Fourth grade responds to students’ increasing sense of intellectual curiosity and budding social independence.
Fourth graders making the critical transition from learning to read to reading to learn, so assigned texts weave together social studies, science, and math. Learning experiences require students to practice personal integrity, classroom responsibility, and community participation.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) highlights a balance between independence and interdependence. The Social Thinking Curriculum, Responsive Classroom, and Meridian Cares supports respectful interactions, develops trust, and leads students to be contributing members of the community. Regular experience with good citizenship comes from serving as role models for first grade “buddy classes” as well as engagement in service learning and community service projects.
Literacy and Language Arts instruction is based on Columbia Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Students are explicitly taught how to write – this includes spelling and conventions as well as qualities and strategies of good writing. They are given ample time to cycle through the writing process of rehearsing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing as they explore narrative, essay, informational and opinion writing. In all cases, students are invested in their writing because they are involved in the selection of their topics. Similarly in reading, students play a critical role in the selection of fiction and nonfiction texts as they practice reading comprehension skills as well as their reading fluency and accuracy.
Math in the fourth grade engages children’s thinking and reasoning abilities through age-appropriate problems and investigations in the areas of place value, operations, algebraic thinking, measurement, data, and geometry. During the year, students focus intensively on the four critical areas: First, developing an understanding and fluency with the four basic mathematical operations with an emphasis on multi-digit multiplication and division involving multi-digit dividends. Second, developing an understanding of fraction equivalence, addition and subtraction of fractions with like denominators, and multiplication of fractions by whole numbers. And third, understanding that geometric figures can be analyzed and classified based on their properties, such as having parallel sides, perpendicular sides, particular angle measures, and symmetry. Students work individually and in small groups at a pace and level that best meets their needs as growing mathematicians.
Social Studies focuses on Washington state history, politics, geography, geology, and Native peoples. By considering how environment shapes a way of life, students interpret regional culture as well as more distant communities. The school-wide Global Studies program encourages students to appreciate diversity by comparing and contrasting their lives with cultures and countries across the globe.
Life Science: During this unit, students take ownership of one of the Pacific Northwest’s most valuable resources, salmon. Students also learn about pollution, and what can be done to reduce it and conserve natural resources. Visit the Science Lab to learn more>
Physical Science: Students explore the fundamentals of flight by assembling and experimenting with a hangar full of flying machines. Visit the Science Lab to learn more>
Earth & Environmental Science: Students explore the massive movements that are constantly shaping Earth, volcanoes erupting, trenches creeping open, continental plates colliding and sending mountain ranges skyward. Visit the Science Lab to learn more>
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