“What makes a great book?” is the essential question we ask students as they uncover the many different genres of literature in the Fourth Grade reading curriculum. Students read new literature as well as timeless classics as avenues to answer this essential question. Fourth Grade students are able to use their self-confidence to hone their presentation skills in projects that require both writing and speaking about the literature they are reading.
Fourth Graders study the State of Missouri in the Social Studies curriculum that asks questions like, “Are modern civilizations here now more civilized than ancient ones?” and, “Is bartering still a valuable way to obtain goods?” During the process of learning about these cultures and historical periods, as well as modern-day government, students create their own unique classroom city. Making decisions involved in creating a city enables them to discover how specific decisions by government and businesses affect everyone in the community.
The Mathematics curriculum used in Fourth Grade further stimulates problem solving and increases mental math ability. Different algorithms are used to solve multi-digit addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Geometry is introduced and elementary algebraic concepts are presented on a regular basis using a variety of hands-on activities.
Being a part of the upper school allows Fourth Graders to take on a more advanced leadership role. Students guide their younger buddies in classroom activities and lessons.
One thing we love to do in Fourth Grade is not just read, but learn more about (if possible) the settings of our books. Recently, the Fourth Grade class at Rohan Woods read a book called "The Family Under the Bridge," by Natalie Savage Carson. This Newberry Award winner is about a down-on-their-luck family who lives on the streets of Paris. They all befriend a hobo named Armand, who eventually adopts them as his own family.
As we began to read the book, it was clear that the setting was unfamiliar to the students. So, we started by taking a visual tour of Paris. The students got to see what many of these landmarks look like, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Arc de Triomphe. A week or so after that, the class got a surprise. When they came back from one of their specialists, they arrived to find foreign currency on their tables.
They were to use the Francs to approach the owner of a lovely French Bistro (me) and ask to make a purchase. In exchange for their money, they got a beret, some baguette, and Champagne (which, of course, was sparkling grape juice). Students were also invited to try a couple different types of cheese. It became evident very quickly that Gruyere was MUCH more popular than Brie. :-)
Now our group is getting ready to take another trip. We just started a book called "In the Year Of the Boar and Jackie Robinson," which is about a girl who comes to the United States from China in 1947. It's a wonderful story that is based off of the experiences of the author, Betty Bao Lord. As the title indicates, the book does have some focus on the Chinese New Year. With that holiday fast approaching, the class will learn a whole lot of the history and lore of Chinese New Year, as well as find out which animal was represented in the year they were born, and what character traits people born in that year are said to have. It should be a blast! Off we go!