It was great to talk to everyone this week!  Thank you for coming in to talk to me about your child!  Please feel free to email me anytime if you have any questions.

This week in reading we looked at supporting out ideas about characters with evidence from the text.  We practiced, “I take the position that… the reason is… my evidence is…”  We also looked at how characters are complicated. They are one way around one person, and another around other people.  We discussed why that would be true.  Everything we do is in the attempt to look deeper into the text for meaning.

In writing this week we worked on revising our realistic fiction stories.  We took a look at what makes a good lead and a good ending. We also revised our dialogue using “tags.”  Next week we will make final edits and rewrites.

In math this week we have learned five different ways to multiply 1 digit by 2, 3, and 4 digit numbers.  We started with the concrete and moved to the abstract.  We used the Distributive property of multiplication to begin multiplying the different place values and moved to finding partial products and then the “old school” algorithm today.

Important Dates

Tuesday, October 31 – Halloween parade (9:00 AM) and party (9:30 AM)

Wednesday – Friday, November 22-24 – Thanksgiving Break – no school


We sure had school spirit today!  Here we are in our red and gray – Go Lakers!!

This week in reading we tried to have a more insightful description of our character by using more precise words or trying to compare our character to an object or animal.  For example, we said Sistine in Tiger Rising is like a porcupine because she is so mean on the outside, but really nice and soft on the inside.  We also talked about how characters are complicated.  They are never just one way.  They act differently in different situations, around different people, or even different on the outside than on the inside.  We are working on trying to apply these ideas to our own books and write our thoughts.  I will show you our reading packet of lessons and jottings at conferences.

In writing we wrote our final three scenes of our realistic fiction stories.  We tried to stretch out the most important scene using inner thought and scene description along with action and dialogue.  Next week we will focus on writing good dialogue, as well as great introductions and endings.

In math this week we took the final test on adding and subtracting before starting our new unit on multiplication.  We began by learning the “zero trick” and estimating answers to larger multiplication problems.

In science this week we learned a little more about fossils before spending three days reviewing for the test.  We took the test today, and I will share these with you at conferences.

Don’t forget to check out our student blogs!



Important Dates

Wednesday and Thursday, October 11 and 12 – Parent Teacher Conferences

Thursday ad Friday, October 12 and 13 – 1/2 Days


Thank you to all of the generous donors that contributed to our Donors Choose project that allowed us to go to the planetarium this week!  We learned more about moon phases and the seasons.  We were even able to see the stars during the day, and what the sky would look like in the future!

We made a model of the sun, moon, and earth revolving and a flip book of the seasons.  There will be a review page coming home next week, and a test on this unit next Friday.

In reading this week we took a closer look at our characters in our books we are reading.  First we looked at what motivates our characters.  In every book a character wants something, but obstacles get in their way, so they react or respond, and they have tools or resources to help them solve their problem.  We tried to identify all those things in our own books. (We call it Somebody wanted…But… So…)  We also looked at what the author emphasizes through detail or repetition. We then ask ourselves why he/she would do that.  What are they trying to get us to think about?  This action helps get our thinking and responses to our books at a more significant level.  Ask you child about the suitcase or the pink dress in Tiger Rising.

In writing this week we began drafting our realistic fiction stories.  We are following the story arcs we made last week and writing them one scene at a time.  We are only on scene 4 as we are working on having all the types of sentences in each scene, staying in past tense and in third person as we write.

In math we focused on subtracting larger numbers, especially when there are zeroes in the number.  We took the practice test today.  We will review more and take the test next week.

Congratulations to everyone who made posters and gave their speeches today for Student Council Representatives.  They all did a great job!  Unfortunately, we could only pick 4 of the 10 people running for the positions.  Congratulations to: Claire, Noa, Paige, and Ethan

I hope you had a chance to sign up for a parent – teacher conference.  Check your email for a link to the sign up site.  I look forward to talking with you soon about your child.

Important Dates

Wednesday and Thursday, October 11 and 12 – Parent Teacher Conferences

Thursday ad Friday, October 12 and 13 – 1/2 Days


We are so grateful for air conditioning this week!  Recesses are hot, but the room is just right, and we managed to survive! 🙂

This week we took the second of our beginning of the year assessments, called the i-Ready test.  The tests adapt to the child as they are taking them, and give easier or harder questions as they students go along.  These assessments, along with a few others, are used to decide what needs to be taught, to whom, how, and when.  They are invaluable to us educators, even though they seem endless to students.  I am currently sitting with each child and listening to them read, and asking them questions to find what books would be their “just right” level, and if they made gains or slid over the summer.  I will have information about your child at the conferences in October.

In reading this week we looked at what envisioning while reading looks like in fourth grade and all the parts there are to doing that skill.  We also talked about growing ideas about the characters by looking for patterns then analyzing why they might act like this.

In writing we created a story arc to help plan out our realistic fiction stories into six separate scenes.  We then began writing scene one where we introduce the character and the setting. We learned that there are 4 types of sentences (Scene description, Action, Inner thought, and Dialogue) and that our paragraphs need to have some of each.  We will continue writing our stories scene by scene next week.

