4th Grade Team



Degrees and Certifications:

Christopher Lirhus

Hello 4th Grade students!

My name is Christopher Lirhus and I am excited to be your teacher this year!  Even though we are meeting remotely, I am looking forward to building a great classroom community that is supportive, challenging in all the right ways, and full of important activities and lessons.

This is my 17th year teaching 4th grade and my 19th at Parkwood Elementary!  I grew up just a few miles from Parkwood and was a Shoreline student in K-12.  I attended Washington State University, Vanguard University, the University of Washington and then went back to school one more time at Lesley University to earn a master’s degree in Elementary Arts.  I have a 14 year old son named Soren and a 12 year old daughter named Elsa.  They both attended Parkwood.  I enjoy gardening, surfing and skiing with Mr, Parker!



Degrees and Certifications:

Coco Nirasawa

Hello 4th Graders!

My name is Coco Nirasawa and I am so thrilled to be your 4th grade teacher! I am excited to let you all know that you will have two teachers this year. Mrs. Jessen will be joining us later this year. This past year has been unlike any other, but the excitement of the new school year still rings true for me. I look forward to building a great classroom community that is supportive, challenging in all the right ways, and full of important activities and lessons.

A little bit about me: I grew up in the beautiful state of Hawaii and moved to Washington for undergrad where I got a BA in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies. I then worked in both private and public elementary schools in the classroom and in after school settings in Seattle and Bellevue before attending the University of Washington for my Master’s in Teaching. When I am not thinking about school, I enjoy listening to music, eating yummy food, and spending time outdoors, especially camping in the summer and snowboarding in the winter.



Degrees and Certifications:



Degrees and Certifications:

Jan Pembrooke

Hello 4th & 5th grade students!

My name is Jan Pembrooke and I am excited to be your teacher this year! I am so happy to be in person with you. I am really  looking forward to building a great classroom community that is supportive, challenging in all the right ways,  and full of important activities and lessons.  I can’t wait to see you grow emotionally and intellectually.

This is my 32nd year teaching at Parkwood and my 39th year teaching overall. Prior to teaching at Parkwood, I taught in St. Louis for 3 years, then on Mercer Island, next came Briarcrest, and I wound up at the best school of all - Parkwood. I have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and Special Education. I have a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology. My husband and I don’t have children, but I am involved with my nieces and nephew even though they are all in St. Louis. I enjoy cooking, reading, playing with my two dogs , travelling, gardening,  and hosting  friends at dinner parties. Most of all, I love teaching at Parkwood because of our wonderful community, our “can-do” attitude, and.the caring attitude of our Parkwood staff, PTA, and parents.

  • We love supporting our 4th grade Parkwood Panthers during this exciting year full of change and growth. As the students enter the intermediate elementary grades, they will  learn the necessary skills to increase their independence and really take ownership of their learning! In addition to the various disciplines we explore (math, science, literacy, social studies, etc.), we focus on social and emotional learning, embracing struggles, and having a growth mindset as being key to success.

    In fourth grade math we follow the Common Core State Standards, however we have specifically targeted some skills that are more critical for math success for this year and the years beyond. Please help us help your student by ensuring that they are experts in the standards below:

    4th Grade Math Essential Standards


    1. I can multiply a whole number up to four digits by a one-digit number and I can multiply two two-digit numbers.
    2. I can find whole­ number quotients and remainders with up to four­ digit dividends and one­-digit divisors.  For example, 4,000 / 4 = 1,000.
    3. I can find all factor pairs for a number from 1 to 100.  
I can determine whether a given whole number up to 100 is a prime or composite number.
    4. I can create a number or shape pattern that follows a given rule.
  I can notice different features of a pattern once it is created by a rule.  For example, 5, 10, 15, 20, __, __, __. Here is another example: If I’m given the rule “Add 3” and the starting number 1, I can  generate terms in the resulting sequence and observe that the terms appear to alternate between odd and even numbers. I can explain informally why the numbers will continue to alternate in this way.
    5. I can compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators by creating common denominators or numerators or by comparing them to a benchmark fraction like one ­half.  I can compare fractions using symbols and justify the comparison by using models.
    6. I can compare two decimals to hundredths by reasoning about their size.  For example, I know that .15 < .33

    Bridges in Mathmatics is our math curriculum. It is aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

    Our math curriculum includes geometry, a focus on patterns, as well as connections to real life math experiences. We emphasize problem-solving strategies, which prepare students to solve higher level thinking problems. Communicating mathematical thinking is also a point of emphasis in our instruction.  In third grade, students will learn to tackle mathematical problems and persevere in solving them.


    There are multiple writing Common Core State Standards for fourth grade. While all of them are important, the standards below are absolutely critical to a Parkwood fourth grader’s writing success this year and beyond. Please help us support your child by ensuring they are experts in the standards below.

    4th Grade Writing Essential Standards

    1. I can write an opinion paper that gives my point of view and reasons for my thinking.
    2. I can write a paper to explain and inform my readers about a topic.
    3. I can write stories that develop real or made-up experiences using descriptive details and a sequence of events that makes sense.
    4. I can write clear and focused papers where the development and organization are appropriate for my purpose and audience.
    5. With help from others, I can develop a piece of writing by creating a graphic organizer to plan and organize a first draft.
    6. With help from others, I can revise and edit my writing to produce a final draft.
    7. I can use evidence from grade level fiction and nonfiction reading to support my ideas

    We have three  Carolina Science Kits for the school year that follow the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

    These  specific science units we will be working on include:

    1. Land and Water (Earth Science)
    2. Animal Studies (Life Science)
    3. Electric Circuits (Physical Science)

    During 4th grade social studies we study The Oregon Trail using a Storypath Curriculum. Storypath uses the basic components of a story—setting, characters, and plot—to organize the social studies curriculum into meaningful and memorable learning experiences!

    As part of our social and emotional learning, we have regular classroom meetings featuring routines and themes taken from the Second Step curriculum. These meetings serve as a supportive and safe place for our students to learn new social and emotional learning strategies and to ask for help in solving problems.

    Second steps includes a variety of lessons that help foster social and emotional learning. Some of the concepts include, compassion, empathy, friendship, kindness, self-control, community, and to be an individual who is aware of themselves and those around them.

    Please contact us with any questions!