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Fourth Grade

Some of the exciting and engaging projects that students in fourth grade look forward to:

Parent Day Tea -  Students create and read poems they wrote for their parents in conclusion of the poetry unit. Students also prepare scrapbooks to commemorate their 4th Grade year. The books are presented to their parents, along with the poems as gifts for Mother's and Father's Days. 

Geometry Map Project - Students are asked to create a map of a town, neighborhood, or fictional place.  They use parallel, perpendicular, and intersecting lines to form obtuse and acute angles, rays, and equilateral, scalene, and isosceles triangles in an effort to depict areas on their map.  Students then write directions from one place to another using directional terms.

Pie Chart Project - Students create a survey and then share it with other students in the class. After all of the data is collected, they create a table and pie chart to show the results.

Family Lineage Project - Students talk to parents and family members to find out where their family lineage began.  They bring in a picture of their family and create a visual board to show the different locations the students' families originated from. 

Public Speaking Contest - Students in Grade 4 memorize a speech and use their public speaking skills to present their literary work of choice to judges.  The strongest students are chosen to give their speeches at an all school assembly in the spring.  Students that are not chosen become a part of a play that is in the theme of the presenting students' speeches. 

Social Studies Presentations - Students research a country in each continent that we study in Grade 4.  They each write an essay about the location, culture, and geography of their country.  Students then create a PowerPoint presentation about their country and present it to the rest of the class.

Persuasive Posters - Students write a persuasive essay about a topic they feel strongly about.  They create a poster to persuade the class about their topic.

Reading Project -   
Students complete a graphic organizer about their independent reading book.  The organizer focuses on the setting, characters, quotes, major events, and vocabulary terms in each book. Students create a poster that includes information about their book and share their posters with the rest of the class.

English Language Arts

The fourth grade English language arts curriculum reinforces skills learned in the Primary School and develops new skills that students will use throughout their Middle School years and beyond. An important goal is to make the transition from Primary School to Middle School as smooth as possible.

Fourth grade students explore literature through whole-class novels, literature circles, historical readings, and independent silent reading books. They read in a variety of genres, including novels, selections from classic children’s literature, poems, short stories, historical fiction, and biographies. Much of the reading relates directly to themes and units covered in social studies class. In discussions and in their writing, students learn to analyze the individual author’s writing style and respond to the literature. In addition, students identify story structure and sequencing, examine cause and effect relationships, identify literary terms, and make inferences and predictions.

Writing is an important focus in the fourth grade classroom. The year begins with the writing process, during which students expand their skills with the techniques of pre-writing, writing drafts, conferring with the teacher, revising, editing, proofreading, and publishing. The emphasis on the writing process continues throughout the year as students develop pieces of writing in various genres, including personal narratives, book reviews, personal and business letters, poems, journal entries, and research papers. 

While students compose in various genres, the most prevalent form of writing is expository. In September, students work on writing complete sentences and grouping them together in logical, well-structured paragraphs. For each expository paragraph, they must have an effective topic sentence, logically sequenced supporting details, and a relevant closing sentence. As the year goes on, students work on expanding their ideas within a paragraph and then gradually move on to writing multiple-paragraph essays. Editing is strongly emphasized. Students complete editing exercises involving grammar and mechanics then apply those skills to their own writing.

In addition to reading and writing, students improve their understanding of character development, leads, conclusions, and dialogue, among other literary concepts. They practice public speaking and critical thinking by giving oral presentations on projects and discussing literature in class. Mini-lessons, workbook exercises, and teacher-directed editing practice emphasize major aspects of English grammar and usage. 

Students continue working in the Spelling Connections program and add to their spelling skills during writing and editing classes.

Texts: 
Voyages (4th Grade), Loyola Press 
Vocabulary for Achievement, Great Source 
Spelling Connections, Zaner-Bloser

 

Literature:
Love That Dog, Creech
Alvin Ho, Look 
A Single Shard, Park
A Long Walk to Water, Park
Number the Stars, Lowry
The BFG, Dahl 
The Witches, Dahl
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Dahl 
Danny, the Champion of the World, Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dahl
Boy, Dahl
Selected poems and stories

Mathematics

The Middle School mathematics curriculum recognizes and builds on students’ capabilities by expanding the range of their mathematics experiences and ideas. Course work helps students make the transition from concrete operations to abstractions and skills with symbols. The curriculum builds the foundation they will need for algebra, geometry, and data analysis courses. In this level of math, students:

  • multiply and divide with multi-digit numbers; 
  • compare and order fractions; 
  • convert measurements; 
  • and study place values from the millions to the thousandths. 

Mathematics is also integrated into other curriculum areas. Teachers help students explore applications in science and social studies, the origins and uses of the language of mathematics, and the close relationship between mathematics and the arts. Students learn to communicate mathematically amongst themselves and with their teachers. Partner and small group activities help students to share their thinking and ideas with their peers in a cooperative environment, while cross-grade collaborations deepen the experiences of the students.

