Curriculum Update

Here a quick curriculum update about what is currently happening in the 4th grade classroom.
We are now on Chapter 8 in our religion books. We are learning about God’s Law. This is the beginning of our in-depth study of the Ten Commandments. After this chapter, each chapter will focus on a commandment. Last week we learned about the Feast of the Epiphany and discussed the two required prayers for 4th graders to learn which are the Prayer for Peace and the Memorae.
We are on Unit 4 Equations and Word Problems. This is a more difficult unit for 4th graders as they learn to write equations with a symbol or variable for the unknown number to represent the problem. They are also asked to represent statements of multiplicative comparisons as multiplication equations. Later on in this chapter they will also learn to write equations to represent problems with more than one step. Some students are being challenged trying to write the situation equation when it calls for it, but I expect that all students will be able to write their solution equations for their problems.
We started our new novel before break, Esperanza Rising. This is by the same author as Riding Freedom and will allow the students to complete an author study when we are done.
Infused in our literature block this trimester will also be informational texts. These are short passages about a variety of topics. On Monday students read about Rosa Parks for example. Tomorrow we will start reading part of What was the Gold Rush? to help support their upcoming unit in Social Studies. We will also be utilizing Time for Kids and other news articles as students learn to break down these informational texts, summarize them, have opinions and support their opinions with facts from the text.
This trimester we have been focusing on informational writing as students researched, took notes, wrote rough drafts and have been typing final drafts about their mission. It is my hope that we will complete these essays by next week. We will start to write written responses to the texts that we are using in literature to further work on informational writing the rest of the trimester.
Students will also continue to work on their writing in regards to our literature standards as they explain different aspects of our class novel and write character paragraphs and responses to literature as we read.
We continue to move forward in our grammar book and will learn about verb phrases, irregular verbs, and verb tenses.

Mass, Missions and Other Things…

Just a quick update on all the happenings in 4th grade.
This Friday, December 1st, 4th and 5th grade will be in charge of mass. The students listed below have been assigned a part in the mass. Please know not everyone could participate since the mass is shared with another grade.
Belen – Mary
Owen – St. Patrick
Thiago – St. Nicholas
Kenzie – Diamond
First Reading
Prayers of the Faithful
Gift Bearer
We hope you can join us at this wonderful celebration.
Mission Information
Field Trip
Next Monday, December 4th, we will be going on our field trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano. We will gather at school at 7:45 and drive to the Solana Beach train station. We will take the 9:05 train to San Juan Capistrano. In the past some parents wanted to meet AT the train station. Please let me know if you are planning on that so we don’t wait at school for you. If you are planning on meeting us there, please try to be there by 8:30 or so. Since we have a large group they will need us to line up on the platform prior and the elevator or journey down can take a bit.
Students should wear jeans and their Stella Maris Academy polos and sweatshirts. If there is rain, they will need a rain jacket. Please pack a sack lunch for the day with snacks for the train as well. Some students have enjoyed bringing card games and things for the train trip. Please no cell phones.
We will be returning on a later train, the 1:49 train. This train will arrive in Solana Beach at 2:42 and then we will make our trip back to school from there.
Students were given permission slips this morning. Please sign and return these by Thursday. I have attached one to this email as well.
Mission Reports
Prior to break your child received their mission report packet. In the packet were suggested art project ideas. Please review this packet with your child and decide on an art project together. Mission art projects are due Wednesday, December 13th.
Please see email for assigned missions and mission packet.
Christmas Play
About half the class has a speaking part in the play and will be at practice on Wednesday mornings. The whole class is learning 4 songs. The costumes this year will be the same as last year, shepherd attire or dressed as people living during the time of Christ’s birth. If your child has a speaking part or other part, please check with them as to what they should wear or contact Ms. Misleh.
The dress rehearsal for the play will be at 1 pm on December 14th. The evening performance will be at 6 the same night.
Upcoming Events
Float Building 8 am in the senior yard alley
STEAM Maker Festival at the Del Mar Fairgrounds 10-3. Please see Mrs. Zack for student tickets if you are interested in attending.
Dads’ Club Wine, Beer, and Dessert Tasting 7-10 in the Parish Hall
La Jolla Christmas Parade

Welcome to 4th Grade!

