In Fourth grade, students begin to prepare for the transition to Upper School. The STJES Success Traits are central to student assessment of their progress throughout the year. In particular students focus on building independence as it pertains to organization and responsibility. Fourth grade students are immersed in the elements of good character and successful achievement.
In Fourth grade, novel studies promote a love of reading and growth of reading skills. Story elements are strategically examined to enhance student understanding of reading material. Students are also challenged to strengthen their written response to reading by drawing on text evidence to support their answers. Fourth graders engage in discussion, writing, and relevant assignments as they journey through the text selection for the year.
Language Arts (Grammar, Writing and Spelling)
Students employ the skills of organization, style, and writing mechanics to craft multi-paragraph written pieces across genres of writing. As students craft their written pieces, they focus on elements specific to the genre in focus. Fourth graders are provided instructional support through the grammar curriculum to strengthen the technical elements of their writing. Throughout the year students expand their vocabulary and understanding of spelling patterns through weekly word lists.
The math curriculum challenges students to build on their foundational skills to expand their conceptual understanding, problem solving, and ability to explain their answers both orally and in written context. Students expand their understanding of place value, adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers, multiplication, division, fractions, measurement, and geometry.
Students are able to use a model of waves to describe patterns of waves in terms of amplitude and wavelength, and that waves can cause objects to move. Students are able to recognize the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation. They apply their knowledge of natural Earth processes to generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of such processes on humans. In order to describe patterns of Earth’s features, students analyze and interpret data from maps. Fourth graders also develop an understanding that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. By developing a model, they describe that an object can be seen when light reflected from its surface enters the eye. Students are able to use evidence to construct an explanation of the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object. Students learn that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents or from object to object through collisions. They apply their understanding of energy to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
Students begin the year with a broad look at the United States. Students then investigate each region of the country paying particular attention to early history, geography, growth of the region, and an analysis of how the region has developed over the years. In the latter part of the year, students participate in a study of Maryland history. Each year, the students participate in the International Festival. One week is devoted to the study of a country. The selection of a country is made on a three-year cycle. During this time, children are immersed in the study of the selected country, with all classroom activities, literature, and projects centering on that country.
In fourth grade, attention is placed on learning new vocabulary, learning how to read in Spanish, and introducing them to basic Spanish grammar. They learn how to express preferences. Students are assessed on their participation in class by class assignments, and quizzes. Exercises and games are tools used to review and improve their vocabulary and spelling skills. Students also learn about the culture of Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, and Spain. Videos are used to give the students a deeper understanding of their traditions, customs, activities, and history of these Spanish-speaking nations.
During fourth grade, students develop an age-appropriate understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations, building on their previous years’ experiences. By the end of fourth grade, we expect St. John’s students to be able to work independently in all programs that we use throughout the year. Fourth graders begin to navigate the term plagiarism and are expected to be able to create Slideshow presentations using Google Slides and use necessary bibliographic references to cite resources used. Their experience includes projects that encourage critical thinking and decision making, digital citizenship, creativity, communication and collaboration, and finally, basic research and information fluency.
Fourth Grade artists continue developing skills in drawing, painting, sculpting, and crafting with a greater emphasis on technical detail including proportions of objects and the human figure, the elements of art, shading, and realistic drawing. Students learn one-point perspective drawing and optical illusion creation along more challenging spatial concepts within their art projects. Process demonstrations, group work, and verbal check-ins are given to students to assist in their understanding of project guidelines. Fourth Grade artists are given more independence with their work, time management skills, and material use in the art room.
In Lower School, students explore four key areas of development: music performance, music literacy, music appreciation, and classroom and global connections. Students sing, dance, and play instruments in their performances, and acquire and apply music literacy skills through development of musical vocabulary. They listen and respond to music from a variety of cultural and historical sources as well as make connections between music, their world, and the greater global community through their singing, dancing, listening, and playing. Students have many opportunities to connect to and demonstrate the Traits of Success particularly Courage, Persistence, Positive Attitude, and Attentiveness as they study and perform music. Students in fourth grade learn to play keyboards and in doing so learn various scales, finger exercises to improve agility, identify pitches in treble and bass clef, recognize intervals, and various styles of music.
Grade Four students study the Old testament covenants, prophets, Psalms before Advent when they begin studying the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ miraculous birth. After Epiphany Grade Four students learn about parables and compare the Golden Rule to the Great Commandment. They discuss the value of Lent before experiencing a foot washing ceremony and celebrating Easter. The definition, requirements, symbols and grace offered by the sacraments are studied using the Book Of Common Prayer. Finally students the history of examine the Creeds, the Reformation and the genesis of the Episcopalian faith in the nascent United States of America.
The fourth grade Physical Education program provides opportunities for the students to experience a wide variety of activities. These activities aid in developing motor ability, fitness, sportsmanship, teamwork and fundamental sports skills. The program exposes students to a variety of activities that are both competitive and non-competitive in nature. The fourth grade program builds on previous years as students are able to participate in individual and team sports in a safe manner. Students learn the importance of strategy, teamwork, leadership, and sportsmanship. Fitness games encourage the children to challenge themselves and introduce them to the health components of fitness. The traits for success are reinforced during a variety of cross-curricular and global offerings.