4th Grade Academics


The spirit of the fourth graders is aptly reflected in the northern mythologies of the Edda and the Kalevala. Yggdrasil, Odin, Loki, Ragnarok, and then the saga of Vaianmoinen – a virile mixture of comic and dramatic, these stories are perfectly attuned to the child turning ten. The fourth grade experience is rich in vivid images and in academic challenges.

In mathematics the goal is first to consolidate all that has gone before – the four processes, including their long forms, the multiplication tables through 12 and factoring. The children will strengthen their mastery of numbers by learning to estimate their answers, then derive the exact one, then prove it. Then, moving from the whole to the parts, they will take up a comprehensive study of fractions. They will learn to expand and reduce, add, subtract, multiply and divide like and unlike fractions.

The English language work includes reading fluency, spelling, grammar (completing the parts of speech), punctuation, dictation, and composition. It leads to book reports and simple research projects. The children will be expected to compose a large proportion of their main lesson books themselves, together or individually. Through book reports and research projects, they will learn about rough drafts and final drafts. They also give oral reports.

New main lesson material includes local/regional geography and history. The children will learn how California came to be, and about the people cultures that have lived there before them. Field trips will acquaint them with the life of the Ohlone, the Spanish missions, and the Gold rush, They will also learn to make and to read maps, beginning with their own room, home, neighborhood, and extending finally to a physical, three-dimensional map of California. Special attention is paid to how human beings interact with the environment, and how the land and the climate affect their way of life, culture, and the choices they make. Towns and cities, rivers and mountains, agricultural land, travel routes, lumber mining, fishing, etc. are also studied.

In the Human and Animal main lesson block(s) the children will learn about animals as archetypes and as living species. They will study the different broad types of animals, comparing them to each other in form and specialization, and then to a human being, in whom so many traits of the animals live on in a modified and balanced way, to create a being with remarkable new potential. Each child will choose a particular animal or two to study in detail.

The fourth grade class may also receive main lesson on Musical Notation as they learn to read and write music, for it is during this year that they will take up serious instruction in stringed instruments – violin, cello, or viola.