Students are engaged in reading a variety of genres. Along with Just Right reading, students are involved in guided reading and literature groups. Class novels include Because of Winn Dixie, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Number the Stars, and Love That Dog. Shorter selections from the Junior Great Books series are included as well. Writer’s Workshop incorporates mini-lessons or skills related to ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. Students keep a writing journal of “seeds” or ideas for possible future papers. Students are exposed to different genres and explore various purposes for writing. Students write descriptive, narrative and expository essays, persuasive pieces, poetry, letters, and short stories. The Words Their Way spelling curriculum continues in fourth grade as well.
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, Reflex Math and MobyMax. 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 practices reading non-fiction science texts. The fourth grade FOSS units consist of: Soils, Rocks and Landforms; Energy; and Environments. Students work in science journals by mimicking real scientists 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 make new discoveries. This practice will continue to deepen their understanding of the scientific process by learning how to 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 travels to Sky Ranch in Van, Texas to participate in their first field trip. This hands-on experience provides an opportunity 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 in the target language. At this level, students use more descriptive and detailed language to describe themselves and their environment with appropriate detail. Through answering warm-up questions, listening to stories, playing games, singing songs, responding to listening activities, following commands, completing written work, performing skits, and working on projects, students will interact with the instructor as well as each other by using the target language to communicate. Students also begin to put sentences together to form basic, simple paragraphs in Spanish. Conversations between students, their peers, and their teacher become more interactive, lengthy, and involved.