Curriculum

I teach using the “workshop” format. The workshop format consists of teaching students a mini-lesson together on the rug (~15 minutes), independent work time for students to experiment/investigate what was taught (times vary depending on the subject area), and a debrief/share time back on the rug (~5 minutes).

Reading
Students are not really reading unless they truly understand the words they are reading. That said, all students need to be reading books that are "just-right" for them-- books that are most appropriate for their own reading level and which will help them grow as readers. I expect students to read everyday at home, and students will have silent reading time in class most days. Therefore, students' books should be brought back and forth between school and home each day to promote continuity in reading. To support their reading growth, students will be asked to do reading responses in their notebook, jot thoughts on post-its, and share ideas with classmates and with me. Often times, I will use Read Aloud to model the reading strategies that I expect students to be doing in their independent reading.

Writing
Becoming a better writer comes from repeated practice with a variety of genres. Fourth graders will write opinion pieces, informative text, and narratives. Writing units will follow the writing process of gathering ideas, choosing an idea, nurturing a seed idea, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.

Word Work
Word work includes spelling, vocabulary, and handwriting. We will alternate between focusing on spelling one week and vocabulary the following week.
  • Spelling: Students will keep a personal Word Wall of words in their writing notebook. These are words that they have misspelled or would like to work on spelling confidently. Each week, students will choose 10 words to focus on and will study these by doing spelling activities of their choice.
  • Vocabulary: Students will be given a root, prefix, or suffix as the focus for the week. They will spend time learning words with the same root, prefix, or suffix by studying the definitions, writing sentences, and drawing pictures.
  • Handwriting: Fourth graders are expected to write in legible cursive. Students who need more practice will be given a packet to work on.

Math
Fourth grade math concepts include:
  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking (using the 4 operations, factors, multiples, patterns)
  • Numbers and Operations in Base Ten (place value for multi-digit whole numbers, perform multi-digit arithmetic)
  • Numbers and Operations-- Fractions (fraction equivalence and ordering, decimals, compare/order fractions and decimals)
  • Measurement and Data (converting measurements, interpret data, measure angles)
  • Geometry (identify lines/angles, classify shapes).
Daily homework is assigned and is a review of class lessons and work. We will do a lot of sharing and talking about math this year, through activities such as number talks and Problem of the Month. The Eight Mathematical Practices will be woven through all the work that we do.

Science (taught by Mrs. Higgins)
Science is based on the California State standards and utilizes hands-on kits in the FOSS program. This year's topics are Solid Earth (Earth Science), Electricity & Magnetism (Physical Science), and Environments (Life Science). Each topic has several investigations that uses many hands-on materials, and is accompanied by readings and written responses. Students will learn so much by participating in class. Students are encouraged to do an enrichment project on any unit topic to extend their learning.

Social Studies (taught by Mrs. Perry-Barney)
Students in 4th grade study California history, using Scott Foresman's History-Social Science: Our California text. This year's topics will include: map skills, California geography, Native American tribes of California, explorers, missions and ranchos, gold rush and westward movement, Asian immigration, and modern California. Simulation games, group activities, and individual projects will be assigned to promote problem solving, critical thinking, and cooperative learning skills.

Enrichment
Enrichment will supplement the work being done in both Science and Social Studies classes.

P.E./Music/Art
P.E. is taught by Coach McMahan on Wednesdays and Fridays, so students should remember to wear appropriate clothes and shoes on these days. Music is taught by Mr. Wang on Thursdays. Spectra Art is taught by parent volunteers every other week on a day to be determined.