Grade 4 Curriculum
Students continue to learn about the writing process and techniques that make their stories richer and their reports more cogent. With the aid of peers and teachers, students write drafts that they learn to edit and revise to produce final, polished pieces. Students are introduced to writing techniques such as alliteration, similes, and 'showing versus telling'. Students read a variety of challenging and age-appropriate books, both fiction and nonfiction. There is a mixture of individual, small group, and whole class reading assignments, and students read both aloud and independently. Discussions and written assignments focus on summarizing content, understanding vocabulary, predicting outcomes, and inferring meanings. Reading aloud helps students to find the rhythm and tone of passages, aiding them in their search for the emotional content of a piece. To encourage reading outside of school and to foster a sense of sharing, students give “Book Talks” on books read at home during the year. Research and report writing skills are extended in Grade 4.
Focusing on mastery of skills and concepts, students review basic math foundations and concepts. They go on to study multiplication, long division, fractions, decimals, measurement, and geometry. There is extensive use of real world word problems as a way to apply math to "real life" experiences. The math program incorporates computation, problem solving, reasoning, and communication through discussing, writing, and making connections in mathematics. IXL, a computerized program utilized in the classroom, advances students at an individualized pace, which allows both remediation and enrichment.
Students study Mayan culture, early explorers, and Colonial America. There is a focus on geography and mapping skills as well. Students learn to decode information such as latitude and longitude, topography, and distance contained on maps. Oral presentations lead to practice in note taking. There are many creative projects, including simulations and dramatic presentations. Students write research reports and use the library and Internet to locate material. In addition, there is a class community service project and an overnight trip to Plymouth, MA to gain first-hand understanding of early American times.
Grade 4 students exercise their skills as emerging playwrights. Through a collaboration with social studies, English and drama, the students create their own main-stage production. Past performances topics have included presidential politics, geography, and poetry.
Students engage in guided activities, hands-on experiments, data collection, and observations to support the learning of key concepts and foster curiosity in science. Areas of study include: digestion; energy sources, energy transfer, and renewable energy; and electrical circuitry. Students learn how energy makes all things around us happen and will be examining different sources of energy used to generate electricity and learning the different forms energy comes in. Students will learn both how to increase and prevent the transfer of energy between materials. They will examine their own role in using energy resources and determine ways to conserve energy. Throughout the year, students be setting up investigations and looking at different variables that affect the outcome of experiments. In addition, they will be learning how to collect and organize researched information.
In Grade 4 students are encouraged to speak French in every class. By year’s end, students can discuss and respond to prompts about their feelings, likes and dislikes, physical description, families, and their school, city, and environment. They are able to make comparisons between their life in the U.S. and life in French-speaking countries. Students learn about culture, food, music, and current events. They continue to practice their spoken and written French by performing skits and songs. They write in media such as comic strips, power point presentations, and short journal entries. There is a greater emphasis on vocabulary, spelling, and grammar in Grade 4 with the introduction of subject pronouns, articles, adjective agreement, and the beginning of homework assignments and quizzes.
Students enhance skills that they have been acquiring in the art studio throughout their Lower School years. They are challenged to look at their work with a more critical eye and to make decisions about appropriate use of materials. They work with paint, clay, and papier-mâché, and work on sculpture and papermaking. Skills and concepts include the use of overlap, the study of depth of field, and the placement of figures in space. In conjunction with their study of the Maya, students build a large headdress in the Mayan style.
Studio art and Grade 4 social studies are also integrated during the study of exploration. Students look at “explorers” in art by studying artists whose work “went against the grain.” Pupils may look and respond to work by impressionists, surrealists, abstract expressionists, and pop artists.
Classroom activities include singing, playing pitched and unpitched percussion instruments as well as rhythm and notation games. Students continue to develop collaborative and ensemble skills. Recorders are re-introduced giving students continued exposure to music notation. Students are given performance opportunities by incorporating music into other areas of the curriculum.
The emphasis in Grade 4 is on the reinforcement and refinement of basic motor skills used in various games and activities. Students participate in activities while developing physical and social skills such as cooperation, competition, and sportsmanship. Sports activities involve understanding the rules, strategies, and safety principles in sport lead-up activities and modified versions of team and dual sports, such as soccer, team handball, basketball, hockey, badminton, and volleyball. The climbing wall provides students with the opportunity to engage in motor skill acquisition with fitness development, to combine decision-making with communication skills, and to meet new challenges.
Students grow as independent readers and experience a wide variety of genres. Students review and share books they have read with their classmates. Thematic units integrate book selection with curricula in science and social studies. Students begin research skills such as use of the online catalog and access to online encyclopedias and databases. They learn how to choose appropriate sources for information.
In Grade 4, students are older partners to their classmates in Kindergarten. They meet once a week for educational and social activities. The Partners Program provides an opportunity for older and younger children to develop strong and lasting relationships. It offers early experiences in service to others and contributes to the strong sense of community across all grades that is characteristic of St. Luke’s School.
Grade 4 technology instruction in the beginning of the year is designed to provide opportunities for students to sharpen their basic technology skills. Students learn to use new applications like MS Publisher and Google Sites. We also begin to discuss responsible and safe-technology use during formal discussion time. All projects are designed to teach technology skills and support cross-curricular homeroom activities.
Students begin the year looking at common themes of spirituality and peace in different religions. Students build on their knowledge of world religions with a focus on Buddhism and Hinduism. Grade 4 pupils learn about the founders, leaders, or gods of these Eastern religions, as well as the specific traditions, beliefs, meditation, and places of worship. The students also study the spiritual leadership of Gandhi and his quest for human rights in India. In the final part of the year, the students learn about religion in American colonies and discusshow the first amendment effects religion in our country. Students identify and discuss human rights and how best to help others achieve these rights.
Grade 4 students attend Chapel twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday. The aim is to affirm and nurture all students in their spiritual life, and to strengthen their connection to their own religious tradition. The Book of Common Prayer provides the basis of Chapel services. Wednesday Chapel explores readings, seasons, and holidays appropriate to the calendar, and includes singing, prayer, and a psalm. Thursday Eucharist includes non-sectarian prayers and birthday blessings in the context of Episcopal ritual. In all, the Episcopal concept of “common prayer” celebrates the diversity of religious tradition and experiences among faculty, students, and staff.
All the Lower School classes, Junior Kindergarten through Grade 4, attend a morning meeting on Fridays, called Mentions. Children share news, celebrate talents and interests, and learn about community and current events at a developmentally appropriate level.
The Lower School dance program explores dance and movement as a non-verbal form of communication. It encourages students to express themselves through structured and creative movement. The dance program helps to develop an appreciation for different genres of dance. Students attend dance once a week in the Archive building.
Students begin the year combining their understanding of music and dance together with body percussion. They eventually progress into a tap dance unit, exploring the uniquely American art form’s history. Integrating into their social studies study of Colonial America, students will examine a variety of colonial dances, ultimately performing one as part of their Colonial Museum.
In Grade 4, students may participate in the following optional extracurricular activities.
Acolytes: Students may volunteer to serve as acolytes during Thursday Eucharist.
Choristers: Students may audition to join the Choristers of the Church of Saint Luke in the Fields under the direction of the Church Music Director.
An extended day program is available with many enrichment classes offered for an additional fee.