Fourth Grade Curriculum Overview
Fourth Grade students solidify their basic reading skills and their knowledge of literary form by using an introductory Literature book, enriched by a study of various fun-to-read novels, short stories, and poetry selections. They explore a variety of literary genres, including well-known children’s stories from around the world, the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, biographies of famous people, poetry, and literature which supports the Ancient World History theme. Comprehension and thoughtful consideration of the literature’s meaning are stressed. Students distinguish between the structural features of the text and make use of the literary terms such as plot, setting, characters, and theme. Work in "book clubs" allows for differentiated levels and complexity to meet the student needs.
Fourth Graders extend their composition skills by writing regular essays, including literature responses, literary analysis essays, biographical essays, persuasive and informational compositions, stories, letters, personal narratives, poems, and research reports. Students write and speak with an attention to standard English conventions, including sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
Sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar are stressed, as is using quotations and evidence to support one's ideas. Spelling, vocabulary, and grammar are expanded through word studies, vocabulary-building, and sentence diagramming exercises. Furthermore, students begin a study of Latin to further their understanding of word roots and the application to English.
Students also continue to learn speech techniques and to do formal recitations and speeches. Students will write and present a "How-To" speech and an interview.
Fourth Graders continue their mastery of basic facts and concepts including multiple-digit operations of multiplication, long division, fractions, and decimals. Students gain an understanding of measurements, area and perimeter of composite figures, and geometric concepts including identifying angles and designing and reading coordinate graphs. Students learn to use variables in simple expressions and equalities and how to compute the value using algebraic reasoning. Students also learn to compute the area and volume of simple objects.
Solving word problems and group problem solving continue to be emphasized through a study of Singapore Math techniques and challenging word problems.
Life Science concepts in fourth grade surround the interaction of four subsystems: the geosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere. When studying the biosphere, students delve into how organisms function in different ecosystems. Earth science focuses on the relationship between the Earth and Sun. Fourth graders study Earth's movement in the solar system and patterns in the sky and their affect on Earth systems. In physical science, students study chemistry through mixtures and solutions and the chemical and physical reactions that come about. Hands-on experiments, literature, and demonstrations are a regular part of the curriculum.
Each year the students complete an individual science project for the annual Science Fair, helping them to learn the important concepts of observation, prediction, conducting an experiment, recording data, analyzing results, creating a display, and presenting the material to others.
Fourth Grade students conduct a world history overview from the beginning, including the pre-historic times, Mesopotamia, the early and African kingdoms, China's dynasties and conquerors, the great ages of Ancient Greece and Rome, and the lasting ideas that emanated from these ancient civilizations including Judaism and Christianity. Through many simulations, students have first hand knowledge of the ancient world.
They work with maps, globes, and other geographic tools and participate in a variety of projects and activities as they focus on these areas. They will also do an overview of the Eastern Mediterranean countries including Greece, Israel, Turkey, Albania, Macedonia, and more in preparation for the International Fair.
Fourth graders will build upon their knowledge of Spanish while they study what would normally be taught in the second half of a first year high school course. Students have Spanish three times a week.
Fourth Graders continue to challenge themselves as artists under the tutelage of an art specialist. Students explore different fields of art, including mask making, textile arts, and sculpture and are exposed to art theory at a deeper level. Students have Art class once a week.
Fourth Graders learn to match pitch with solfege hand signals and continue to learn the recorder. They begin to compose their own simple melodies and identify music of various styles. Students perform music in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time signatures and sing/perform both alone and in groups simple rhythms or tonal patterns. They identify instruments in all instrument families both aurally and visually. They become familiar with the music of Camille Saint-Saens, Holst, and Mahler. Students enhance their performance skills through participation in the Winter program and all-school Spring performance. Students have Music once a week.
The physical education curriculum for Fourth Grade increases students' basic knowledge and skills in sport activities. They gain precision with increasing control and accuracy. They develop habits of teamwork and learn how to apply the basic rules of various sports. Students have Physical Education two times a week.
Technology and Research
Fourth Grade students apply keyboarding skills to a variety of projects which require research and creativity on the chromebook. They learn how to graph and use other functions in Googlesheets and apply this knowledge to their work on the Science Fair. Students will be charged with typing their Young Author Project and will learn how to use proper formatting (margins, fonts, orientation, etc.) Students will learn about internet safety and how to use resources without plagiarizing. Additionally, students continue developing their understanding of coding and use Googleslides for various assignments. Google classroom allows students to access, complete, and turn in work easily and efficiently.
Fourth Grade students enjoy weekly ethics class. They complete an in-depth study of Hilldale's monthly virtues, quotes, and villains. Additionally, they delve into Fourth Grade heroes. Students practice their Hilldale Habits of Respect, Leadership, and Independent, Lifelong Learning on a daily basis. All students participate in Service Learning projects which help students understand their relationship and responsibility to the world at a young age. Students participate in the Peace First
curriculum designed to teach hands-on, social-emotional skills and nurture friendships. This year the focus is on standing up for what is right, even when it is hard.