March is on its Way!

Hopefully we will be out of the deep freeze soon! Please remember that if the windchill is zero or above students will go out for recess! We have had many children not dressing appropriately for the cold.  Please make sure that your child has a hat, mittens or gloves, boots and a warm jacket.  Many of our students are choosing to go outside without hats, mittens, boots and even their coats! Please remind your child that they need to wear the appropriate items for cold weather as they are outside for 15 to 30 minutes.

Math ~  We have started our Fractions Unit. We began with a review of fractions and what a unit fraction is (one piece of the whole), we learned that ALL unit fractions will have a 1 in the numerator (top number). Students have practiced adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators (the bottom number).  We have also started to convert mixed numbers in to improper fractions! Have your child practice these skills by using any of the fraction apps on the iPad and completing the Fraction chapter in Splash Math on the iPad.

Writing ~ We have begun our Literary Essay Unit. Yes, your child is learning how to write a literary essay in fourth grade! Wow!  We are writing a whole class essay using the story Fox. Your child has also been given a short story that they will be using to write their own literary essay.  We began this week by  looking closely at the characters in our stories and writing about their traits, struggles, motivations, changes and relationships.

Reading ~ We are continuing our Fantasy unit.  We have been reading The Lightning Thief and mining the story for possible themes and looking for life lessons that we can learn from the characters.

Social Studies ~ We have been taking an in depth look at each of the five themes of geography (MR. HELP), ask your child to name each theme.  This week we focused on Human/Environment Interactions and Regions.  Ask your child for examples of physical characteristics and human characteristics of a place (we looked closely at Yellowstone and Denali National Park).

Dates to Remember:

Tuesday, March 3 ~ NO SCHOOL: Teacher Inservice

Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13 ~ Half Days am: Records Days

Monday, March 16 – Wednesday, March 18: Parent Teacher Conferences



Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I want to start out by thanking all of the parent volunteers that donated items and volunteered their time to help with the class party! A special thank you to Paige Tober for planning it all!  The children and a lot of fun and especially enjoyed handing out and reading their Valentine’s. Check out the Valentine’s Day Party slideshow at the end of this post!

Math ~ We are working our way through our Measurement unit.  This week we focused on the U.S. Customary units of measurement and making conversions between units.  We also created conversion flip books to help us out with making our conversions.  We also learned the formulas for finding the are and perimeter of any rectangle!

Reading ~  We are continuing our study of the fantasy genre with our reading of The Lightning Thief.  This week we focused on trying not to become plot junkies, skimming through the slower parts of the book in order to see what happens next.  We learned that the slower parts are often the places where the character learns an important life lesson and in turn teaches us an important life lesson that we can apply to ourselves in our every day life.

Writing ~ We are putting the finishing touches on our Informational Books. This week we finalized our text features, completed our glossaries and began the revision and editing process. Please ask your child to share their book with you this weekend!

Social Studies ~ We finished up our Black History Month studies by creating a Black History Month Class Quilt. It is hanging in the 4th grade hallway. If you get a chance please come check it out! We have also begun our Geography Unit.  We started by learning a rap to teach us about the 5 Themes of Geography.  We also learned the acronym MR. HELP to remind us what each of the 5 themes are.  We are taking a closer look at each theme within the context of the United States.  We will culminating project will be a media presentation on the 5 Themes of Geography as they relate to a specific region of the United States,  we will be using the app Explain Everything to create our media projects.


February 20 ~ Art to Remember  orders due

February 24 ~ Talent Show permission forms due

March 3 ~  No School ~ Teacher In-Service

March 9 ~ Full Day of School 

March 12 ~ Half Day ~ Records Day

March 13 ~ Half Day ~ Records Day   Dive In at SL Aquatic Center

March 16-18 ~ Parent Teacher Conferences



This blog post is for last week and our short week this week! I hope everyone enjoyed their Mid-Winter Break! My family had the pleasure of driving to Brighton and back in Sunday’s snowstorm! The good news is they won and will advance to the next round of the playoffs!