Welcome to 4th grade!!!
I know many of you are soaking up the last few days of summer, but as the weekend approaches and you begin to get your child ready for their first day of school on Monday, I wanted to send a quick email to highlight a few things. 
I am looking forward to an exciting year getting to know all of you and meeting you at Back to School Night on August 30th at 6 pm. There will be new family reception in the junior yard at 5 pm, so come welcome all the new SMA families!!
In order to best assist your child this year I am asking if you could get their Case It/Accordion File set up in a similar way

  • Home
  • Paper
  • Religion
  • Word Skills
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Writing
  • Projects
  • (Spanish?)​ – Mrs. di Lorenzo has requested a yellow folder so this section might not be necessary but last year some students placed their yellow folder in it in order to be ready for homework.
Thanks! I used to have students do it themselves the first week and some were frustrated that it wasn’t as neat as they wanted. This way they can do it with you or you can help and make sure they get a great start on organization in 4th grade.
Also, if you can send earbuds or headphones in with your child that would be helpful. We no longer order school headphones and this enables each child to have their own without issue. 
Lastly, if you could take the time to write me a letter about your child, I would really appreciate it. In the letter you might include a brief biography, special abilities, fears, strengths, weaknesses, and past school experiences.  You may also tell me about your expectations for this year, from your child, the school, yourself, and me.  Tell me about the things that you want me to remember while I work with your child in fourth grade. Please be honest and complete.
Okay, if you made it this far, thanks so much for reading! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

Summer Work

Hi parents,

The school is hoping that fourth and fifth graders read 5 books over the summer and record them on the sheet provided to your student this week. I know a lot of papers came home this week, so I am attaching it just in case it has been misplaced. If they read 5 books and submit the paper in the fall, they will attend the Ice Cream Social in September.

Also, your child is asked to complete 8 ALEKS assignments over the summer. These are already available to them. I would suggest they complete the assignments before finishing their ALEKS pie because then I will need to reassign the assignments. Each assignment has about 20 questions and students need to complete each assignment with a 90% or better. There is a quick retake option that will allow them to only redo the problems that they missed. Some parents have expressed that they don’t know where to locate the assignments. In the upper left hand corner of the ALEKS home screen there are three lines.Click on that and then click on Assignments. These assignments shouldn’t take very long and should just keep their math skills fresh for the new school year. Please see the letter below from the math department.

Over the summer it is recommended that each child work on ALEKS as frequently as possible. ALEKS work should become part of your child’s routine at home learning during the summer months. This summer assignment for ALEKS is to complete 8 ALEKS Assignments from June 19th until August 18th. Each will be made available all summer long for your convenience (as we know some families travel during some of the summer months).  Students are also encouraged to continue to work on their persona lALEKS Pie this summer. Once school begins again, your child will be given a new personal ALEKS Pie to work on for the coming year. These summer assignments will be given as your first grade of the new school year.  Additionally, those students who complete the summer assignments with a score of 85% will be included in a start of year pancake breakfast. The math teachers will serve you as a thank you for taking your math learning seriously!


SMA Math Department

If you need your child’s username and password, please feel free to email me. Also, if they finish their pie over the summer, email me and I will move them up. I will have access to all of their accounts until August.

