Sunday, December 12, 2010

Give me that Holiday spirit!

Happy December!
We are getting closer and closer to our Winter Vacation. We have a lot to accomplish before vacation begins!
I hope all the students brought home their slips about our gift exchange. We will do a cute little story game where the students will pass around a gift. When the story is over, whatever gift they have is the one they get. Therefore, each student needs to bring a gift that is between $3-5 dollars that could be for a boy or a girl. It's a fun game and we want everyone to be a part of the fun!
In Reading this week, we will be taking a break from our reading book and learning about different holiday traditions around the world. We will be learning how other countries celebrate Christmas.
We continue to work on mulitiplication facts in Math. We have begun multiplying with bigger numbers. It is important that everyone continues working on their basic facts so that our math doesn't get harder!
In Social Studies, we will be working on our big maps doing the Northeast and Southeast states. This is a year long project that we will complete when we get near the end of learning about the regions.
In Science this week, we will be working on The Water Cycle as part of our Environmental Issues Instruction unit we are doing on Rain, Run-off, and Rivers.
I will have the students give their impressions of our work this week later on in the week or next week before vacation! Stay tuned...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Interesting Events, People, and Books!

"Tree"Mendous Books
By Austin A.

In our class we are doing something called tree mendous books. First you read a chapter book. Then when you are done, you fill out a paper about your book. Finally, you get an ornament for your tree on the closet door. You can earn at four ornaments. If you earn at least three ornaments in December, we are going to decorate sugar cookies in the classroom.


By Steven E.

Sequoyah created the syllabary for the Cherokee People. It was a written language so they would not lose their history. As he was working on his written language, his daughter helped him and was one of the first Cherokee people to read and write using the syllabary Sequoyah created.

Pajama Party
By Carson C.

In our 4th grade, we have been doing something called the marble jar. See, if we do good stuff in the classroom, we get a marble and if we fill it up we get a party. This Friday everybody wore their pajamas because we decided to have a P.J. Party We watched The Lorax. We ate our lunch in the classroom.

The Lorax
By Clayton D.

What our class is doing for Science is "The Lorax". First we listened to the story and then we choral read the story. Next week, we are going to act out the story for another classroom. We also watched the movie and compared it to the book. We are learning what an environmental issue is and this story helped us to understand it better.

January Excitement
By Mia E. and Maddie K.

In Mrs. Kurth's 4th grade, our reading incentive is, in the weeks leading up to vacation, each student has to read at least 120 minutes at home during the week. If you do this then in January, we get to pick our seats. So we all can sit by our BFFs! We will have fun with that. But, if you don't read 120 minutes or more, you don't get to pick your seat. That's what's happening in fourth grade!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have been enjoying posts from your kids. I know I have enjoyed seeing our classroom through their eyes. I thought I would write the post this week and they will be back next week with some exciting things about what's going on in fourth grade.

The next few weeks will go very quickly in fourth grade. We will be anticipating our winter vacation and all the fun that goes with that. However, we will still be in school and we need to remember to stay focused so we can get the most out of our day.

During the month of December, we will be doing several things and of course the students will be sharing more info on the blog in the coming weeks. We will be doing a Holiday Traditions Around the World Unit in Reading as well as working on our big maps in Social Studies. We will also be starting an environmental unit on Wetlands as well as Rain, Run-off, and Rivers. You will be receiving a letter home about purchasing mudboots that your child will need during our trips to the wetland in March, April, and May. If you want to purchase them now, I am sure they can be found at all the farm stores in town. April tends to be pretty muddy so it's important to have them. All the fourth graders in the district will be participating in this wetlands project with Therese.

We continue to do our Reading Logs! Please understand how important it is to read at home! The students who read at home always improve greatly over the school year. Right now we have an incentive going on in our classroom. For students who read at least 120 minutes every week until vacation, they will get to choose their seat for the whole month of January. I told them they will have to try extra hard this week since they are not in school and off their regular schedule. As Parents, please try to make reading a priority this week. 20 minutes a day will bring them to their goal.

