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|Lobato, Chrissandra||ex.201||Teacher/Student Council Coordinator|
In fourth grade, students continue to build upon foundational knowledge acquired in earlier grades. In mathematics, students increase their facility with the four basic arithmetic operations and apply them to fractions, decimals, and positive and negative numbers. They know and use common measuring units to determine length and area. They understand the properties of, and the relationships between, plane geometric figures. Fourth graders collect, represent, and analyze data to answer questions. Problem-solving ability is also an increasingly important component of the mathematics curriculum, as students are required to demonstrate critical thinking skills when solving word problems and identifying relationships, distinguishing relevant from irrelevant information, sequencing and prioritizing information, and observing patterns. New concepts include interpreting algebraic formulas and solving equations with one variable. Students practice making connections between math and other subject areas such as social studies, science, art, and music, integrating cross-curricular knowledge and skills to solve multi-step problems. They apply learned concepts to real-world situations through various hands-on activities which allow them to manipulate data and creatively solve problems. Students are also given opportunities to use artistic means of expressing mathematical knowledge and skills. Students become more technologically adept by interacting with math manipulatives on the SMART board daily. Interactive games and online videos also support student learning through technology.
Language arts in fourth grade is comprised of reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, writing (mechanics and composition), speaking, and listening. In reading, students read longer narrative texts, expository texts, and poetry as as a whole class, in groups, and individually. The foundations for literary analysis begun in the earlier grades are expanded and gradually become more sophisticated. Analysis of plot, character development, conflict, theme and the use of literary devices such as metaphor, simile, imagery and symbolism present opportunities for rich classroom discussion and eventually become topics of writing assignments as students' skills develop. Students also work on individual creative book reports and are required to read a minimum of 20 minutes daily. Students practice correct grammar, reviewing parts of speech, and using appropriate sentence structures, punctuation, and capitalization in their writing. In “Word Work,” students learn 10 new vocabulary words each week, studying word origins, roots, and affixes to determine word meanings. Writing is an additional component of the curriculum, as students use the writing process to complete narrative writing, informational reports, and responses to literature. Fourth graders work on speaking and listening skills through various group and individual oral presentations throughout the year. Students become effective communicators by practicing fluent oral reading and speaking skills, with appropriate pacing, intonation, and expression.
In spelling, students build upon their knowledge of spelling patterns and irregular words, learning to spell grade-appropriate words. They are tested weekly and must practice their listening skills as well, through a dictation assessment.
The fourth grade social studies curriculum focuses on California state history. Studied topics include Early Exploration, Colonization, Native Americans, Development of Economy, Social and Political Life, the Missions, the Gold Rush, the Railroad, Statehood, Government, Constitution, and present-day California. The geography of California is an area of focus as well. Students build upon their map skills so as to broaden their awareness of California’s location on the globe as well as familiarize themselves with their local community. Students learn to become more responsible citizens as they study the duties of citizens as part of a democracy.
In science, students study the scientific process and practice inquiry-based learning through much investigation and experimentation. Areas of focus relating to the Life Sciences include Cell Structures and Functions, Classification of Organisms, Producers vs. Consumers, and Ecosystems. Under Physical Sciences, the topics of Electricity and Magnetism, Heat, Light, Energy, Sound, Light, and Simple Machines are covered, and as far as Earth Sciences, students make discoveries about Rocks and Minerals, Earth’s Surface, Fossils, Space, and Water. High emphasis is placed on the students’ responsibility to commit to environmental care.
Fourth grade students will use the Internet to research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, and appropriateness of electronic information sources. Students will demonstrate positive, social, and ethical behaviors while using the Internet.