The Golden State is centerpiece for study during fourth grade. In social studies, the history, geography and resources of our state are highlighted. An overnight adventure in Gold Rush country brings this unit alive as students experience firsthand what life was like in 1849, pan for gold, hear famous success stories of entrepreneurialism and dreams that never came true. Students also visit the San Juan Bautista Mission and Peralta Adobe where they sample herbal tea, tortillas, participate in candle making and making corn husk dolls as well as lassoing a steer and dressing up in clothes of the era.
Science also focuses on California as students look at native plants, animals and geology. Hands-on experiments and investigations are completed in magnetism and electricity, weathering and erosion. Students learn to classify animals and rocks.
The Fourth Grade Language Arts program is literature-based. Students read an advanced and exciting selection of award-winning classic literature including Island of the Blue Dolphins, Mr. Tucket, Because of Winn Dixie and By the Great Horn Spoon. In addition to recalling facts and details from the story, students are encouraged to draw conclusions or make predictions from information that is given or implied. They work on stating the main idea of a selection or passage. Their vocabulary skills develop as they learn new words and incorporate them into their speech and writing. The steps in the writing process are emphasized. Their writing is developed to five-paragraph reports.
4th grade math builds upon the foundation established in the earlier grades. Students are expected to recall multiplication and division facts to speed. Both multiplication and division concepts are extended with multi-digit numbers. Place value to 3 decimal places is practiced as well as fractions with like and unlike denominators. Problem solving skills are developed, customary and metric measurement is covered.
In social studies, students focus on discovering California's regional geography, resources and history. Students learn about the expansion of the California beginning with the first California Missions and Ranchos, pioneers in California and how California was connected to the east coast with the building of the railroad. Finally, the Gold Rush is studied.
Science compliments social studies as California science is introduced in detail. In addition, students learn about the classification of animals. They also explore magnetism and electricity focusing on magnetic forces and constructing simple parallel and series circuits. Students are fascinated to learn about weathering and erosion of rocks and enjoy classifying and identifying different minerals. Our students complete comprehensive reports on natural disasters and endangered species.
Students continue to build a strong vocabulary focusing on topics from their immediate environment. The basic grammar is introduced this year allowing students to become familiar with personal pronouns, definite and indefinite articles and the singular and the plural. Oral and writing skills continue to improve through oral drills, reading and writing activities. The following topics are reviewed and expanded:
- Weather & Seasons
- Numbers 1-1000
- Time & Calendars
- Personal pronouns
- Family members
- Using vocabulary into sentences
Religion class in fourth grades includes the study of Bible stories and stories of faith from other traditions. We use storytelling, dramatic presentations, crafts and songs to give students the opportunity to connect the stories with life situations. We discuss how century-old teachings are as relevant today as then through our discussions of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Six Pillars of Character.
By the end of fourth grade, students will have mastered the ability to identify and find appropriate fiction and non-fiction books in the catalog and on the library shelves. Students will understand the basic organization of the Dewey Decimal System. In fourth grade, we also study different genres of fiction and provide guidance on identifying mysteries, adventure stories, historical novels, science fiction and works of fantasy.
In fourth grade, Saint Andrew's Episcopal School students transition from the iPad program to our
1:1 laptop program. Each of our students is assigned a Mac laptop for
classroom activities and instruction. During Technology Classes, the core curriculum is expanded into projects that include drawing, labeling, presenting and researching topics that are being studied in the core classrooms. Students learn how to use technology in responsible and innovative ways, while creativity is encouraged in a safe and structured environment. In fourth grade students learn about multimedia tools and collaboration. They also discuss issues of security and advantages and disadvantages of technology.
In Lower School Physical Education Class, students learn about their bodies through exercise, games and movement. Classes emphasize the development of healthy bodies through early introduction to nutrition and physical wellness. Through distance running and games involving ropes, hoops, balls and ladders, children develop cardiovascular endurance, strength, agility and flexibility.
Fourth grade music builds upon earlier study of the dynamics of music including melody, rhythm, tone color, harmony, musical styles and performance. Students continue learning through the Orff-Schulwerk Approach of music education which uses very rudimentary forms of everyday activities in the purpose of music creation by young individuals. This includes singing in groups and performing voice instrumental music, rhymes and playing instruments such as the metallophone, xylophone, glockenspiel, and other percussive instruments. The music generated is largely improvisational and original tonal constructions and this builds a sense of confidence and interest in the process of creative thinking. Children also make music together in a group and hence realize the joys of group co-ordination and cohesion.