Grade 4

In fourth grade, social studies content is taught through the integrated theme studies of Ancient China and Whaling - A Way of Life. These in-depth studies provide experiences for boys to become deeply involved in the study of a particular topic, which allows them to take ownership of their learning. They also provide a context and a rationale for students to learn necessary research skills, which are integral to every theme. They study the interdependence between indigenous people and their environment, interaction between cultures, the need people have to explore their immediate environment and the wider world, and the development by all cultures of intellectual life including social, political, religious and artistic endeavors. They learn that societies that have their roots in ancient cultures must adapt to technological changes, the extended family has been the basis of community cohesiveness, the growth of civilization has been dependent upon access to waterways, and industry has developed from natural resources. 

Core Curriculum

MATH
To be successful mathematicians, boys must have a clear understanding of mathematical concepts and relationships; they must be proficient with arithmetic skills, and, most importantly, they must be able to problem solve and reason mathematically. In fourth grade boys identify place value through billions and compare, order, round, and estimate whole numbers, fractions and decimals. They master multiplication and long division and memorize the basic division facts. They add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers, fractions and decimals. Their extensive study of fractions includes identifying equivalent fractions and lowest common denominator, reducing fractions to their simplest forms, adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators, and multiplying fractions. They collect data and use mean, median, mode, and range to compare sets of data. They expand upon their knowledge of polygons, lines and angles, and how to calculate the area and perimeter of polygons and irregular shapes.

LANGUAGE ARTS
In fourth grade, the Language Arts program expands the student’s understanding of writing as a means of an author’s expression and reading as a means of understanding that expression. The boys learn to recognize and appreciate different genres in reading and writing. They become engaged in reading independently for information, ideas, and pleasure. Through both direct instruction and activities, they begin to be critical interpreters of texts. Fourth graders learn about the writing process through the 6+1 Traits of Writing, which include Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions, and Presentation. Fourth Grade students are expected to include a well-described setting, developed characters, a coherent story line, conflict that produces action, and effective resolution in the stories they write. They also develop strategies for revising text and attend to writing basics such as capitalization, punctuation, sentence-structure, paragraphing, and spelling.

SCIENCE
In fourth grade, the goal of the science curriculum is for students to gain insights about science concepts, develop the abilities to do science effectively using science inquiry skills, and develop positive attitudes and curiosity about their scientific world. Boys meet with the science teacher twice a week for 60 minutes. Experiences are provided where boys regularly make observations and predictions, measure and record data, and collaborate with peers. Boys are taught to use the tools of scientists to assist them in their discoveries and are encouraged to communicate their experiences in varied modes. Their investigations include use of microscopes, matter, acids/bases, properties of water, silkworm life cycle, marine ecosystems, cetaceans, geography, climate, oceanography, astronomy and outdoor explorations.

Co-curricular Disciplines

SPANISH
Speaking and reading in Spanish gives boys the opportunity to expand their thinking and comprehension. Fourth grade boys take Spanish three days a week. They build vocabulary, including many new verbs and a deeper understanding of verb conjugation. They have conversations with each other and learn how to make more creative responses. Reading in Spanish strengthens pronunciation, comprehension and production. They conduct research projects about notable Hispanics to understand how Hispanic culture has had an impact on the world.

MUSIC
Fourth grade boys learn through play, experiencing musical concepts and gaining skills through their own active involvement. Listening acuity, expressive performance, and considerate participation are stressed in every lesson. Boys engage in creative holistic music making using the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education. Fourth graders learn harmonic singing in two and three parts, and canons. They explore compound meter, syncopation, and sixteenth notes. They learn classroom use of large recorders, hand bells, guitars, and percussion. They study the instruments of the orchestra and may elect to join the Junior Choir, Forth Beat, and the Flying Mallets.

ART
Art is a place where the boys discover that art is everywhere. We explore the theme-based curriculum at each grade level and dive a little deeper into cultural art forms. Introductions to artists and traditional cultures play a key role in learning, but it is the student who makes that technique his own. In fourth grade, we explore symbolism and feeling in art. We critique further into our artwork and explain why or how? We explore color and storytelling using ancient art forms. Learning from traveling and field trips gives boys a perspective both emotional and literal.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
We provide successful physical experiences for all boys through a curriculum designed to foster and develop the knowledge and values, physical skills, and practices necessary for personal physical fitness and lifetime wellness. In fourth grade, boys learn specialized skills in manipulative activities, rhythms, games and sports, large apparatus, stunts and tumbling, and swimming. Locomotor, non-locomotor, and manipulative skills are refined. Physical fitness is integrated into each lesson.

Exploring Our Theme

 
Fourth grade students dive into Asian culture as they research ancient China.
Young boys have boundless energy and a natural tendency to explore and discover.

The Fourth Grade Curriculum at a Glance

THEMES
Ancient China
Whaling - A Way of Life

CONCEPTS
Culture
Adaptation
Interdependence
Survival

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS FOR BOYS TO INVESTIGATE
How does the environment influence the development of a culture?
How does technology advance a culture?
How does the past influence the present?
How do people work together to benefit each other and the environment?
How does the nature of ecosystems affect society?

Library

Boys learn to love reading, researching, and expressing themselves through literature-based activities. In fourth grade, boys became more independent users of the library and a greater emphasis is placed on their understanding of the research process as they use the library for information as well as pleasure. We review Internet use and safety, evaluate websites for accuracy and currency, and distinguish between primary and secondary sources. In most cases, research is tied to assignments and projects in the classroom. In fourth grade, boys are asked to evaluate an author’s voice, and to use this knowledge while expressing themselves in a variety of creative writing projects. They study favorite authors and learn ways to share their reading with their classmates.

LIBRARY & SUGGESTED READING LINK

Shaker Heights Campus

20701 Brantley Road
Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122
GRADES K-8
Phone: 216.321.8260

Hunting Valley Campus

2785 SOM Center Road
Hunting Valley, OH 44022
GRADES 9-12
Phone: 216.831.2200
University School serves 870 boys in grades K-12 on two campuses in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. The School’s mission is to inspire boys of promise to become young men of character who lead and serve. Dedicated faculty, rigorous curriculum, and experiential programs foster intellectual, physical, creative, and moral excellence.