Students who sing in the Ensemble with Mr. Grunwald will be a part of the K-2 Holiday Program at the high school this year. This program will be December 9th. Please look for a letter to come home soon about this performance.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I know that I am truly Thankful that you send your child to me everyday. It is truly a blessing to have each and every one of my students here each day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Great Things Happening In Fourth Grade

"Reading Saves The Day" incentive trip to Jefferson County Park.
By Alexis K.

Our school did a reading incentive. If you brought back 3 out of 4 reading logs then you got to go to Jefferson County Park to play games and eat smores'. They were delicious. I loved the smores'. They were my favorite part.

Northeast State Posters
By Mia E.

In Mrs. Kurth's 4th grade Social Studies class, we are studying the Northeast section of the United States. Mrs. Kurth allowed us to pick a Northeast state that we could research and find information about, such as the state seal, state bird, state flower. One person picked Connecticut, a few people picked Delaware, but most of the class was scattered everywhere. Our class project will be making a poster with all the states together and forming the Northeast region in the end.

The Interest Corner
By Carter S.

Our interest corner has books about what we want. A lot of students picked the types of books they like or are interested in. We picked Star Wars, The Vietnam War, World War I and II, Greek Mythology, animals, planets and more. I bet that we will have lots of fun. I can not wait until it gets here. I hope we have lots of time to be in it. Some of the books I want to read are Star Wars, The Vietnam War, and World War I and II. I bet our class will have lots of fun.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Conferences, Ecosystems, and Parties, Oh My!

Student-Led Conferences
By Madison K.
This week we had student-led conferences. Student-led conferences are conferences where the student will be in charge of the whole conference. He or she will bring their parents to their conference. Conferences were on Tuesday and Thursday night last week.

Sidenote from Mrs. Kurth
I thought the students did a great job leading their conferences last week. I enjoyed listening to everyone share what they liked and what they needed to be better at in school. I want to thank all the parents for coming and supporting their child.

Our Assignment Journal Party
By Blair B.
Our class is having an assignment journal party. If our class and the other class got their assignment journal signed they would get to watch Underdog or The Fantastic Mr. Fox. We voted on Underdog. All the people who had their assignment journal signed got to watch a movie and have lunch in our classroom.

Our Ecosystem Projects
By Nickel I.
Our class worked on ecosystem and worked very hard on them. We made tundras, swamps, volcanos, rainforests, and more. We used materials that are easy to get, like paper and created ecosystems. We added animals, plants, and rocks to complete the living and nonliving parts of our ecosystems.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ready or Not! Here We Come Second Quarter!

As we finish first quarter, all I can say is Whewwww!!!! We have been busy, busy, busy! We have completed our first quarter and report cards will be coming out this next week! Please remember our Book Order Deadline is this coming Thursday, Oct. 28th.
Conferences will be November 2nd and November 4th from 4:00-7:30. Please note the earlier starting time this year. Signing up for conferences can be done online this year. Please remember to sign up for your conference or call Connie Miller at school (472-2110) to sign up. Please go to Fairfield School's Website and click on the Parent/Teacher Conferences Link.
We will be doing Student-Led Conferences first quarter and you will be receiving a letter from me on Monday. The students will be preparing for their conference next week and I hope that each student will be present with their parent on one of these nights to share their school experience.
Now that second quarter has started, please start looking for student written blog posts. It is my hope that students can improve their writing skills by writing for a specific audience, their parents!
We have begun our Fall Reading Incentive, Reading Saves The Day. Students should continue to do their Reading Log and bring it back on Monday. They will receive a prize each week with a culminating prize of going to Jefferson County Park for Lunch and Games as well as getting to watch the movie, "The Incredibles". As always, it is important for your child to read at home each night. They hear me say it everyday so I thought I would add it to my blog post today!
For the most part, students are doing a great job of returning homework to school. I do have a few that I will continue to work on this responsibility trait with every week. As parents, let's help get them off on the right foot. They might need a little push from home to help them start doing it on their own!
Students that have 5 or less missing signatures in their Assignment Journal will be enjoying Dinner/Movie next week with Mrs. Hanshaw and Mrs. Kurth. Every quarter, the fourth graders will be rewarded for having their assignment journal signed everyday.
Ready or Not! Here We Come Second Quarter!
I took our pictures from our September field trip and put them into a web 2.0 tool called Photopeach. Try it out for a neat way to show your pictures and to share with others. These same pictures can be found off to the right in a Picasa photo album.

