Fourth grade students read a variety of genres. Along with leveled, independent reading, students participate in guided reading and literature groups using novels, short stories, and non-fiction texts. Writing Workshop incorporates mini-lessons or skills related to ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions, and students are exposed to different genres and explore various purposes for writing. They write descriptive, narrative, and expository essays, persuasive pieces, poetry, letters, and short stories. Vocabulary word work and spelling rules are introduced using a variety of modalities with an emphasis on application in students' daily and formal writing assignments.
In fourth grade, students not only work to increase the speed, fluency and accuracy of their work, but also deepen and strengthen their conceptual understanding of mathematics. Students continue to use the Everyday Mathematics program as the core curriculum as well as additional resources such as IXL, Khan Academy, and Reflex Math. Students work to reinforce and extend concepts introduced in prior grades, increase proficiency of basic facts using all operations, and practice critical thinking and problem solving skills.
The FOSS program continues and provides fourth graders with rich content, hands-on experiences, and practice reading non-fiction science texts. The fourth grade FOSS units consist of: Soils, Rocks and Landforms; Energy; and Environments. Students work in science journals investigating the world around them, noting differences and changes, and discovering the scientific explanation for those phenomena. Keeping all relevant notes in science journals allows students to hold investigations in order to summarize their learning and make new discoveries. This practice will continue to deepen their understanding of the scientific process by learning how to hypothesize, ask testable questions, design fair tests, and make predictions and observations.
In fourth grade, students study the history of Texas. The social studies program covers geography, regions, Native Americans, explorers, settlements, mission life, the revolution, statehood, immigration, the Civil War, ranching, oil, railroads, government, and Texas today. Students will develop note taking skills, participate in discussions and debates, collaborate on group projects, and complete independent study throughout the year. To further support and enrich the study of Texas history, fourth grade incorporates a number of field trips to provide opportunities for them to learn and experience what life was like for early Texas settlers and Native Americans.
In fourth grade Spanish, students begin to read, write, and speak complex sentences while responding orally to phrases and questions. At this level, students use more descriptive and detailed language to describe themselves and their environment with appropriate detail. By answering warm-up questions, listening to stories, playing games, singing songs, responding to listening activities, following commands, and completing written work, students interact with the teacher and each other using the target language to communicate. Students also begin to put sentences together to form basic, simple paragraphs in Spanish. Conversations between students, peers, and teacher become more interactive, lengthy, and involved as they delve into project-based learning.