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Fourth Grade

Fourth Grade Teacher:  Ms. Bridget Wilson

Fourth grade is a time of tremendous growth in the life of a child. The students enter our class emerging into independent thinkers. Our role is to encourage this thinking to develop, guide them towards making the right choices and enable them to take responsibility for their learning. We work across the year to give them the tools they need to be able to fully develop their critical thinking and express their opinions in a confident and coherent manner.

We integrate our reading and social studies programs to increase student engagement in both areas. Our students study many facets of New Jersey, reading historical fiction and non-fiction works to foster an interest in, and to create personal connections to, the subjects that are covered. Some of our major topics are the geography and development of the state, from its inception and first settlers to the present time. We finish the year with a celebration of New Jersey, during which the children create an enormous, edible map of the state! Another unit, which provokes incredible student engagement, is the topic of immigration. Within this unit the students cover family trees, historical family connections, carry out interviews with immigrants to this country, and read and learn about times in history when people have been forced to emigrate. Without a doubt, major highlights of past years have been our trips to The Old Barracks and the State House in Trenton and Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Math is always an exciting time in fourth grade. This is the year when all of the early grade preparation comes to fruition. The students use their multiplication tables in multiple-digit multiplication and in long division. They also study the relationship between fractions and decimals. Problem solving, math games, and logic work , create an exhilarating math experience.

Our science curriculum is rich and varied, covering components of human science, earth science and physical science. Our fourth graders work individually and in teams on multiple projects including understanding the human body; breaking down the structure of an animal’s bones and ligaments; creating mind maps showing how energy sources interact; developing their own electrical circuits; and finally, studying rocks and minerals. A highlight of this subject area is the work we do on food webs and chains – it is wonderful watching this age group work out where they fit in our world, and how they can have an impact on it.

Our fourth graders also enjoy lesson time every week with our Spanish and Latin teachers too and it is fabulous to witness them start to really progress in both of these languages. In addition they attend computer studies, art and music, and we work hard with the teachers of these subject areas to ensure our curriculum themes are fully integrated in these lessons. In fourth grade, every child learns to play the penny whistle – and it is a major highlight of our year to see the class perform at numerous events both on and off campus.

During the year our fourth graders stay committed to service projects, with their key activity being the leading of a cross-school UNICEF collection at Halloween.

This year is a time of tremendous social, emotional and intellectual growth – and by the end of the year we love seeing that our students are ready to go forth and handle the challenges of grade five!

Fourth Grade Curriculum Overview:

Reading/Language Arts

  • Read classic children’s novels and trade books.
  • Work on vocabulary enrichment.
  • Explore setting, characters, plot lines, sequencing, cause and effect and conflict and resolution.
  • Determine author’s purpose for writing.
  • Focus on key grammar concepts – common/proper nouns, possessive forms, compound words, combining sentences, linking verbs, adjectives, pre-fixes, contractions, direct quotations, and diagramming of sentences.
  • Read independently every evening.
  • Prepare book reports.
  • Write letters and poetry.
  • Write formal research reports (researched, sourced, presented).
  • Perform a play related to an area of focus (e.g. Thanksgiving).
  • Develop confidence as public speakers.

Mathematics

  • Place value (to trillions) and rounding.
  • Introduction of algebraic expressions and algebraic equations.
  • Multiplication of one, two, and three and more digit numbers.
  • Problem solving – word problems, graph problems.
  • Analysis of data, use of logic, and applying strategies to find solutions.
  • Division – with one-digit devisors and remainders.
  • Factor trees and prime factorization.
  • Measurement of length, capacity, weight, volume, mass and time.
  • Geometry, angles, symmetry.
  • Tessellation graphs.
  • “Mad Minutes” – daily check of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication fact families.

Science

    Human Science:
  • Human bodies – bones, muscles, movement.
  • Food pyramid – nutrition, energy, exercise.
    Earth Science:

  • Plants and animals classifications, life cycles, eco-systems.
  • Food chains and webs – relationships and values.
  • Plants/animals responses and relationships.
  • Rocks and minerals.
    Physical Science:

  • Forms of matter – weight, mass, distance, volume, density.
  • Energy – heat, light, electricity.
  • Circuits and relationships.

Social Studies

    New Jersey:

  • Map Skills.
  • Geography and “faces” of New Jersey (environments, communities, people).
  • Lenape Indians and first settlers.
  • Major events in New Jersey’s history including, the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War II. The Underground Railroad, Reform Years, Golden Era, Great Migration, Roaring Twenties, the Depression, and Baby Boomers and beyond.
  • Immigration – role in this state and in our lives.
  • Family Trees – history and interviews, creation of heritage cookbooks.