We loop the third and fourth grade CSI Bible curriculum. During the third grade looping year, students study the Old Testament with a focus on what it means for people to be created in God’s image. Additionally, students learn about God’s characteristics and what it means to be created in God’s image. During our fourth grade looping year, students study Israel from the time of the judges until Israel’s exile. Students learn about how God shows faithfulness, justice, and mercy to his people.
In 4th grade, we want our classrooms to become a community of readers. We use the workshop model to meet each learner at his/her own reading level. This includes a mini-lesson to develop a specific skill, independent reading and response time, and guided reading time. This gives the teacher the opportunity to focus on a small group of readers to help students work on fluency and comprehension. Students are encouraged to read for fun and to learn new things!
We use the workshop method and the Lucy Calkins curriculum to teach units in Opinion, Information, Narrative, and Poetry writing. This includes mini lessons, teacher-student conferences, time for free writing, and practice with grammar and mechanics.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling is integrated into our workshop time using the Words Their Way curriculum. Student word lists are individualized and based on learning different spelling patterns. Students are assessed each week. Grammar concepts are taught intentionally and incorporated into student writing.
Using the Math Expressions curriculum, 4th graders are encouraged to explore, ask questions, and practice math strategies. Using a variety of math manipulatives and technology, students become fluent in concepts involving multi-digit operations, and learn to apply their knowledge to real-world situations. We also explore place value, fractions, measurement, and geometry.
We use the FOSS curriculum for science, which aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards. During the third grade looping year, students learn about motions and matter, water and climate, and structures of life. During the fourth grade looping year, students explore the concepts of energy, environments, and soils, rocks, and landforms. The students participate in authentic scientific investigation and analyses to build their knowledge about scientific concepts. We actively form and reform our ideas to better understand the world that God created.
4th graders learn the four foundations of social studies, which include geography, economy, political science, and history. Students also learn about the world in spatial terms and discuss the migration of people and their interaction with the environment. We explore economics, how the federal government is organized, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Every other year, we take a trip to Lansing to see how the government works firsthand!
The purpose is to joyfully express individuality, foster critical thinking, and build confidence through the application of fine art media. We learn mostly about tools and how to use them to effectively communicate our ideas. Fourth graders use critical thinking skills while observing, classifying, and describing art. Students continue to be aware of other cultures and their works of art. Key concepts include color characteristics of hue, tint, shade, and intensity. Variety, repetition, and unity are emphasized along with positive and negative space. Fourth graders also begin to use perspective and shading to create the illusion of depth. We strengthen thinking skills of comparing and contrasting by observing and describing characteristics of diverse cultures in contemporary art. We compare and contrast representational, nonrepresentational, and abstract art and incorporate our findings within our own artworks.
Students learn to play the Baroque recorder, applying their reading skills from earlier grades. Fourth grade also marks the first year of learning note names, key signatures, accidentals, and more notational details. Preparing students for the rigors of band performance in middle school, students learn correct posture, healthy breathing, correct articulation, and smooth finger technique. The recorder ensemble performs annually at the JCS Celebration of the Arts Open House. In May, the students are tested to determine their band instrument for middle school, which begins at the start of fifth grade. In their third 25-minute music class each week, the students rehearse music for performing as the JCS Elementary Choir, which also includes the third grade students. This group performs in area churches (once per year) and at the JCS Celebration of the Arts Open House.
Students are continuing a sports-based learning. Students have been working on their skills but now will be practicing in dynamic game-play environments. For example, rather than a student practicing kicking a soccer ball with their feet into an open goal, we might start by adding a goalie and then having them play a full soccer game. The ability to think critically in a dynamic environment and learn the rules associated with the games is a bigger focus in 4th grade, which they will continue to use throughout their elementary and middle school time in PE. Overall, the goal is to develop an enjoyment for movement and skills that will make our students competent to be life-long physically active individuals.
The purpose is to instill a love of language in young learners through engaging thematic units full of songs, music, and high-interest activities. This program expands students’ cultural and geographical awareness as we explore Spanish-speaking countries and customs. We start with a challenging list of palabras de palomitas, or high-frequency words, in Spanish and compete in Popcorn Word Olympics. We then review la familia once more and learn some adjetivos to describe our family members. Next, we move onto la geografía. Impressively, we learn to conjugate los verbos with an -AR ending! Then, with the winter Olympics as our theme, we head to South Korea and study another set of palabras de palomitas-Olympic style! After that, we review los números and complete a unit about la hora. Following our time unit, we learn los quehaceres and then los pasatiempos. Finally, we wrap up the year with a unit about la naturaleza and learn more about Argentina.