Fourth Grade Experience
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Physical Education
- Modern Languages
- Design Lab
- Fine Arts
Using a workshop model, teachers build classroom communities of readers and writers who love books and see purpose in their reading and writing. Classrooms are full of high-quality literature, and students explore a variety of genres, topics, and audiences in both reading and writing. In both disciplines, teachers model the skills and strategies that skilled readers and writers use. As students continue to learn and reinforce foundational literacy skills, our older students begin to work intentionally on comprehension skills. Understanding characters, problems and conflicts, retelling or summarizing, visualizing setting, synthesizing information, and determining theme are some of the key elements in developing strong comprehension skills. Language arts instruction is highly differentiated with students working in small groups, partnerships, and 1:1 with teachers.
Units of Study in Writing
- Narrative—writing detailed, character-driven stories
- Opinion—writing to affect others
- Information—bringing history to life
- Memoirs and Speeches—writing for oral presentation
Units of Study in Reading
- Interpreting characters
- Nonfiction—cross-text synthesis, analyzing text structure
- Historical Fiction Book Clubs—analyzing themes across texts
Country Day’s math program is designed to build fluent mathematicians, skilled and perseverant problem solvers and creative thinkers. Our teaching is based on the Math in Focus curriculum, and the core focus in the Lower School is on building a deep understanding of number sense, operations, and computation. Our students learn not just how to solve rote problems, but how to think mathematically and tackle real-world, rigorous mathematical problems.
Skills and Concepts
- Adding and subtracting multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm
- Fluently multiplying and dividing numbers 1-12
- Applying mental math strategies
- Recognizing, writing, naming, and converting among mixed numbers and improper fractions
- Understanding decimal notation through hundredths
- Solving addition and subtraction problems with fractions and decimals
- Identifying line and rotational symmetry
- Estimating, measuring, and classifying angles
- Collecting, interpreting, and representing data using tables, bar graphs, line graphs, and pictographs
The Lower School social studies program focuses on the study of people in relation to their past, present, and future, their environment, and their society. Our curriculum encourages curiosity and helps students develop an understanding of a rapidly changing world. Students become aware of their personal and cultural identities, and they acquire the skills and knowledge needed to actively participate in their classroom, school, community, and world.
Units of Study
- Unit 1: NC History and NC Native Americans
- Unit 2: Freedom in a New Nation and Building a New Nation
- Unit 3: Making Change Through Government and Citizenship
Lower School science focuses on engaging in investigation and discovery through the scientific method in Country Day’s state-of-the-art science lab. An integrated STEM program brings together engineering and inquisitive minds to design innovative, sustainable solutions to real world problems.
In fourth grade, students practice observing, predicting, inferring, data collection/analysis, the design process, communication of data and results, and they develop lab science competencies. They cover the physical, life, and earth sciences, specifically sound, food chemistry, water quality, plant adaptations, and the solar system.
The physical education curriculum focuses on the physical, mental, and social emotional growth of our students. The curriculum focuses on developing and maintaining a physically active and healthy lifestyle in addition to developing gross motor, body control, and spatial awareness skills. Students pursue personal fitness goals and an understanding of skills, strategies, and rules of individual and team sports and activities. Problem-solving strategies, leadership, and sportsmanship are developed through an environment of cooperative learning.
Our goals in Lower School are to expose students to language and culture, instill a love for the language, develop an appreciation for the larger world, and build cultural competencies. Students are exposed to French and Spanish in JK through first grade. In second grade, students choose one target language with the goal of developing a Novice Low proficiency level (based on ACTFL Standards) by the end of fourth grade.
Fourth graders continue to increase their vocabulary on different topics of interest and age appropriate, through the four language skills: listening, reading, pronouncing, and speaking while developing basic writing kills. Students strengthen their four language skills at this level. They communicate using memorized sentence and question patterns and are encouraged to communicate in the target language during class.
Technology is a tool used to help students deepen their learning and go from consumers of information to creators. Students gain a solid foundation of skills and habits of mind that transfer from device to device and program to program. They also learn how to be critical consumers of online information and good online citizens.
Fourth graders work to refine their word processing and keyboarding skills using Mac computers and iPads. They are introduced to the Google Suite and become comfortable using their e-mail accounts for school-related work. They are also taught to select the best digital tool to complete a task, display information, or communicate ideas. The importance of appropriate digital citizenship is a central point within the technology curriculum.
The Design Lab supplements our curriculum by allowing students to engage in age-appropriate problem-solving, collaboration, and design thinking. Students take ownership of their learning in a very genuine way to design and build solutions to real-world problems.
Through the library curriculum, we strive to instill the joy and value of reading, provide access to diverse information and ideas, and equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to access, evaluate, and apply new learning in both personal and academic pursuits. Students receive whole-class, small-group, and one-on-one instruction and practice their skills through authentic activities and research.
In fourth grade, students learn how use advanced reading strategies for comprehension, conduct research using the full research cycle, use all types of online resources for research, discuss the credibility, correctness, and currency of websites, databases, and books, use copyright principles in their work, and apply their learning to their Exhibition project at the end of the year.
Fourth grade artists continue to use their knowledge of the elements of art and principles of design. With an emphasis on expression and finding their personal voice, students create works that communicate ideas and emotion. Documenting and sharing their art process with others is an essential part of our studio practice. Exploration of paint, oil pastel, markers, clay, fibers, and mixed media prepare students for Middle School art.
In fourth grade, students are immersed in the process of auditioning for a play and challenge themselves by bravely speaking in front of their peers, being a leader in all roles, and celebrating each other. The fourth grade musical changes each year and offers the most advanced lower school performance experience. Theatre skills translate to life skills which contribute to our students shining on stage and around campus throughout their time in Lower School and beyond.
Fourth grade students explore music with vocal warm-ups, singing a variety of songs, playing unpitched and Orff instruments, studying music theory, and continuing the Recorder Karate program that began in third grade. 4th graders also create a Music Showcase which encompasses the Changemakers unit from their classroom curriculum, extending their knowledge of the power music has to make a difference in the world.
Serve as leaders of the Lower School and conduct class duties.
Research capstone Exhibition project.
- Perform in fourth grade drama production and music showcase.