Fourth grade is a major step for students to become independent learners. Much of the teacher directed activity is gradually replaced by more student initiated and directed work. Building on the third grade introductions to organizations and self-discipline, this grade takes students to the next level of responsibility.
All School Field Day
Lutheran Schools Week
Small Business Day
Religion is taught through the use of Concordia Publishing House “One in Christ” curriculum and the Bible. Throughout the year, biblical stories such as Creation, the Flood, the Exodus, and Jesus’ birth are studied. Accounts of Jesus Christ, such as various miracles, the Passion, the Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost are also studied. Students learn facts as well as build their faith through study of scripture. Students memorize Bible verses and parts of Luther’s Small Catechism which often correlate with the religion lesson or church year. Every other year, students study the Peacemakers curriculum, based off of the conflict resolution concepts presented in Matthew 14.
During the course of the guided reading, students focus on essential reading skills, i.e. making inferences, drawing conclusions, active reflection, and identifying author’s point of view and text’s purpose. Vocabulary and word structure are studied. Effective reading comprehension skills are introduced and developed throughout the year. Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) time is a daily event in which students have time to read self-selected books. All fourth graders are required to complete quarterly book reports.
Effective and correct usage of English grammar is studied. Proper use of the various parts of speech as well as comma and punctuation usage are all taught, studied, and used weekly.
The curriculum is broken into thematic units. During each of the units various writing assignments are given. Impromptu oral reports/sharing time is often a part of the lessons. However, at the end of each quarter students are required to prepare a speech on a particular topic. These speeches not only reinforce communication skills, but also promote research and writing technique.
Fourth grade spelling words have a weekly focus based upon the patterns found in the word. Students review these words numerous times throughout the week in readings, vocabulary introduction, and word knowledge study. A pretest, group activity, individual activity and final test are given weekly. The class also participates in a school-wide, monthly spelling bee.
Fourth graders practice proper and neat handwriting skills throughout the year. From the beginning of the year, students use cursive writing in all of their work.
The science program steers students through areas on life science, earth science, and physical science. Application of scientific principles are examined through teacher-guided, hands-on experiments, critical thinking, and teacher-assigned projects. Through science, students are challenged to see the world and its workings through a scientific lens, filtered by the Christian faith.
Fourth grade is a key year in which mathematical reasoning, problem solving, and math facts are learned, practiced and refined. The class reviews basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts throughout the year by means of daily “Power Up” quizzes. Entry-level algebra and algebraic reasoning is introduced and reviewed throughout the year. Multiplication with 1 and 2 digit multipliers and division by 1 and 2 digit divisors are focused on in great detail. Addition and subtraction of fractions and decimals, geometry, graphing, and probability are also included in the curriculum.
In general, social studies curricula progress from self to world-wide awareness. Fourth grade social studies is in the middle of that progression. The five regions of the United States (Southeast, Northeast, Mid West, Southwest, and West) are studied by focusing on two major topics from each region, environment and people. Within this curriculum, geography, climate, people, historical events, worldwide connections, and map reading are introduced and tested. In addition, American states’ capitals and geographic location are tested.
Physical Education is five days a week! Students experience a wide variety of activities. Each month there is an emphasis on a particular activity. Students spend time on skills which relate to the emphasis. Activities include movement themes, manipulative skills (bean bags, beach balls, balloons, etc), rope jumping (individual skills, partner skills, long rope skills), tumbling, stunts and combatives, rhythmic movement and dance, parachute, bowling, relays and games, additional manipulative skills (scoops and balls, hoops, wands, paddles, flying discs), Tee ball, scooters, apparatus (playground equipment), and health related fitness.
The church and school own a parcel of land next to the playground that has been designated by Minnesota's DNR (Department of Natural Resources) as a School Forest. Students use the space in every season for any subject area. In any given week, one might find pre-algebra students using proportions to measure tree height, first graders examining and identifying leaves, fourth graders writing creatively about the sounds of autumn, or eighth graders conducting biological plot studies. Chapel services are also conducted in the forest in the worship area created by a student as an Eagle Scout project.
Students in Grade 4 meet as an individual grade for 30 minutes one day a week. During that time, students learn and play many different rhythms and instruments. They study instruments of the orchestra, composers from all different time periods, and are exposed to a variety of genres of music. In addition to their individual class time, Grade 4 combines to create a choir with Grades 2 and 3 twice a week. It builds upon what has been learned in the previous combined choir. Mixed-age grouping provides the younger grade the opportunity to learn from older role models and allows the upper grade to embed their knowledge through teaching. Concepts such as intermediate rhythms, part and canon singing, rhythm notation, world music, Orff Instruments (xylophones), and solfege are taught or continued. Correct posture, breathing, and vocalizing techniques are taught and enforced through sacred and secular songs. All students in this choir participate by singing in worship, services, the Christmas Concert, biannual musicals, and the Spring Concert.
Weekly art lessons are taught by using several different art curriculum programs as well as teacher-developed units. Several seasonal craft projects are also worked on during appropriate times of the year.