Fourth Grade Curriculum
Our fourth grade curriculum helps to prepare students for the independence of Middle School through subject area teachers for all classes. Students begin their day with a homeroom teacher and then transition with their homeroom classmates from class to class. Additionally, students in fourth and fifth grade use lockers to hold their materials. Organization and responsibility are key components of the fourth grade curriculum as well as multiple opportunities for cross curricular learning, student lead presentations, and a science based overnight field trip that is a culminating opportunity for fourth grade students to enjoy multiple experiential learning opportunities that directly correlate with the learning that has taken place in the classroom.
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Foreign Language
- Performing Arts Electives
- Physical Education
The Language Arts program utilizes a balanced approach to literacy. Within the Language Arts block are the components of reading workshop, writing workshop, and word study.
CSN's approach to reading instruction enables children to build and hone skills they need to succeed in becoming independent readers. Explicit reading strategies are taught in a mini-lesson format, followed by both small group and individual instruction. We assess each child individually in order to determine his/her instructional reading level at various times throughout the year to provide continued differentiated instruction. Genre libraries are organized in each classroom. Children choose texts to gain stamina both at home and school.
In the fourth grade reading workshop students word independently, in book clubs, and in small groups to build stamina, discuss reading, and understand a variety of texts.
- Students learn to understand, interpret and analyze a range of written texts, both fiction and non-fiction.
- Students learn to use explicit information to identify the main idea or primary purpose of a text or part of a text as well as explicit details from a passage to understand it fully on a literal level.
- Students learn how to use implicit information from a passage to make inferences about the moods and motivations of characters in order to understand their shifts and development over the course of the book. They learn also to make inferences about events, understanding their importance and meaning within the context of the book.
- Students learn how to determine whether information consists of fact or opinion. Within fiction, they will learn whether or not a narrator is trustworthy.
- Students recognize cause-and-effect relationships among elements in a text.
- Students categorize and combine the layers of implicit information to make predictions, draw conclusions, and/or formulate hypotheses.
- Students will employ comprehension strategies to interpret, analyze, and evaluate what they have read.
- Students will be able to discuss texts well, demonstrating their understanding and growing each other’s ideas.
Fourth grade teachers have a firm commitment to the value of reading aloud to students. Our goal is to use novels, above grade level, to “broaden the scope” of understanding. Reading aloud helps students build background knowledge, increase vocabulary, make more meaningful connections to thoughts and ideas as well as associate reading with pleasure (Bank Street College of Education). “Research indicates that motivation, interest, and engagement are often advanced when teachers read aloud to students (Albright and Ariail)." Not only does reading aloud have benefits educationally, but also emotionally. Through a character’s fictional or real-life experiences, students learn strategies for dealing with social situations and conflicts; this can only increase their self-confidence. Most importantly, reading aloud gives students fond memories of their experiences, and creates a greater love for the written word.
Art and Literacy
Art engages children’s senses in open-ended play and develops cognitive, social-emotional and multi-sensory skills. Meaningful art experiences provide children with authentic self-expression- the freedom of choice, thought, and feeling. Brain researchers tell us that children retain much better when hands-on activities go along with the learning. Art provides pre-writing experiences when the children can touch, talk, and move. Using art to teach comprehension strategies allows children to use multiple modalities to learn and most importantly, apply these strategies in a text-free environment before applying the strategies to text. Art teaches these literacy concepts: self-expression (great for planning in writing), narrative story development, spatial relations, visual literacy, and strong book knowledge with true appreciation. Teachers find it important to use art to enhance literacy strategies.
In the fourth grade writing workshop, students continue to grow their understanding of the writing process. Using the 6+1 traits, writing students learn immersion, collecting, choosing, developing, revising, editing and publishing techniques. Sentence technique and paragraph construction are at the core of the curriculum with students writing through a range of genres. An essential part of the writing curriculum is proper grammar usage and sentence structure.
Grammar and sentence development are a part of the writing process. Students will have direct teaching in this area using The Write Source program. These skills will be developed and used within a piece of writing.
Students begin to develop a growing understanding of writing and the writing process. Using works of art, and art activities, students learn how art and writing are firmly linked. With this knowledge, students gain a deeper understanding of process writing and the importance of each step in the process.
- Students learn to recognize the role of the audience, and can determine the information included, style, and tone for a piece.
- Students learn to make decisions regarding how to plan their piece of writing in order to get their meaning across.
- Students learn to employ literary language and various literary devices where appropriate.
