Fourth Grade


Laura Ristow

I grew up in San Diego, where I attended Guardian Angels Catholic Church. I graduated from UC Santa Barbara with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 2010. With extensive volunteer experience as a literacy tutor, I knew that teaching was my vocation. I earned my Teaching Credential and Master’s Degree in Education at UC Santa Barbara, and I began my career as a fourth-grade teacher in 2011. Outside of school, I enjoy reading fiction, cooking, and practicing yoga.

The fourth-grade Religion curriculum is integrated with the Liturgical calendar. Our students dedicate October to the Holy Rosary. They create PowerPoint presentations about the Stations of the Cross during Lent. In December, we host the Jesse Tree Mass for our school community, and in the spring, we host the May Crowning Mass in honor of our Blessed Mother.

Our fourth-grade curriculum is aligned with the Common Core State Standards. In Math, the students study long division, multi-digit multiplication, fractions, and geometry, with an emphasis on problem solving and articulating their understanding of a concept. In Language Arts, the students develop new writing skills as they focus on summaries, personal narrative, and opinion essays. Students are introduced to sophisticated vocabulary and grammar skills, and they begin to include figurative language in their writing pieces. We utilize the Step Up to Writing process to produce cohesive five-paragraph essays, and the students type their final drafts on our school computers. I’m an avid reader, and I strive to help each of my students develop a love for reading in fourth grade; together, we read fabulous novels by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and William Pène du Bois.

The Social Studies curriculum is integrated with the Common Core standards for Writing. For example, fourth-grade students write essays about the California regions, our natural resources, and whether they would have chosen to be gold miners or shopkeepers during the Gold Rush. Using a research-based flipped classroom model, the students participate in classroom projects, which promote a deeper understanding of our state’s history.
Our field trips include the Audubon Center in Tiburon, Fort Ross in Jenner, the Capitol Building in Sacramento, and a class picnic at Muir Woods. In the winter, the students’ parents are invited to join us at school as each child gives a PowerPoint presentations about a California Mission. For our class service project, we participate in the Global Book Exchange. Most importantly, students develop life-long friendships with their classmates. Fourth grade is an exciting year at Saint Isabella.


Class Dojo
Accelerated Reader