Fall Trip to Jefferson County Park on PhotoPeach

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saying Goodbye

We have had a busy week in fourth grade! We continue to work on responsibility in fourth grade. Taking homework home and returning it to school the the next day may not seem like a big thing, but it is a major step in building responsibility for a fourth graders' future character. It is important for the fourth graders to do their spelling homework and their math homework on the night it will be turned in.
Another note on Reading at Home! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Encourage your child to read at least 5 nights a week for 15-25 minutes. It is so important to build a love of reading and getting to the point where you don't have to set a timer anymore.
This week we each planted a few seeds in our pop bottle. We will continue to observe and journal about our plants for ten school days! We planted Lady Lavendar, radishes, carrots, and chives. It has been interesting to see whose seeds germinated faster. (Radishes came up right away!)
In Social Studies we learned about Regions this week. This is a great introduction to the rest of our school year as we study all the regions of the United States. We will begin our study of The Northeast this week.
This week we focused on the genre, Mysteries. I am excited for students to share their mysteries with the rest of the class.
We will be finishing Unit 2 in math and moving on to Unit 3 where we will be doing more multiplication. Keep working on facts at home as this will help in the classroom as well. Please look for the Unit 3 Family Letter to come home this week and keep it as it has the answers for all the homework.
Sadly this week we lost a student! Cierra and her family are moving to a new town with a new school, new teacher, and new friends. We wish her the best but we will really miss her and hope she will be able to come back and visit sometime this year.
Although we had a sad end to our week, a new week is upon us with new challenges and great learning! Thank you again for giving me the privilege to teach your children everyday! I have the best job in the world!

Friday, October 1, 2010

October Already?

Wow, I can't believe it is already October 1st. I would say we are well into the school year now and our routines are established. You might say this was the week of tests. A Spelling test, Social Studies test, and a Science test were all given today. I have to say, I didn't intend for that to happen, but I am sure the 4th graders studied very well at home this week. With tests, comes review of information. This week we were able to review for Science using Classroom Jeopardy. It looks like the real game that is on t.v. and is a great way for us to review information we need to remember. Another great way to review was using Glogster. Students used Glogster to review the 3 Branches of government. Glogster is a web 2.0 tool that students use online to share information about a topic or about something they are interested in themselves. I can't believe the great interest outside of school with some of the 4th graders. I can only say, well, Awesome! I was excited to hear how many of them worked on Glogster at home on our project and also on their own projects. Here are a few of their projects:
A'lia's Glog
Dylan's Glog
Madison's Glog
Have your child show you at home this great tool for sharing information and being just plain creative.
Overall, we had a good week! Remember to have your child read at home 15-20 minutes every night and practice those math facts as well! We will be starting a whole school reading incentive in the next two weeks. Stay tuned... It takes a village to educate our kids which means it takes all of us to do our part and help our kids to be successful in school. Please remember to help keep your child on track when it comes to bringing homework back to school. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Cooler weather is definitely on the way.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Homecoming Week!