- Students learn to select accurate word choices to convey meaning and emotion.
- Students learn to construct well-crafted sentences that display rhetorical precision.
The hallmark of successful reading and writing students lies in the development of vocabulary. Reading with understanding and writing with precision requires an extensive word knowledge. The fourth grade linguistics program is a continuation of the primary Project Read curriculum. Students will begin to learn Greek and Latin affixes which will allow them to move forward in their understanding. WordMasters is a nationwide vocabulary competition for grades 3-8. This competition is based on understanding and completing analogical relationships. The early introduction of this higher-level skill will benefit students, and assist with an understanding of the many facets of a word.
The fourth grade mathematics program focuses on three components of mathematics: comprehension, computation, and application. It is the final year of basic arithmetic where children should show mastery of their computational skills in anticipation of fifth grade Pre-algebra, where effortless application of these operational skills is necessary. Students are given the opportunity to solidify their computational skills using the standard algorithms with speed and accuracy, while also focusing on deepening their comprehension. They utilize both components in order to apply their knowledge and skills to solve real math problems within a variety of different situations. Students apply the four operations to whole numbers and decimals, while deepening their understanding of fractions. Also, the students explore concepts related to place value, data analysis, geometry, measurement, order of operations, and Pre-algebra. Pearson's enVisionMATH, technology including, XtraMath and iXL, and a variety of other quality resources are used to reinforce skills, enhance their depth of knowledge, and help them develop a solid foundation for future learning. Students create their own interactive math notebooks to record their experiences and use as an on-going resource. Fourth grade is an important year for students to solidify their skills and confidence as they develop a love and understanding of mathematics. It is a time to embrace different ways to learn, work cooperatively with their peers, and prepare for the next level of mathematics.
Mathematical skills taught in fourth grade will include:
Number Sense and Operations with Whole Numbers
- Use place value, including how to read, write, round, order, and compare whole numbers to the hundred-billions place
- Write numbers in standard, expanded, and word form
- Use models to represent, order, compare, and perform whole number operations
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithm
- Know the language of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and understand the relationship between the operations
- Use estimation to solve problems that includes all four operations
- Understand the properties of addition and multiplication including the identity, commutative, associative, distributive and zero property
- Solve single and multi-step story problems
- Determine key vocabulary words and concepts, check for reasonableness, and identify relevant and irrelevant information with problems
Number Sense and Operations with Fractions and Decimals
- Use models and number lines to identify, compare and represent the order of fractions and decimals
- Recognize the relationship between fractions and decimals
- Add and subtract decimals to the thousandths place
- Multiply and divide decimals
- Convert between mixed numbers and improper fractions
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and mixed numbers with like and unlike denominators
- Solve real-life problems involving fractions and decimals
Geometry and Spatial Sense
- Use basic geometric language to describe and name shapes and solids
- Understand the basic properties of figures, including closure, number of sides, faces, vertices, and angles
- Characterize lines as intersecting, perpendicular, or parallel
- Identify relationships between figures and images under transformations including translation, reflection, and rotation
- Identify lines of symmetry and the effects of combining, subdividing, and changing basic shapes
- Identify congruent and similar figures
- Use formulas to find perimeter, area, and volume on singular and compound shapes
- Graph and identify ordered pairs on a coordinate plane
- Know the approximate size of customary and metric units to measure length, weight, and capacity
- Convert measurements within the same system
- Measure the perimeter and area of regular and irregular polygons
- Solve real-life problems involving coins, elapsed time, weight and distance
Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
- Read and interpret various types of tables, including frequency tables, stem and leaf plots, and line plots
- Read and interpret graphs, including single and double bar and line graphs, circle graphs, pictographs, and Venn Diagrams
- Calculate mean, median, mode, and range from a given set of data
- Find probability of simple events
Patterns, Functions, and Pre-Algebra
- Use order of operations to solve simple expressions
- Solve one and two-step algebraic equations including all four operations
The fourth grade Social Studies curriculum is designed to help students master geographic, historic, and civic knowledge’s and functions to instill in the students historical perspective. Among the important skills student will acquire are:
- A thorough understanding and application of map skills, and reading charts and graphs for geographical understanding
- Developing note taking abilities, and using information and research for written assignments (reports, projects, and use of technological apps)
- Developing a geographic vocabulary along with a geographic awareness, and accounting for the diversity of places
- Developing a historical vocabulary along with a historical awareness, and accounting for the timeline of events and knowing their impact on the flow of history
- Acquiring a proficiency in research and the use of primary resources for reports and written presentations
- Public speaking and oral presentations, and using fact-based arguments in debate-style simulations
- Responsibility and time management throughout all facets of learning
- Collaboration in class and out of class with civic-minded students
The fourth grade curriculum centers on United States geography, with an emphasis on the diversity of the physical places in the country. The subject begins by painting an overall picture of the country, by using map-skills to familiarize the students with the country’s unique regions. Following an overview of the regions, with an emphasis on the states and capitals, land forms, waterways, and important historical events, an in-depth, project-based analysis of the regions is presented. The ongoing question, exploring what makes the United States unique and diverse, forms the essential theme of each part of the course.
