Fourth Grade


Fourth graders begin to learn how to work in collaborative groups, gaining the important skill of teamwork. Writing is also a key component of the fourth grade curriculum, and students learn, through Writers' Workshop and a structured writing program, to develop multi-paragraph compositions that include an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion.

They also discover the various types of writing including: expository, narrative, and research reports. In addition, they enhance their computer skills - conducting Internet research, keyboarding, making PowerPoint presentations, and exploring all that the iPad has to offer.


The fourth grade reading program continues to challenge students, who work in flexible ability groups, to expand their explicit and inferential thinking, to broaden their vocabularies through the use of context clues, and to develop more fully independent reading skills. Important comprehension skills covered include: identifying the main idea and supporting details, sequencing, predicting, determining the author’s purpose, comparing and contrasting, and connecting subject matter to the students’ everyday environment and real-world experiences. The children use various strategies, such as decoding, clarifying, questioning, evaluating, and summarizing, as they read through a given passage. They also read from a variety of different sources—novels and daily oral comprehension excerpts—as well as from anthologies of literature. Themes are inspired by the social studies curriculum, especially the Gold Rush, as well as by their sister school countries, Mexico. Finally, students read and analyze great works of literature by William Shakespeare in a special themed-unit that culminates in the performance of a Shakespearean scene, often times in concert with a professional actor.

Refining their understanding of analogies, verbal reasoning, and mechanics, fourth grade students participate in the National WordMasters Challenge, a national analogy competition, entered by approximately 220,000 students annually. They also study spelling, with an emphasis on dictation, commonly misused words, and subject-specific vocabulary.


Writing is integrated throughout the curriculum. Through the use of a structured writing program, children learn the art and science behind composing a detailed, organized, multi-paragraph essay. Additional types of writing explored include: the persuasive essay, report writing, poetry writing, including imitation poetry, and personal narrative writing.

In the fourth grade, increasing emphasis is placed upon using voice and personality through written expression as a means to explore and communicate a variety of experiences. Students practice writing about a range of subjects, including the California missions, their best day ever, which animal is superior—cats or dogs—and more. Teachers serve as models for students by sharing their own narratives and written compositions. Organization and study skills are further emphasized to prepare students for their transition to the upper elementary grades, and graphic organizers are used to scaffold more complex written pieces.  

New this year, fourth grade students also participated in the Writers' Workshop program at least three times a week. The goal of the program is for children to write what they know by selecting topics that are personally meaningful and relevant to them. Through focused mini-lessons and individual conferences with the teacher, students will enhance their craft as writers and become independent authors of a variety of literary pieces. At the conclusion of each instructional unit, students will publish a piece of their work and share it in celebration with the rest of the class.


Singapore Math

The Singapore Math program, now in its fourth year, enhances students' higher-level thinking and understanding of real-life mathematical concepts, including whole numbers operations, fractions, decimals, geometry, probability, graph-level algebraic concepts, and measurement. In flexible ability learning groups, our students augment their conceptual understanding, become more adept at computation, and practice applying their learning to their everyday lives and real-world experiences. Each lesson begins with high-energy fluency activities, such as sprints and pattern box work. Students also spend time working on multi-step problem solving, using strategies such as bar modeling.

Social Studies

In social studies, through interactive, online programs, book and Internet research, literary studies, independent and collaborative projects, and field trips, students learn about California’s history, from the earliest Native Americans to the Gold Rush and the Continental Railroad. Explorers, missions, ranchos, statehood, geography, state government, agriculture, and contemporary urban California are also topics studied. Furthermore, students expand their understanding of community in preparing for their Brotherhood performance—a beautiful celebration of friends, family, the holiday season, and their sister country, Mexico, through song, dance, and music.

Global Education

As part of our Global Education program, fourth graders learn about the interdependence of people and cultures by comparing life in their sister country, Mexico, with life in the United States and by corresponding with like-aged peers at a Mexican sister school, with whom they also complete interactive projects

Character Education/Service Learning

Students benefit from our Character Education/Service Learning programs, leading our school's recycling efforts and donating the proceeds to an environmental organization of their choosing, as well as back to the School to keep the program running.


The fourth grade science curriculum features an in-depth study of water, including water’s properties, and California agriculture. A highlight of the unit includes a trip to the Sepulveda Basin. During a unit on biomes, the students take virtual field trips using CalAlive, a computer-based program, which allows them to make observations and conduct experiments on all of California’s biomes. The children also study the food chain, health and nutrition, and energy, with a focus on electricity and magnetism.

“A Child’s Place in the Environment,” an interactive curriculum, connects the fourth grade children’s science studies with literature and art. Hands-on experiences include: weekly lab work, monthly gardening, a school-wide Planting Day, enrichment assemblies, and service learning, such as the recycling program that they spearhead, that promotes environmental stewardship.

Caring for the science lab animals is the highly-envied last piece of the fourth grade curriculum. Each day at recess or lunch, the children are responsible for coming to the Science Center to feed and nurture their furry friends. Students then train the incoming fourth graders on the feeding procedures at the year’s end.
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