Homecoming Week in a small town has to be one of the best things about small town living! Growing up in a big city, you did not have the connection to your high school and town like you do in a small town. This week brought lots of excitement for our students as they had the chance to dress up and do fun homecoming activities like all the other schools. Monday was Colors day and fourth graders had to wear pink. I think this caused a bit of problem for some of the boys who I don't think had any pink. Oh Well! Tuesday was slipper day and crazy socks day! This is the kind of day where you truly get to see your students' originality and indiviuality. I missed Hat day because of an appointment, but I heard our class had the best hats. Check out Wednesday night's Fairfield Ledger for a picture! Thursday was Camouflage day! I have to say in a small town it's not hard to come across something camouflage. There were all sorts of great outfits today! It was hard to see them since they blended in so well with our surroundings! : ) Friday is Show your Spirit Day! I love this day because it is a great day for getting ready for that Homecoming Football Game where lots of people go to have a great time and see our football team hopefully win! Even among all these crazy activities this week, we did manage to get some learning in as well! We have had a few interruptions which keep us from getting everything done, but we do our best each day!
This week in Reading we read one of my favorite authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder. We read an excerpt from the book By The Shores of Silver Lake. We worked on noting details in the story and common nouns. Our spelling words this week were homophones which can always be a little tricky!
In Math, we began Unit 2 in our new series Everyday Math. We will work on Place Value and numbers in this unit! I look forward to some of the new games we will learn to help us in this unit. Remember to keep your Family Unit Letter as it has all the answers for the Study Links in it!
In Social Studies this week, we are learning about our American Government. Students are reading and learning about what makes our government tick. We have made flip books on the three branches of government and they will get the opportunity to create a Glogster poster on Monday about the three branches of government.
In Science this week we worked on Animal Adaptations! Students created and are still working on a Flip book of animal adaptations using their textbook as well as other books from our Great Prairie AEA.
This week I introduced students to Diigo which is an online bookmarks they can access from anywhere. You just go to and they just use their username and password for school. They can then access any bookmarks I create. They can use these at home or anywhere they might be!
In one final note for the week! GO TROJANS! HAPPY HOMECOMING! Have a great weekend! Stay tuned for next week's 4K WRAP-UP!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Worms, Trees, and Maps Oh My!

I missed a week for WRAP-UP so I decided to do an in between weeks post. We are truly into the full swing of school and boy are we ever busy. Now that we have established our routines, the real work begins!
We have been keeping very busy all day every day and hopefully this will bring everyone up to speed!
Our theme in reading is Journeys. We have read about a grandfather who journeyed across the sea to a new home and this week we are reading about a journey that Robert Ballard took to find the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean. The Titanic is a very high interest topic for fourth graders so if you happen to be at the library, maybe check out a book about the Titanic. Spelling words are continuing to come home and I hope students are spending time studying. From the looks of our spelling tests, students may want to study the challenge words a little bit more! Please continue reading at home and studying math facts. I appreciate all the students who remember their reading log on Monday mornings and their spelling homework on Tuesday mornings.
I know that I am really liking our new math series, Everyday Math. We are just finishing up our first Unit and you will be seeing a family letter come home about the next unit. Please keep this family letter as it has answers for the Study Links in it! I appreciate all the support from parents on finishing the Study Links each week and bringing them back to school.
In Social Studies we are finishing our unit on Map Skills. Students have had fun learning important map skills that they can use at home or on road trips. Who needs a GPS when you have a map savvy fourth grader? Mrs. Kurth especially enjoys latitude and longtitude and what a great skill for students to have in their toolbox for map skills. Friday is Constitution Day in the United States so we will also be learning about our Constitution and then starting on the American Government next week.
We are still learning and classifying animals in Science. We have made invertebrate and vertebrate posters as well as written a short report on an animal of our choice.
Exciting times for us this week in 4K was visiting Therese at Jefferson County Park. We can always count on her to show us a fun time as well as learn a lot about the environment we live in. On this particular visit, we played a tree identification game where students identified leaves from a chart and figured out what kind of tree it was. Mrs. Kurth even got stumped a little. (No Pun intended!) It was a great addition to our classification work in the classroom. Not to mention the fun we had doing it. We got to feel what it was like to be a squirrel scrounging for food and what might happen when a fox happens along our way. Students also played a game which made them use their knowledge from the morning tree identification game. All in all, it was a great and sunny day and we can't wait to go back in the Spring! Check off to the side for pictures from our day!

