LANGUAGE ARTS & READING
Fourth Grade features a literature-based, integrated curriculum, where students are placed in small groups and encounter a variety of texts with themes and content that directly support the social studies curriculum. Emphasis is placed on vocabulary development, inferential comprehension skills, fluency in oral reading, and the ability to share one’s views of a text through writing and class presentations. Auditory comprehension is developed through group literacy discussions and read aloud books.
Students are taught to write in a variety of forms, including poetry, personal essays, research reports, and responses to literature. They also conduct genre studies and compare texts. In each case, students fully engage with the writing process, developing and refining their ideas. Fourth graders are expected to apply correct spelling and grammar rules when writing and at times use word processing software.
SPELLING & GRAMMAR
Spelling rules and skills are differentiated for each student using Orton Gillingham methodologies. The program emphasizes phonics, spelling patterns, irregular and frequently used words, and the application of these tools in writing. Assessment is based on weekly tests with dictation and on the application of correct spelling in written work. In addition, students study the parts of speech, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar rules.
The Fourth Grade math program emphasizes number sense and builds student confidence, while tackling challenging and open-ended problems. The concepts of multi-digit multiplication and long division are explored through the use of models and algorithms. Students also investigate decimals, fractions, algebra, measurement, and geometry. Students' understanding is developed through the use of manipulatives, cooperative activities, and critical thinking exercises. Math vocabulary is emphasized and students use math language to communicate and explain their thinking in detail.
SCIENCE & DESIGN LAB
Fourth graders participate in a second year of Science and Design Lab—a course that integrates science, engineering, design thinking, and technology. Through their extended work in the lab, students’ prototype solutions, present original experiments, and become tenacious and agile problem solvers. At the same time, students continue to build their lab skills through observation, measurement, and the formulation of hypotheses. Emphasis is placed on logical thinking and problem solving. Environmental concerns are studied through research, presentations, data collection, and manipulation of measurement tools. Students also investigate our solar system and simple machines.
Students learn about the birth of the United States and the 239 years of history that have brought us to our present state. They look at major events over the course of our country's growth: from military engagements to the intrepid work of the people that helped shape our melting pot of culture, government, and world-leading industry. This allows students to better understand where we have come from and how that understanding of our past will enable us to move forward. Research techniques, use of technology, and hands-on activities present students with a variety of approaches to engage with this rich subject.
The Fourth Grade Spanish presents an ambitious curriculum, as students conjugate verbs in the singular form and use them in sentences. The use of other grammar rules (such as noun-adjective agreements) prepare students for the upper school language programs. Students enhance their listening, reading, writing, speaking, and pronunciation skills with the use of student-centered activities. By practicing useful verbs (such as tener, jugar, llevar, comer, beber), and adding practical vocabulary (such as sports, clothes, food and drink) students can communicate about their daily life and needs. Respect, diversity, and the development of a global perspective continue to be themes of study as the class explores the rich tradition and history of several Hispanic countries.
Technology is integrated with academic learning goals in the Tech Lab, as well as in the classroom. Students build and program robots, prototype original solutions, and work through multiple iterations based on feedback and testing. They continue to explore the collaborative and more advanced features of Google Apps for Education. In addition, students refine word processing skills, as well as keyboarding fluency, using All the Right Type and various typing games.
Through group activities, film vignettes, and role playing, students are encouraged to analyze and discuss issues related to peer pressure, decision making, alcohol and drugs, anger management, friendships, communication, feelings, and self esteem. The students are given opportunities to explore their own values. Positive strategies for solutions are discussed. Boys and girls will see a separate video about reproduction and personal changes during puberty.
Fourth graders begin to view and execute the basic elements of design and drawing in a more sophisticated manner. In addition to contemporary artists and the Masters, the Fourth Grade also studies American and world folk art. Because fourth graders can successfully express a mood through their work, they can begin to critique that work, as well as make thoughtful judgments about the art in their environment.
In Fourth Grade, all the skills and concepts that have been developed since Kindergarten are reinforced and expanded. A major unit involving folksongs, their history, origins, and diversity is undertaken. The students are introduced to handbells, and, following the practice of ringing basics, work begins on special ringing techniques such as martellato, other stopped sounds, as well as the use of mallets with bells. The range of recorder notes is extended, and the students compose for their instruments. The ukulele is also introduced. The students continued to perform at assemblies, class presentations, and all-school events.
Following a review of safety rules, and to complement the Fourth Grade curriculum that includes folk art and folk music, children make a folk toy. Fourth graders work together to formulate a basic plan of procedures for its completion. They explore other methods of project joinery and finishing. Fourth graders develop respect for hand tools and the shop, for their own work and for that of others.
Students in Fourth Grade focus on improving sport specific skills, game strategies, and spacial awareness through drills, activities, and games. Activities range from throwing and catching games, to intramural basketball, and other sports specific skills. Sportsmanship and team play is a major emphasis during the lessons, as students continue to strengthen their leadership skills and InDeCoRe values.
Students in the fourth grade continue to develop their research skills during their library periods. In the course of research projects, students learn to search the library online catalog for print materials and to use the library's collection of online databases for in-depth research.