Lower School Curriculum » Fourth Grade

Fourth Grade

4th Grade Art

“How very drab the lives of our children would be
If they looked, but did not see
Touched, but did not feel
Listened, but never took a curtain call.”
Wilson Riles

Art concepts taught at the Solomon Schechter School of Queens, consist of: Line, shape, form, color, pattern, texture, space and composition.
Introduction to Art begins with drawing lines to form a turtle and a school bus. The children transpose their drawings to clay, where it becomes a three dimensional piece of art. From kindergarten through the 8th grade, drawing continues, consisting of gesture, contour drawing of heads, hands and body, one point perspective to optical illusions.
Throughout the grades, students will be exposed to painting, paper mache, collage, wire sculpture and clay. All children will view the art of the following artists: Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro and Henri Rousseau.
4th Grade Computer Science

All classrooms are equipped with multiple computers and a printer. Most of our classrooms have a Smartboard, an interactive whiteboard that turns your computer and data projector into a powerful tool for teaching and presenting.

The library has a computer center which allows our students the ability to do research through the software on the internet, create signs and write reports.

Our Computer Lab is equipped with twenty-seven flat screen multi-media computers, a printer and a scanner. Through the generous contribution of the Gruss Life Monument Fund, our students are able to have access to numerable enrichment materials in Math and English.
4th Grade English Language Arts
Language Arts - As students at this level can read independently and comprehend full chapter books, the literature student strives to understand books at a more sophisticated level. What are the attributes of a great book? How do characters change over time? How does setting affect the story? What is symbolism, foreshadowing, plot? How does a writer convey tone, suspense, humor, point-of-view? Novels, short stories, and poetry are explored in many ways: group discussions and debates, art projects, and research reports.
Skills-such as factual recall, inferencing, and summarizing-are reinforced here as well. Vocabulary understanding and fluency continue to be strengthened.
The fourth grade author writes a lot over the course of the year. Beginning with a “Memory Story”, the student is empowered to take risks here. In their Writer’s Notebook, they brainstorm, experiment, and revise their writing thoughtfully and meaningfully. Since students write about their own lives, experiences, dreams and thoughts, there is an increased sense of ownership, and pride in their work. Other genre studies include poetry and journalism, each culminating with developed published products that are distributed to a wider school audience.

Writing - Writing continues to be cross-curricular, as students use words to communicate their ideas in math, history, and science. Skill work is focused on helping students develop self editing skills in the writing process. Students are encouraged in the continued development of research/report writing skills, mastery of the cursive alphabet, and touch typing. Speech and letter writing are honed here as well.
4th Grade Judaic Studies

Hebrew Language Arts - In fourth grade the children are reading, writing, and speaking Hebrew. Their curriculum includes stories on Judaic as well as general interest, including a special unit using on principles of classroom behavior, self control, group work, and recognizing and respecting individual differences. All these stories are integrated with instruction of proper language forms, and expansion of their vocabulary base.

Chummash - Torah study continues in the fourth grade with the stories of Jacob, and primarily the Joseph narrative, as it appears in the text of Breisheet – Genesis. The children sharpen their skills of reading Chummash, deciphering the text, and learning to ask critical questions and think on their own of the meaning and relevance of the text for their lives.

Holidays - Fourth graders study themes associated with the holidays, such as repentance, religious ecology, nature cycles, humor, decision making, freedom and the importance of the legacy of Jewish history. They also integrate general themes such as letter writing (integrated with Channukkah)

ISRAEL - A special unit focuses on Israel Independence Day, and Jerusalem Day, relating to the stones of Jerusalem and the periods of the different conquerors that they represent and reflect.

Tefillah (Prayer) - The children attend a daily Minyan together with third and fifth graders. In addition to reciting and singing the prayers, they are introduced to the meanings behind the words, and how the prayers relate to their lives. In addition, a special Tefillah class is conducted weekly which reviews correct reading of the prayers, and offers opportunities to share their feelings and personal meanings of the prayers.
Some of the fourth grade highlights include certain prayers inserted for the holidays such as well as a unit in the Shema that is recited at bedtime.
4th Grade Mathematics

