Learning Concepts and Goals for Fourth Grade
At The Innovative School of Temple Beth Sholom, the focus of our philosophy is anchored in emergent learning — we value being responsive to children’s interests, thus creating meaningful learning experiences. This way of teaching and planning of curriculum is developed in a collaborative, child-centered, and developmentally appropriate way. Learning habits and academic milestones are embedded and fostered. We believe that academic growth rests upon a positive foundation of social and emotional development. Classroom community is developed and strengthened through meetings and discussions — through such discourse, learners authentically witness, firsthand, the value of multiple perspectives. We believe this not only enhances children’s understanding of themselves as learners but also fosters being flexible, empathetic and active members of a learning community. The goals of our academic program are to offer learners opportunities to: solve problems, access information, think creatively and present information to others.
Concepts and Goals for Fourth Grade – Closer Look
As learners progress into Fourth Grade, the essentials of quality reading instruction (the framework that informs mini lessons, one-on-one conferences and small group strategy lessons) continue to be the backbone of Reading Workshop. Learners begin to refer to relevant details and/or examples from sources to back up their thinking and demonstrate authentic understanding of a text. At this stage in a young reader’s life, a main teaching goal is to empower learners to develop their own ideas and interpretations about complex characters and themes. Research becomes front and center as learners investigate topics and explore history while developing skills in cross-text synthesis, close reading, analyzing, comparing/contrasting and evaluating multiple points of view. The writing process works in tandem with reading. Learners will try their hand at opinion, information and narrative writing, and further understand the transfer of perspective from reading to be brought to their writing. Fourth Graders delve into developing believable characters with struggles and motivations. As learners embark on thesis-driven persuasive essays, they are mindful of organization as evidence is gathered to support and express opinions on a topic they know about; historical research reports will demonstrate use of details to vividly describe events from long ago. Spelling concepts, vocabulary and grammar is taught in a highly explicit, multi-sensory way. Daily instruction to support orthographic knowledge allows for more fluid, joyful, and efficient reading, spelling and writing.
Learners in Fourth Grade grow in their understanding and fluency of addition and subtraction up to one million. In addition, they become efficient problem solvers with multi-digit multiplication and division with multi-digit dividends. Learners develop strategies and skills around equivalence, addition, subtraction and multiplication of fractions and mixed numbers. Decimals, fractions and place value are also explored as Fourth Graders develop greater fluency around decimal and whole number operations. Their geometric thinking evolves to incorporate concepts of perimeter and area, by using formulas, as well as angle measurement and symmetry of 2-D and 3-D figures.
Learners engage more deeply in demonstrating an understanding of the physical geographic features that define places and regions of Florida. As learners research, discuss, and write to describe the social, political, cultural and economic life among Floridians (historically), they will build upon such anchored knowledge and understanding to the structures, functions, and powers of the local, state and federal governments as described in the U.S. Constitution. Learners are guided by the essential questions: “How has Florida grown? Who came to Florida, and how did it affect the state? Who came to the United States? And, what was life like for such immigrants as opposed to people who had lived in the US?” As Fourth Grade learners develop a deeper understanding of the story of the United States, its history in terms of its vast and varied geography, its many ways of immigration, and continuous diversity -- they will gain a grounding perspective, and ultimately see elements of themselves and their families reflected in this study.
As much as possible, science investigation is integrated into and supported by the social studies, year-long, classroom deep studies. Science studies are connected with a community action or service learning component, either inside the school or in the larger community. Fourth grade learners ask questions, develop and use models, plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, construct explanations and design solutions, engage in argument from evidence, and obtain, evaluate, and communicate information. Learners will use these skills to describe patterns of waves. They will develop an understanding of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation. In order to describe patterns of Earth’s features, learners will analyze and interpret data from maps. Fourth graders are expected to develop an understanding that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. They will describe that an object can be seen when light reflected from its surface enters the eye. Learners will use evidence to construct an explanation of the relationship between the speed and energy of an object and how that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents or from object to object through collisions.