph essays on a hero of their choice, describing three character traits that person has(d) that contributed to them becoming heroes.  They also practiced their presentation skills by presenting their essays to their classmates and receiving feedback and questions from them.

In reading we completed "The Tiger Rising" by Kate DiCamillo.  The class focused on reading intently to figure out the meaning of all an author includes to develop the theme of the story, such as character traits, recurring objects, words and actions.  We analyzed the big life issues that DiCamillo included in this story, and what we can learn from the character's experience.  To end the unit we discussed how every book we read changes us and becomes part of us. The girls created book marks depicting themes, quotes, life lessons and illustrations from the books that they read over the last 2 years that have made an impact on them in some way.

A group of students discussing how the main character Rob dealt with losing a loved one.

Examples of Bookmarks

This month we multiplied 2 digit numbers by 2 digit numbers using different strategies to multiply big numbers, such as area models, the distributive property and the standard algorithm.  We also began our division unit and divided numbers using basic facts, compatible numbers to estimate quotients and practiced the standard algorithm to divide two and three digit numbers by a one digit number.  We continue to tackle and persevere through multi-step word problems using all the math skills covered since September.  They are excited to learn new math and are doing a great job!

In December we began Unit 3, Growth and Development.  In this unit we learned about the Life Cycles of plants and animals such as the frog and butterfly.  We also learned about the different way animals grow, such as metamorphosis, shedding an exoskeleton or growing their bones like we do.  The girls had a great time illustrating the different Life Cycles and learning the different stages through music.  Frog Life Cycle song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrXww4oZrsI  and the Butterfly Life Cycle song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rvGUevGxDk

Social Studies
We completed out Native American unit in December.  The girls wrote a research report on the Longhouse and the Native Americans that built them.  They also used technology to research how they are built and engineering skills to build longhouses in the classroom in groups.  The girls are looking forward to presenting them to their parents and other students in the school.  Even the classroom elf loved them because we found her inside one!

Leigha and Kaitlin received their Pen Awards this month for writing neatly on an ongoing basis.

Christmas Show and Celebrations!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


We have really gotten in the swing of the fourth grade in November.  The students are accustomed to our daily routines and have been improving their organizational skills to get ready for middle school. This month we thanked Veteran's for their service in our prayers, and we prayed for those afflicted by tragedy and sickness.  We also focused on all our blessings including our families, friends and school community during the Thanksgiving holiday.  We even had a Thanksgiving feast!

In Language Arts we began reading the "Tiger Rising" by Kate DiCamillo.  Our goal during this Realistic Fiction Unit is to analyze our characters by thinking deeply about their words, actions, and thoughts to understand their character traits.  We are also growing ideas and building theories about our characters and why they act the way that they do.  Understanding characters at another level makes reading more interesting!

In writing the girls have been working on the format of a five paragraph essay and will be publishing their first essay on a "hero" of their choice in early December.  We spent the month working on describing and analyzing all the five elements of an essay; introduction, body paragraph 1, body paragraph 2, body paragraph 3, and conclusion.  The students also used the internet to research information on their hero.  We are looking forward to sharing all of our hard work!

The students also completed their trimester 1 Independent Reading Project.  Students created Book Advertisements for one of the books they have read since September.  This project culminated with them each presenting their advertisement to a group of students.  This was a great exercise to develop their public speaking skills.

In math the students first worked on multiplying 2 digit numbers  by a one digit number, using all different strategies aligned to the common core standards.  Next, we multiplied 2 digit numbers by 2 digit numbers using the same strategies.  In addition we continue to tackle and persevere through multi-step word problems using all the math skills covered since September.  The girls have been really exercising their math brains!!

This month we completed Unit 2 of our science curriculum.  We learned about the characteristics and needs of living and non-living things, traits of living things, characteristics of animals and plants, adaptations, and response and behavior of organisms to environmental changes.  In this unit the girls collaborated with a partner to research an animal of their choice and writing about what characteristics and adaptations that animal has to survive in their habitat.

Social Studies
We have been studying the Native Americans this month.  We reviewed the theories of how Native Americans reached the Americas.  Then, students focused on the Algonquian and Iroquois tribes which settled in what is New York State today.  We have been discussing their culture and customs both long ago and today.  This unit will conclude in the month of December with students working in groups of 3 to build longhouse models in the classroom.  We will invite parents to see them when they are completed.

Girls that earned their Pen Certificates

Stepping into the shoes of our characters...

The girls wrote stories with symbols in art like the Native Americans

Sharing our book advertisements

Thanksgiving Party

Winners of Halloween Art Contest

Sharing the Science Project

Writing character analysis

Science Writing Project

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


October was a great month for the fourth grade. The girls continued to work on their organizational skills as they acclimated to the fourth grade routines. We also had a great time participating in the charity events at Visitation Academy and practicing to grow the Kingdom of God by giving to others and being kind to each other. 

We finished reading “Love that Dog” closely and not only analyzed all kinds of poems using our Poetry Toolbox,  we wrote a number of poems utilizing poetry elements. As a final assignment students wrote about how Jack, the main character changes from the beginning to the end of the story. 

