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Overview: Grade Four

Students in Grade Four continue to grow in their independence as they begin to study topics in more depth while continuing to build their skills, knowledge and understanding in language arts, math, science and social studies

LANGUAGE ARTS

LANGUAGE ARTS

Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

Language and literacy development are essential for learning. The TAS standards and benchmarks for language arts outline what students will know and be able to do in language arts at each grade level. We use a balanced literacy approach to deliver developmentally appropriate and engaging instruction. Our program includes:

Talk Strategies: strategies to help children articulate ideas and deepen their thinking in all content areas

Reading Workshop: strategy-based instruction to develop the skills and habits of proficient readers

Writing Workshop: clear, sequenced instruction that teaches students to turn their ideas into powerful written messages across genres and for a variety of purposes

Interactive Read Aloud: a time for students to engage with literature and grow ideas

Grammar: standards-based instruction that helps children develop proficiency in their use of English grammar, orally and in writing

We honor the developmental nature of language and literacy development by differentiating instructional strategies and materials.

In grade four, students read and write across a variety of genres, including different kinds of fiction and nonfiction, with greater volume and independence. We have designed a series of standards-based units that, while challenging, will create lifelong enthusiasm for reading and writing. These units are:

Reading

  • Interpreting Characters
  • Reading the Weather, Reading the World
  • Fantasy Book Clubs: The Magic of Themes and Symbols
  • Reading History: Explorers
  • Test Reading as a Genre Study (Test Prep)
  • Social Issues Book Clubs

Writing

  • The Arc of Story: Writing Realistic Fiction
  • Boxes and Bullets: Personal and Persuasive Essay
  • Writing Fantasy
  • Independent Writing Projects
  • Bring History to Life: Writing about Research
  • Journalism

CHARACTER EDUCATION

CHARACTER EDUCATION

Character education is woven into every subject area and every classroom. Teachers reinforce the TAS values of honesty, respect, responsibility, kindness, and courage through classroom discussions, reading appropriate literature, songs, and role playing. By modeling and reinforcing the values, we hope that all students develop good habits and demonstrate the values in what they say and do every day.

GUIDANCE

GUIDANCE

The lower school counselor, in addition to supporting individual children and parents, teaches a guidance lesson in the classroom once every ten-day cycle. Lessons are designed to help children strengthen their social skills and better understand the role of emotions in life. Children learn problem solving and conflict resolution skills appropriate for their grade level.

MATH

MATH

The mathematics curriculum has two major components: Standards for Mathematical Practice and Standards for Mathematical Content. The Standards for Mathematical Practice define what it means to be a mathematical thinker and are addressed at all grade levels of the Lower School. Students will be able to:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for patterns

The Standards for Mathematical Content are the topics addressed at each grade level. Emphasis is placed on a balance of conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and real-world application.Grade Four topics include:

  • Place Value, Rounding, and Algorithms for Addition and Subtraction
  • Unit Conversions and Problem Solving with Metric Measurement
  • Multi-Digit Multiplication and Division
  • Angle Measure and Plane Figures
  • Fraction Equivalence, Ordering, and Operations
  • Decimal Fractions
  • Exploring Measurement with Multiplication

The major resource for the lower school mathematics program is Eureka Math. Parents can access information about the program at http://greatminds.net/maps/math/home. A strategic approach allows for academic rigor while still meeting the needs of all students.

MANDARIN

MANDARIN

The lower school Mandarin program is committed to developing students’ Chinese language proficiency and deepening their appreciation for Chinese culture.

There are two tracks in the program, and different courses are offered in both tracks, based on students’ language proficiency levels, designed to meet students’ abilities and needs. In grade four, introductory, bridging, grade level, and grade level advanced courses are offered.

The Mandarin Learner Track is for students who study Mandarin as a second language. The goal is to develop students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills with an emphasis on oral proficiency as a tool for meeting age-appropriate functional and informational needs. As the students gain oral skills, they begin to read and write, which sets them on a course for more advanced Mandarin language study. Students in the Learner Track use Pinyin, a Romanization system, to help them learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters.

The Mandarin Heritage Track is for students whose first language or strong additional language is Mandarin. The goal is to develop and enhance students’ overall language proficiency while focusing on reading and writing to build a solid foundation in literacy skills. Students in the Heritage Track use Zhuyin, Bopomofo Phonetic Symbols, to help them learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters.

