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Grade 4 - Mrs. Ternan

Claire TernanWelcome to Fourth Grade! Hands-on activities are an integral part of the program. I think the best part of teaching at St. Chris is the students; they are enthusiastic, curious, and eager to learn. If you have any questions or concerns, please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


I have been teaching at St. Christopher School for over thirty years, mostly in the 4th grade. I am certified in elementary education and English. Although I have my Masters in Writing and Literature, my greatest love is the teaching of science. I have a grown son and daughter, both of whom graduated from St. Chris, and four grandchildren, one in Brookline, MA and three in Santiago, Chile.


December News

...I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep

And miles to go before I sleep.

( a quote by Robert Frost from our December poem)


We wish you a Merry Christmas! We wish you a Merry Christmas! 4T is in the Christmas spirit. We're preparing ourselves for the big event by talking about Advent, changing our bulletin boards recognizing Jesus' birth and practicing our songs for the Christmas pageant. Our classroom party will be on the 19th.


Of course, we're still working hard in our regular subjects. A peek at what we're doing: In math we're working on multiplying by two digits. There's still a quiz on times tables every Friday, and I've included division facts, so students need to master the "whole family".

Ecosystems is the topic in science. Students have illustrated relevant vocabulary words, showing the difference, for example, between a population and a community from a scientific point of view. Currently the kids are working on food webs with partners in class.


Possessive nouns is the challenge in English. Yikes! I've been seeing apostrophes everywhere, even for regular plurals. But pratice makes perfect.


The students did a stellar job with the November book reports in reading. I wish you could have all been here to listen to their monologues. The projects were excellent, also. Come and view these interesting characters in the display case in the lobby. The next book report will be due in January.


What a wonderful and busy time of year this is!  I'm wishing you and your family a grace filled new year with peace, love, and plenty of family time.  Your kids are amazing.


Until next time,

Mrs. T


November News

Happy November!   I am grateful for my crop of students in 4T. They did a great job with the readings at today's All Saints Day Mass. We'll be doing another celebration in December with our buddies in 2R as we'll be joining together for the Christmas prayer service. In religion we have been studying the liturgical year and have noted that we're near the end of ordinary time and we'll soon be into Advent. OOps, I guess I'm rushing the seasons a bit?!?


In math most of the students have mastered the times tables from 2 to 9 which will come in handy as we segue into chapter 4 and multiplication. Please remember to have your child work on IXL multiplication on Thursday nights. Kelsey, Connor, and Sam have logged an impressive number of minutes. Bravo! Practice makes perfect, of course, and it just doesn't work to count on your fingers for two and three digit multipliers.


Adaptations allow plants and animals to survive. A fun activity in science was experimenting with different bird beaks (clothes pins, tweezers, toothpicks, chopsticks) and discovering what beaks were best suited for what kinds of foods. (seeds, berries, worms, and insects) Our next lesson involves Gregor Mendel and his study of genetics. A vocab test on this unit is coming up soon.


Irregular plurals in English can be confusing, so we've been doing a lot of drill with these nouns. We'll be coming back to subjects and direct objects again as we see the roles of nouns in sentences. More diagramming is involved.


We've finished Because of Winn-Dixie and the students did a character study in their literature response journal. I feel that they have an in-depth understanding of the dual themes of friendship and loneliness. In literature we'll be reading an historical fiction piece about Lewis and Clark and their dog, Seaman, in our Reading Street Series. Another dog story! How fun!

Please come to Barnes and Noble next Tuesday and hear the fourth graders say a poem in unison. I hope you'll be impressed.


Until next time...


Mrs. T


October News

...Something told the wild geese it was time to fly

Summer sun was on their wings, winter in their cry...

We're enjoying another poem with a scientific theme: Something Told the Wild Geese by Hillaire Belloc. What prompts the instinct to migrate or hibernate we wonder. Colder or darker days? Is it always the same time of month? We've started Chapter 3 in science, and we're classifying living things in all sorts of ways. We know that most  plants reproduce by seeds, for example. Students brought in specimens. We've tapped seeds out of pine cones, looked at spores on ferns with magnifying glasses, and noticed the diversity represented by a coconut which is able to float in the ocean and the tiny seeds of black-eyed susans that blow in the wind.

A touch of algebra is creeping into our math class as we write mathematical expressions with variables. All we're really doing is adding and subtracting, but we're setting up a balanced equation to find the answer. We continue to have weekly multiplication quizzes, and the students are acing those. I have assigned IXL in math on a weekly basis. (one half hour minimum) We worked on place value in class on IXL, and now students are to go on to the addition section on their own.

Parts of speech in English have proven to be a little challenging. This week we're working on direct objects and subject complements. Diagramming has helped to show the differences. In writing the students are experimenting with different leads to their personal narratives. We want to "hook the reader" right from the beginning sentence. "Because of Winn-Dixie," our class book continues to be fun to read.

Sin, conscience, the parables of the Good Samaritan, and the Prodigal Son are topics that we're studying and discussing in religion. Every chapter has a test at the end which is completed by the students on Thursdays.

Your children are doing well. Progress reports come out on October 6th which will give you a more complete update.


Until next time,


Mrs. T

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