4th Grade Philosophy
Fourth grade is an exciting year when students at WCSS are maturing into abstract thinkers and building on many of the skills they have learned in the lower grades. Our workshop approach to teaching means that fourth graders spend most of the day working partnerships, small groups, or independently and that instruction is differentiated. We spend considerable time developing strong classroom communities and work hard on social and emotional skill development.
Reading & Writing – Teachers conduct ongoing and interim assessments in literacy, sitting side by side and listening to each student read, discussing books, assessing high frequency words and spelling, noting what skills they have and which they need, and looking closely at their writing. Running records help teachers track student progress toward benchmarks and guide instruction. Our curriculum emphasizes deep inferential comprehension. Consistent with the Common Core Standards, we have increased the amount of nonfiction/ informational text in both reading and writing. By the end of fourth grade, children are expected to be able to read with understanding level Q books such as All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, Anastasia Krupnickby Lois Lowry, and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
Envisions 2.0 Math – In math, we are strongly committed to a concept-based, problem-solving, hands-on approach to mathematics. We believe children need to be involved in constructing meaning in math, deciding on which strategies to use as they solve complex problems. We also know that children need to learn and practice basic math facts so that they can calculate quickly and efficiently, and so we do that as well. The Common Core Standards outline end of year expectations in math on each grade, and our pacing calendars are designed with that in mind. Students will also use the 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions around rigorous tasks that ensures that they have the opportunity to reason mathematically and engage in high leveled conversations.
Some of the key end-of-year 4th grade math benchmarks include:
- Use place value understanding and properties to perform multi-digit arithmetic
- Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm
- Multiply a whole number of up to four digits by one digit and multiply two two-digit numbers using strategies based on place value
- Solve word problems involving multiplication of a fraction by a whole number
- Understand decimal notation for fractions
Social Studies – In Social Studies, students study American History from Native Americans to the American Revolution and Current Events. Shared studies include: The Iroquois/Explorers, Colonial America/Plymouth, and the American Revolution. We will also be exploring the diverse geography that makes up New York State as well as the appropriate maps that cover those topics. The curriculum incorporates inquiry and engaging trips throughout the year.
Amplify Science – We will be explore: Magnetism and Electricity; Animals and Plants in their Environment; Properties of Water; and, Interactions of Air, Water and Land.
Other Activities – All fourth graders have STEAM, makerspace time, visual art, music, physical education, drama, dance Enrichment Clusters, and Architecture Residency. The day incorporates many opportunities for movement during transitions and recess.