Stella Boldrick and Kristina Kramer, Fourth Grade Teachers
Fourth grade marks a clear transition in a student’s academic progress with increased expectations for student responsibility and self-directed learning. The reading component focuses on vocabulary, comprehension, and analysis of character and plot in a broad range of selections including fiction, historical fiction, and non-fiction. Writing continues to be a central part of all learning activities including journals, book reports, and research papers. Spelling and vocabulary skills develop from word lists and from words in the content areas. Grammar and structure become valuable tools to enhance communication. Students develop reports, stories, letters, and journal entries using the writing process.
Mathematics continues to stress the need for accurate computation and careful application in the problem solving process. Concepts are introduced and reviewed through a variety of hands-on and pencil-and-paper activities. Equations and word problems take on increasing importance in the program. The analytical approach to problem solving prepares the children for more rigorous quantitative explorations.
Fourth grade students concentrate heavily on social aspects of life, with a strong emphasis on contextual understanding, recognition of differing perspectives, and a development of empathy.
The study of United States history uses both historical and current events, along with cultural analysis, which culminates in a Native American societal review. The use of Socratic discussions and open-ended, Problem-Based Learning activities is relied upon in order to instill a sense of understanding across civilizations.
Classroom experiments rooted in Inquiry-Based Learning allow students to utilize creative and innovative thinking skills, as well as develop unique solutions to real world situations. Students will study a variety of topics including physical, earth, and natural sciences while using outdoor, place-based resources among a lush campus in order to better visualize both the problem and solution.