Grade 4

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Writing Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers. Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature. Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal. We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal writing assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

 

Reading Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal reading assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

 

Grade 4

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The fourth grade's curriculum is about the theme of traveling. Students will review numbers from 1-100 and learn to use the numbers with the Chinese currency. They will role-play for shopping and bargaining, which is a customary concept when traveling in China/Taiwan. Learning about other countries in the world and the language spoken also give students a global perspective and enhance their motivation for foreign language learning. 

Mandarin Chinese 4

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In 4th grade, our Chinese students will explore the topics they learned with more complex sentences to talk about themselves or describe their environment. They will also experience calligraphy as part of their cultural competence, which facilitate the better understanding of the structures of Chinese characters. During the field trip, 4th graders will get to put their oral skill of ordering food in a Chinese restaurant.  

Writing Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal writing assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

Writing 4

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Writer's Workshop

Writer's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in writing. Writer's Workshop focuses on the teaching of writing strategies. The purpose of Writer's Workshop is to foster a love of writing. Students develop an ability to write confidently in many forms for a variety of audiences and purposes. 

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of writing, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently.

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

Writing Mini-Lessons

The mini-lesson is where we can make a suggestion to the whole class...raise a concern, explore an issue, model a technique, reinforce a strategy. First our students are engaged in their own important work. Mini lessons are developed from here. A mini-lesson generally lasts 5-10 minutes. We try to choose a teaching point that we feel would benefit many members of the class.

Examples of mini lessons might include a content focus such as using descriptive language or writing a powerful lead. When teaching a conventions mini lesson, we might work on capitalization, end marks, or quotation mark usage. Often times, we lead lessons on genre studies integrated with our reading workshop on topics such as biography, poetry, letter writing, or informational text.

Independent Writing 

After the mini lesson, students work in their Writer's Notebook to collect entries that may later become published pieces of writing.  The total writing time lasts for about 35-40 minutes, but during that time some students may be involved in conferences with the teacher or with their peers.

Students choose entries in their notebooks to take into "draft form."  It is these carefully selected pieces of writing that will be taken through the process of editing and revising so that they can be published and shared with others.  All entries in the Writer's Notebook do not become published prices of writing. 

Writing Conferences

While students are involved in independent writing, we use this time to confer with our writers.  We take notes during conferences to document students' progress and to plan future mini-lessons.  During this time we may: listen to students read their entries aloud, help students decide what they want to say, provide feedback, re-teach skills taught during mini lessons, teach necessary new skills, reinforce a writer's strengths, or give writers new ways of thinking.

 Sharing

At the end of writing workshop everyday, students are brought back together for a 5-10 minute group share and reflection. Sometimes a writer might come to sharing session to ask for help or receive feedback from his or her classmates ("I like my story, but I can't think of a good title.") Students share a piece with a partner in revision or editing a piece.  The author might also want to share part of an entry of which he or she is especially proud. The 'Author's Chair' is used when students share published piece.

 

Literacy Philosophy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum.  Rather, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, the following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

Science 4

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For a Lower School Science overview, start here:

www.catlin.edu/classroom/lower-school-science

For the fourth grade science classroom page, start here:

http://www.catlin.edu/classroom/lower-school-science/fourth-grade-science

Reading Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal reading assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.
 

Reading 4

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Reader's Workshop

Reader's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in reading. Reader's Workshop focuses on the teaching of reading strategies. The purpose of Reader's Workshop is to foster independence among readers.  

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of reading, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently. 

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

 

Read Aloud

Here, the teacher reads both picture books and chapter books to the children daily. Text may be above their instructional reading levels and their independent reading levels. Text may also be thematically linked to our content or current events. This provides a rich context in which children can experience more complex language and stories. Sometimes we will be reading great literature and other times we might introduce a series that eventually children will be able to read on their own. These books are often a stimulus for writing as well. Great literature and storytelling influences fourth graders very positively; just like it does for you and me.

Partner Reading

Peers will read the same book, aloud or silently, while applying structured reading strategies demonstrating to one another how to read and think about a book. Readers hear the language of stories, creating a warm and positive, mutually supportive atmosphere. Children learn fluency at the same time that they are learning to love books and poetry.

Guided Reading

In guided reading groups, the teacher provides support so that children can read books with a small amount of challenge. Books are considered to be at an instructional level in guided reading group if a child can successfully and independently read at least 90% of the words. Children will be working in small groups with the teacher. We place children in flexible groups according to their ability and personal interests. Groups may change throughout the year depending on the needs of the students. The children in each group are guided through a reading selection together as a group and then independently. Children will be involved in vocabulary enrichment, predicting, open-ended questioning, visualizing, summarizing, and making connections within the text. Students practice the strategies they will need in order to become comprehensive readers. The goals for each child will change as his/her reading level changes. 

Independent Reading

Lastly we will provide time for children to read independently and will guide them to select “Just Right” books across genres. This is typically a years-long process of working with children to make choices of books that are just right for them. We teach the children that this means that the text is not too hard that it causes frustration and not too easy that it presents zero challenge, but rather right in the middle (think "Matilda" and "Trumpet of the Swan"). “Just Right” books give the right balance of confidence and practice to promote the continuation of one’s desire to read along with acquiring the necessary skills and vocabulary to move forward in this pursuit.

Literature Circles

 Our Literature Circles are discussion groups in which children meet regularly to talk about books. Groups are determined by book choices which are genre or theme based.  They are heterogeneous and include a range of interests and abilities. Students take on roles in the group; they may pick a favorite passage to share, raise questions for the group, find new vocabulary, talk about literary elements, etc. A whole class may read one book in common, or groups of students may read different titles connected by a theme, genre, or author.  Our goal is to help students gain a deeper understanding of how to think and talk deeply about books. 

Reading Conferences

 

 

 

 

 

Music 4

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The frouth grade music program is based on the Orff-Shulwerk model of music education. Experiences in speech, movement, dance, song, instrumental work, listening, improvisation, and critiquing lead to the development of increasingly sophisticated skills and concepts through the child’s experiences as performer, composer, critic, and listener. This structure for learning music has at its roots active participation by all. The literature for Schulwerk comes from Music for Children as the foundation for instructional sequence.
For students to be fully engaged in the music program in the Lower School, they need to participate in ensemble through instrumental work, singing, drama, dance, creative movement and improvisation. Through these experiences students develop an increased understanding of the elements of music. It is the blending of all of these areas that creates an increasingly sophisticated ensemble experience for students. Experiences in the first curriculum maintain an experiential focus. Experiences in the second – fourth grade curriculums maintain an experiential and conceptual focus.

Core to the curriculum is music which is drawn from a world perspective. Exposure to music from many cultures gives students a window into the understanding of how music reflects the lives and values of other people. Through music, participants harmonize into a single expression which facilitates relationships and strengthens community.