The fourth grade science program develops an understanding of scientific methods and processes. It involves a variety of labs, activities, and learning experiences that provide personal engagement in the dynamics of learning and the excitement of self-discovery, which exposes students to the interrelationships in the world around them. Students are exposed to concerns that confront humans daily through current events. This participatory approach is used to create knowledge and to enhance students’ appreciation for the laws and principles that guide our existence. Concepts are not independently taught but are intertwined and multidisciplinary, providing students with a multitude of opportunities to become involved in science. This combination of knowledge and discovery skills will help our students to relate to current real-world issues. Topic covered in fourth grade include:
- Properties of water: What makes water so special?
- Electricity and Magnetism: What are properties of electricity and magnetism?
- Plants and animals in the environment: What roles do plants and animals play in their environment?
- Weather: Interactions of land, air, and water: How do natural events affect our world?
This program is intended to develop listening comprehension and verbal skills in young children. Total Physical Response (TPR) Storytelling is an instructional strategy developed by Blaine Ray, which is based on Stephen D. Krashen and Tracy D. Terrell’s work in developing The Natural Approach and James Asher’s work in developing Total Physical Response. The goal of both of these strategies is to allow students to learn a second language in much the same manner as they learned their first language—through the senses and comprehensible sensory input. TPR Storytelling provides students with the following:
- Active language learning which is meaningful and context-driven
- TPR (Total Physical Response) cues which allow for immediate comprehension
- Appealing stories rich in comprehensible input which is easy to internalize
- Multiple opportunities to prove comprehension and to feel successful
- Long-term retention of language
Students will be able to tell short stories using the vocabulary learned, and as the year progresses their enhanced comprehension will allow them to add more details to their short stories. Students will also continue refining their pronunciation and knowledge in the language.
Students review previously learned vocabulary by writing descriptions of their homes, what they like to do, their family, meals, school life, etc. In fourth grade sentence structure, modifying nouns and gender agreement is emphasized.
As children progress in Spanish, coursework is differentiated in order to meet varying levels and abilities.
Fourth grade artists explore a wide range of projects carefully selected for students to not only explore and experiment with the Elements and Principles of Art, but also to apply learning from core subjects for deeper understanding and relevance. Origami, Cloud studies and Under the Sea watercolors, are just a few of the many opportunities for students to further their learning in a creative application.
Students pursue longer term projects with materials that are more involved (such as Paper Maché, clay, etc.) and with more complexity (such as iPad illustrations and stop-motion videos).
From basic fundamental concepts of drawing, to assemblage art made from found objects, the variety of projects emphasize the wide range of application of a consistent group of art concepts. Learning about the lives and times of individual artists and art groups brings to life the circumstances from which the art or art movement came about. Participation in group projects and critiques provides experience in life skills of interaction, increasingly required in the 21st century.
At this level, students are encouraged to explore and experiment with new materials with an emphasis on creative thinking. Students are responsible for photographing, uploading and maintaining their on-line portfolios which travel with them throughout their CSN experience.
The students learn about:
- Observational drawing techniques
- One Point Perspective Drawing
- Positive and Negative Shapes
Longer term projects:
- Exploration of a wide variety of materials including Paper Maché, watercolor, printmaking and animation and Sketchbook Express® on the iPad.
- Artists appreciation and inspiration include: Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Georgia O’Keefe
Students in fourth grade will choose to participate in at least one performing arts elective.
This course encompasses many fronts, including acting, singing, and piano study. Students participate in musical productions as well as in “piano challenges," an in-class performance for their peers, and twice annually for the parents.