Friday, September 3, 2010


Happy Friday!
Another hot week in the classroom, but I am hoping the cool down is on the way and our room will start to reflect the temperature difference soon! For this week's 4K WRAP-UP we have had another busy week.
Students got their first spelling list this week with words ending in -ed and -ing. Studying for spelling should primarily be done at home, however, students will have some opportunities for practice at school.
This week we read Heatwave. It was a wild weather tale about what happens when a heatwave hits a farm. Students had the opportunity to talk more about reality and fantasy. We worked on Present/Past/Future tense words as well this week.
We have been hard at work learning more about geometry in our new Everyday Math series. Students have had opportunities to make shapes with straws and twistie ties. We have played our important learning games such as sprouts, addition top-it, subtraction top-it, and Sw'qua.
Social Studies
We are continuing to work on our Geographic Tools unit. We have used the big maps this week to practice our map skills. We are recognizing and placing all the continents and oceans. We are working on cardinal directions and intermediate directions.
We are continuing to learn about classification and how living things are grouped. We did an onion lab this week. Click link Onion Lab to see what we did. We also created a mobile on the different parts of the animal kingdom. Students also started a Vertebrate/Invertebrate Poster with their groups.

Overall, we have had a terrific week! I am really enjoying this class and thank you again for letting me teach your child everyday!
Til next week... Mrs. Kurth

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Full Week of School

Whewwww! We made it through our first full week of school with flying colors. What a terrific group of students I have this school year. We have been busy all week continuing to learn the routines of fourth grade and learn a few new things as well.
Today will be the first installment of the 4K Wrap-up. In other words, what we did this week.
Assignment Journal and Reading Log
The assignment journal will come home every night showing what students have worked on in the classroom. If you see HW (homework) in their journal, please expect they have homework. You will notice that I sent home the reading log on the first day of school. Reading at home is absolutely vital to the success of all my students. I realize it may feel forced at first to have them read each night, but as it becomes habit, you will notice you may not have to set the timer anymore. : ) I would like students to read at least 100 minutes a week but more would be great! Please remember to return the log each Monday to school as I keep track of their minutes all year.
We made it through lesson 3 of our new Everyday Math. I hope you have all kept the family letter I sent home as this will be useful when students bring home homework. The homework for Everyday Math is called Study Links. When you see the words, Study Link in their assignment journal, you can be assured they have brought home homework.
This week, we learned about lines, line segments, rays, angles, and vertices (vertex). Everyday Math is very hands on with a variety of manipulatives students use each week. Please ask your child questions about what they have been doing in math.
Reading/Language Arts/Spelling
We spent most of this week reviewing reading strategies and reading the story "The Pumpkin Runner" We have learned 3 of our 5 Daily 5 Routines. We are practicing Read to Self, Read to Someone, and Work on Writing. Next week we will learn Word Works and Listen to Reading. We will practice these routines many times so students are fully aware of the expections during our Daily 5 time.
Students will be receiving a spelling list next week on Monday as well as a homework assignment. Please expect spelling words and a homework assignment to come home almost every Monday.
We will be reading "Heatwave" next week and working on -ed and -ing endings as well as past/present/future tense verbs. Students will also begin working on the 6Traits Writing, IDEAS. We will also continue to work on our Daily 5 Routines.
Students will also be given the Basic Reading Inventory on Monday to show us their rate, accuracy, and comprehension.
Social Studies
We began a unit on Geographic Tools this week and why they are important to learning about our big world. Students have learned new vocabulary and used our big wipe-off maps. We have reviewed oceans and continents. How many of you were surprised there was a 5th ocean? I know I certainly was last year! We finished the week making a 2D Globe to show where the continents and oceans are located. We will continue this unit into next week where we will learn about map legends, cardinal directions, intermediate directions, and recognizing continents and oceans.
We have begun the year with Classification. Students are learning what a cell is and why it is important to all life. We enjoyed a video with Bill Nye on cells and drew our own cell. We will continue to learn about classification and cells as we do an onion lab next week and learn about the animal kingdom.

