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I am excited to work with your students in 4th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies this year!
 
I received a Bachelors of Science degree, in Early Childhood and Elementary Education with a specialization in Elementary Reading from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2000 and a Masters of Education degree, in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University in 2003. Along with my degrees, I am also certified to teach English Second Language Learners and Gifted and Talented students.
 
My career began in Garland ISD teaching self-contained 4th grade. After attending Arizona State for graduate school, I moved to Hazlet, New Jersey where I taught kindergarten. In 2007, we (finally!) came home to Texas. After taking a few years off to raise my children, I joined the Tomball ISD family originally as a parent, then a sub, then a long term sub, and finally as a full-time teacher in 2015.
 
My husband, son, and daughter, Shamus, Peyton, Kallee, and I moved to Tomball in 2013. We enjoy traveling.  I've been to 49 of the US states (The plan is to visit the NW United States National Parks in the Summer of 2018 to get my final state of Oregon) and about 15 or so countries - including some "weird ones" like Haiti, Iceland, Taiwan, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Slovenia (yet I've never been to France, England, or Spain), spending time with family (I have one brother who is married with two boys), football (Go Badgers, Lumberjacks, Sun Devils, Cowboys, and Texans), and hanging out at the lake (any lake will do, but it is primarily Lake Texoma... on the Oklahoma side).
 

Recent Posts

Reading Lists and More

    At Parent Orientation on Thursday, 9/28, several parents were interested in reading websites and reading levels!  I am happy to help in any way that I can with making sure your child is getting the best leveled, enjoyable, and made-for-academic-growth book in their hands!  (Thank you, also, to the parents who wrote me the quick note to remind me to get this posted as soon as I could!)

·      Most readers in the 4th grade are between reading levels O and R.  Some will be higher, and some will be lower.  Wherever they are is exactly where we start to grow! 😊  No child will receive a grade on their starting reading level for the 4th grade. 

·       I have completed my individual testing of kiddos in class and have given each child a letter.  I usually tell them that the letter they are aiming to find is, for example, P.  However, I always tell them one letter higher, in this example, Q, as a higher level book where they can challenge themselves!  I also remind them that it is okay to read books at lower levels occasionally because we want to continue to have fun as readers, too!  (As adults, you know how fun it is to read an entire “easy read” in an afternoon!)

As you can imagine, the Fountas and Pinnell reading level system is not perfect, as there will be books that are rated higher (because the content or subject is higher-level) or lower than what seems equal in rating.  This is why the kids know a range of letters.  **If your kiddo does not remember their letter, I have that information readily available and I can give it to them again.  Also, I will be sharing this information at parent conferences.

For more information on the Fountas and Pinnell book leveling system, I encourage you to check out this website.
 

·       The app that I like to use on my phone (free!) from Scholastic is Book Wizard. Book Wizard App  This app allows you to scan the bar code of a lot of books and the RL (Reading Level – a letter from A to Z) will come up.


·       As requested, I have been able to compile a few book lists for you to use when shopping for books.  Please note that they are separated by fiction and non-fiction and by grade level.  (Typical third grade reading levels, and please use this only as a rough guide, are L-O; fourth grade O-R; fifth grade R-T; etc.)  Please see the lists on my website under Reading Level Lists.  On these lists, you will see a number such as 4.5.  This can be interpreted as fourth grade, fifth month.  5.2 = fifth grade, second month, etc.  Again, these numbers are not a perfect system, and should only be used as a guideline.

·       At home, parents are the primary helpers to have kids reading and understanding what they are reading better.  This one-on-one time you have with your child will help them excel at comprehension in all areas – predicting, inference, characterization, and so much more.  An app that was recommended to me, but I have not personally used, is “Fountas and Pinnell Prompting Guide Part 2”.  I will warn you that it is $10, but apparently AMAZING!

I hope these items are helpful to you and your child.  If there is anything else I can help with, please do not hesitate to ask, and I will do my best to answer those questions.

Melissa O'Brien
4th Grade LA/SS
Wildwood Elementary School

2017-2018 Week 1

I'm so excited to re-meet everyone this Tuesday, 8/22 for our first day of school.  Remember that school starts at 8:40.  Parents are allowed to walk their child to class only on Tuesday.
 
We are looking forward to an awesome school year! 

Thank you!

Thank you all for such a tremendous year!  I have had a wonderful time learning and growing with your child this year.  Thank you for the support you have provided at home, the way your have encouraged them (and me!), and the love that you have shown me in all the little gifts and cards that I received throughout the week.  You truly have been wonderful and I wish all of you the very best summer EVER!
 
Love, Mrs. O'Brien

We did it!

STAAR is officially done for 4th grade.  Thank you, parents, for getting them all ready today - feeding them hearty breakfast, making sure they sleep well, and giving them all the encouragement they needed to walk in here confidently as they have for the past two days.  I am really, really proud of them.
 
Now... on to the FUN!  Just a quick reminder:
Monday, 5/15 - field trip.  Please do not forget to wear your blue fun run shirt (or similar) so that sorting is easy-peasy out in public.  Remember that you also need a sack lunch.

Glue Sticks

Parents... we are in desperate need of glue sticks.  If you happen to be out and can grab a few sticks, we would greatly appreciate it.
 
Thank you - 
 
Melissa O'Brien

Today, Monday, April 3rd, your child received their very own copy of The Lemonade War!!  This is part of the Texas Reads One Book initiative that Tomball ISD is participating in this year.  With the book, students will be assigned chapters (as indicated in the photo and below).  In addition, students will write journal responses in their language arts notebooks each week.  These journal response questions were generated from suggested websites.  Students added all of the labels with the journal assignments today to their Language Arts Homework Notebooks.  Please pay attention to the dates indicated and try to not work too far in advance.
 
**All entries should be, at minimum, one paragraph, or 3-4 sentences in length.  If the journal entry asks more than one question, as in the example below, please make sure that students are answering all parts using a paragraph for each question.
 
Example:
Chapter 3: Why is Megan laughing at Evan at the end of the chapter?  Do you work better alone or with other people?
 
I'm a realist and know that sometimes things come up - practices, services, spirit nights, illness, etc.  Please pay attention to the due dates and use the week accordingly to get all assignments completed.
 
The Lemonade War book may be kept at home, or they are welcome to bring it back and forth to class.  Each book has been labeled with your student's name.
 
Each journal assignment will be treated separately and marks and removal from the homework club will be given on a chapter by chapter basis. (For example, if the student fails to complete 2 chapters, he or she will receive 2 marks.)
 
Journal Entries DUE: Friday 4/7/2017:
M, 4/3 - Chapter 1
T, 4/4 - Chapter 2
W, 4/5 - Chapter 3
R, 4/6 - Chapter 4
 
Journal Entries DUE: Monday, 4/17/2017:
M, 4/10 - Chapter 5
T, 4/11 and W, 4/12 - Chapter 6
R, 4/13 - Chapter 7
 
Journal Entries DUE: Friday, 4/21/2017:
M, 4/17 and T, 4/18 - Chapter 8
W, 4/19 - Chapter 9
R, 4/20 - Chapter 10
 
Journal Entries DUE: Friday, 4/28/2017:
M, 4/24 - Chapter 11
T, 4/25 - Chapters 12 and 13
W, 4/26 - Chapter 14
 
If you have ANY questions throughout the book, please make sure you let me know.
 
Mrs. O'Brien  :-)