Welcome to 4th Grade!
by Ms. Kristina Alger
Aloha! My name is Kristina Alger, and I am the 4th grade teacher at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic School. I feel fortunate to be able to call Oceanside home and to be able to be a part of such a loving community.
I feel very at home in a Catholic school setting, as I have spent most of my life attending and teaching at Catholic schools. I spent preschool through 12th grade at Catholic schools. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University and my Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Educational Leadership from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawai’i in 2013. I began my teaching career in Oahu Hawai’i, teaching preschool, then kindergarten. In the summer of 2014, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and moved to Seoul, South Korea and taught English to elementary school students.
The great Nelson Mandela stated, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Sharing that sentiment, I am honored and proud to be an educator and passionate about teaching. I truly believe education and learning more about each other and how we are more similar than different can and will change the world. My role is influenced by a love of traveling, exploring new places, and experiencing new sights! I am a lifelong student and have a love of learning and acquiring knowledge! Since moving to Oceanside in 2017, I have been thoroughly enjoying becoming acquainted with this beautiful part of the world.
Ms. Kristina Alger
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fourth grade is an exciting time as students are gaining more and more independence and their curiosity is at an all time high as is their ability to articulate their questions and wonderings. I am continuously fascinated at the types of questions and responses they give! My job is to make learning as fun as possible while teaching them everything they need to know. Here is a little bit more about each subject we have in 4th grade:
Religion: In 4th grade we are working on developing a more personal and deeper relationship with Jesus. We recite new prayers including the Peace Prayer. We use a text called, Jesus Our Guide, as a guide, and we learn about the Fall of Man in the Old Testament, the story of Cain and Abel, Noah’s Ark, Abraham, Moses, and more! We perform an annual Last Supper Reenactment with the 5th grade class every Holy Thursday as a remembrance of the night before Jesus died. We participate in the school Masses by singing and reciting the responses, and when it is our turn to lead mass, we do so wholeheartedly.
Reading: We love to read in 4th grade! We do a class novel and a class read aloud. Some of the novels we read in a given year are, Frindle, Bridge to Terabithia, Holes, and Island of the Blue Dolphins. Students read independently at home as well and fill out a reading log to track their progress. The students participate in Literature Circles and can choose a different job each time to be an artistic artist and illustrate a scene from the reading, a word wizard and find a new word in the reading, be the discussion director and lead their group’s discussion, be a super summarizer and summarize a portion of the book, or be a creative connector and find a connection between something in the book and either another book, a movie, their life, or the media.
Writing: We write 8-paragraph essays in 4th grade including personal narratives and biographies! We also write a 5-paragraph essay for Catholic Schools Week, examining why it is that we go to a Catholic school. By the end of the year, students should be able to write clearly and effectively using complete paragraphs, transitional sentences, and a cohesive theme with an introduction and conclusion.
Spelling: We follow the Words Their Way program. We divide up into spelling groups and we have a 15-word test every two weeks. We have a spelling menu that the students use to choose activities from. They can draw a picture of the word or write the words in ABC order just to name a couple! We also learn Latin and Greek roots and prefixes and suffixes and use that knowledge to help us spell!
Grammar: We review the parts of speech, learn about prepositions, prepositional phrases, comparative and superlative adjectives. We are constantly on the hunt for more juicy words that we can use to write more detailed sentences.
Math: We focus on three areas: (1) developing understanding and fluency with multi-digit multiplication, and developing understanding of dividing to find quotients involving multi-digit dividends; (2) developing an understanding of fraction equivalence, addition and subtraction of fractions with like denominators, and multiplication of fractions by whole numbers; and (3) understanding that geometric figures can be analyzed and classified based on their properties.
From the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics website: https://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/Ss/documents/ccssmathstandardaug2013.pdf
The California Common Core State Standards: Mathematics (CA CCSSM) reflect the importance of focus, coherence, and rigor as the guiding principles for mathematics instruction and learning. California’s implementation of the CA CCSSM demonstrates a commitment to providing a world-class education for all students that supports college and career readiness and the knowledge and skills necessary to fully participate in the twenty-first-century global economy.
Science: We use Generation Genius, a teaching resource that brings science standards to life through fun and educational videos paired with activities, quizzes, reading materials and more. It is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and provides fun, innovative ways to explore new ideas and topics such as Weathering and Erosion, Natural Disasters, and Renewable vs. Nonrenewable Resources. We want our students to be inspired by the awe and wonder that science has to offer.
Social Studies: We focus on California’s rich history and the important role Native Peoples had in the development of our beautiful state. In the 2019-2020 school year, a new online program rolled out across the state. Read below for more information on it.
Here is an excerpt from the CA Catholic School Superintendents' Curriculum Committee (CCSSCC):
All fourth grade students in our California Catholic schools participate in a Social Studies e-learning course through St. Mary’s Press called “California Native Peoples and Missions.” This course, created by California Catholic educators and experts in the field, came to fruition based on the request from every California bishop and archbishop. It was, and is, their mandate that every fourth grade student in every California Catholic school is taught the truths about California Indians and St. Junipero Serra through this course. Because of the seriousness of misunderstandings and incorrect information in textbooks, the arch/bishops promised the Native peoples of California that we would teach the truths.
At St. Mary’s, we follow the CCSS, NGSS, and Diocesan Religion Standards.
Click to view the standards by subject.
Our school will begin the 2020-2021 school year with distance learning. All teachers have been working tremendously hard to produce the necessary materials for this program! The entire school will be utilizing Google Classroom along with other online tools such as Flipgrid, Quizizz, Prodigy, IXL, and more! Each class also has an online syllabus, elearning platform, weekly schedule, daily live online zooms with their teacher (synchronous learning), and also offline, asynchronous, independent work time. We thank you for your interest in our school and if you are already a part of our school family, we thank you for all of your support. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the school office or email me with further questions.
Click here to view more information on our school’s distance learning program including instructional minutes and sample schedules. https://stmarystars.com/distance-learning-program/
The 4th graders completed their mission projects in distance learning, and they really let their creativity shine! Here are some of their projects for you to view! They had a list of choices of what they could do. Here are the ones my featured students chose. One pretended she was Father Serra and wrote a diary of her journey through California. Another decided to make an adobe brick, which is the main building material used for the missions, and even made a handmade wooden frame for them! Another decided to go with making an original power point presentation of his mission, highlighting the parts of the mission, its history and present day use. Hope you enjoy learning about California's rich history!