Grade 4 Curriculum Summary

These curriculum summaries have been developed by teachers and administrators to serve as another way of communicating with parents. They highlight the core curriculum and expectations for student learning at each grade level.

The curriculum summaries describe what most students at a grade level are expected to know and be able to do by the end of the school year. They also reflect the goals of the various Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. It is important to note that although children may learn and grow at different rates and through varied styles, all should make regular progress.

While we have high expectations for all students and encourage each student to work to their capacity, parents and teachers recognize that some students have more difficulty in school. Others will progress more rapidly and move well beyond these core expectations. It is the joint responsibility of school and home to provide support, challenge, and encouragement for all students.

English/Reading/Language Arts

The fourth grade reading/language arts program stresses a continuum of skills and strategies to further develop the literacy skills and strategies introduced in third grade. Core instruction is delivered through the 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys reading program, key components of which include instruction in phonics and decoding, comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, study skills, and writing (including grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling.)  Continued attention is given to skills in listening, speaking, viewing and representing.  The core anthology is supplemented by numerous print and digital resources that assist students in the development of close reading and analysis skills. Teachers also integrate reading with content areas such as science, math, and social studies. Key concepts are presented to students in whole-class format while Response to Intervention (RTI) practices allow individual needs to be met in small skill-based groups. Teachers also employ a variety of instructional models and activities to promote the development of fluency and comprehension.  The writing process is taught through direct instruction in the Empowering Writers program in order to meet state and local standards for writing in the expository, opinion, and narrative modes. A district-wide literacy portfolio plan assesses student progress in skills indicated by both the Common Core framework and the core reading program. At grade 4, students will practice cursive handwriting; the use of manuscript for some work will be allowed at the teacher’s discretion.  Formal small group instruction will be provided where needed for students who have not mastered proper letter formation.

Social Studies

The grade 4 social studies curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for History/Social Science, as well as the English Language Arts and Literacy. It lays the foundation for being a global citizen, beginning with a concentration on the geography of the whole planet.  Maps, globes, water, land, and climate are discussed from the point of view of how these affect human culture and history.  The main emphasis of the course is US geography addressed through the study of four key regions of the United States: the Northeast, the South, the Midwest, and the West.  Each region is examined by focusing on such topics as geography, work, living, and citizenship in action.  The geography units culminate with a more global and current events emphasis as students examine challenges that confront people living in today’s world.  As per the Massachusetts History/Social Science Framework, students learn about the geography, culture and history of Canada, with an optional unit on ancient China. This introduces students to a wider global perspective. Students are expected to demonstrate further development of skills and understandings in the following areas:  map and globe skills; decoding and comprehension skills to learn from text and other written material; thinking and discussion skills; and foundational understanding of how language, tools, technology, institutions, and beliefs develop. Class time may be used for teacher presentations, small group work, discussions, hands-on activities, and videos.  Homework is often assigned as part of an integrated project and varies depending on the topic being covered.  Grades are based on classroom participation, formal tests, projects, and map work. Teachers will utilize historical fiction and nonfiction trade books to connect literacy to social studies.

Science

The grade 4 science program follows an inquiry approach as students explore a year-long theme of energy in the living and physical worlds. In the “Plant Power” unit, students will explore the relationship between plants and light energy as they observe the growth and development of plants. Students will learn to recognize stages that a plant goes through in a predictable life cycle and observe growth as plants “trap” sunlight through the process of photosynthesis. In the “All About Energy” unit, students will investigate different forms of energy in the physical world, with a particular focus on light and sound. In the “Electricity” unit, students will explore electricity in depth, wiring simple electric circuits and comparing the differences in parallel and series circuits. Students may also explore the relationship between electricity and magnets and apply their knowledge of electricity and electric circuits to “real world” problems. Class time is devoted to hands-on activities followed by reading and discussions to help students gain understanding of scientific principles. Grades will reflect completion of assignments, formal and informal assessments, design and analysis of experiments, and individual projects and activities.

Mathematics

The curriculum of the Hingham Public Schools is aligned with and based on the 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics, based on the Common Core State Standards. Hingham uses the Everyday Mathematics program (Wright Group) as its primary tool to teach the mathematics curriculum. Fourth grade Everyday Mathematics content emphasizes the following: Numeration – reading, writing & comparing integers, whole numbers, fractions, and decimals; relationships between fractions, decimals & percents. Operations & Computation – adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing multi-digit whole numbers and decimals; rounding; adding and subtracting fractions. Patterns, Functions & Algebra – using symbolic, verbal, numerical, and graphical representations; parentheses; creating, extending, and describing patterns and rules. Geometry – classifying lines and angles; coordinate grid; transformations; analyzing 2- and 3-dimensional figures. Measurement – measuring and estimating length, area, volume, weight, temperature, and time; using map scales. Data & Chance – creating, reading and interpreting graphs. Hingham believes that concept mastery comes over a period of time, first through informal exposure and then through more formal and directed instruction. Teachers utilize a combination of whole group instruction, small group activities and individual learning experiences. Student progress is assessed using ongoing and formal unit assessments, as well as monthly basic facts tests. Students may participate in Continental Math League (CML) contest exams. Selected students are invited to participate in a pull-out Math Plus option.

