Acting as a bridge between Lower and Middle School, our 4th Grade is housed in a charming stand-alone building on our Upper Campus.
4th Grade Language Arts builds on students’ ability to use language for information and understanding, for literary response and expression, for critical analysis and evaluation, and for social interaction. We use a combination of Guided Reading lessons to model and focus comprehension, as well as Literature Circles where the children choose their book and meet with other students to discuss new words, good questions and make predictions based on events in the book. In Writer’s Workshop, we balance skills practice with supporting the joy of writing. Students learn more about self, peer and teacher editing to build their writing pieces. Many students choose pieces to submit to our Lower School literary journal, Sticks and Stones.
4th Grade is a time of building perspectives. This includes their own growing awareness of their role in the school community and world, as well as understanding that written and recorded history is a compilation of perspectives throughout time. We focus on Indigenous Cultures of the Americas to rethink “discovery,” study different accounts of “Who was here first,” and explore different perspectives through primary documents and a variety of literature. Their learning builds on mapping skills, reading and interpreting information and analyzing this information. One highlight is our “Hike of the Month” where we utilize our mapping skills in the field.
Major topics in 4th Grade math include multiplication and division extensions, finding common denominators for fractions work, and geometry concepts such as symmetry, angles and parallel lines. We use math journals, math games, and group discussions to enhance our learning. Student discussion helps build their awareness that there are many ways to solve a problem.
4th Grade science emphasizes problem-solving and applying data to real life situations. We start the year with a unit on the Relationships of Living Things, a study of the local ecosystems we encounter every day. Our unit on Simple Machines introduces the concepts of work, energy, and how we have developed methods to help us accomplish tasks. The class learns about the lever, the inclined plane, the wedge and simple pulleys through hands-on exploration.
Our Spanish curriculum for 4th Grade continues to enrich students’ communication skills as well as develop the ability to create simple sentences. 4th Graders build their knowledge of familiar topics such as greetings, likes and dislikes, seasons, months, days of the week, and food. They apply their knowledge of basic vocabulary like colors, numbers, body parts, and adjectives to describe their environment.
In this last year of Lower School, 4th Graders have exciting opportunities to expand their artistic and kinesthetic skills. In addition to weekly art class, 4th Graders — finally! — begin their study of ceramics. General music instruction becomes the first step to participating in our beginning ensemble, as students choose an instrument to study and learn to play as a group, performing in our Winter and Spring Concerts. The Drama Residency culminates in 4th Grade with a longer, evening performance of an original play. African Drum and Dance, and weekly Physical Education, Library, and Buddies makes for a rich year of creating and learning.