In writing the girls wrote many “perfect paragraphs” containing the 5 elements of a paragraph. They are now ready to write their first five paragraph essay in November. 

In addition students shared their writing with partners to help each other edit their work as well as presented their writing pieces to the class working on their presentation skills. 

In science students completed their first science unit concluding with displaying data graphically. Students tracked lunchtime temperature for 10 days recording data on a chart. Then they plotted the data on a line graph to show the change in temperature over the ten days. 

Social Studies
Students completed the geography of New York State unit by each being a cartographer. They each made a map of New York with landforms, bodies of water, regions and natural resources. All maps included a map key as well. The girls used their text book as well as the internet in collaboration with a partner to complete their maps. 

Students continued to work with big numbers. They reviewed adding and subtracting as well as began the multiplication unit working with factors and multiples to get ready for three and four digit multiplication strategies and fractions.   We continued to practice our multiplication facts all month. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


The fourth grade was very busy in the month of September.  We began the school year with getting to know each other as a class and created our class rules:

  • work hard together
  • never give up
  • be kind and helpful
  • be respectful
  • be positive
  • be responsible
We began the year by sharing our summer essays including the t-shirts that all the girls created to demonstrate the theme of their summer independent book.  Also we began to analyze "Love that Dog" by Sharon Creech as a class.  We are loving to read and write poetry just like Jack using our "Poetry Tool Box," (the different elements that poets use to write poems).

We have also been practicing to analyze non-fiction texts to identify the main idea, details and cause and effect.  In addition, all the girls read at least one fiction book independently, while they keep a log of their reading time.

In writing we have been focusing on writing paragraphs that have all 5 elements of a good paragraph including: one main idea, a topic sentence, 3-5 details, and a closing sentence.

We began the year with discussing place value and reading and working with numbers up to one million.  Then we began to add and subtract big numbers using the standard algorithm, and solving word problems by using the Understand, Plan, Solve and Check method.

September started with the girls discussing that there are all kinds of scientists and careers in science. We are well into Unit One of our books having learned the scientific method, lab safety rules, tools for experimenting, and analyzing and displaying data.  Students recorded the temperature for 2 weeks and created two graphic organizers, a chart and a line graph to display their data.

Social Studies
In social studies we spent the month of September reviewing geography skills.  The fourth grade practiced their geography skills by using globes and different types of maps.  Now they will be focusing on the geography of New York State and creating their own map of NY.

This month we have been discussing how to continue to build our relationship with Jesus through his word, actions and prayer.  The girls worked in a group to produce a short play of what they thought Jesus would have said to the early disciples.  The students also made frames acknowledging that they are disciples of Jesus.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Welcome to the Fourth Grade!

September 2018

Dear Fourth Grade Parents,

Welcome to the fourth grade!  I am looking forward to an exciting year full of learning and achievement.  

Fourth grade will continue to build on the foundation skills your daughters have developed through the third grade.  This year will expand upon and add breadth to their learning.  We will cover the core subjects aligned to the New York State Common Core Curriculum Standards focusing on becoming sophisticated readers and writers while acquiring what are being called the 21st century skills:

-Learning and innovation skills: creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration
-Life and career skills:  flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural skills and productivity and accountability
-Information, Media Literacy and Technology skills

This year we will continue to broaden reading skills and foster a love for reading.  We will begin the year analyzing characters and learn to read with inference and interpretation, developing text-based theories about characters and supporting those theories with evidence from the text.  We will also read Non-fiction, Historical Fiction, Poetry, conduct an author study, participate in reading clubs and learn about other core areas through reading such as social studies.

As mentioned above, students will be focusing on expanding their writing skills.  We will spend the next few months working on mastering writing a well developed, five paragraph essay.  In addition students will work on meaningful independent stories, as well as pieces in specific genres including, personal narratives, informational essays and persuasive essays.  Students will also have the opportunity to write on topics of their own choice.  

Science-Technology-Engineering-and Mathematics (STEM) is integrated into our curriculum.  The class will be working on projects throughout the year in any subject area focusing on STEM areas. 

As you are aware, fourth graders will take a number of standardized tests and they will be administered on the following dates:
-The Terra Nova, October 9th-19th
-The New York English Language Arts (ELA) April 2 –April 3
-Mathematics, May 1 – May 2
-Science, June 3

Classroom Tests will be announced at least one week prior to the test.  Notice will be written in the student’s homework (HW) notebook.  Please look in your daughter’s HW notebook daily.  Quizzes and Math assessments may be unannounced. All tests must be signed and returned.

Homework will be assigned to reinforce concepts learned in the classroom.  Students are expected to read 30 minutes every day.  Also, students must study Worldly Wise, Math, Science and Social Studies daily as the work is assigned.

Again, it is my pleasure to take your daughter’s fourth grade journey with her.  I am dedicated to her success and fostering a love for life-long learning.  Please contact me acoluccio@visitationacademy.net with any questions on the above or any other items you would like to discuss.

Mrs. Coluccio