Fourth Grade (CM1)
American Curriculum (20% of school time)
Language Arts: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are at the heart of everything we do. Students have many opportunities to practice these four basic language skills during every class. Spelling, grammar, and mechanics are taught explicitly. Students write often and assignments vary to allow them to practice organizing their thoughts and work with different genres. Oral reports and presentations help develop speaking and listening skills.
Reading Workshop, as developed by the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University forms the basis of reading instruction and practice. Through mini-lessons, modeling, and discussion, teachers guide students in developing the strategies they need to be active readers. Units in fourth grade emphasize reading and analysis of fiction, nonfiction and historical fiction and book clubs focused on social issues. A fully differentiated program, it allows students to grow as readers at their own pace.
Content Area — Geography: The geography program is built around the “Five Themes of Geography” developed by the National Council for Geographic Education and the Association of American Geographers: location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, and region. Through in-depth study of an American state, fourth graders explore each of these themes.
Art: Fourth graders participate in art class every other week. The art program's objectives are reinforced through hands-on projects using a variety of techniques. Over five years, students are introduced to the essential elements that structure the way one creates art, namely: line, shape, form, space, texture, value, and color. Every project includes a combination of these essential “building blocks.” Students work with gradually increasing agility, complexity, and intention, as they mature from grade to grade. Each year, art expectations become more sophisticated as the teachers support each student’s increasing ability to observe the physical world, as well as their ability to better express their feelings and ideas. Examples of possible projects and lessons include creating an abstract painting with letters, using a one-point perspective, and working with positive and negative shapes.
Library/Technology: Students are given the opportunity to think and to question as well as to connect learning to their personal experiences. In the earliest grades, students select books for pleasure reading, learn about favorite authors, and form the foundation for problem-solving. The older primary students learn to differentiate fact from fiction and to critically analyze websites in order to hone research skills. In fourth grade, students learn to use multiple sources to complete a seminal research project on the United States. They select books or Internet sites to meet their project needs. Library organization and advanced Internet searching lessons bolster research skills. Author studies encourage students to delve deeper into their favorite writers. In addition, there is a focus on keeping safe online and digital citizenship. Students also learn the importance of analyzing websites for reliability and lack of bias. Students review and go deeper into understanding the Dewey Decimal System.
Character Education: Six basic human values: respect, responsibility, self-discipline and perseverance, trustworthiness, fairness, and caring are discussed and developed whenever appropriate during the year. The teacher may choose to create a lesson around one or several of these values. From everyday experiences that lead to discussions and writing topics, to the use of mentor texts which purport happiness, believing in oneself, and being a caring, determined, and responsible child, the various aspects of our character education program are woven into our daily curriculum.
French Curriculum (80% of school time)
All students follow the French national curriculum for fourth grade with the exception of those in the French immersion class, Français Special. Besides French reading and language arts, math, gym, and penmanship are taught exclusively in French. For more on the content and skills developed in French during the year, please visit the website of the French Ministry of Education.