Welcome to 4th Grade!

by Mr. Englund

About Me

My name is Josh Englund and I am the Fifth Grade teacher and Vice Principal at St. Mary, Star of the Sea School.

This is my thirteenth year as a teacher at St. Mary's. I am not only a teacher, but I am also a school parent. My daughters Lily and Madelyn attended St. Mary’s Preschool, and are now in ninth grade and second grade. I am very proud to be a part of St. Mary Star of the Sea school as a teacher and as a parent.

I look forward to meeting you and your child and I invite you to speak with me further about next year. Please call the office with any request to meet and I will be happy to contact you to set up to arrange a time to meet.

Josh Englund

4th Grade Class

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. 

Take a look at the Mathematical Practice Standards here: mathematical_practice_standards_3-5

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. 

California Common Core State Standards for ELA

Religion Standards

Math Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) 

Social Studies Standards