The theme in Grade 4 is Art and the Environment. Students are introduced to California artists and craftspeople. They become aware of art in their environment; how the environment affects art; and how artists, architects, designers, muralists, craftsmen, and sculptors can change our lives by improving the aesthetic quality of our environment. Through observation and other sensory experiences, students sharpen their understanding of the elements and principles of art, and their creative expression expands. The children grow in understanding that artists work to express and change the environment.
Grade 4 students shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Guided Reading is the linchpin of the language arts program where, in small groups, students practice building fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills in a variety of texts. Word study uses the Words Their Way program for spelling and vocabulary; students study increasingly complex patterns and affixes in words. Formal study of grammar continues, and students learn to identify and use prepositions and prepositional phrases, verbs and verb phrases, nouns, adverbs, and adjectives. During Writing Workshop, students bring history to life as they learn the techniques needed for writing about the past, including paraphrasing, note taking, report writing, and building a bibliography. They also focus on personal and persuasive writing.
In Grade 4, students delve more deeply into whole numbers with computation of numbers into the millions. Students also study fractions, decimals, probability, and measurement. The study of geometry includes the use of protractors and set squares. Problem solving with Singapore Math bar modeling remains a core aspect of each topic. Students are given many opportunities to solve unique word problems that showcase divergent thinking.
In music, Grade 4 continues students' study of the recorder. They are introduced to singing in parts beyond canons and rounds. Students begin the shift from the pentatonic to the diatonic scale. All students participate in two concerts a year.
Physical Education consists of 10 weeks of swimming—five weeks in the fall and five weeks in the spring. Students work on their swim strokes and learn the game of water polo. Square dancing is taught for five weeks in the spring. Soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and other games are played throughout the year to prepare for middle school sports, emphasizing rules and strategies.
The emphasis in Grade 4 religion is on the Gospel and the responsibility to practice its teachings in relationships. The Venture Series is used as the core of the curriculum. These weekly handouts build lessons around the Sunday Gospel readings of the liturgical year. Based on a particular theme of Christian virtue, the teachings include contemporary stories and dramatizations, further articulating the value of love and service in practice.
Using the Full Option Science System (FOSS) program, Grade 4 students do many hands-on experiments and investigations in the classroom. They learn to record accurate data and make predictions based on their data. Students study topics such as: Force and Motion, Energy and Electromagnetism, Rocks and Minerals, and Landforms. Students apply new reading and study skills to textbooks and assessments.
Social studies in Grade 4 is a watershed year in which students apply and integrate all of the reading skills previously learned. Students learn the rich history of their state, how to read an informational textbook, how to study for a history test, and how to learn and remember subject-specific vocabulary. Students are able to take advantage of the many historical sites nearby on field trips that allow them to gain firsthand experiences of California geography, Native Americans, explorers, Spanish missions, and the Gold Rush.
Grade 4 students learn the foundations of the Spanish language in a way that is fun and engaging. Students learn to read, write, speak, and listen in Spanish. The focus of Grade 4 Spanish is on speaking, cultural awareness, and building techniques and skills to study a foreign language. The curriculum and instruction for this class is grounded in the belief that being bilingual promotes empathy, builds understanding, opens doors, and adds to a well-rounded education.
Grade 4 projects continue to increase knowledge, confidence, and adaptability while applying technical skills comprehensively. Students become more comfortable working with multiple applications and delve deeper into coding. Students design using programming applications to make games that include sound, animation, and imagery. Students create charts and graphs using various functions and formulas in spreadsheets. Activities are designed to nurture curiosity while students explore, collaborate, prototype, and build.