Overview: Grade Four
- LANGUAGE ARTS
- CHARACTER EDUCATION
- HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES
- PHYSICAL EDUCATION
- LIBRARY/INFORMATION LITERACY
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 4, students read and write across a variety of genres, including different kinds of fiction and nonfiction, with greater volume and independence. We implement a series of standards-based units designed by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project that, while challenging, will create lifelong enthusiasm for reading and writing These units are:
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
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 4 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. A strategic approach allows for academic rigor while still meeting the needs of all students.
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.
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:
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
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 4 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 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.
In Grade 4 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.
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.