Reminders 1/6

Well we are slowly getting back into the school groove again!
I wanted to remind you of two things:
1. Tomorrow is a mass uniform day since we will be going to mass at 11:15 as a school.
2. Please make sure your child has all of their mission research materials available tomorrow. Students are completing their research and finishing rough drafts. Some have begun typing, but there are a few students that are stuck saying all of their materials are at home. Please send everything that is at home back and please let them keep it at school until we are done with our rough drafts as a class.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear parents,
I hope today your were able to see the gratitude pumpkins we made in class. I am so thankful for all of your children, they truly are such blessings to me each and every day.
I won’t be here tomorrow as I will be beginning my 60 mile journey (20 miles a  day) and will be thinking of all of you as I walk. Thank you for your prayers and support. I feel so blessed to be a teacher here at SMA.
Tomorrow is Dollar Denim day if your child wants to participate in that. There will be a Student of the Month assembly where students that met their AR goal will be mentioned. The following students met their AR goal this last trimester:
Great job 4th grade!! 
Students asked me today if there would be homework over the holiday. I pretended that they were going to owe me a 10 page paper on Thanksgiving! They were laughing by the end of it, and NO, I DID NOT ASSIGN A PAPER!! I did tell them though that if they are looking for something to do, reading and reviewing those multiplication and division facts are always a good idea.
When we return, we will be going to the mission on Tuesday, November 29th. Know that students will need a sack lunch on that day and can wear jeans and athletic shoes, but they must wear their uniform polos and sweatshirts on the top!!
That same week, on Friday, December 2nd, we are also in charge of the mass with 5th grade. Your child might be reading or participating in some way. I will update you on Monday, November 28th as to what everyone is doing, but consider saving the date!! Does anyone have a Saint Patrick’s costume or a St. Nick’s costume? We also might be in need of a Mary costume. Let me know if you can help us out.
Don’t forget that the Christmas pageant is coming on Wednesday, December 14th!! Most students need to be dressed like citizens of Bethlehem – think shepherds!! On that same night, starting at 5:15 in the Parish Hall, the advisory board will be giving a State of the School address updating you about all the great things we have been doing at SMA and what we hope to do in the future. We hope you can join us as well as save your seat for the pageant immediately following.
Phew, I feel like the year if flying by and it will be Christmas break before we know it. Have a wonderful break!
Mrs. Katie Zack


Just a few reminders:
Your child has Spanish homework for Tuesday, assigned last Thursday. We realized that bringing home their yellow Spanish folder and Spanish notebook might be helpful, so they should have gone home yesterday.

For Tuesday:

For all the students:

Go to: ,  sing the song and memorize it.

Go to: , play the game and print out/ write down the score you got. Save your score in your carpeta amarilla.

Also, we will begin working on their Saint report in class this week. Please make sure your child has some information about their saint with them on Monday. This will need to be available over the coming weeks, so please leave it in the religion section of their accordion files.

Notes from Mrs. Z 10.10

Hi parents,
I hope you are enjoying your 3 day weekend. I am heading out in a few minutes for a training walk and figured I would take a minute to write to all of you and update you on a few things.
We have been learning about sin and how to make choices that lead us away from sin. Students used their bibles to read the Parable of the Good Samaritan and reflected on what this parable meant for them in their lives. They are working in groups to create a puppet show to share this story with each other and with our TK buddies.
We will be moving on to their saint project this week. Please take some time and determine what saint your child would like to learn about this year. This site might help you pick a saint if you move through their feast days. I will be asking what saint they picked on Thursday.
I shared with them yesterday that on Friday, November 4th they will need to come dressed as a saint for our All Saints’ Day celebration and mass. I told them they could wear a costume of a saint they already had, but I wanted them to learn about a NEW saint during class this year.
Spelling and Vocabulary
The students have asked to have the opportunity to play games and things on Spelling City. Please know their list for this week has been uploaded. I shared with them yesterday that instead of doing the packet this week they could choose to complete the assigned spelling activities on Spelling City instead.
Their vocabulary words are on there as well if they wanted to play games, but I will be uploading a link in to Planbook this weekend to help with studying for the test.
The students have continued to learn about prepositions finding them, finding the oject of a prepositional phrase and now know how to eliminate the prepositional phrase and find the subject and verb. Next week we will be learning about compound subjects and verbs.
Literature and Writing
We finished War with Grandpa this week. Next week we will review and discuss the book and take a test on the book. Students will be working on a personal narrative as well. Their narrative will need to have 3 main events, details and dialogue. They are anxious to be using the Chromebooks again for their final version of their essay.
Students were also given a sheet with their AR goal this week and where they were in regards to their goal. Many students were taking AR tests this week and I am sure they will continue to do so. When a student finishes a books they are reading independently they should come to school and take a test on it. This assesses their comprehension of the novel and moves them towards reaching their goal. We already have a few students that have met their goal for this trimester and are seeing how far they can get before November 11th!
We introduced the area model of multiplication this week and will be learning the shortcut method this coming week. Students should continue to work on their multiplication facts if this is an issue. Some students were struggling with their 6s, 7s, and 8s, so if you are looking for something to do this weekend consider having them play some multiplication games online. Students were asked to complete 2-3 ALEKS topics by Tuesday and were told there would be a prize for the person that completed the most topics this weekend.
Social Studies
It looks like students are hard at work learning about California’s native people. They were asked to draw a house of the native people I believe so maybe ask them about that!
Many students wanted to bring in their rock collections or something. If your child would like to bring something to share on Tuesday, please have them do so. We are still learning about one another and coming together as a class community and this could be a wonderful time to learn more about one another.
Okay, I better get going! Have a great one!
Mrs. Katie Zack

