Fourth Grade

    My name is Nicole Smiland, and I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to be your child’s 4th grade teacher. This is my 16th year working at Holy Family School. During my time at Holy Family, I have worked as a TWS After School Care and Kindergarten counselor, a teacher’s aide, and a substitute teacher. I have been a member the Holy Family Parish since I was a young child. I attended the University of La Verne and then Cal State LA, where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies, with a focus in Elementary Education, and my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.

    My teaching philosophy closely reflects that of Holy Family School’s. I believe my job as a teacher is to work to develop well-rounded Catholic individuals, that demonstrate respect and concern for others, and strive for academic excellence. Therefore, it is my aim to establish a classroom environment in which the importance of these characteristics is consistently stressed. The 4th grade classroom is a respectful learning community, in which positive interactions between students and teachers create a warm and welcoming setting that benefits all learners. Students are not only expected to make responsible choices that benefit the teaching and learning of others and themselves, but are also expected to demonstrate a Christian attitude and exemplify Christ by practicing Christian virtues and making moral choices based on their Catholic faith.

    In my classroom students are consistently encouraged to assess their own behavior and performance and determine whether or not they are meeting the above mentioned expectations. Students will often be encouraged to ask themselves self-reflection questions like, “Am I being a responsible and respectful member of the classroom learning community” and “What Would Jesus Do?”. Additionally, as a teacher, I hope to instill in students a love for learning, and desire in them to not only meet stated expectations, but to go above and beyond, in hopes of exceeding them. Students will be encouraged and motivated through positive reinforcement, and recognized for their special gifts, talents, and accomplishments. I want students to feel confident in their abilities, and valued and appreciated, and I will do all I can to make that happen daily. I truly look forward to sharing this year with your child. It will be a fun and memorable year for all!

    4th Grade Texts, Topics of Study & Assessment:


    Text: “Be My Disciples”

    Book Website:

    Curriculum Topics:

    • God’s Word to Us
    • The Mystery of God
    • God’s Promise
    • The Son of God
    • The Death and Resurrection of Jesus
    • Receive the Holy Spirit
    • The People of God
    • People of Prayer
    • Celebrating God’s Love
    • Sharing in Christ’s Life and Work
    • Responding to God’s Call
    • Jesus Feeds Us
    • Jesus Forgives
    • Jesus Heals the Sick
    • Sign’s of God’s Love
    • Created in Gods Image
    • The Beatitudes
    • Living a Holy Life
    • Living God’s Convenant
    • Love God with All Your Heart
    • Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
    • Love One Another
    • The Prayer of the Disciples


    Chapter quizzes will be given after every 3 chapters. Unit tests will be given at the end of each unit. Students will also be assigned one in-class project per unit.

    Language Arts

    Reading/Vocab./ Spelling


    Houghton Mifflin Journeys- (Enrichment Activities:

    By the Great Horn Spoon, by Sid Fleishchman

    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo

    Reading Curriculum Skills and Strategies:

    • Making Inferences
    • Determining Theme
    • Summarizing
    • Determining Character Traits
    • Identify Setting & Plot
    • Understanding Allusions
    • Understanding Poetry, Drama & Prose
    • Determining Point of View
    • Using Text and Visuals
    • Comparing and Contrasting
    • Making Connections
    • Using Visualization
    • Determining Main Idea
    • Using Words and Phrases
    • Understanding Text Structure
    • Distinguishing First and Secondhand Accounts
    • Understanding Text Features
    • Citing Reasons and Evidence
    • Combining Texts
    • Determining Importance
    • Synthesizing


    -Students will be given spelling quizzes weekly and spelling review tests monthly. They will be given quizzes and tests on the readings, which will assess comprehension and vocabulary knowledge.

    -One Book Report Project will be due each trimester on any book of student’s choice. However, they cannot choose stories or books read by the class. Ideally, students should spend time reading this book during their nightly reading homework time. Book Report assignment direction and rubrics will be sent home at least a month prior to the due date.

    -Additionally, students will be required to read at least 3 A.R. (Accelerated Reader) books per trimester and take a reading tests on those books in the library. At the end of each trimester, the A.R. tests scores will be averaged out and count as one reading quiz grade on their report cards. The books/ stories that I have the students read in class DO NOT COUNT toward this A.R. requirement.


    English/ Writing


    “Houghton Mifflin English” (Enrichment Activities:

    Curriculum Topics:

    • Parts of a Sentence
    • Nouns
    • Verbs
    • Adjectives
    • Capitalization and Punctuation
    • Pronouns
    • Adverbs and Prepositions
    • Writing Informative/ Explanatory Paragraphs
    • Opinion Writing
    • Narrative Writing
    •  Personal Narrative Writing
    • The Writing Process
    • Writing Instructions
    • Writing a Research Report
    • Writing to Express an Opinion
    • Writing to Persuade


    -Students will take English lesson quizzes and unit tests. They will also be putting together a Writing Portfolio, which will consist of written pieces completed throughout the year. The written pieces completed during each trimester will count for project grades


    Text:  California HSP Math (Enrichment Activities & online book: )

    Curriculum Topics:

    • Multiplication and Division Facts
    • Multiplying by 1- and 2- Digit Numbers
    • Dividing by 1- Digit Divisors
    • Data and Algebra
    • Fractions and Decimals
    • Plane Geometry
    • Data and Probability


    -Students will take quizzes after every chapter and tests after every unit. Students will also be taking math fact quizzes daily. However, only the final quizzes, which will be given on Fridays will count for a grade. One hands-on, in-class project will also be assigned after each unit.

    Social Studies


    Houghton Mifflin History Social Science California (Enrichment Tools & Activities:

    Curriculum Topics:

    • Land and First People: The Geography of California & The First Californians
    • Exploration and Colonization: Spanish California & Mexican California
    • New Flags for California: The Gold Rush Years, California Becomes a State & Joining the Nation
    • California Changes: A Growing State & A Stronger California
    • Modern California: World War II to the Seventies, New Steps Forward & The Twenty First Century


    Students will take lesson quizzes and tests after every chapter and every other unit. Additionally, they will complete an in class project after each unit.



    • Houghton Mifflin Discovery Work (Enrichment Activities:
    • Science Curriculum Topics
    • Earth’s Land: The Shape of the Land, The Importance of Natural Resources, The Problem With Trash
    • Populations and Ecosystems: Living Things and Environments, Energy and Matter in Ecosystems, Different Kinds of Ecosystems
    • The Solid Earth: Minerals, Rocks, Earth’s Structures


    Students will take chapter quizzes and unit tests. They will also participate in hands-on, in-class investigations during each chapter. Investigations will count as project grades.