Fourth Grade Curriculum
Students in fourth grade become immersed in reading and writing using the workshop model. The reader’s workshop approach involves the students in authentic reading experiences that focus on their individual strengths and needs. They are explicitly taught the strategies to become skillful and proficient readers while given large amounts of time to read books of their choice. Emphasis is placed on student engagement and the interaction between the reader and text. During the writing workshop, students are invited to live, work and learn as writers. They observe the world around them while drafting, revising, editing and publishing both narrative and expository texts. They are taught concepts, strategies and techniques for writing in different genres and styles. In both the reading and writing workshops instruction is grounded in assessment. Students receive direct instruction through a mini-lesson where a specific skill is introduced. The skill is then demonstrated, and the students then have an opportunity to practice that skill through guided practice before applying it on their own. While working independently, they are receiving feedback through one to one conferences and small group instruction. Students use learning progressions to formulate personal goals to raise the level of both their reading and writing.
In grade four, the math program continues to build and strengthen core standards and practices while maintaining and mastering skills, including fact recall. Mathematics is taught by learning through daily routines, cooperative and partner learning, practice through activities and games, on-going review, sharing ideas through discussion, and the home and school partnerships. Differentiation and multi-level teaching provide strategies to support all learners. Assessments measure student growth and achievement and provide information needed to assign grades and evaluate students’ performance. Key learning occurs in multiplication and division, place value, graphing, geometry, fractions, measurement, money, decimals, time, algebra probability, and problem-solving. Students who have demonstrated mastery of fourth-grade level math at the start of the year have the opportunity to take accelerated math coursework.
In grade four, students further explore the scientific method using an inquiry-based approach to science. Student scientists pose questions, create hypotheses, collaborate with others in problem solving and investigation. They experiment, evaluate solutions, communicate ideas and predict further ideas of study. Lesson themes include: Scientific Method, The Earth, Phases of the Moon, The Solar System, Space Explorations, Rocks and Minerals, Electricity, and Animal Adaptations.
Fourth graders continue to study a selection of stories from the Torah. Some of the themes that the students debate are family relationships, justice, ethics and values, reconciliation, and relationship with God. Units of study include Sarah and Hagar, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and the pit and birth of Moses. The teacher uses the Standards and Benchmarks model, created at The Jewish Theological Seminary’s Melton Research for Jewish Education. Through the use of discussions, art and experimental methodologies, the teacher helps students to understand Biblical text and its meaning. Students often study and complete activities with a chevruta (partner) with the partner changing on a weekly basis. Activities encourage students to apply their learning to their lives as Jews.
Students learn about the origins and background of the holidays and practice skills related to holiday customs and mitzvot. Third graders’ understanding of the lessons of the holidays and the connections between these lessons and their lives deepen as they experience the cycle of the Jewish calendar.
Fourth-grade students continue to use the Tal Am program. Students continue to develop confidence using Hebrew in and outside the classroom. Students learn to conjugate the past and future tense, identify synonyms and antonyms and use words that identify time frame. Additionally, they continue to learn to write with correct sentence structure including indirect objects and possessives as well as match nouns and adjectives according to gender and number. In addition to writing and grammar, a focus on reading independently continues to be a focus in fourth grade. Students learn to summarize simple text and stories. Teachers incorporate hands-on activities and interactive learning to enhance the students’ experiences.