The 4th Grade Curriculum
Fourth Grade is an exciting year. This year marks the end of the Primary Years and is referred to as the doorstep of the Junior Level. There is a strong focus on deepening reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, honing each student's writing craft, solidifying math computation skills while expanding upon prior knowledge, and developing strong study skills that will help our fourth graders transition more easily into fifth grade. A deeper exploration into social studies and the sciences cultivates higher order thinking and connection to our world. Hands-on learning, group work, increased independent work, and traditional direct instruction are all utilized in fourth grade.
Fourth Grade studies the Ten Commandments, Laws of the Church, Beatitudes, and the Rosary as guides for living our Faith. Religion is presented in whole group instruction and class discussions. The students are encouraged to live their Faith through daily prayer, attending Mass, and by participating in activities to help the less fortunate.
The Math curriculum reviews basic skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Double digit multiplication and division are introduced. Fractions are expanded to adding and subtracting unlike denominators. Some Geometry is taught in respect to angles, shapes, congruency, and symmetry. Mental math is encouraged with each skill learned. Students become well versed in solving math problems mentally, but do use paper and pencil, too. Each student participates in class in a interactive manner.
Language Arts is a combination of Reading, Spelling, and English. All of these facets are integrated, so that what is learned in Spelling is also the vocabulary in the core story. In addition, the students use Loyola Press' Vocabulary in Action as a Vocabulary source, and have separate instruction in Grammar. Language Arts is literature based. It is a combination of selected core stories in our textbook, and is also supplemented by “Great Books”. The students develop their writing skills by learning about the Writing Process, and then using this process in developing different kinds of writing styles. These skills are encouraged and enhanced by directed prompts, daily journal writings, and formal reports. The different kinds of writing include summary, persuasive, descriptive, explanatory and general topics to encourage critical thinking, to analyze a situation, and to solve a problem.
Social Studies and Science
Science is an overview of many topics. It is an introduction to subjects that will be investigated more thoroughly in the upper grades. Some of these topics are: Photosynthesis, Sound, Light, Earth's Composition, Rocks and Minerals, Nutrition and Exercise. A class consists of textbook materials, some experiments, videos, and sometimes parents who share their expertise on a certain aspect of Science.
The first three quarters of the year are devoted to the Regions of the United States. The students learn about the states in each region, along with landforms, economy, resources, and location on the map. The students learn the capital and abbreviation of each state through memorization and playing State/Capitals Bingo. Map skills are developed during this section. The last quarter of the school year is focused on the State of Maryland. The students explore the history, geography, present day problems, and life in Maryland. The class goes on two Field Trips – Annapolis and the Beall-Dawson House, to experience first hand some of Maryland's History.