SCIENCE

SCIENCE

Highly engaging and rigorous, the program is developmentally appropriate and provides an enriching experience for all young scientists. The processes and skills of science are emphasized within the context of ‘doing’ science in real life situations using live specimens, suitable technology, and hands-on materials. The curriculum is built on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Next Generation FOSS (Full Option Science System) science program serves as the core resource. In grade four, students will engage in the following units of study:

Energy

The Energy Module provides firsthand experiences in physical science dealing with the anchor phenomenon of energy. The five investigations focus on the concepts that energy is present whenever there is motion, electric current, sound, light, or heat, and that energy can transfer from one place to another. The guiding question for the module is how does energy transfer between systems?

Soils, Rocks, and Land forms

Students engage with soils and rocks and modeling experiences using tools such as topographical maps and stream tables to learn about the anchor problem of the surface of Earth's landscape - the shape and composition of land forms. The driving questions of the Module are What are Earth's land surface made of? and Why are land forms not the same everywhere?

HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES

HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES

We believe that the purpose of social studies is to cultivate global citizens by ensuring our students have knowledge of history, governmental systems, economics, culture, and geography. Our social studies program is designed to ensure that students have the necessary tools and understanding to become effective problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and decision-makers in an ever-changing, interconnected world. Grade four focuses on:

Unit 1: Being a Good Citizen

Students will examine what it means to be a good citizen in class, at school, and in the greater world. We discuss the importance of rules and responsibilities in these areas and examine the role of government at different levels: school, city, and country.

Unit 2: Geography and Economics of Trade

Students will explore the history of trade as it relates to a country’s geography and natural resources, as well as its people’s needs and wants.

MUSIC

MUSIC

Music students sing, play pitched and un-pitched percussion instruments, dance, do creative movement, improvise, and learn to read and write music. We use experiences with language, body percussion, instruments, and movement to help students develop their musical skills and understanding.

Each quarter we work on developing three specific drama skills through a selection of fun theater games: Cooperation/Collaboration, Physical Expression, Speech, Vocal Expression, Concentration, Imagination, Stage Skills, Characterization, Listening, Timing, Trust, and Self-Discipline. In addition, at various times in the year, we will use themes from homeroom classes, rhymes, songs, fairy tales, folk tales, myths, poetry, or inspiration from music and literature to develop short drama projects.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

In Grade Four Physical Education, the students study units in the areas of manipulative, movement, fitness, aquatics and personal/social development. Manipulative involves the development of skills in throwing, catching, striking, kicking and dribbling such as throwing overhand with opposition, elbow lead and follow through and executing a two hand overhead volley to self. Movement involves the development of skills in spatial awareness, locomotor, non-locomotor and rhythms/dance such as jumping a turning rope for one minute and executing a mount on a vault. Fitness involves both the study of concepts and skills. Aquatics is a swim development program based on individual needs. Personal and social development is a reflection of the TAS values in action through physical education.

The focus of the lower school program is age appropriate, carefully sequenced skill development in a spirit of cooperation.

ART

ART

The art curriculum lays foundational skills through exploration, discovery, creativity, and amazement in visual media by teaching art history, art production, art criticism, and aesthetics at a developmentally appropriate level. The program is carefully sequenced to ensure each year builds on the previous year’s skill development and knowledge. At each level the foundational skills of basic drawing techniques, color mixing, principles of design, and critiques are built upon, while integrating STEAM concepts. Learning a design process with these basic art skills gives students the tools, experience, and confidence to develop and present their creative ideas. In addition to drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics, a variety of other media and concepts are explored throughout the year.

TECHNOLOGY

TECHNOLOGY

Information technology in grade four is integrated with the classroom curriculum. Teachers work with the IT Coordinator to develop integrated lessons that use relevant technology to enhance the learning experience. Keyboarding and digital citizenship continue to be a focus in Grade 4.

ROBOTICS

ROBOTICS

Grade four students further their building and programming skills using LEGO NXT Mindstorm Robotics Kits. Students examine the role and power of sensors in robots and develop programs that include concepts such as conditional statements, loops, switches, and parallel programming.

LIBRARY/INFORMATION LITERACY

LIBRARY/INFORMATION LITERACY

The library provides a wide range of materials which encourage and support information literacy development. Students visit the library for literature enrichment, library skills development, digital resources, book checkout, and to conduct research