English Language Arts
Fourth grade year theme is Risks and Consequences. Students read a variety of fiction and non-fiction, biography, suspense, poetry, and humor. In addition to the textbook students also read class sets of chapter books. Students learn the different skills used according to the purposes of reading: reading for aesthetic and personal response, reading for critical analysis and evaluation, and reading for acquisition, interpretation, and application of information. Students expand their knowledge of terms for identifying figurative language. Student workbooks accompany the text and are used to develop vocabulary, grammar, and spelling skills.
Students continue to build vocabulary that is specific to each discipline of academic study as well as general expressive vocabulary. Learning to write organized short paragraphs, the students will practice three of the five modes of composition: narration, description, and explanation. Students will also expand their knowledge of parts of speech to include adverbs, adjectives, pronouns, and prepositions.
While still maintaining a focus on number sense the students expand their knowledge to include using place value through the billions, rounding, and estimating. Students continue to use basic math functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In this year a strong focus is placed on multi-digit multiplication and long division. Students expand their skills in solving word problems through the methods of identifying extra and missing information, checking for reasonableness, and working backwards.
For half of the year students study regions of the United States through the eight strands of Social Studies. The second half consists of an in-depth study of Vermont history.
Science: Combined Third and Fourth Grades
Students will develop scientific skills and build enthusiasm for science through hands-on indoor and outdoor activities. We will focus on simple experiments where students will be asked to predict, observe carefully, draw what they observe, and describe what they have learned.
Students will learn about the seasons and the movement of the earth around the sun. Students will work with simple maps and learn about cardinal directions. They will do simple experiments with safe household powders and liquids. Also, they will work with the metric system measuring volume with graduated cylinders and length with centimeter rulers. In addition we will work with vegetables: planting seeds, caring for seedlings, and observing and drawing changes we observe.
Students will be introduced to proper use of scientific tools including: microscopes, hand lenses, test tubes, beakers and graduated cylinders. While the skills focus is constant, content will rotate from year to year so students will not repeat subject matter in grades 3 and 4.
The Fine Arts
Students explore the vocabulary of art through guided art projects. They create a fine art reference book containing tools, vocabulary, images of representational and abstract art, art genre, and art media. As with all of our art classes, students learn both the craft of production and the scholarship of art history.
Students study Latin to build their vocabulary and to acquire a foundation for the study of Romance languages in the upper grades. Students also begin to learn about ancient Roman life, focusing particularly on important Roman myths and Roman gods and goddesses and mythology.