Your First OWL
Hello Witches and Wizards!
You guessed it! The theme for this year is HARRY POTTER. You might be wondering, "Why Potter?" There are lots of good reasons why the fourth-grade teachers are excited about our theme. Do you know what we've noticed in our line of work? We've noticed that learning is magical and it truly unlocks a child’s POWER! And, there is magic inside each of us...just waiting to be released. Sometimes it takes a true adventure to unearth our power. Harry Potter seems like just the literary character to inspire, doesn't he?
But I haven't really answered the question, have I? Much of children's literature is filled with magic and adventure. Many titles could inspire wonderful things in learners like us. Why Potter? I am a POTTERHEAD. I have been since 1997. Do you know how I first encountered Harry and the magical school, Hogwarts? A student. A thoughtful and bright child gave me Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as a gift. This copy was published in the U.K. before the rights to the book were sold to Scholastic. I have loved Harry, his friends, and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for over 20 years now. I can't wait to share Harry’s magic with you this year.
You might be thinking, "Harry Potter? Didn't they do that last year AND the year before?" You might be interested to know that this team of fourth-grade teachers has taken on LOTS of themes. From nautical to culinary, from Broadway to superheroes. we've enjoyed teaching with many different themes. But, we have NEVER repeated a theme. NEVER. NOT ONCE...until last year. Why are we repeating the Harry Potter theme for the second time? For one, it is AWESOME! Secondly, we are repeating to continue a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of J.K. Rowling's first Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was first published in 1997. So, we decided to celebrate this 20th anniversary during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. However, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published by Scholastic in the United States in 2018. So, due to a technicality, and an overwhelming student-demand for more Potter, we are three-peating this theme. Over the course of this magical year, you will read the first two books, write to Harry, learn to play chess, or continue the study of the game, learn to play Quidditch, and if lucky, win a house cup or two and taste some sweet butter beer. I know everyone will be a Potterhead in no time if you're not one already!
I am thrilled that you have been accepted into Hogwarts and have been sorted into BRIGHAM HALL! The GREAT news is that you'll have a team of professors working hard to bring out the magic lurking inside of you. Of course, you'll have me, Professor Marie Brigham. I'll be your primary teacher. You'll take the following courses with me: English Language Arts, Mathematics, some Science and some Social Studies units. I'll be co-teaching with special educator, Professor Tricia Chapman, who will be working, like me, to ensure that all witches and wizards achieve great success. Professors Cote and Berthao will also be important parts of your Hogwarts success. Professor Cote will be teaching some of your science courses and Professor Berthao will be teaching some of your Social Studies courses.
Are you wondering if you are prepared for this magical quest? You'll need to pack of course...and more than just your robes, wand, and cauldron. You can find a list of essentials by clicking on the "Supplies" tab up top. Most importantly, you'll need to have a sharp mind ready for problem-solving and the academic challenges that will be the hallmarks of our classroom. How can you prepare your mind for the year ahead?
Continue to prepare by reading. I hope you have enjoyed, are enjoying, or will enjoy the 4th-grade summer reading selections. You can follow this link to view some choices. First, please read ONE of the four books that are offered as choices (The Lemonade War, The One and Only Ivan, All Four Stars, or Frindle) Then, read ANY other book of your choice. There are suggestions listed at the linked site but you can read ANYTHING you chose. We’ll use your summer reading books to introduce “BOOK TALKS”. We’ll be cultivating a love for reading all year and we’ll use “BOOK TALKS” to share that love with the class. In order to get a jump start, I challenge you to read as many as you can. All books count. Picture books count and so do graphic novels. Can you read 6 books by the time school starts? I bet you can. I’ve been reading quite a bit this summer. In fact, one of my favorite things about summer is having the time to read more books (and eat more ice cream). I’ve read all kinds of books this summer including historical fiction, non-fiction, young adult fiction, and fiction. While a lot of my reading has been for pleasure, a few of my selections have been read in hopes of improving my practice as a teacher. I love to read and have many favorite authors. I've read every Kate DiCamillo book. I think she is my favorite author. Her books just warm my heart and fill me with hope. I admit though, I have a few favorite authors! J.K. Rowling is certainly near the top of my list. What has been your favorite book of the summer? I'll want to hear all about it when you return to school! Better yet, you can shoot me an email by clicking on the Contact Prof. Brigham tab.
Also, you can keep your math mind sharp by reviewing your multiplication facts on a pretty regular basis. A few minutes of review work every couple of days should do the trick. I know you'll be a more confident math student if you come to school with fact fluency. Do a little review here and there versus trying to re-learn them all during the last weekend of summer vacation. It will be way less burdensome this way and you won't ruin those last precious days of vacation with math stress.
Finally, you should RELAX. Do not worry about heading to Hogwarts. We will have FUN and you will have a very SUCCESSFUL fourth year. I promise! I'm excited about our adventure and the challenge of revealing the magic inside of each of us!
There may be one more OWL before the start of school. Stay on the look out. If the OWL is sent...it will contain a challenge. Are you up for a challenge? I know you are!
Rest up till August 29 when you'll head to King's Station. Seek out platform 9 ½ (a.k.a. rm. 202). Come with your trunk all packed and ready for MAGIC and WONDER. We depart at 9:00 AM sharp. I just can't wait!
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Marie Brigham is a fourth-grade teacher and 25 year veteran of the MURSD.