Note from Mrs. Z week of 9.12

Hi everyone,
I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I wanted to take a moment and remind you about some events next week and update you on what has been going on in class.
Dates to Remember
  • Monday, September 12th – Monday Morning Mass. Students gather in the junior yard at 7:45 am. We will find our TK buddies and head to mass. Please know students wear their regular uniform, NOT mass uniform.
  • Homework Help with Mrs. Z –  3:15-3:45 on Monday. Let me know if you want your child to stay. If you are not there at 3:45, your child will be escorted to Extended Care.
  • Thursday, September 15th – School Picture Day – Mass Uniform. Consider a change of clothes for after pictures depending on temperature.
  • STAR testing will start this week
General Announcements
Students have PE in the afternoon on Monday and Wednesday. Please make sure they have water bottles to stay hydrated during these warm months.
Several students are still missing their one book cover. This book cover is needed to cover their Social Studies book and is required in 4th grade. Also, a few students still don’t have scissors or art supplies.
By now, all accordion files are hopefully labeled. I will be checking them next week. Please know that the accordion file should have had 12 or more tabs. I believe we have a few with only 7. This is not enough to cover all the subjects and to make sure they have a place to put all their papers.
Students were assigned math homework over the weekend, 1-5. A lot of class time was given for this on Friday, so don’t be surprised if your child tells you they already completed it. Please know math will be assigned over the weekend as was discussed at Back to School Night.
Please make sure to check Planbook EACH night. Homework can change based off of what happens during instruction time during the day. We are asked as teachers to have a general idea for the week to assist parents and students in planning, but there needs to be some flexibility especially in regards to math. Mr. K will be adding science homework this week as well I believe.
What is happening in 4th grade?
Religion: This week we worked on Chapter 1 and learned about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
Reading: We focused on story vocabulary and the elements of plot. We will be starting our first novel on Monday.
Writing: Students completed a graphic organizer for their own tall tale and some students began their rough drafts. We will continue to work on these next week.
Math: Students were introduced to standard form, expanded form, and word form of multi-digit numbers. Students also learned to compare large numbers and how to round them. According to the quiz they took on Friday, more focus on rounding large numbers needs to continue to occur. We will be moving on the multi-digit addition and subtraction next week. Since students all seemed to have a strong grasp on multi-digit addition on the pre-assessment so we will quickly review this skill and spiral back for more time on rounding and move forward with multi-digit subtraction.
Word Skills: Students started to learn about prepositions. We also started our first lesson in spelling and vocabulary. Students will be taking their Spelling and vocab test on Friday. Students were given their logins to Spelling City if they wanted to play some games there, and I also uploaded a Quizlet for their vocabulary words on Planbook if this is a preferred way for your child to study. I will be helping students work through their first spelling packet and unit 1 vocab book work in class this week. Slowly this will become more of a homework focus, but I want to get them used to this idea.
Social Studies with Ms. Griffin: Students started working on Chapter 1. They learned about the four questions geographers ask and where in the world California is located.