Fourth Grade Curriculum
The fourth grade team strives for a cohesive curriculum. In support of this goal, many subjects are “team taught” allowing the teachers’ excitement for each subject to shine. This approach also fosters a fourth grade community among the students in both homerooms, and prepares more mature elementary students for the rotation of classrooms by subject that will be introduced in the fifth grade and Middle School settings.
Fourth grade math begins with a review of skills learned in the previous grade, including place value, money, addition, and subtraction. Moving on throughout the year, students review basic multiplication and division facts and then learn multi-digit multiplication and the steps of long division. Students learn in small, guided reading groups which are led using a range of C.A.F.E. strategies (comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary). Other reading strategies are also addressed throughout the year, including theme, author’s purpose, important events, figurative language, and more. Many thematic units are used to teach various types of writing such as descriptive writing, persuasive writing, narrative writing, and the friendly letter format. Proper paragraph writing etiquette is highlighted throughout the year. Grammar skills are addressed on a daily basis through daily oral language. Cursive writing is also practiced.
Fourth grade students learn about the ways in which God shows his love for us through creation, scripture, and His Son. Students study the Ten Commandments and that these are God’s “Laws of Love.” Finally, students learn the Beatitudes as God’s way of making us happy in our lives. Participation in daily prayer is also a central part of the Religion curriculum. Every K-8 grader at SFX School plans and leads several all-school liturgies each year. Students attend Mass every week in the church.
Three major science units are covered over the course of the year. Students work in lab groups to complete hands-on exploration activities relating to the various units. Beginning with Earth Science, students learn about the Solar System. Next, students move on to Physical Science and learn about Electrical Circuits. Finally, the Life Sciences are covered through a study of Food Chains and Webs. Students travel across the five regions of the United States in a multi-unit Social Studies curriculum. With each unit of study, students learn about the agriculture, climate, economy, geography, people, and history of that region. Students also learn the states and capitals and complete state research reports. During our study of the Midwest region, we also focus our learning on Chicago history. Wilmette’s proximity to the city allows us to enrich our unit with field trips to downtown Chicago to see historically and culturally significant points of interest first-hand.
In Spanish, students begin the year with a review of numbers through 100 as well as everyday greetings. They continue to study Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and its cultural importance in Latin American countries. Mid-year, students are able to describe physical features and personality traits of themselves and family members. Other topics include the rooms in a house, furniture names, city shops and services, the use of ser vs. estar, and identifying the locations and names of Latin American countries.
Fourth graders use Chromebooks on a regular basis and especially during center time. Various websites and software programs are used to enrich weekly cross-curricular lessons. Students also continue to work on word processing, and have ample opportunities to become proficient in multimedia programs. Google Classroom is introduced as a classroom management tool to prepare students for the changes ahead in Middle School.