In math we began a new unit on adding and subtracting larger numbers.  We started by trying to do it mentally through some different techniques, then we estimated what the answer would be, and then started using the algorithm.  The toughest part can be lining up the numbers and remembering to add in what we carry to the next column.

In science this week we compared the sun, moon, and earth.  Then we created a moon phase flip book.  Finally we recreated the phases of the moon using Oreo cookies.  (Thank you for the donations!)

Important Dates

Tuesday, September 26 – Picture retakes

Thursday, September 28 – Planetarium Field Trip and Student Council posters due

Friday, September 29 – Student Council Speeches given

Wednesday and Thursday, October 11 and 12 – Parent Teacher Conferences


This week was filled with both learning and testing.  We are becoming more comfortable with the routines and procedures of the classroom.  We are working on responsibilities and listening. Most everyone is doing a great job getting their planners initialed by parents, remembering to charge and bring in their iPad, and do the homework.  Great job!

This week in reading we discussed retelling the story in chronological order or doing a synthesis retelling in which they use pertinent information from previous parts in the book to highlight the significance of what they are retelling.  We also reminded ourselves of how to make movies in our mind as we read.

In math we finished the unit by practicing rounding of large numbers, then going through the testing cycle. What we do in 4th grade is first give a practice test so students see what they really need to study before the test.  Then we spend a day reviewing together, and then on the last day, we take the final test (unless they scored 85% or better on the practice test).  The paper test will come home Monday.  Your child can show you their online test on their iPads.

We began our first writing unit – writing realistic fiction stories.  First we brainstormed ideas for our story the way real authors do – looking at ordinary life in a new way, and looking for issues for characters to have in our story.  We then developed our characters using internal and external characteristics, and wrote about the major problem that character would be facing in our stories.

In science we looked at what causes day and night, studies the phases of the moon more closely, and created a Venn diagram comparing the sun, moon, and Earth.

Each week your child will be writing about their learning from that week in a student blog.  These blogs give a chance for your child to reflect on their learning, and write for a real audience. We wrote our fist blog today!  Check out your child’s entry, and read a few others too!


You are doing a great job selling the Wesco popcorn buckets!  We have more if you think you can sell more.  (We cannot return the buckets we have, so we would like to sell out!)  If you think you cannot sell the ones you currently have, you may return those by the end of next week, and maybe someone else could try  to sell them.

Our Holmes Student Council begins soon!  Information will be coming soon about how our 4th graders can run for a student council position.  Student Council runs the school store and the box top drawing for the entire school.  We have a few notes from the council leaders about each of these events:

School store expectations

    • Be Respectful:

      • You may only bring a maximum of $2

      • You may only buy 4 items per visit

      • If other people are waiting, make decisions quickly

    • Be Nice

      • Use your manners

      • Patiently wait your turn

    • Be Responsible

      • After purchasing, school store items should be put away in your pocket or your locker. It is your responsibility to keep it safe.


Box Tops:

  • Students collect box tops at home

  • When a child has collected 10 or more, he/she will put them in a plastic bag with their first and last name labeled on the bag only (no need to write your name on each Box Top)  (example:  10 box tops-1 bag with name,   30 box tops-3 bags of ten each with the child’s name)

  • There is a box in the office (next to the train ticket box) for teachers to turn in the bags at any time.

  • A few times a year we will announce a drawing is coming up.

    • At this time Student Council will reach into the box and pull out a BAG. The name on the bag is the winner

Important Dates

Tuesday, September 26 – Picture retakes

Thursday, September 28 – Planetarium Field Trip


Hello Students and Families!

Thank you for checking this blog.  Each week I will write about our week, tell about what we are learning, share pictures if available, give important information, and talk about things to come.  Please subscribe (scroll down on the right hand side bar), and you will receive an email when I update the blog, and you can check it out.  Help me save money and trees by not printing a newsletter! 🙂

This was a busy week of learning procedures, getting set up on the iPads, and beginning the 4th grade curriculum.  We began our first reading unit – Interpreting Characters in Fiction by talking about how we need to read intensely.  I am asking them to slow their brains down and notice everything in their books.  We will try to make movies in our minds and analyze why the author used certain words and phrases and included certain parts in the story.  We talked about having sympathy or empathy for our characters to try to understand them better.  We looked at the rubric of skills they will be learning with this unit, and they did a small self check of where they are now compared to where they will be and what they have yet to learn.  I will be beginning the tri-annual reading assessments over the next weeks, and these assessments will continue for a few weeks.  These assessments allow me to know your children as readers, guide them toward “just right” books, and decide how I can best instruct their reading this trimester.

We began our math curriculum, and our first unit is all about place value.  This curriculum was new last year, and I am already seeing the benefits of being in year two.  Please remember that our math Homework and Practice (called Practice Buddy) and a Quick Check are on the iPads every day.  The benefits of doing it this way is immediate feedback for your child.  All too often students will complete the paper homework, getting many incorrect, but not know they are practicing it incorrectly until the next day or later when the teacher grades it.  By that time, it is too late.  This program on the iPad tells them immediately if they are correct or not, and gives help.  We will go over all the help options available to them in class.  MOST of the time your child will be able to complete the homework in class.  Every day we will write the homework in their planner.  Please review the Homework and Quick Check with your child to go over if it is complete and what they are learning.  Your child can show you how to go on to the program.

