Field Elementary School
Baxter, Valerie
Fourth Grade Teacher

Contact Me

 630-834-5562 x4549

(or click blue envelope above)


Scholastic Book Orders

Scholastic offers a variety of books and activities available for purchase.   They are often the popular books that are out and usually at a discount prices.

You can order books throughout the year at:

My class code is:  GKFQW


Communication is very important between home and school.  Always feel free to contact me either through email, voicemail, or old fashioned hand-written notes!   Email is a great tool for quick questions or information.  I will check emails a few times throughout the day, but will mainly be focused on teaching your child.  If you have an urgent message for your child, please do not rely on sending me an email.  Urgent messages should go through the school office.  My voicemail is accessed through my email.  Please feel free to leave me a message and I will return your call as soon as possible (either during a break or at the end of the day).   

Security Procedures

Due to tragic events that have taken place over the last several years, access to schools is not what it has been in the past.  At all times, please be cognizant of the security measures we have in place.

It is of the utmost importance that visitors follow these guidelines when entering the building.

  • All visitors MUST enter through the main door for visual identification.  Ring the bell at the center door and wait to be identified.  You may be required to state your name and purpose for visiting if the office staff does not automatically recognize you and/or does not have prior knowledge of your visit.  There may be occasions when you may need to wait at the door until the office staff is able to identify you.  They may be on the phone, assisting students, conducting morning announcements, etc.
  • Never enter the building by catching the door when someone exits or behind a student or another adult.  This occurrence does not allow us to identify each person entering the building.
  • Never allow a student to let you in the building.  If they are trying to be courteous and open the door for you please ask them to close the door.  We are working with our students to review these security procedures.  Please help us reinforce this. 
  • Come directly to the office.  Your driver’s license will be scanned through our Raptor system which is tied to a State of Illinois database.  We will not need your driver’s license on subsequent visits once you have been cleared by this system.
  • Any visitor with or without a prior appointment must check in with the office staff to state the purpose of their visit.  All visitors in the building during the school day need to sign in on the Parent/Visitor Register on the counter in the office and wear a visitor’s badge.
  • All visitors desiring to meet with a teacher must have a prior appointment.  Please contact your child’s teacher to make an appointment.
  • Parents must send a note or email their child’s teacher (as well as the school nurse at when they are planning to pick up their child during the school day for an appointment.


Valerie Baxter

Welcome to Room 302!

Welcome to 4th grade!  


I am so excited to get the year underway and to work with you and your child.  The purpose of my website is to serve as a resource throughout the year about the subjects your child will learn, special schedule, pictures from class, and other useful information.  Below this is an article about your 4th grader's development.  

Inside the 4th grader’s brain

What insights can neuroscience offer parents about the mind of a fourth grader?

by: Hank Pellissier | March 25, 2017


Fourth grader brain development

"Why won’t you let me do that? All my friends get to! They’ll laugh at me if I don’t get to, too!"

Friendships often emerge as extremely important in fourth graders, an alarming trend if it’s accompanied by peer group pressure, cliques, bullying, and fierce jockeying for popularity. The slow slippage of influence away from parents toward peers can concern moms and dads, who fear adolescent rebellion is arriving too early.

Are you one of the worriers? Here’s comfort for you: The friendship-fixated behavior of your fourth grader is absolutely normal. A fourth grader’s brain has developed a unique "self" at this age, with one-of-a-kind thinking patterns based on individualized neural pathways. You gave love, guidance, nutrition, exercise, education, and enriching experiences, which your child utilized to create dendrites, axons, synapses, and myelin – you were the primary "gardener" of your child’s brain! But now, your child might need close peers of the same age for bonding, giggling, secrets, and commiseration.


You’re still of preeminent importance, but your guidance will be wiser if you understand what’s happening inside your child’s sometimes complicated and often funny noggin. Here are some tips about your child’s evolving brain and how you can best help:

Gently does it

Use encouragement and positive discipline to shepherd and protect your fourth grader, instead of punishment to make your child feel bad. At Leiden University in The Netherlands, researchers using MRI scanners discovered that the basal ganglia — clusters of brain cells at the brain’s base that are affiliated with movement – of nine year olds "responded strongly" to positive feedback. Conversely, when they received harsher, negative feedback, the cognitive control areas scarcely responded at all. That’s why kids this age often get that "blank look" when scolded.


