4th Grade Academics
Building on students’ growing sense of academic and social autonomy cultivated in lower grades, particularly third, fourth graders are proud to take even more responsibility for themselves as individual students and members of a classroom community.
To this end, during the school day, students are guided to use classroom time well and to set individual schedules for weekly homework assignments. Likewise, students are taught to manage their time outside of class in regard to long-term assignments and projects requiring planning.
Key to planning one’s time wisely is the ability to organize one’s resources efficiently. Thus, fourth graders learn to make good use of their homework agendas and folders, as well as assignment rubrics and checklists. In addition, they begin to appreciate the value of folders, trays, and cubbies for keeping track of essential study materials.
Such foundational organization skills allow fourth graders greater ease as they are challenged with curriculum that asks them to solve problems independently and in collaborative groups, thus developing their facility for strategizing and believing in the power of their own ideas.
Finally, because our individual ideas are most always enhanced when we connect them with the ideas of others, fourth graders learn both the value of and the means to incorporate established research into their writing.
In the same way independence is fostered in the academic realm, so too is it valued socially and emotionally as fourth graders exist and interact daily in a student-centered classroom. Respect for oneself and others is emphasized, as is the idea of having a growth mindset. Students are encouraged to help others, work collaboratively, and accomplish problem-solving through small group discussions, class meetings, and/or team building activities. Students develop self-confidence and pride as they share their work in the classroom and with other classes. Fourth grade emphasizes mindfulness with brain-focused strategies for learning and living. The mindful classroom is a truly optimistic one that encourages individuals to be aware of their sense of themselves and others. Tolerance of differences and the capacity of each member of the community to grow as a human being and learner are paramount values in the fourth grade classroom.
English Language Arts
Fourth grade students create an English/Language Arts (ELA) interactive notebook to use as a resource throughout the year. As mini-lessons are taught, models from popular books are often used as examples. Teacher modeling, shared writing and graphic organizers, are all strategies that help students grow individually as writers. Students have the opportunity to practice skills as they write in different styles, including narrative and expository work. Grammar, vocabulary, and spelling are taught in both mini-lessons and in context during writing conferences. In addition, students have differentiated spelling instruction and receive a new set of words to practice each week. Reading materials include trade books, fiction, non-fiction works, and poetry. Students engage in literature circles with peers where they practice reading aloud fluently, discussing literature, leadership, time management skills, goal setting, and collaboration. Chapter books may be used for literature responses, book reports, book talks, and creative projects. In fourth grade, students also spend more time reading in the content areas such as science and social studies.
Fourth grade uses the Eureka Math Curriculum focusing on helping students to develop a problem solving approach to mathematics based on everyday situations. Students also develop their skills through frequent practice that often involves games, lessons based on activities and discussions which are independent of a textbook, and mathematical content that goes beyond arithmetic. Topics covered include, place value, measurement, area and perimeter, multiplication and division, geometry, fractions, and decimals.
Students entering fourth grade are already confident in basic addition, subtraction, many multiplication and some division facts, but by the end of fourth grade, they will be adept in all. Students who require additional work in these areas will be guided and supported in setting IGNITE goals so that they work toward mastery.
The mind of the fourth grader is naturally inquisitive. Students at this age want to discover new concepts, make sense of them, and relate them to what they know already. Science class affords them the opportunity to give voice to this natural curiosity and pursue it through a myriad of experiments. Study will focus on classifying living things, adaptations, water properties, interactions between land, air and water, electricity, and magnetism. Students also engage in STEM challenges during which they collaborate with a team to plan strategies, complete tasks, record data, and review their work to make improvements.
Students learn more about the state in which they live, New York. As a part of this year long exploration, fourth graders explore the history, cultural heritage, geography, economics, and the use of natural and human resources in the Empire State. Students continue to build on geography and cartography skills set in place in third grade. In this way, they become even more proficient in their use of maps and globes. Fourth graders develop critical and inferential skills in social studies class as they extrapolate information about past cultures by studying geography and delineate between fact and opinion as they read subtext in historical documents.