ABOUT MRS. BOYD
B.S. and M.S. in Elementary Education, Western Washington University
I grew up in Tacoma and attended St. Patrick’s School and Bellarmine Preparatory High School. After obtaining my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Western Washington University, I taught at Assumption Catholic School in Bellingham and Holy Family Catholic School in Seattle. I also spent five years as the Director of Education for Sylvan Learning Center in Lynnwood. I began teaching at St. Nicholas in 2011. My husband, Mike, and I reside in Tacoma, and our two daughters attend St. Nicholas.
4TH GRADE HIGHLIGHTS
Field trips to the Seattle Children’s Theatre, the Washington State History Museum, and Pioneer Farms
Raising the flag every morning and monthly flag raising ceremony with the Knights of Columbus
Special projects on NW Coast Native Americans, animal adaptations, and student heritage
Chromebooks available in the classroom for every student
Opportunity to participate in the Spelling and Geography Bees
In fourth grade, we use the Envision Math 2.0 text for math instruction, along with a variety of other materials, including math games, manipulatives, and trade books. Instruction focuses on three critical 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; (3) understanding that geometric figures can be analyzed and classified based on their properties. Writing and math skills are connected to problem-solving. These skills are reinforced throughout the curriculum.
We use the FOSS (Full Option Science System) science curriculum (all-inclusive science kits that provide opportunities for hands-on learning), along with the text Science, published by Scott Foresman, to learn about Physical Science (magnetism, electricity, and the physics of sound), Earth Science (the make-up of the earth, conservation of resources, earthquakes & volcanoes), and Life Science (structures, behaviors, heredity, and adaptation of plants and animals). Students will also get opportunities to explore science concepts through an online program called Mystery Science.
The main focus in fourth grade social studies is the study of Washington State history using the text Washington Adventure by Ruth Pelz. This course of study goes on throughout the school year and will include a mini unit on Northwest Coast Native Americans. Students will have opportunities to use map skills as well as we study the geography of Washington State, Westward expansion, and the development of the area once known as Oregon Country. We may also take small detours from the main areas of study to learn about influential Americans who have contributed to history. In addition, students will do a project in the spring related to their heritage when we learn about the history of immigration in Washington State.
We use the text, Spirit of Truth, published by Sophia Institute for Teachers, which is broken into seven major units of study, with an emphasis on living as a disciple of Christ. Religion is taught explicitly, as well as integrated into every aspect of our school day. Developing the Catholic identity within students is an essential part of what we do at St. Nicholas School. Students come to know experientially all we believe as Catholics. Daily prayer reinforces the values being taught formally. Students memorize the Prayer for Peace and the Memorare during the course of the school year. They will also become familiar with the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the Corporal Works of Mercy. We attend Mass weekly with the school and stuff the Sunday bulletins for the parish each week as an ongoing service project. Students also participate in Second Step program, which focuses on treating ourselves and others with respect.
Fourth grade language arts curriculum consists of a combined strategy of subject areas, building upon earlier learning and further development in the areas of reading, writing, and communication. Writing is modeled for students and daily writing allows opportunities for practicing new skills. Students are asked to engage in all steps of the writing process including: brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, illustrating, and publishing. Grammar, spelling, and cursive handwriting are all integral parts of the language arts curriculum as well. For spelling, students are tested on the 1,200 High Frequency Word list and complete spelling activities in class related to their words. The textbook, English, published by Houghton Mifflin, is used for grammar instruction.
Novel study is at the center of the reading curriculum in fourth grade. Through novel study, fourth graders will learn about the elements of a novel (setting, character, plot, and theme) in a variety of genres. Novels are used to build fluency, increase comprehension, and encourage students to make connections between what they are reading and world around them. Students also consider decisions that authors make when writing, such as genre, audience, and purpose. Students have the opportunity to read realistic fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy, as well as tall tales, myths, poetry, humor, and informational texts.