In fourth grade, students practice writing skills in every subject. Using the writing process and the writing workshop format, students go from generating ideas to a series of conferences and revisions to a completed project that fully articulates their thought processes. Writing workshop introduces personal narrative, poetry, personal essay, science fiction and literary essay. The writing process is used when completing all major written projects. While the curriculum becomes increasingly demanding, there are great opportunities for student creative expression and exploration.
Students read independently on a daily basis immersing themselves in authentic literature, guided reading groups, and independently selected books. Students analyze material, apply sequencing, inferencing, and synthesizing skills, as well as collect and evaluate information in all subjects. Students identify author’s purpose for writing by focusing on main ideas and supporting details and character motivation by making inferences about characters’ words, actions and interactions. Novel Study includes titles such as: The One and Only Ivan, Wonder, Shiloh, Number the Stars, and Holes. Students prepare a book report based on individual Newbery award winning books. Further, students become active participants in learning through discussion and through individual and group projects.
Mathematical concepts and skills are developed to facilitate sophisticated problem-solving. Math instruction incorporates the use of concrete materials and pictorial representation as students develop their ability to think abstractly. Math In Focus: Singapore Math for fourth grade develops students’ abilities in the areas of multi-digit multiplication, place value, long division, fractions, decimals, geometry and measurement. Students practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division on a higher level and with multi-digit numerals. Students further develop critical thinking skills with multi-step word problems through the application of bar modeling, a mathematical tool that allows students to demonstrate visually their understanding of the problem posed and their strategy for solving.
A study of North America and the different regions of the United States and the location of each state are part of the focus in Social Studies. Students investigate the geography and culture within each region of the United States. Reading and comparing maps also provides opportunities for conversations about major geographic themes, such as human interaction with the environment, movement and Earth’s regions. Each student prepares a report on a state and completes a timeline of the life of a famous African-American. The students also complete an immigration project showing what they have learned about their own history and how it relates to immigration and the United States. Use of reference materials and note taking are also modeled and reinforced.
In science lab,students become familiar with the nature of science and the habits of mind as they investigate mixtures and solutions, light and color, motion and design,earth’s shape and gravity, schoolyard habitats and gardening. Students begin to apply the scientific method by developing hypotheses and recording observations to reach a conclusion.
Morning meeting and the responsive classroom approach is an important part of fourth grade comprised of four sequential components which include greeting each other, reading the morning message, sharing, and a group activity. This is a place where students learn social skills and build a classroom community. Students become active in the life of the school through class trips, after school programs, and clubs.
The technology program in fourth grade is designed to support student projects and classroom demonstrations. With this is in mind, students study word processing, publishing and spreadsheet applications. They also develop more advanced research skills using their own laptop and other technologies in the classroom, the Lower School's Searle Library and the media center.