The Fourth Grade Curriculum
The fourth grade reading curriculum teaches and reinforces the skills necessary for students to recognize main characters, plots, and problems and solutions in stories. Students al so master the ability to identify the main idea, to sequence story events, to identify main idea, and to identify cause/effect and relationships. Additionally, the curriculum focuses on encouraging students to develop skills in oral reading and communications, the ability to use guide words, an index and a glossary, and to read and classify the different types of literature genres (i.e. fables, folk tales, historical fiction, biographies, novels, short stories, tall tales and poems). Student authored stories usually follow an introduction to any or all of the above.
The fourth grade writing curriculum focuses on helping students develop both creative abilities, as well as report writing. The latter is the culmination of research that students undertake on a specific subject. In contrast, creative writing assignments allow the students to use their imaginations to express themselves. The goal of developing writing skills is twofold. Students are encouraged to develop their creative skills through exposure to a wide variety of different forms of writing. These include such genres as fables, folk tales, short stories, narratives, Haiku, limericks, and cinquains. Students are also introduced to both rhyming and non-rhyming poetry. In addition to being exposed to noted authors, students create their own version of these writing forms. Fourth graders undertake an intensive study of California history, including the missions, the Gold Rush, and the Bay Area. Each one of these topics involves research and information gathering. One of the key goals of this exercise is to teach them how to organize information gathered and write a report that is both factually accurate and interesting to read. In addition to their mission reports, the children gain further writing experience from journal writing, book reports, and other research assignments. Students are taught the basic elements and structure that are inherent in effective report writing. Throughout these writing exercises they expand their vocabulary, develop proofreading skills, and learn to summarize their work into a logical conclusion. One of the most important skills developed, through repeated practice, is learning to edit their own work. Students who develop good writing skills when they are young tend to become highly effective communicators as adults. For the student who has difficulty expressing himself/herself orally, writing can be a highly effective outlet and a means of self-expression.
ENGLISH, GRAMMAR, MECHANICS, USAGE
The curriculum emphasizes the ability to recognize and use the parts of speech, to identify different types of sentences, to recognize figures of speech, to review the subject and predicate parts of sentences, to identify and classify verbs, and their tenses, and to review the use of synonyms, antonyms and homonyms to learn how to distinguish between fact and opinion. Additionally, students are expected to review how to write a business and friendly letter, how to make an outline, how to use a dictionary and other reference books, how to read maps, graphs and tables and how to edit and proofread.
In fourth grade weekly spelling tests are given. The curriculum emphasizes the use of prefixes and suffixes, how to form the possessive forms of both singular and plural nouns, how to divide words into syllables, how to use patterns in spelling rules, how to form the plural of most nouns, how to locate root words, and how to identify context clues for correct spelling. Additionally, the curriculum focuses on how to proofread for errors in capitalization, punctuation and spelling, how to form contradictions, how to use a computer spell check, and how to use a dictionary and a thesaurus.
The mathematics curriculum emphasizes the following concepts: the addition and subtraction of whole numbers, the multiplication of whole numbers by more than two factors, the division of whole numbers using three digit divisors, the use of averages and interpreting the remainder in problem solving, the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of decimals, the use of ratios and percents, and the use of standard and matrix measurement. Also, students are exposed to the study of geometry, graphing, estimating, probability and statistics, how to use a compass, protractor and calculator, and different methods of numerology and place value.
The fourth grade social studies curriculum focuses on the study of California geography, the first Californians, the early explorers and settlers, the study of the missions, pueblos and presidios, the gold rush, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the growth of agriculture in California. Additionally, the curriculum stresses the conflict between culturing and the growth of industry leading to the California we know today, WWII and how California was affected, and finally how the past shapes the future.
The study skills curriculum highlights visual aids for organizing information, test preparation, test taking, types of tests, library skills such as the use of dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs and atlases, how to use an index and a card catalog, how to manage time and organize class papers and binders, and how to problem solve using the process of elimination and trial/error. Furthermore, the curriculum stresses how to set goals for homework, eliminate distractions and work in an environment conducive to study, how to listen, stay alert in class, take notes, develop a formal outline and bibliography, and present a formal research paper.