Fourth graders work cooperatively with a group or a partner as they explore alternate strategies and verbalize their thinking process. Students gain proficiency and confidence using the language of mathematics as they speak, write, graph and draw pictorial representations of their mathematical findings.
Fourth graders enjoy their mental math abilities, as they work through problems in their heads. Students develop estimation and reasoning skills to determine if their answers make sense, allowing them to become self-monitors of their own work. Mastery of basic facts is expected throughout the year as it allows for the mental manipulation of increasingly more complex numbers.
Mathematical topics include:
• The mastery of place value through the millions
• A review of addition and subtraction, mastery of regrouping with large numbers
• Multi-digit multiplication and long division
• Fractions: finding common denominators, addition and subtraction of fractions with different denominators, equivalent and reduced fractions, multiplication of fractions
• Introduction to units of area and perimeter
• Plotting ordered pairs on a coordinate plane

4th Grade Music

The Music Curriculum combines Hebrew/Israel and American songs while learning the fundamentals of music theory, musical instruments, and musical compositions. Many of the vocal selections are integrated with the holiday curriculum.

The Music Curriculum in the Fourth grade introduces the children to more songs, and their study of music theory becomes more complex. They learn to read notes on the treble clef, and move toward complex integrated rhythms using eighth and sixteenth notes. They also learn a unit on string instruments of the orchestra.
4th Grade Physical Education

Physical education continues to be a favorite of all our students. The PE program is designed to develop lifetime activities in order to keep their bodies strong and healthy. Social skills, positive self concepts, cooperative and team play all provide a strong basic foundation. The 4th grade PE curriculum provides our students with a deeper understanding and knowledge of game strategies, rules and cooperative team play. Students will attain competency in a variety of physical activities and proficiency in a few select complex motor and sport activities. Students will improve their cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, muscular strength and body composition throughout the PE program. Students will demonstrate safe, personal and social behavior while engaged in physical activities. They will understand that physical activity provides the opportunity for enjoyment, challenge, self expression and communication.
4th Grade Science

The goal of the Solomon Schechter School of Queens science program for all grades is to utilize children’s natural curiosity and excitement about the world to encourage the development of scientific thinking, exploration and discovery. The curriculum is designed to develop science literacy by merging science content and concepts with science processes (questioning, communicating, gathering and making sense of data).
The science specialist provides children with a wide range of scientific experiences and opportunities to help them develop their skills in using scientific tools/technologies and scientific processes. In our newly constructed state of the art science laboratory, children are involved in hands-on activities that expand their knowledge of scientific methods and concepts, as well as develop their science inquiry skills such as:
• Making careful observations
• Hypothesizing
• Developing appropriate tests and understanding variables
• Recording observations and data
• Evaluating data
The science laboratory is equipped with a Smartboard which is utilized to enhance and bring to life the science specialist’s lessons and experiments.

The Grade four curriculum is designed to be an extension of concepts and skills learned in Kindergarten through Grade three. In the fourth grade the science specialist begins to place a greater emphasis on hands-on activities and beginning lab techniques. Children are encouraged to ask questions and define their own understanding of the scientific world through guided activities, experiments and observations.

The following topics are studied in Grade Four:

• Classification of living things
• Characteristics of different animals and plant groups
• Basic needs of living things
• Adaptations that help living things meet their needs

• Physical properties
• States of matter
• Effects of heat loss or gain and of physical and chemical changes

• Properties of magnets
• Forms of electrical energy
• Electric circuits
• Sources of electric current
• How electric current is changed into useful energy

• How moving water, wind and ice shape the land
• Natural resources and conservation efforts
• Consequences of producing and disposing of trash

• Earth’s atmosphere
• Effects of changes in the air on weather
• The water cycle
• Weather patterns and predictions
• Seasonal weather changes and climate
4th Grade Social Studies

Study of Early American History-1600-1720

Fourth grade classes examine the meaning of history and culture. Their studies strive to answer the questions:
• What is history?
• What is culture?
• What can we infer about culture from historical artifacts?
How were new communities formed and structured?

Fourth graders explore the discovery and colonization of America. By researching their present dwellings they come to have a greater understanding of the history of their immediate surroundings. They learn about the voyages to the New York region by Henry Hudson and Giovanni da Verrazzano. They engage in an in-depth study of New Amsterdam, its history and culture. Daily life of the settlers is explored through research, films, trips, and extensive readings from a variety of sources. Primary source material is used extensively. The integration of Native Americas, African-American and Jews into the new settlements is examined and discussed.

Community governance, trade, customs, foods and religious practices are some of the areas explored. Note-taking, basic outlining and organization skills are taught. Geography and mapping skills are integrated into the study.
Literature set in the time period and region is also used and new emphasis is placed on literature as a learning resource.
Participation in discussions concerning current events occurs with increased frequency.