August 28

Back to School


School is only a week away! I am so excited for the start of the 2017-2018 school year! I can’t believe this is my 16th year at Fox Meadow and my 8th year in fourth grade! This is such a wonderful community and I have made lifelong friends. I love it when students come back to visit and we are able to catch up on all they have been achieving. I am so very proud of each and every one!

Our classroom is almost ready and I am excited for my new students to see it. I think it is fun and welcoming. I have to say, that meeting a new class on the first day can be overwhelming and even scary! Like the students, I feel anxious and worried that everything will go wrong. However, I keep reminding myself that I feel this way every year and it always works out.  Walking into the classroom and not knowing anyone is hard. I always feel a little better when my previous students come by and say hello or when I recognize a family name and remember a sibling. It’s amazing how quickly we all become a community!

I read a LOT of books this summer, and can’t wait to share some of my favorites during read aloud time this year. I hope my new students enjoy them as much as I did and that they can share some of their favorites!

I also played around with math a little…Mr. Besancon has shared some great problems we can use in class to strengthen our problem-solving skills. Math used to be my least favorite subject in school, but I have since discovered it’s my favorite! I think I just lacked confidence when I was in 4th grade. I am also really bad at memorization, but I learned that math isn’t really about that at all! I am excited to work with my students to increase their confidence and sharpen my own skills.

I think learning with my students is my favorite part of teaching! Last year we had so much fun exploring new concepts, strategies and learning from each other. My number one goal is for my students to feel safe and brave! Safe to explore their own interests and to let me know when they are in need of something extra. Brave to share their ideas, try new things, and be comfortable saying, “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure.” I will try to do the same. We are all going to grow so much this year! I can’t wait!


June 22

Enjoy the Summer!

It’s hard to describe the feeling at the end of a school year. Teachers and students often count down to the last day, excited for the summer. I am no exception, however I find that the last week leaves me blue. This year is worse than ever because I have spent most of this week in the hospital with a silly infection. Luckily, I will be able to attend the last day – or hour! I am looking forward to seeing the students who have not already left for summer camp and getting, and giving, a final hug.

I am so proud of my fourth graders this year. They have really shown tremendous academic growth and have matured into lovely young people. They are eager to learn – even when pretending they aren’t and have become valued members of our classroom community. They have shared ideas, taught each other skills, and supported each other, and me, in numerous ways. I am always touched when past students come back to visit and enjoy hearing about their trials and successes. I hope they will come back, too. I will truly miss them.

June 22


Commas are often introduced much earlier than fourth grade, but fourth grade tends to be the grade where it is expected to be mastered.  We learn about using them before dialogue (I said, “Don’t forget to use commas to separate clauses!”), when using adverbs to introduce a sentence (like finally or on the other hand), in dates and numbers, and to separate items in a series, like this one.

This last one is the one that has provoked some controversy.  It is sometimes referred to as the Oxford Comma, and I like it.  I teach it.  Every year, I get some pushback from students, and even other educators, who say that it is no longer necessary.  I don’t care. I am probably passionate about using it because it’s what I learned in school some time during the middle ages.

Today I came across an article ( by Kelly Gurnett) that gave me a name – a “diehard Oxford comma loyalist.” I like this, too. I know I am not a grammar perfectionist. I often make grammatical mistakes, usually caught by my waiting-to-pounce-on-every-mistake fourth-graders, but I will always use, and teach, the Oxford comma. What are your thoughts?

April 24

Restaurant Reviews

Last week the students in 4A decided to blog about their favorite restaurants.  Each student chose their own place and gathered basic information such as the address, hours of operation, and they overall type of food they served.  Then they were asked to include some specifics about the menu, pricing, and service.  They also needed to include information about the overall atmosphere, the type of person who may find this place enjoyable, and their specific experience.  This would include what they ordered, their favorite items, and even details they found enjoyable or were unhappy with.  They added photos and hyperlinks in order to create useful and detailed posts. There really was a wide variety of food establishments and their reviews are very thorough.  I hope you are able to take some time to look through and find some interesting new spots to try out.  Don’t forget to leave a comment or ask a question.  We bloggers love to interact with our readers and start conversations!



April 9

Hello, world!

Since the first blog my students write is an introduction to readers about who they are and what they will be blogging about, I thought it might be a good idea to write one, too. I also figured that future students could visit the blog and learn something about me before school starts in September. It may even inspire them to begin writing their own before the first day! My current class enjoys hearing stories and learning about my family, my life before becoming a teacher, and my previous students.

I guess I’ll start with my family. I live with my husband, Ted, and my two sons – Teddy and Nick. Teddy is 23 and he has a dog walking business.  He loves it! He travels all around Westchester each day taking care of all different kinds of animals.   My son, Nick, is 21 and he works at DeCicco Markets in Pelham, but he sometimes travels to their other locations. He has been working for them since he was 16 years old! We also have a dog, named Cody. Cody is a rescue dog. He lived in 4 other homes before we got him! He’s been with us for almost 10 years! I also have a mom who lives upstate and a dad who lives nearby. The other person that I tell a lot of stories about is my Grandma.  She died a while ago and I really miss her, but I have so many great memories and I LOVE to tell stories and write poems and short stories about her.

We live in Pelham, which is pretty close to Scarsdale, so it doesn’t take me long to get to school each day. Some of you may have been to Pelham or driven through it. I live really close to The Ice Hutch where some of my students play hockey or and Hooperstown where many of them play basketball. I grew up in Pelham and went to Pelham High School. I went to Iona College and got a degree in Business and I got my Master Degree in teaching from Manhattanville College. Most of my students have a hard time believing that before I became a teacher I had two other careers. At one time I owned and ice cream store! It was delicious!

I have been teaching at Fox Meadow for 14 years! I am VERY happy here! My first year here I taught first grade. The second year I was able to move up to second grade. I even got to have some of the same students! Can you believe that some of them still visit or email me? I am always excited to hear all about what they are doing now. I stayed in second grade for SIX years! After that I came to fourth grade. I have been here ever since – 7 years and counting! I think I enjoy this grade the most. The best things about fourth grade are having our own laptops, reading exciting books, and learning cool things.

Well, that’s enough about me! I can’t wait to hear about you and what makes you special. Please feel free to leave a comment and have fun exploring my pages!

Mrs. Assatly