Grade 4 Information
Welcome to Fourth Grade
This is the year that 4th graders begin to put specific skills that they have been learning to use in all areas.
Notetaking and work-study skills are being introduced and practiced all throughout the year. Organization of materials is also emphasized with the hopes of making all fourth graders more independent students.
Daily homework will be assigned in at least one subject. No homework other than reading will be given on weekends or holidays, except make-up or incomplete work. All homework must be submitted in completed form by 8:30 the morning it's due. All long and short term assignments are posted on the board with their scheduled due dates, and a weekly assignment sheet is sent home every Friday.
In fourth grade we are implementing both reading and writing workshop. This approach to language arts provides students opportunities to work as a whole group as well as provides instruction for each individual student.
Reading workshop begins each day with a read aloud. The teacher reads many books throughout the year, covering a wide range of genres, authors, and styles. The teacher uses this read aloud to instruct the students. The lessons include direct instruction and modeling. Students then do self-selected independent reading. During their independent reading, the students practice the skills taught in the lesson. Also, during this independent reading time, the teacher conferences with the students on their particular reading material, assesses the students' needs, and provides the student with reading instruction specific to his or her needs.
Writing workshop runs in a similar manner. Students are exposed to a variety of genres, including book reviews, realistic fiction, and narratives. In each area of study, students are taught the elements of the genre, specific revision strategies, and traditional editing skills. Students work on their own writing. All topics are self-selected, although they must fit within the genre being studied. Students are asked to try the strategies or skills taught in the lesson, and then students receive specific individualized lessons through conferences. Students are held accountable for both class lessons and the instruction within the conference. To promote ideas for writer's workshop, two Writer's Notebook entries, one page in length, will be assigned weekly for homework.
This balance of whole class instruction with individual instruction allows us to teach the skills outlined in the state frameworks as well as take each student and move him or her forward at an appropriate pace.
To help your child think about what is being read, click on the Reading and Thinking Strategies page.
Fourth grade uses a math program called, "Math in Focus." Math in Focus is the United States edition of the most widely used curriculum in Singapore, which has consistently been the top-performing country in international assessments such as TIMSS and PISA. This curriculum was one of the main models used to write the new Common Core State Standards that Connecticut recently adopted.
The underlying premise of Math in Focus is based on a five part framework.
1. Problem-solving is at the heart of any math program - you learn math to solve problems.
2. You must possess the conceptual base to understand problems. (For example, having number sense)
3. You must possess the relevant skills and understand the processes involved in problem solving - reasoning, communication and connections, and modeling and thinking skills
4. You must have the ability to monitor your own thinking and understand how you learn.
5. You must possess confidence and persistence to be a successful problem solver.
"Math in Focus" includes the use of specific skills that students have been learning while also introducing new concepts that build on their prior knowledge. Though not necessarily studied in the following order, some topics that will be taught include:
* Place Value of Whole Numbers
* Estimation and Number Theory
* Whole Number Multiplication and Division
* Tables and Line Graphs
* Data and Probability
* Fractions and Mixed Numbers
* Adding and Subtracting Decimals
* Perpendicular and Parallel Line Segments
* Squares and Rectangles
* Area and Perimeter
The fourth grade science curriculum is one in which students can become very active and involved. There are many hands-on activities that help demonstrate the concept being studied. Our areas of study and guiding questions follow.
- a. Forces and Motion – What makes objects move the way they do? The children will be learning how the size of an object's motion is related to the strength of the push or pull. They will also learn about how the mass of an object affects the force exerted. Simple Machines are also studied during this unit.
- b. Matter and Energy in Ecosystems – How do matter and energy flow through ecosystems? In this unit, the children will be learning that all organisms depend on the living and nonliving features of the environment for survival
- c. Energy in the Earth's Systems – How do external and internal sources of energy affect the Earth's systems? The children will learn how water plays a major role in the shaping of the surface of the Earth. We do much of our discussion on this topic in Social Studies as well.
- d. Energy Transfer and Transformations – What is the role of energy in our world? The children will learn how electrical and magnetic energy can be transferred and transformed.
The 4th grade Social Studies curriculum involves the study of Connecticut as well as the regions of the United States in general, pulling the country apart in directional sections. As the children study each section of the country, they will also learn why people settle there instead of somewhere else. They will also be exposed to the different cultures of each of those sections of the country. Of course, this means that map skills will be a learning priority.