Thank you again for giving me the pleasure of teaching your child each day. I am excited about things to come! That's all for your 4K WRAP-UP!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Day of School

What a fantastic first day of school we had today! I am so excited to go back tomorrow and do more! I absolutely love the first day of school. Everybody has their new school supplies and are pretty happy to be at school and see their friends.
We reviewed rules today as well as labeling all our stuff. It is great to have a classroom of children that already know many of the expectations and rules for fourth grade and for our school.
We did a few getting to know you activities. Mainly for me to get to know the kids, they seem to know each other pretty well already!
I believe we even got our picture in tonight's newspaper.
It will take about a week to really get aquainted with our schedule and it will be a relief when we are on a regular schedule next week.

Just an FYI for everyone, below is a list of our specials schedule so you know when to bring or wear tennis shoes for P.E.
Tuesdays and Friday we will have P.E. at 8:35 and Music at 9:00
Thursdays we will have art.
We will have Library on Mondays at 8:35
We will have Guidance on Mondays at 9:30 every other week.

Please remember to have your child read every night for at least 15 minutes! It is the key to their success in school.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome Back to School

Welcome 4th grade students and parents! I am so excited to start a new year with the fourth graders. We are in for some changes this year as we become the oldest students in the school. With that brings added responsibility and higher expectations. Other students will be watching the fourth graders and looking up to them.
This year fourth graders will be serving and scraping everyday for lunch and participating in safety patrol. Students will not be required to do these jobs, but Mrs. Hanshaw and Mrs. Kurth's class will be sharing these responsibilities.
We will spend quite a bit of time in these first few weeks establishing everyday routines which will make the rest of the year successful for everyone.
The purpose of this blog is to share with parents what we are up to in the fourth grade. I hope that students will read it as well to review what we have be doing.

I will start with a little bit about myself! This is my 13th year teaching 4th grade and my 17th year of teaching. I am married to Jason Kurth, who is the Director of Technology for our school district. We have 2 children, Emma who is in second grade and Jackson who is in preschool. We also have a yellow lab named, Willie.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read but this will become very evident as the school year progresses. I also like to scrapbook and spend time with my family.

I look forward to learning more about each 4th grader and having the best year possible!
I also look forward to any comments or questions you might post to me on this blog.

Let's get this year started!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Vacation

Well, it is only an 8 week summer for those of us in Fairfield, Iowa but hopefully everyone has made the most of it! I spent several weeks getting my new classroom together but it is ready now for students. The closer August gets, the more anxious I get for school to start. There is just something about the beginning of the school year.
I wonder if my future fourth graders are starting to feel the same way. I hope so! I am excited for this new school year and all the great learning we are going to do. My hope is to try and blog at least once a week about what we are doing in our classroom and that parents will check in to see what we are doing as well. What's the purpose of a blog if nobody reads it.
There will be many changes in our school this year as we will truly miss our fifth grade teachers and all the students. It saddens me that I will not get to see the fifth graders this year as I love to see how they change over the course of the school year.
I will continue to enjoy my kids for the remaining 3 weeks of summer and make the most of what's left but in the back of my mind I will be getting ready to welcome the new crop of fourth graders into my class. I can't wait to meet everyone and build that relationship that is so important for the school year.
See ya in August!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Web 2.0

What a way to start my summer vacation.  I decided to take the Web 2.0 class through our school district and I am so glad I did.  The problem with taking a class right after school is out is I want some students right now to try some of these awesome tools with.  There are so many possibilities to what students can do through every content area.
Some of my favorites over the last couple of days are:
Check out what I created...


Create your own video slideshow at


When does school start?