THE FOURTH GRADE CONCENTRATES ON AMERICAN HISTORY WITH AN EMPHASIS ON FREEDOM AND JUSTICE. STUDENTS EXPLORE THE ENSLAVEMENT OF AFRICANS AND THE ABOLITION MOVEMENT, HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY IMMIGRATION, AND TWENTIETH CENTURY MOVEMENTS FOR EQUALITY AND RIGHTS. THESE TOPICS ARE EXAMINED IN RELATION TO THE THEMES OF IDENTITY, JOURNEYS, AND THE CONCEPT OF HOME. EXAMPLES OF HUMAN RESILIENCE AND COURAGE DURING TIMES OF HARDSHIP AND INJUSTICE ARE HIGHLIGHTED.
The fourth grade reading curriculum nurtures students in the interpretation and synthesis of fiction and nonfiction texts. Emphasis is placed on becoming increasingly skillful readers. Students are taught concepts, strategies, and techniques for reading fluency and comprehension. Children engage with literature through read alouds, independent reading, and student-run book clubs. These readings enable discussion of vocabulary, characterization, plot development, and themes. Read aloud choices reflect the strong connection between social studies and language arts in fourth grade.
In the writing program, students explore ways to communicate their ideas and feelings to a variety of audiences. Using mentor text models from both fiction and nonfiction, students create narrative pieces and poetry, as well as expository texts. Students are encouraged to see writing as a process that includes pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. They work on technical writing skills such as sentence and paragraph structure, capitalization, and punctuation of dialogue.
Third through fifth grade students have library twice a week—once as an individual class (solo library) and once as a whole grade group (shared library).
Newbery Award-winning author Laura Amy Schlitz will read or tell a story during library
time in the story corner. Often, a brief discussion period will follow, and then students are dismissed for silent reading. They are also invited to browse and check out books, which they do independently. “Shared” library tends to favor formal presentations such as book talks, lectures about culture, dramatizations, and longer books and stories. Students also select books for Kindergarten reading partners.
The fourth grade mathematics curriculum, Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, offers students an approach to mathematics that focuses on mathematical thinking and reasoning. It emphasizes depth in mathematical thinking rather than superficial exposure to a series of fragmented topics. Through these explorations, students learn to develop efficient strategies. The curriculum supports students in developing and expanding ideas and making sense of mathematical objects, structures, and connections.
Units covered include:
The fourth grade science curriculum explores the ideas of form and function and their manifestation in both living and non-living systems. Students begin the year with a study of bees, discovering the role that each bee plays in a functioning hive. Then they explore ecology and the idea of sustainability, thinking about their place in the world and the relationships between living and non-living things. Students continue to examine systems with an inquiry into the science behind simple machines and movement. They gain practice in the skill of experimental design, including the use of variables and comparison to a control, and writing a comprehensive conclusion based on their experimental findings. The year culminates with an overview of the workings of the human body and its systems, inclusive of human reproduction.
Fourth grade students engage in language activities that develop both listening and speaking skills. Authentic cultural connections are purposefully woven into lessons enhancing students’ global perspectives. Spanish teachers conduct classes primarily in Spanish and design curriculum that encourages students to participate both verbally and physically. The spiraling curriculum allows for the use of targeted vocabulary and language and increasingly complex sentence structures across grade levels, providing the repetition needed to retain chunks of language. In fourth grade, students are introduced to more text and encouraged to create sentences in writing. Students draw comparisons between the structures and layouts of familiar cities in the United States and similar cities in the Spanish-speaking world.
In fourth grade, children explore ways to organize, evaluate, and ethically use information from multiple sources of online media. Students utilize Google Sheets for spreadsheets and graphs and create 3-D designs with Google Sketchup and Tinkercad. Fourth graders also begin using iPads to record video and audio for film creation with iMovie. Elective after-school programs offer third through fifth grade students the opportunity to explore robotics and programming with Lego Mindstorms. Fourth and fifth grade students can also participate on a First Lego League (FLL) competitive robotics team and take after-school classes on 3D printing.
The fourth grade concentrates on American history with an emphasis on freedom and justice. Students explore the enslavement of Africans and the abolition movement, historical and contemporary immigration, and twentieth century movements for equality and rights, such as the women’s rights movement, labor movements, and the civil rights movement. These topics are examined in relation to the themes of identity, journeys, and the concept of home. Examples of human resilience and courage during times of hardship and injustice are highlighted. We look at historical events from various perspectives as well as through the eyes of everyday people. Students think about how America’s past has shaped its present.