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Cynthia Garland

Dear Parents and Students, 

This is my 30th year teaching and my 28th year here at Smith Elementary. I have taught many different grades, but 4th grade is, by far, my favorite.  This was the most memorable grade for me growing up too.

Some of my hobbies include listening to music, attending rock concerts, gardening, geocaching, walking, traveling, and definitely reading a good book. 

I have two boys named Jarod and Austin.  Jarod is 23 years old and Austin is 20 years old.  They both keep me busy along with my husband, Scott, who was a 4th grade teacher many years ago too.  We also get a lot of enjoyment out of our two dogs, and I enjoy sharing their antics with the students.  We have a Siberian Husky, Whiskey Rose, as well as our new addition, an Alaskan Husky, we just adopted in August.

It is my privilege to share in the joy of your child’s learning.  Please feel free to stop in to meet me at any time or to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Please fill out the Parent Information Form on your child when you can.


Cynthia Garland

Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year at Agnes Smith Elementary.  I hope each of you had a restful and wonderful summer break.  I am looking forward to a very successful year working with all of you. It is my goal to provide a positive learning environment that helps strengthen all students’ self-esteem and personal achievement.

  • Reaching For Depth And Complexity

    We strive to become Scholars!

    One way differentiated instruction is accomplished in Room 19 is by integrating depth and complexity principles, theories, and generalizations into the core curriculum. Below you will see the icons used to help us reach depth and complexity.


  • Writing, Reading, Vocabulary, Spelling, Listening, And Speaking


    Our district requires students to complete 3 writing performance tasks; 1 per trimester. Much time will go into preparing each child for these performance tasks. 

    The three genres for these tasks are: 

    • Informative (read a variety of non-fiction texts to write multi-paragraph essays citing sources)
    • Narrative (Using figurative language as well as components of story writing, students will write both personal narratives as well as creative stories)
    • Opinion (Students will learn to "take a stand" on a variety of topics and write multi-paragraph essays arguing their point of view utilizing appropriate persuasive vocabulary)


    The Language Arts series, Journeys, by Houghton Mifflin, is aligned with the California Language Arts standards and the Common Core Standards. Reading comprehension, vocabulary development, writing strategies, writing conventions, and literary responses will be incorporated with each story or novel we read.

  • Each Child has an individual AR Goal to meet each trimester based on reading every night at home for homework and their results from the STAR reading assessment.  Please look for your child's goal and the STAR results in September. 


    Academic Vocabulary will be taught weekly and incorporated daily in all subjects.


    Most weeks, the words will be the same for spelling and vocabulary.  Studying for the Spelling tests, which are on Thursday, will be the student's responsibility.  Please see this website and the "Spelling Word Study" page for ideas. 

  • Why Is Our Math So Different?

    Watch this Video:

    Welcome to Common Core Math

    Huntington Beach City School District adapted a new Common Core math series this year from McGraw Hill called My Math! Students will be asked to "go deeper" in their understanding of math concepts. Common Core expects students to fully understand their thinking process and to be able to write about the steps they use to solve math problems.

    In class we will be using math journals, white boards, videos, smart board lessons and their own text books (which they can write in) to help solve and explain their work.

    Each student has a standards practice book which will be used daily and for homework.  See the link below to access the textbook online:


  • California History is the focus for 4th grade this year.  Topics that will be covered through our Social Studies text book and research based projects include:

    • California's Four Regions
    • Native Americans
    • Explorers
    • Missions
    • Ranchos
    • Westward Movement
    • Gold Rush
    • Statehood



  • 4th graders will participate in three science units. Our physical science unit will be Forces, our Life Science unit will be Human Body Systems, and our Earth Science unit will focus on rocks and minerals.

  • 4th Grade Common Core State Standards

    Common Core

    Link specific for 4th grade math:

    Link specific for 4th grade Language Arts:

    As we look at our children's education, parents and educators need to prepare the next  generation to be productive contributing members of a global economy and an ever changing world.  This is creating a shift in education.  While educators have long been focusing on much of what Common Core standards encompass, all educators are now focusing on these elements in their classrooms. 

    The major themes for teachers to focus on are called The 4 Cs:

    • Critical Thinking
    • Communication
    • Collaboration
    • Creativity

    In addition, there will be a shift to nonfiction text materials, incorporation of technology, and students' backing up arguments with "evidence" derived from research.  Another emphasis will be on collaboration with others and on speaking and listening skills.

    What parents can do to help their child succeed:

    • Educate yourself about the new curriculum standards.  Go to and look under Core State Standards.  
    • Engage your child in deeper conversations about what they are learning.  Do not accept one word answers from your child about what is going on at school. 
    • Encourage your child to read nonfiction as well as fiction 

    Please check out this short video, "Why Is Math Different Now?"

    Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)

    The link below will give you more information about Common Core testing.  Students will be required to submit multiple sentence responses to support their answers during testing.  There will also be a student written essay based on multiple sources and media presented to the student during the test.  You can take a practice test to see what testing will be like.

    • Go to the Smarter Balance link below:
    • Click on "Assessments, "Practice and Training Tests"
    • Your child DOES not need a login: Click on "Guest"

    California Department of Education

  • Room 19 Wish List

    Ways to Help Our Class This Year:

    • Monetary Contributions to Classroom Budget
    • Gift cards to Staples, Michaels Craft Store, or Amazon
    • Ink for our Printers
    • Case of Copy Paper
    • Lined Wide Rule Paper
    • Astrobright Paper
    • Overhead pens
    • Boxes of Black Fine and Ultrafine Sharpies
    • Classroom wipes: Baby wipes only
    • Boxes of Tissue paper
    • Colored Markers
    • Help with monthly treats