Math ~ We finished up Unit 4 and have started Unit 5.  Unit 5 is all about measurement. We reviewed the Metric units of measurement that students learned last year and practiced doing some conversions, we also made a conversion chart to help us out.  Today we will be reviewing time and working on elapsed time.  A great way to help your child with this difficult concept is to ask them questions about your daily schedule. An example is: School starts at 8:45 am.  Students go out for lunch at 12:05pm. How much time has elapsed? 3hrs. 20 min.  Ask these types of questions frequently!

Writing ~ We learned how to write introductions for our informational books. We tried two different types, setting the scene and making a comparison. Students then chose what they thought was their best introduction to add to their books. We also worked on writing conclusions. We talked about how conclusions revisit the most important information in the book and leave the reader with a lasting thought or a call to action.  Students wrote two different conclusions and again chose the best one to add to their books.

Reading ~ We learned a little Latin this week!  We looked at an old map called the Carta Marina and found that it had the words “Hic Sunt Dracones” (Here Be Dragons) on it and pictures of dragons and sea monsters! We learned that ancient cartographers (map makers) used that as a warning to tell sailors that it was a dangerous place.  We then discussed how characters in the books we read have metaphorical dragons inside of them that haunt them and color the way they react to different situations.  We also learned that everyone has metaphorical dragons to deal with.

Social Studies ~ We are continuing our Black History Month studies.  We have learned about slavery, a little about the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement and important people from these time periods, for example, Ruby Bridges, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Fedrick Douglass to name a few.  Students are creating quilt squares to showcase some of what they have learned. These will be displayed in the hallway.

Science ~ Last week Friday we completed an Owl Pellet Dissection lab. Students had a great time trying to discover what animal(s) their owl had eaten! Enjoy the slideshow of our lab!

Dates to Remember:

February 13th Last day for chocolate sale.

March 3 No School ~ Teacher Inservice

March 9 Full Day of school.


Reminder: Jonas Saunders Writing Contest Deadline is Monday!

2015 Jonas C. Saunders Literary Award

The Saunders Family and the Spring Lake Schools Foundation are proud sponsors of the Jonas C. Saunders Literary Award.  The award annually recognizes outstanding young writers in Spring Lake Public Schools in memory of Jonas C. Saunders, former President of the Spring Lake Schools Foundation and Spring Lake alum.  Mr. Saunders was the chair of the foundation’s Ladders to Literacy campaign. As an English major graduate from the University of Michigan, he had a passion and flair for writing as well as promoting the youth in our community.  He was also a talented attorney, devoted father of four, husband, and community leader.


  1. One literary award will be presented in each of the three age groups:  1st grade through 4th; 5th through 8th; and 9th through 12th.  Each winner will have two copies of his or her book published by the Spring Lake Schools Foundation.  One copy will be presented to the author and one will be gifted to the author’s school library. Copyrights will be retained by the writer.
  2. Each entry must be an original and unpublished work of the entrant. The work must be completed solely by the author, without editing or writing assistance from anyone else.
  3. Literary works may be fiction or non-fiction.
  4. Please limit your entries to no more than the following word counts:
  • 1,000 words maximum for grades 1 through 4
  • 2,500 words maximum for grades 5 through 8
  • 5,000 words maximum for grades 9 through 12
  1. Entries must be typed on 8½ by 11-inch paper and double-spaced.
  2. Authors must be students of Spring Lake Public Schools.
  3. The name, address and phone number of the young writer must not appear on the entry. Entrants must type his or her name, address, phone number, school, grade and the title of their submission as well as the first 12 words of his or her entry on a separate 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper.
  4. The entry may be illustrated but the judging of the entries will be based on literary merit only.
  5. A scholarship totaling $500 will be given to the winner of the high school division.

How to Enter

Please mail or deliver 3 complete copies in a sealed envelope to:

Spring Lake Schools Foundation
2014 Jonas C. Saunders Literary Award
345 Hammond Street
Spring Lake, MI 49456

Due Date:  Monday, February 9, 2015

Students may use a piece that was written for school.