Fourth Grade is a year for the children to solidify the skills that were newly acquired in third grade. Students are also exposed to new skills in fourth grade and will now spend this year working with and practicing these new concepts. Fourth graders move beyond reading beginning chapter books to medium level chapter books. Written reading responses are more in-depth and detailed and the children learn to form an opinion about their reading and support it with a quote. The writing focuses on the Five Facts of Fiction to help the children write more descriptive stories with a clear problem and solution. This year is the beginning of yearly writing projects with fourth grade reading and learning about memoirs and eventually writing their own memoir. In math, students read and write numbers up to 1,000,000,000 and work with fractions, multiplication and division. The integrated science and social studies themes focus around South America and the rainforest habitat. The classes are taught and activities completed with students engaging in small group activities, whole class discussions and independent assignments.
Fourth graders are now reading and writing whole numbers up to 1,000,000,000. They read, write and model fractions and solve word problems involving fractional parts of a region or collection and are now expected to describe and explain strategies when working with fractions. Students are now expected to demonstrate automaticity with all of basic the addition and subtraction facts use the basic facts to compute fact extensions such as 80 + 70. They are also expected to demonstrate automaticity with basic multiplication and division facts through 10 x 10 and begin to use basic fact extensions such as 30 x 60. Children measure the length of objects to the nearest ¼ inch and ½ centimeter. They identify, draw and describe points intersecting and parallel line segments, lines, rays, and right, acute and obtuse angles. They continue to collect and organize data and now use given data to create charts, tables, bar graphs, line plots and line graphs. Students use the maximum, minimum, range, mode and median of a set of data to ask and answer questions, draw conclusions and make predictions. Problem solving skills are reinforced by having the children continue to decide which of the four operations to perform and are now focusing more on explanations as to how a solution was reached. Many math concepts are reinforced through math games. Computational skills are developed through daily review exercises.
Fourth graders are now more independent readers. They move beyond beginning chapter books to reading medium level chapter books. Whole class shared reading of chapter books is a major part of the reading workshop and they complete an author study on Roal Dahl. They are writing more in-depth and detailed reading responses and are beginning to write opinions and use quotes to support their ideas. The children continue to study reading comprehension strategies and practice making connections, visualizing and asking questions. They also begin to concentrate more on determining important ideas and inferencing to “read beyond the text”. They take part in independent reading, shared reading and guided reading. Fourth graders continue to write daily. This year the focus is on writing stories with more description and complete problems and solutions which is taught through the Five Facts of Fiction. The children also participate in a six week study of memoirs. As a class they read several memoirs together, discuss and identify the characteristics that make up a memoir. During writing workshop they brainstorm memories and eventually choose one to work on and develop a memoir. Daily mini-lessons teach story elements, grammar, punctuation and author’s craft. Students are expected to be more responsible with their spelling and use resources such as dictionaries to edit their daily writing.
Weather and seasons, ecology and the circulatory system are the focus in fourth grade Science. In their study of weather the fourth graders set up weather stations to and complete experiments to help them understand the daily weather and seasons. Ecology is taught in conjunction with the rain forest as they not only learn how to protect the rain forest but also how ecology affects our daily lives. The circulatory system is taught through hands on activities and experiments with the final project being dissecting a cow’s heart. The themes are taught in six week intervals through hands on activities. Children are encouraged to explore the themes through the scientific method of observing, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis and forming a conclusion. Themes are taught with a short daily mini-lesson and children complete experiments or activities in small group centers.
Fourth grade Social Studies themes are all about South America. The children begin with a study of the South American continent researching specific countries and modern day life. Through this study they strengthen their research skills, publish a research project on a country and then present the information. Students become absorbed in the study of the rainforest habitat. They investigate the layers of plant life and animal life and then recreate the rainforest in the classroom. For their study of ancient civilizations, the fourth graders focus on the Incas. The children learn about their daily life, rituals and customs through hands on activities. Basic geographic terms and principles such as plains, glacier, projection, axis, seasons, rotation, hemisphere are taught and worked on through the above themes.
In fourth grade the students deepen their understanding of the Taino culture through a study on the Taino Indians as part of the Dominican history in chronological order. Through these themes the students complete time lines of the culture and the causes and effects. They finish the school year studying the Haitian occupation and independence. The students discover and learn about these themes through hands on projects such as creating a Taino museum and a writing project on the colonization of the island. Sociales classes are taught solely in Spanish beginning with a daily mini-lesson. The children complete experiments or activities in small group centers.