The program helps students take responsibility for their own mathematics learning and apply their new knowledge to problem solving in the world around them. The following are important features of the Middle School program:

  • problem solving about common life situations;
  • sharing ideas through discussion;
  • cooperative learning through partner and small group activities;
  • daily routines;
  • skill and concept practice through games;
  •  establishing links between past experiences and explorations of new concepts;
  • on-going review of concepts and skills;
  • formal and informal assessment;
  • home/school partnership.

Students solve mathematical problems taken from daily life situations through cooperative learning and by sharing ideas in group work. They gain important insights about mathematics by building on each other’s discoveries. They develop an understanding about the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Through verbal descriptions and symbolic representations, they explore ideas in depth that had been introduced in prior years. The course introduces new and more difficult concepts involving fractions, decimals, and geometry with a variety of concrete, pictorial, and symbolic representations. The students enjoy games and activities that reinforce and broaden their understanding of mathematical concepts.

Textbook: 
Mathematics, Scott Foresman and Addison Wesley 

Social Studies

The fourth grade year begins with the review of map skills and moves to the study geography.

Fourth graders then apply this knowledge of how to study geography, along with what defines a civilization, in order to analyze groups of people around the world. Ultimately, a fourth grader comes to understand how geography affects agriculture, politics, and society.

Students take an in-depth look at the continents while taking notes, researching, and giving presentations. Each student researches elements of the physical or cultural geography of the seven continents (i.e. location, land forms, landmarks, government, languages, religions, etc.) and presents the information to the class.  

In addition, fourth graders participate in a public speaking unit that includes lessons, practice, and a final contest before the entire school. Throughout the public speaking unit, students practice pronunciation, intonation, eloquence, and movement. Teachers use a rubric to score the students in a preliminary contest that determines who will compete at the final assembly. During the contest, the top scoring students recite speeches or passages before the entire school, and two winners are chosen from among the finalists. Students who are not presenting their speeches often participate in the assembly by acting in a skit that supports the competitors on stage.

Science

The Middle School science curriculum gives students a broad understanding of topics in physical, life, and earth sciences throughout their three years in the program. Each year, the students develop the science process skills through an interactive science inquiry approach that allows them to use their experiences to develop a deeper understanding of abstract science topics. Students work cooperatively throughout the year, allowing group members to work together in creating models, collecting data, analyzing information, drawing conclusions, and reporting results.

The fourth grade curriculum matches the developmental level of fourth grade students and focuses on active learning. Students begin the year with the study of water, water systems, and the power of water. From there, they move to an exploration of electricity and magnetism. Students study the earth’s magnetic pull as well as static, current, and circuit electricity. Their final unit of study is the physics of flight which culminates in the construction of their own hot air balloons.

All fourth grade students participate in a science symposium. Students write reports and craft formal oral presentations. The purpose of the science symposium is to give students the opportunity to present their discoveries and conclusions on a particular unit to a larger audience beyond the classroom.

Interdisciplinary work is a hallmark of TPS curriculum at all levels. The fourth grade geography study in social studies connects to studying different oceans as well as understanding weather and climate in different regions of the world. The science symposium helps students hone in their public speaking skills. Data analysis and graphing is often tied to current math practices. 

Texts and Materials: 
Electricity and Magnetism, Science Explorer Series, Prentice Hall
Earth’s Waters, Science Explorer Series, Prentice Hall
Weather and Climate, Science Explorer Series, Prentice Hall
Circuits and Pathways, National Science Foundation INSIGHTS curriculum
The Mysterious Powder, National Science Foundation INSIGHTS curriculum

World Languages

In 4th grade, students take one trimester of each language offered at TPS – French, Spanish and Latin. Classes meet two days a week and are an introduction to the formal study of the language, which students will begin in 5th grade. The goal of the language program at the 4th grade level is to expose students to the three different languages so that they can make an informed decision at the end of the year-when they must choose which language they will focus on for the remainder of their time at TPS (5th-9th grade).

French

In fourth grade French, students move beyond the basics of learning common phrases and vocabulary to constructing sentences, reading and writing dialogues and stories, and manipulating grammar. Using a communicative approach, the teacher conducts lessons mostly in the target language, using the textbook, stories, songs, videos, apps and websites. Students demonstrate and develop speaking skills by answering questions in class and telling stories; they begin to develop their writing and higher level thinking skills as they write, read, listen and speak in the target language. In addition, music, art, dance, and videos enliven classes and show students aspects of francophone cultures from around the world.

Students master a wealth of vocabulary and key grammatical concepts, such as:

  • the present tense of high frequency verbs; 
  • possessive pronouns;
  • gender-noun agreement; 
  • common prepositional phrases. 

Together, the class explores cultural differences and issues of diversity as they see the world from the perspective of a foreigner. Class discussions and writings prompt students to wonder about family relationships, social class, travel, and culture.