No online violence

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis used MRI to view brain regions that were stimulated when kids played a variety of video games. When the study subjects played "Need for Speed: Underground" — a non-violent game — activity in the frontal area was observed; this zone is associated with concentration, self-control and inhibition. However, when kids played "Medal of Honor: Frontline" — a violent game — there was no frontal area activity; instead, the "reptilian brain" amygdala was excited. The amygdala is associated with emotional arousal — especially anger — and is responsible for aggressive, impulsive behaviors. Repeated "firing up" of reptilian zones could "hardwire" a developing brain for less self-control and more violence. So if your child wants to play video games, steer him to ones that focus on racing or skill, not blowing holes in other sentient beings.

Mind and muscles

Recent studies indicate that nine to 10 year olds who are physically fit perform better on tests than their unfit peers. In 2010, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign research indicated that aerobic fitness enhances preadolescent hippocampal volume, leading to superior relational memory. According to John Ratey MD, author of Spark, exercise elevates a chemical Ratey dubs "Miracle-Gro for the brain" because it builds the brain’s infrastructure. Conclusion? Vigorous cardiovascular activity, 30 to 60 minutes per day, promotes brain cell survival and memory function, and encourages new cell growth. Team sports are excellent for fourth graders because they’ll also thrive on the social interaction.

Music matters

Turns out the fourth grade brain thrives on music.  Encourage music exposure, via an instrument or singing lessons. Music training has been linked to a huge orchestra of cognitive benefits. It optimizes neuron development and improves brain functioning skills in spatial-temporal reasoning, math analysis, organization, memory, language, creativity, stress management, improvisation, self-esteem, determination, perseverance, concentration, motivation, and science. Melodic, structured music is most harmonious to cognitive development.

Blossoming early?

Growth in the fourth grader’s prefrontal cortex is accelerating as the brain prepares for adolescent changes. Yikes! Your child might be sliding into puberty already, especially if she’s a girl. Don’t delay! Inform your child now about the physical and emotional changes of puberty. Preadolescents might want a private, secret area in a locked box or drawer. Need for "personal space" also includes a desire for more independence, with less adult guidance.

Gender grr!

Boys and girls at this age are often quite hostile to each other. This rudeness has a neurological excuse. A National Institute of Health study recently revealed via MRI scanners that girl and boy brains at this age are wildly dissimilar in the structure of their cerebral cortexes. As they move through adolescence, their brains grow more and more alike, and they become, as parents fear, much, much friendlier with the opposite sex.

Mind the meals

Many fourth graders want to devour unhealthy "junk food." They’ll beg for it, but don’t cave in to their craving for sugary and salty substances. Feed your child a balance of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, dairy and meat. Why? Children need a wide variety of nutrients for optimal brain growth. Egg yolk, fatty meat, and soybeans contain choline, the building block for the neurotransmitter acetylocholine, which is crucial in memory function, are all ideal brain foods. (Learn about four terrific brain foods kids will love.)

Rebel insight into the fourth grader’s brain

Fourth graders have stronger interconnectedness in their brain architecture and improved abilities in planning, problem solving, information processing, and long-term memory than younger kids. This upgrade enables them to realize that authority figures are not always "right" — an important epiphany, but it doesn’t make parenting easier. When you set rules, make them clear and stick to them, and carefully explain your reasons. Talk about "respect" and what your expectations are as a parent. Involve your child in household chores and teach them that they are old enough now to be responsible for their actions.

Into the light

Frontal lobes in fourth graders have developed to the point where they have more impulse control and a better grip on their anger. Encourage your child to advance in emotional maturity by choosing healthy habits and steering your child towards healthy friendships that enhance their ethical values. Don’t forget: Your fourth grader’s brain is still blooming and the experiences you expose her to remain the most valuable ingredients in changing, and improving, your child’s impressionable mind.



You can find this article and other fantastic ones at:


Special Schedule


Monday- Music 1:45-2:15

            Spanish 2:15-2:45

Tuesday- Art 1:45-2:15

Wednesday- Spanish 1:45-2:15

              PE 2:15-2:45

Thursday- PE 1:45-2:15

                Music 2:15-2:45

Friday- Library 1:45-2:45



Lunch 12:00-1:00



Celebrating Birthdays!

We enjoy celebrating birthdays in our class.  It is our school policy that food treats are no longer allowed to be brought in to celebrate.  Any food treats brought in will be sent home with the child.   Other acceptable ideas include: stickers, pencils, erasers, note pads, or a donation of a class book or game.  We have 23 students in class. 

Nutritious Snacks

Students are allowed water bottles in class.  They will be allowed to keep them at their desk as long as they do not become a distraction.  I would encourage the use of a reusable water bottle that can be taken home to wash daily. 


Students can enjoy a snack in fourth grade. Please send a healthy snack such as fruit, vegetables, pretzels, yogurt, cheese, or crackers with your child everyday.   Candy, cookies, chips, or anything with a high sugar content will not be allowed as a snack.