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Fourth Grade Basic Training

Page history last edited by Tperkins 5 years, 1 month ago

 

Philosophy

     We teach because we love making a difference in our students’ lives.  We teach Fourth Grade because it is a magical age - almost every adult can remember special times during their fourth grade year.  Fourth graders are delightful because they are old enough to try many new things and young enough to still love their teachers!  Some of these children will be in a hurry to “grow up” and lose their precious innocence, but we will do everything possible to help them remain children who can enjoy this wonderful time in their lives. 

      In addition to helping all children identify and utilize their strengths, we will structure activities to strengthen their weaknesses.  This is the age when children should be gaining independence and confidence based on their actual efforts and performance.  Students will learn to assess their own work and recognize for themselves when they have done a good job.  Our long-range goal is to develop kind, capable, happy, responsible, well-educated young people with the desire to be lifelong learners!

 

Curriculum

     As at all grade levels, our curriculum is the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS. Below are some ways in which we use resources to address the TEKS.  Students will maintain journals in all of their core content classes.

     Fourth grade has the privilege of sharing Texas with students.  Our Social Studies units will focus on all aspects of Texas - history, geography, government, economics, cultures, and how people and the various regions of Texas have impacted one another.  Along with our new textbook, Texas Studies Weekly, we will integrate Social Studies Alive! and Fine Arts strategies to fully engage studentsScience units will support our Texas studies as we focus on the scientific process, ecosystems and habitats, land forms and earth science, physical science, and weather and space. The year will culminate with our Texas Pioneers enrichment unit in May - please watch for additional information on this “big event”.

    Another major event in fourth grade is our work to develop clear, organized, and creative writing skills.  Much of our class time will be spent on the writing process - instruction, modeling, brainstorming, rough drafts, revising, editing, sharing, and publishing.  Language Arts units will be built around novel sets and other strong literature selections.  We will provide many Balanced Literacy experiences which combine good literature with skill lessons. Every Language Arts class will dive into many enrichment activities. We utilize Scientific Spelling, Ralph Fletcher Writing lessons, The 6 Traits of Writing, 4-Square Writing, Kennedy Center Fine Arts strategies, and a variety of reading and comprehension skill lessons with different genres. Students will continue their cursive work from 3rd grade in Handwriting Without Tears as part of Homeroom instruction.

    Math units will be organized around the adopted district text, Go Math.  In addition, teachers will supplement our math program with a variety of engaging activities and materials from such sources as Marilyn Burns, Ms. Math, Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley, Model Drawing for problem solving, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Every Math class will extend their learning with enrichment lessons.  

    In addition to the academic focus, we will be concentrating on developing positive character traits and cooperative skills through our Social-Emotional curriculum.  We will have a zero tolerance policy for students hurting others in any way.  Fourth Grade is a family effort and the teachers work as a team.  Each of us feels responsible for every fourth grader and we hope parents will join us in our efforts to help each child achieve their full potential.

 

Needs Groups

     We are working this year to reach two goals - meeting the needs of individual students and building a supportive community of learners.  To achieve “the best of both worlds”, students will stay with their homeroom teacher for the first two weeks developing communication and cooperative skills to help them work as a team.  Social Studies and Science will be taught all year in homerooms, and students will return full-time to homerooms for part of May as we prepare for Pioneer Day.

    From September through the third week in May, students will be grouped for Language Arts and Math in order to best meet their needs and maximize student learning time.  Assessment for grouping will include a language arts and math inventory, sections of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and a personal narrative composition.  Other assessment instruments will include student opportunities to demonstrate creativity, problem solving skills, use of vocabulary, and writing ability. Within each class, teachers will provide differentiated experiences to meet each student's individual needs.

      Remember that the Language Arts emphasis in fourth grade is learning to communicate independently and fluently through writing.  Even some of our best readers are still novice writers.  In Math, the emphasis switches from concepts and computation to independent problem solving and the ability to explain student thinking.  Don't be surprised if Language Arts or Math class groups look somewhat different from earlier grades.  We want to match each student with a teacher and a learning environment that best meets his or her social and academic needs and learning profile.

 

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