Foreign  Language

The elementary foreign language program is a student-centered interactive approach to learning Spanish. Students are taught basic communication skills through function-based thematic units. They include such topics as greetings and responses, counting, colors and shapes, days of the week, months, weather expressions, clothing, animals, members of the family, etc. Initially, instruction is implemented via oral language with a gradual transition to written language. Cultural aspects of the Spanish speaking world are interwoven throughout the lessons as applicable. Use of the creative arts such as music, storytelling, rhyme, and drawing promote learning in an enjoyable as well as meaningful environment. Students in grades K-5 participate in the elementary foreign language program once in a six-day cycle.

Art

Grade 4 art is scheduled at least once in each six-day cycle. The curriculum focuses on an emphasis on the styles, influences and roles of artists in ancient cultures. Further sequential instruction using the elements and principles of art and design builds a strong foundation for artistic expression. Students use more sophisticated color schemes, line qualities, visual texture, and pattern while continuing to use shape, space, composition, visual rhythm, and movement. Continued practice with a variety of media and techniques promotes higher level craftsmanship. Students use observation, abstraction, invention, and expression in creating their artwork. They continue to explore artistry. Students compare, contrast and classify art forms. They use this knowledge as a basis for evaluating their own work as well as the work of others. Evaluation in fourth grade is based on students’ effort, participation, craftspersonship, and completing lesson objectives.

Music

Fourth graders are scheduled for classroom music at least once in each six-day cycle. The curriculum continues to provide opportunities to foster and encourage a love of music in students and to develop creative talents and sensitivities and build teamwork with ensemble experiences. Students will: increase music appreciation through exposure to works of famous composers; develop skills in note reading and writing; develop performance skills through singing and playing recorders and Orff instruments; understand music structure including AB, ABA, rondo (ABACA) forms; develop an understanding of rhythm and meter; and use creative movement, drama, and pantomime for expression. Class time is used for teacher presentation, full ensemble practice and performance, cooperative small group practice and performance, and independent note writing and composition.

Physical Education

The physical education curriculum is designed to promote the skills and attitudes that are associated with sport, recreation, and good health.  The curriculum is presented through individual, partner, group, and team experiences.  Major themes for study include: movement, games, sports, physical fitness, and sportsmanship.  Intermediate grade instruction (4-5) moves more towards team sport orientation.  Greater emphasis is placed on skill development, concepts, and the rules and procedures of official sports.  Classes meet at least once in each six-day cycle.  Activities are presented in formal three to four week units.  Evaluation and grading reflect student motivation, participation, sportsmanship, and observation about skill development.

Technology

Skills are incorporated to meet classroom curriculum goals including writing, research and presentation of organizational and analytical data.  Students learn how to use the word processing programs, spreadsheets and presentation software.  These tools will be used specifically to generate reports, presentations, charts, and graphs.  Students will continue to use and expand their use of the Internet.

Library/Media

Students in grade 4 visit the library regularly for both formal instruction and book selection which includes read-aloud, discussion sessions, and peer sharing opportunities. Students may also use the library for research for class assignments and projects.  The library media objectives include:  review and reinforcement of skills learned K-3; introduction to fiction genres; locating materials using nonfiction call numbers; using specialized reference books; outlining and notetaking; and online databases.

Health

The health curriculum is designed to promote an understanding and an awareness of sound health and safety practices. The major themes are: health habits; disease prevention; safety and injury prevention; physical, social and emotional health; and drug, alcohol and violence prevention.  Grade 4 and 5 instruction takes on a more formal approach.  Units on alcohol, smoking and other drug prevention, nutrition and an introductory study of viruses and the immune system are taught.  Attention is given to an increased awareness of students’ own developmental changes.   Grade 4  and 5 students participate in the Steps to Respect Bullying Prevention program.  Class time is used for teacher presentation, class discussions, student projects, and specialist presentations by the nurse or physical education instructors.

Suggestions For Parent Assistance

  • Develop good nutritional, rest, exercise, and safety habits.
  • Work with the school to develop good study skills and self-discipline.
  • Show an active interest in your child’s daily school activities.
  • Help your child to select materials and ideas from home which contribute to class activities and discussions.
  • Plan family experiences which support topics studied at school.
  • Encourage your child to pursue individual
    interests such as hobbies, arts, and athletics.
  • Volunteer in your child’s school and attend individual conferences and school events.
  • Consult with the classroom teacher about specific ways to help your child.
  • Provide a place and time for your child to complete homework assignments comfortably and on time.
  • Assist your child with the completion and review of homework, but ensure the final product is reflective of the child’s under- standing of the assignment.
  • Foster an interest in reading by reading regularly to and with your child.

Evaluation

Students in grade 3 will participate in the revised Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS 2.0). Test batteries are projected to be in reading and mathematics. Students in grade 4 will also participate in the revised Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS 2.0). Projected test batteries, that may be administered online, include reading, writing, and mathematics. Grade 5 students will participate in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) in science and technology, and will participate in the revised Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS 2.0) in English/language arts and mathematics. Report cards document progress, and literacy portfolios and math folders contain samples of student work at all grades.

For more information

Questions about grade level curriculum should be directed first to your child’s teacher. The principal or assistant principal may provide additional information.

East Elementary

Foster Elementary

Plymouth River Elementary

South Elementary

Superintendent’s Office

Comments about this document may be directed to Dr. LaBillois at [email protected] or 781-741-1500.