Fourth Grade Curriculum
Language arts curriculum encompasses skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will read, discuss, and analyze age-appropriate novels. Additionally, students will engage further by participating in book club, a year-round celebration of independent and group reading. Moreover, students practice oral language exercises and mini writing prompts that provide students with short, focused activities to study punctuation, capitalization, and grammar. Informal and formal presentations will be made throughout the year, as well as writing projects and weekly paragraph assignments.
Students will employ a variety of problem solving strategies and examine several methods for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers. They will become proficient at using these methods for the various operations. Additionally, units will cover geometry, measurement, fractions, percents, decimals, patterns, and problem solving. Students will also learn to study for tests and utilize test-taking strategies. Activities include experiential lessons to enhance understanding of concepts.
Students conduct tests, gather evidence, and develop explanations for the phenomena they are investigating. Fourth graders discover answers to questions such as: “What are waves and what are some things they can do? How do internal and external structures support the survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction of plants and animals? What patterns of Earth’s features can be demonstrated with models? How is energy transferred?” Through observations, students learn how animals’ structures and behavior ensure their survival within various habitats. Fourth graders use a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength. Students understand that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents or from object to object through collisions. They design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. Crane fourth graders investigate renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, and how geologists use both direct and indirect evidence to collect data.
Social studies at the fourth-grade level focuses on California history. Units will focus on topics including regions of California, the impact of colonization and the mission era, and the Gold Rush. These explorations are designed to enrich student appreciation for the physical and cultural diversity of the Golden State. Research, artifact analysis, field trips, and guest speakers will supplement units of study. Additionally, to make studies relevant and engaging, units incorporate historical simulations and nonfiction writing. Historical simulations include the Twenty-Second Mission, the Mountain Man Era, and the Gold Rush.
Students are challenged on a variety of skills including sharing files over a network, creating, sorting and finding files, utilizing external memory, and proper keyboarding. Students utilize many programs including Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Drive, Moodle, and iMovie to complete assignments. Additionally, students continue learning coding techniques that include problem decomposition, functions, nested loops, conditionals, algorithms, and binary code. Digital citizenship is highlighted with units on strong passwords, online safety, and appropriate online presence.
Students in the fourth grade increase their ability to independently use the school library media center. Students will have the skills to locate materials with minimum assistance, and will gain proficiency in researching and reporting on topics related to curriculum using digital and print materials. Independence in self-evaluating and selecting materials for both research and enjoyment is highlighted at this grade level.
In fourth grade, the head of Lower School leads community-building activities that focus on cooperation, inclusion, problem solving, and responsibility to the group. Curriculum also helps students identify characteristics in peer relationships that are challenging and learn how to redirect the conflict to resolution. Students will also discuss self-esteem and what impacts it. Students also role play social situations to instill skill for conflict resolution.
The first semester of performing arts classes for the fourth grade focuses on preparation and rehearsals for the first musical production of the school year. In addition to being cast to sing, dance and act their part, students are also involved in all phases of the show including set painting, making props, and designing costumes. They develop team-building, problem solving and creative skills as they prepare for their performance in a full-scale musical production.
Following the musical, students continue to develop and refine their performing arts skills in improvisation, character development and vocal precision. In music, they continue to learn matching pitch, developing healthy singing voices, and practicing percussion techniques.
An important component of performing arts curriculum is building a foundation for public speaking. Students also participate in Lower School Winter Sing and have the option to participate in Music Hour and Friday Assembly Spotlights.
Fourth-grade students are not only becoming more coordinated, but enjoy pushing their physical limits while playing more competitively during activities. Students are working to continue developing skills appropriate for their age group. A variety of lessons including refining skills during games and activities, accuracy and strategies in team sports, participation in intramural sports and the presidential fitness challenge, and competition in the local track and field contest define fourth-grade physical education. Positive encouragement and support help maintain an atmosphere of active, consistent participation, as well as a willingness to try new tasks. Foundations for healthy lifestyle and good sportsmanship are fostered through curriculum.
Spanish units incorporate the five C’s—communication, cultures, connections, comparison, and communities—of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL). All students cover sections in the Viva el Español, Level Hola textbook and workbook. Students in the foundations section cover units one through three, and students in the developing section cover units four through six. Units of study focus on vocabulary building, structures of the Spanish language, and cultural studies. The conjugation of verbs is crucial to the development of language learning; students are encouraged to maintain a daily study of verbs as they progress through the Spanish program at Crane.
Fourth-grade artists will be encouraged to explore their great ideas through various media and creative processes. Projects will continue to build fine motor skills, keen observation skills, problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, and team building skills. Artists will be encouraged to work through each phase of the creative process thoughtfully taking time to plan, create, reflect, edit, and complete projects that best express the artist’s vision and personal voice. Students will be challenged to work with great craftsmanship, to consider the entire piece of art while creating, to add detail to bring their visions to life, and to be able to defend their creative choices. Students will continue to learn new ways to build form and will be introduced to working on the potter’s wheel. Artists will study and be inspired by famous artists and illustrators, as well as various world cultures, and will learn to use art vocabulary to share ideas about their work. Artists will also further explore their core classroom study of the California Missions in the studio while creating pieces to celebrate this key fourth-grade unit.
Field trips connected to classroom units are taken throughout the year and may include visits to La Purisima and the olive farm in Ojai.