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Welcome to the Fourth and Fifth Grade!

December 6, 2019 | Melissa McCallihan

Here’s some helpful information about fourth and fifth grade.

Contact information:

Please contact your homeroom teacher for any questions, updates, or concerns.
Adventurous in Lightning [email protected]
Brave in Thunder [email protected]
Courageous in Cloud [email protected]

For Math, please contact the math teachers only. Please include both teachers in the e-mail.
4th Grade: [email protected], [email protected]
5th Grade: [email protected], [email protected]

Other members of the Thunder and Lightning team:
Abby Hall Choi- Middle School Director [email protected]
Clara Buckley–Art and STEAM teacher [email protected]
Zach Licato–PE teacher and Park time supervisor [email protected]
Aiko Mauldin–Music and Choristers [email protected]
Tania Oro-Hahn–Spanish teacher [email protected]
Gladys Wu–Special Services [email protected]

Drop off and Pick up

Students enter at the door closest to OLG parking lot from 8:10-8:20. After 8:20 they need to enter through the main door. At 8:25 they are tardy. Parents will need to go the office and sign in their children at 8:25 and after.

*Please always sign in at the office whenever visiting our floor, unless otherwise noted.

Snack and Lunch

Students have a snack time and a lunch time. Fourth and fifth graders tend to be really hungry all day but we see a peak in hunger in the fall and in springtime. Also, we hope our students will have nutritious food that will keep them energized throughout the day. Candy, soda, coffee, tea and hot chocolate are not allowed.


Our Worship is at 2:40 and ends at 3:05. Please feel welcome to attend. Unless we inform you differently, on days we have 8:30 celebrations, there is no afternoon Worship.

Homework and Planner

Thunder and Lightning students are issued a planner and we model and practice using it as a good organization tool. The planner is a tool used throughout their middle school career at Mustard Seed. Students will need their planner in school each day. They will also need it at home each night.

Most days, you can expect this much homework per day:
4th grade: 40 minutes + 30 minutes of reading
5th grade: 50 minutes + 30 minutes of reading

Often students finish quickly and do not use all the time. Sometimes they choose to do all their homework in one day. We do not recommend this, as homework in the 4th and 5th grade is establishing the work habits for future grades. It is best that they chunk out homework to work around their schedules, but have some homework to do each day.


In the Middle School, birthdays are celebrated in Worship once a month, on the last Thursday of the month. Typically, there is a celebratory skit and then students are presented with a birthday book. Birthday treats are welcome on the day or near the student’s birth date. Students need only to bring enough treats for their homeroom and any teachers they’d like to enjoy a treat as well. Please be mindful of allergies in your child’s homeroom.


Students are placed in mixed 4th grade/5th grade homerooms for specials, writing, STEAM, and reading. They will have math in grade-level groups.


The forecast tells the students where they should be for each special and homeroom.

Eye of the Storm

Eye of the Storm is a community-building time where a student share an object that is important to them. The community then participates in a Q&A time. The total time of an Eye of the Storm is 10 minutes. Families of the presenter are welcome to join.

Forms, Forms, Forms

Two forms require a parent signature. The technology agreement and the Camp Bernie waiver. These can be found on the blog. Teachers also have a copy for your student if needed.

Information, Information, Information

Information about Thunder and Lightning can be found on the blog. Check out the pages section for more info. New blog entries are posted frequently. Check the blog every Wednesday for updates. You will receive an email each week which will include important information. Make sure you sign up to subscribe so you know the most recent info!

Thunder and Lightning Curriculum can be found here on the Middle School Curriculum Site. You can also check out the site for parent resources and helpful links.

All field trip information and acknowledgements will be sent via Google Forms.


Students are assigned a Chromebook. They use them as a tool for research and to compose work at school and home. They are also assigned a Mustard Seed School email. They can access there work and email from any computer through Gmail and Google Drive. Their work, information and profiles are protected as a part of the school network. All the emails they write and the emails they receive, as well as their search history are recorded and stored on the Mustard Seed School server.

Here is the MSS Technology and Acceptable Use Policy.

We recommend the site Common Sense Media to parents as a tool for guiding your student for safe, secure, independent use of technology.

Book Order Procedure

When a Scholastic book order form goes home with your child and you choose to order, there are two ways to shop:

  1. Mark the order form and return it by the due date with a check made out to Scholastic or log on to to place your order.
  2. Log in to, and place your order using our class code for reference, N3C4L. The order will be shipped to the school, and sent home with your child.

Email your teacher if you have any questions.

Parent Handbook

Here’s the link to the MSS Parent Handbook

Melissa McCallihan

Teacher, Grade 6; Science Grades 6-8

Teaching children to take risks and fail well is important to Melissa McCallihan, who has taught for over 30 years. She believes children learn as much through their failures as they do through their successes. She celebrates both in her classroom. In collaboration with the middle school director, art teacher, and other fourth and fifth grade teachers, Mrs. McCallihan has been instrumental in developing the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program, an extension of the Lower School’s Shared Space model. “STEAM is where students solve problems and sometimes get it wrong,” says Mrs. McCallihan when asked about risks and failing well. “Students need to learn how to do that with grace, and to try again with grit and determination.” Mrs. McCallihan currently teaches sixth through eighth grade science.

Mrs. McCallihan cares deeply about relationships with her colleagues, students, and families. She works hard to make and maintain connections on a personal and professional level. And follows the mantra “Worship God, Love All.”

When not at school, you can find Mrs. McCallihan searching out a fantastic restaurant or hidden sight to see in New York City.

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