Throughout the course, students are encouraged to speak in French as often as possible and to write in French with speed and fluency. Just as they learned their first language, fourth graders learn to speak French first; then they label parts of speech and deconstruct grammatical concepts. Students are well prepared for an advanced Level I French class and explicit grammar instruction in Grade 5. First and foremost, fourth graders discover a love of language and the confidence to express themselves in French.

Text:
Vive le Francais! Promenades 1, McConnell 

Projects:

Students in Grade 4 create an album of “Special People” (friends, family, teammates, pets, etc.) with 5 sentences describing each person in French. 

Latin

In addition to a trimester of Spanish and French, all fourth grade students take a trimester of Latin. The class meets three times per week and focuses on discovering the culture and language of the Ancient Romans. First, a cultural introduction focuses on the architecture of Ancient Rome. Students evaluate structures built by the Romans, such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Circus Maximus to name a few. Students learn about the purpose of each of these structures that played such an important role in the life of the Romans. In this way, they gain access to the daily life of the Romans, learning what was important to the them and what was entertaining to them, as well as determining what was similar and different to our culture today. In this part of the course, students begin “bridging the gap” between the Romans and us, and they begin to understand how much the Romans have affected our society today. 

The course then explores Roman numerals, specifically how the ancient Romans counted and did math. Students learn the logic of the Roman numeral system through counting from 1-100 in Latin, as well as writing each of these as a Roman numeral. Students also engage in basic arithmetic with Roman numerals, all in Latin. This unit concludes in a mini-forum where the students practice their numerals as they ask for the price of various things. 

In the final stage of fourth grade Latin, students learn basic Latin vocabulary and simple sentences with the verb est (“is”). The students are encouraged to compare Latin, French, Spanish, and English as they begin to understand the interconnectedness of Latin-based languages and how they influenced English. 

Spanish

All fourth grade students take a trimester of an exploratory Spanish class in addition to French and Latin. Spanish class meets three times per week, and students learn basic common conversational phrases and vocabulary such as:

  • greetings/goodbyes and simple introductions; 
  • a few basic daily routine verbs and action verb commands; 
  • colors; 
  • school subjects and classroom objects; 
  • numbers up to 100; 
  • days, months, seasons, and weather; 
  • body parts;
  • food, drinks, clothing; 
  • adjectives and nouns; 
  • how to express likes and dislikes, what they are good at, and what they can and can’t do; 
  • how to ask and answer simple questions about themselves
  • how to describe their home and classroom.

Culture is also a vital part of the fourth grade Spanish curriculum. Students learn about various Spanish and Hispanic cultures through various activities, songs, videos, and stories.

In a dynamic, communicative approach, the teacher presents lessons orally using short stories, songs, videos, short readings, the SMARTBoard, audio CDs, and interactive technology programs to help students acquire the language and to become familiar with the Spanish and Hispanic cultures. No textbook is used at this level nor are there formal written assessments like quizzes, tests, or exams.

Art

Fourth graders often find interdisciplinary connections in the art room and use a variety of mediums to produce both two-dimensional and three-dimensional projects. Past examples have included:

  • life sized jointed drawings of skeletons (for the study early man and ancient cultures);
  • sculptures based on ancient carved figures of the Chinese lion, an imaginary and ferocious beast;
  • Native American pottery in the Mimbres’ style, which is based on radial design (for the math class study of symmetry and circular forms);
  • masks created in the primitive style of early African or Mayan cultures or in connection with Spanish studies in celebration of the Mexican Day of the Dead.

Finally, students work from the paintings of well known artists to reproduce their versions of the work and learn biographical history of the artist.

Music

Fourth grade students continue to build upon the elements presented in third grade. Fourth graders learn the elements: high do and fa. In addition, they work with absolute pitch names. Fourth graders work extensively on sight reading, part singing, reading octavos, ear training, and beginning theory. Band students will study general music with the band director, with an emphasis on applying the fundamentals of music to their instrument. 

In conjunction with the fourth grade social studies curriculum, the class explores the music and dance of Africa, North America,and South America. Through storytelling and music listening, students expand their knowledge of music history.

Physical Education

An active child is the main focus of the fourth grade program. Through active participation students learn to play cooperatively with one another, stay physically fit, and develop the skills needed to take part in sports. Along with those goals each student is giving the chance to grow individually and gain an appreciation and love of all kinds of movement. We are striving for active fourth graders but more importantly for active lifetime participants.

The students build upon their manipulative skills learned in the primary grades and begin small-sided play, leading to teamwork skills. These small-sided games include basketball, badminton, field hockey, flag football, floor hockey, lacrosse, softball, soccer, track, and volleyball. Each sport activity lasts for approximately three weeks.

Fitness is a large component of the curriculum. Students learn to assess their fitness level with test such as the half mile, pacer, exercise heart rate, sit-ups, push-ups, and flexibility. Each student then sets goals for themselves and works on them all year. Classes are four times per week, and it is the first year the students use the locker rooms to change into physical education clothing.