Speaking of the iPads, the SL Tech Team acknowledges that there have been some issues with their new filter and not being able to get into programs at home.  They are working on resolving these issues, and promise me it will be fixed by Monday!  Thank you for your efforts to go over your child’s work and for helping them charge the iPads each night.

We needed to take a few pre-assessments in writing this week.  Next week we will begin our fiction writing unit.

In science we are studying the sun, moon, and Earth.  Your child has been asked to go out and observe the moon in the next few days.  Their sheet is due by Wednesday, September 13.  The moon is visible in the mornings right now -check out the beautiful waning gibbous!

You probably noticed the 5 popcorn buckets that went home with your child!  This is our first fund raiser.  Please try to sell all 5 buckets and return the $60 to school as soon as possible, but for sure in the next couple of weeks.  We have more if you want them.  Please return what you are unable to sell.  They are $12 each and good to use at many Wesco stores (see the side of the bucket) until December 2018.

Thank you for sending in all the supplies we need for the year.  Don’t forget headphones or earbuds!  These are an important tool as well.

Important Dates

Monday, September 11 – 3rd Grade MSTEP results coming home

Thursday, September 14 – HPC Meet and Greet 6-8 PM at Old Boys

Tuesday, September 26 – Picture retakes

Thursday, September 28 – Planetarium Field Trip


Have a great weekend!

August 31

Our first week is complete! 🙂  I have absolutely loved getting to know this class!  What a fantastic group this is!  We had the opportunity to get to know each other a bit better with our “All About Me Bags.”  We also wrote our own Classroom Constitution stating the rules for the classroom.  After asking the students to think about what they wanted in a classroom environment and what they wanted from me, they signed a constitution, and I signed one too.

We played “4th Grade Bingo” to get to know each other and what to expect this year a bit more.  We also read a few books and talked about the heart of the story that can be found.  We tried to make this thought concise enough to fit on a bumper sticker.  All of the books centered around the theme of stepping up to bullies and being nice to everyone.  Our school has adopted the “BE NICE” program, and students will be learning more about that this year.

We talked about how we are smart and the different types of intelligence.  We decided we are all geniuses, and the world needs us!  We wrote about this topic, and these will be hanging in the room for a while to remind ourselves before they come home.

We are just starting some of our routines, and we still need some practice.  Please be sure you initial your child’s planner every night saying they completed their homework.  Also, you may have to help them for a while filling in their reading log every night.  Soon this will become their responsibility alone.  Thank you for your help!

Have a great Labor Day weekend, and I will see everyone on Tuesday!

Welcome to 4th Grade!

Hello! Welcome to Ms. VandenBosch’s Blog!

Welcome to 4th grade, new students and families! This blog is where I will update you on classroom activities throughout the year.

Hopefully you are checking out my blog before school starts! I can’t wait to meet you and begin our year together!

If you need the supply list, click on this link: Holmes Supply Lists . You are welcome to bring your supplies with you to the Open House or on the first day of school.

The Holmes Open House is Wednesday, August 23, from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  School pictures are on that day from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM or during the Open House.

Our first day of school is a full day on Tuesday, August 29, from 8:45 -12:00!

Please put in your email address and subscribe to be sent an email whenever I update the blog.

(P.S. If you are a parent from last school year, you can unsubscribe at the bottom of the email you received. Also, say “Hello and good luck in 5th grade” to your child!)

Enjoy your last days of summer! See you soon!

06-09-17 Final Blog

We made it! 🙂

I cannot believe the year has gone by so quickly! I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching your child this year. They have all grown so much!  Thank you for sharing them with me.  I wish them all the best in 5th grade!

Thank you for the raffle donations this time and all year!  Everyone took something home Thursday. Here are a few pictures from our week.  We gave each other “turtle compliments,” we had the annual staff vs student dodge ball game, and we had a “book tasting” to see what we would like to read this summer!

Here is our 3 Words Video from the 4th Grade Celebration Night.

Happy summer!!


What a week we have had!   Thank you to all the parent volunteers that made this week successful and fun!  We had a great time in Chicago, as I am sure your child has told you!  The weather was great, and we saw and did so many things!  Find out your child’s favorite part.

The weather was also beautiful for a day filled with Bocce Ball and rockets on Friday!

Check out the pictures of the day in the Grand Haven Tribune!


We visited the 7th grade band and members of the 5th grade band spoke to us about joining band next year.  Nothing has to be done until fall, but think about joining band next year!

We took some assessments this week, and we have a couple more during the last week, along with some wrap up activities.  Don’t forget to come to our 4th Grade Celebration on Wednesday!  It begins at 6:30 PM at the Middle School Auditorium!  You won’t want to miss this special good bye to our Holmes 4th graders.

Important Dates

Wednesday, June 7 – 4th Grade Celebration Night – 6:30 PM SLMS auditorium (students line up by 6:25)

Thursday and Friday, June 8 and 9 – 1/2 Days and last days!

Tuesday, August 29 – School begins again!