The fourth grade students are progressing from Lower School chorus to perform more advanced singing and musicianship skills. Each class begins with a short theory and ear training exercise, followed by a group warm-up that explains and fosters the practice of solid vocal technique. The students then begin their performance rehearsal, with repertoire pulled from a wide variety of genres, which often includes staging and light choreography. Their final grade is determined by their participation in each end-of-semester performance and any additional performances. This course continues the emphasis on vocal development. Students develop their music and presentation skills through participation in live performances and activities. They advance their choral singing techniques by learning songs in two-to-three part harmony, as well as in other languages.
We are excited to offer our students the opportunity to explore brass and woodwind instruments. Students will have instrument lessons twice per week and participate in a concert band (all instruments together) later in the semester. Basic music theory and individual instrument techniques will be featured in class, as well as playing fun and exciting music in an ensemble setting including multiple parts. Grades will be determined based on classroom participation and two end-of-semester performances.
Fourth and fifth grade string classes at CSN are for third and fourth year string students on violin, viola, cello and, if a student has interest, upright bass. The strongest students from these classes combine to form the CSN fourth and fifth grade orchestra. Fourth and fifth grade beginners wanting to join this class must study privately and must commit to extra practicing at home to catch up to these classes. These classes will play advanced music, read difficult rhythms, are introduced to new keys, playing positions and more complicated ear training. The orchestra performs twice a year at school for parents, family members, friends, and fellow students. Students are required to rent or buy an instrument to take this class. CSN provides assistance and information for the rental process.
The fourth grade physical education program expands on skills learned throughout the Lower School years and applies them towards new games, lifetime activities, and sports preparation and development. All students acquire the knowledge and skills for movement that provide the foundation for enjoyment and continued social development through physical activity.
Fourth grade students begin to demonstrate competency in movement patterns and proficiency in several specialized movement forms. Basic skills such as jumping rope, catching and throwing mastered in Lower School can now be used in game-like situations and lifetime activities. Students continue to learn the etiquette of participation and can resolve conflicts during games and sports in acceptable ways. Students can also match different types of physical activities to health-related fitness components. All students are administered “The President’s Challenge on Physical Fitness Test.”
The ever-increasing impact of technology on teaching and learning is an important consideration in education at all grade levels in the Lower School. Our curriculum encompasses the use of a wide range of digital tools, media and learning environments for teaching, learning and assessing. Technology provides opportunities for the transformation of teaching and learning and enables students to investigate, create, communicate, collaborate, organize and be responsible for their own learning and actions. Through the use of technology, learners develop and apply strategies for critical and creative thinking, engage in inquiry, make connections, and apply new understandings and skills in different contexts.
The fourth grade technology curriculum is designed to increase knowledge and comfort with devices and software. Students are encouraged to use computers and iPads for projects relating to units across all subjects.
Fourth grade students will learn:
- Basic Computer Literacy: saving files to the appropriate network or drive rather than on the hard drive of the computer, understanding program specific terminology, inserting and locating files from the directory, saving them to a USB/Flash drive.
- Keyboarding: understanding the layout, navigation, and use of the typing program to understand the process for viewing key proficiency.
- Word Processing: increasing and decreasing the view/zoom of a document, learning print preview, modifying the size of an inserted image using the image handles, learning text and image relocation on the document, formatting a text box and adjusting background colors, borders, etc., formatting line spacing, formatting page setup, using the spelling and grammar check accessed through the tool menu, creating headers and footers and using the copy and paste functions.
- Creativity programs: inserting images from file and clip art, moving images within the work area, creating and formatting text boxes, using the Text tool to create text on images, using the Crop tool.
- Presentation Software: creating presentations using PowerPoint, Keynote and iMovie, using apps on the iPad to create presentations.
- Telecommunications: appropriate e-mail use, including using appropriate electronic conduct when using electronic emails.
- Internet Research: using internet searches appropriately
The fourth grade digital citizenship curriculum is designed to teach students:
- To ONLY share our passwords with parents and teachers.
- The unfortunate things that can happen when others know our password.
- The do’s and don’ts of creating strong passwords.
- The importance of creating strong passwords without using private information.
- How spam messages are often sent to us because a company is trying to sell us something, trick us into giving them private information, or even to cause harm with computer viruses.
- To never open an email message from someone we do not know.
- Tips for handling spam messages: don’t open the message, never click on the included links, do not reply, and tell a trusted adult if you are feeling unsure.
- The importance of including a bibliography with citations for all types of research projects and writing.
- Components of an MLA style citation.
- The differences between citing an online newspaper/magazine article and professional websites using MLA style.