Age 3 through 6th Grade

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Fourth Grade Overview

Fourth graders excavating a sample archaeological dig

Fourth grade is the year of making connections and expanding students’ thinking from concrete to abstract.

Opening up to the more global world, students understand and apply the connections from one subject to another and between their individual lives and the complexities of the world. Critical thinking skills blossom, as students investigate and analyze how America was settled from the pre-Columbian Natives through exploration, and how it affected American colonization.

Again, study is integrated across the curriculum: students create puppets, then write and perform a show about colonization; they read books such as I Sailed with Columbus and Sign of the Beaver; and they visit a Native American archaeological site to discover how Native Americans used natural resources.

Students further their investigative skills and comprehension by reading historical fiction, literature, journals, and information from the web. They participate in large- and small-groups for completing projects and discussions. Writing skills are developed and expanded in all areas through journals, stories, and expository writing. Math is taught through a discovery and strategy-based approach, including journaling.

Fourth grade's geographic area of study is South America.


  • Complete book shares/projects
  • Read orally with expression and fluency
  • Summarize what has been read
  • Demonstrate word attack skills using phonetic analysis
  • Develop and use extensive vocabulary
  • Describe and discuss story elements, context clues, main idea and supporting details
  • Demonstrate strategies for making connections, visualizing, predicting, making inferences, retelling, questioning, synthesizing, and determining importance
  • Practice listening comprehension skills
  • Respond to literature through writing
  • Select appropriate books to read independently
  • Demonstrate comprehension of reading material
  • Examples of major works read: Shadows in the Glasshouse, Tiger Rising and Every Living Thing
  • Reading Units of Study by Lucy Calkins are also used

Language Arts

  • Use the writing process (prewriting, draft, revision, publish) to maintain focus on the topic and provide support
  • Practice narrative, opinion and informational writing
  • Develop and refine strategies for writing across curriculum
  • Create an interesting topic sentence and a concluding sentence
  • Recognize and compose the four kinds of sentences
  • Compose complete, non-run-on sentences
  • Write a four paragraph essay
  • Restate a question using PQPA (part question/ part answer) in a complete sentence
  • Identify parts of speech
  • Understand subject/verb agreement
  • Recognize and correctly use nouns, pronouns, verbs, prepositions, and conjunctions
  • Apply the rules for capitalization and punctuation
  • Write legibly and neatly; form all cursive letters correctly
  • Identify relationships in analogies
  • Use sensory language, similes, metaphors, alliteration and personification
  • Compose a variety of poetry
  • Use proper spelling in daily writing
  • Use commas, apostrophes and quotation marks appropriately
  • Use homophones correctly
  • Programs used include Wordly Wise, G.U.M. (Grammar, Usage, Mechanics), and Writing Units of Study by Lucy Calkins


  • Use place value models to read, write, add and subtract numbers to 100,000
  • Convert between mixed numbers and improper fractions
  • Understand decimal notation through hundredths
  • Read and write decimals that are greater than or less than 1
  • Solve multi-digit multiplication and division problems
  • Add and subtract unlike fractions and decimals
  • Find the greatest common factor and least common multiple
  • Use formulas for area and perimeter
  • Explore the properties of circles and three-dimensional solids
  • Figure elapsed time
  • Construct line plots, stem-and-leaf plots, tables and line graphs
  • Find the mean, median, mode and range
  • Express the probability of an event as a fraction
  • Identify, describe and extend numeric and non-numeric patterns
  • Identify prime and composite numbers
  • Solve problems with variables, equality and inequality
  • Use technology and calculators to solve complex problems
  • Use estimation to check reasonableness
  • Present mathematical thinking in writing
  • Programs used include Math in Focus

Social Studies

  • Theme: Discuss what affects peoples’ freedoms and opportunities
  • Identify the civic tradition and political system of pre-Columbian Native Americans
  • Investigate the exploration and colonization of the Americas
  • Expand understanding of historical concepts
  • Discuss current events
  • Understand the climate and vegetation of the U.S. and South America
  • Use the map elements of key, scale, hemisphere, orientation and symbols
  • Locate the political boundaries of the U.S.
  • Research and write a four-paragraph report
  • Continent studied: South America


  • Carry out tests to gather data and draw conclusions using various tools and methods
  • Evaluate the reasonableness of an explanation using critical thinking/problem solving
  • Test potential and kinetic energy using the scientific method
  • Demonstrate the role of insulators and conductors in heat transfer
  • Complete a pond ecosystem study and analyze health of pond
  • Create food chains and webs to explore energy flow
  • Create and carry out a decomposition experiment
  • Learn about adaptation and niches
  • Explore process of photosynthesis
  • Analyze the reproductive organs of plants and their functions
  • Units of study: ecology, sound and light, energy, inventions, classification, simple machines, botany, meteorology


  • Utilize French to take care of basic classroom needs
  • Copy words or short phrases from classroom resources
  • Discuss food preferences (fruits, breakfast items, drinks, and other assorted foods)
  • Describe foods and drinks consumed at meals
  • Ask and answer, “What do you like to do?” and “Do you want to…?”
  • Describe the activities one does on a certain day or time
  • Practice the question “Where are you going this weekend?”
  • Discuss clothing
  • Review and apply the numbers 0 - 1,000
  • Read teacher created articles for content
  • Answer basic comprehension questions orally
  • Practice the PQPA (part question, part answer) technique for writing complete sentence answers

Physical Education

  • Demonstrate knowledge to plan an activity thoroughly
  • Show the ability to communicate during a group challenge
  • Demonstrate leadership qualities
  • Demonstrate the fundamental skills of soccer, football, basketball, volleyball
  • Complete an 800-meter cross country run
  • Demonstrate knowledge of passing and receiving the baton during relays
  • Exert maximum effort during various runs and exercises
  • Show an understanding of various tumbling levels
  • Demonstrate strength, agility, and technique during combative activities
  • Work in small groups to develop floor exercise routines
  • Participate in creating a game and presenting it to the class
  • Recognize and appreciate the cultural origin of each game

Visual Arts

Studio Art

  • Select and apply a color scheme to a work of art
  • Apply patterns and design for effect
  • Distinguish between organic and geometric shapes
  • Use a rubric to accurately assess outcomes


  • Understand and demonstrate safety guidelines in the woodshop
  • Develop individual designs for projects
  • Demonstrate proper use of half-round file, bit and brace, hand twist drill, 12" ruler and sandpaper
  • Prepare a work station with needed tools and materials
  • Analyze quality of each project and set goals for improvement
  • Share project with class and teachers

Performing Arts


  • Create and compose rhythmic and melodic passages
  • Identify and play treble clef notation on various melodic instruments
  • Recognize note values and rests
  • Identify aurally the major and minor key signatures
  • Sing with accurate pitch and intonation
  • Pronounce various languages correctly
  • Maintain melody/harmony in an ensemble setting
  • Use correct fingerings on recorder
  • Play with good tone and pitch on recorder
  • Transition note reading to recorder fingering
  • Identify notes on the staff, including sharps and flats
  • Produce facts on composer’s life and music


  • Demonstrate competency in fluency, enunciation, projection, cheating out, posture, expression, eye contact and visualization during public speaking and performances
  • Use the tools of an actor to become a character and stay in character
  • Work cooperatively to solve problems both onstage and off
  • Develop skills on stage to react to other characters and give and take focus
  • Connect history with live theater
  • Practice appropriate backstage and onstage etiquette
  • Perform Explorers