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Fourth Grade

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This is a summary of the basic fourth-grade curriculum. The sequential nature of this curriculum guide is important. Progress along a continuum of learning is the goal; therefore, at any time, a student may be working on skills that are at, above or below his or her assigned grade. To the extent possible, teachers provide each child with appropriate material for his or her own level of achievement in language arts and mathematics. By the end of fourth grade, most students have learned what is presented here; many go beyond. Children who need additional help may receive it through remedial or special education services.

Self-confidence is fundamental to a child’s success in school. Children should learn that persistence, together with loving, firm, supportive help from both parents and teachers, can result in success. To provide this support is our mutual task.

Ideally, during his or her career at the Ray School, each student will acquire an appropriate body of knowledge and specific abilities as a learner, a person and a member of the school community. Successful life-long learners develop self-confidence, initiative, curiosity, creativity, a willingness to take risks, respect for self and others, enjoyment of learning, and good citizenship. At the Ray School, these traits are developed through studies designed to help each child reach the following goals by the end of fifth grade.

Key Results

  1. Children will use language thoughtfully to express and receive information.
  2. Children will use basic mathematical concept sand skills.
  3. Children will use analytical, systematic, intuitive and creative methods to solve problems.
  4. Children will use the scientific method to explore the physical and natural sciences.
  5. Children will begin to gain an understanding of the larger world through social studies.
  6. Children will begin to understand themselves, their relationships and their responsibilities.
  7. Children will be able to participate in, appreciate and enjoy experiences in the arts.
  8. Children will develop responsibility for their health and physical fitness.

Language Arts

The goal of the Language Arts curriculum is to teach children to use language thoughtfully and to express and receive information and ideas. Children learn to read and write in the same way that they learn to speak–that is, by using their emerging literacy in meaningful situations. In school, we provide children with numerous opportunities to listen, speak, read, and write. The necessary details of reading and writing are taught most effectively in contexts meaningful to the student.

This curriculum is a guide for teaching all the language arts. It includes listening and speaking as necessary parts of reading and writing. It presents a variety of literary experiences to foster a sense of meaning and enjoyment in learning to read and write.

  • Obtain information, directions, instructions
  • Understand and follow multi-step directions
  • Make timely and appropriate responses to others
  • Listen for enjoyment
  • Understand speaker’s message
  • Give clear directions; make simple announcements
  • Participate in small- and large-group discussions
  • Deliver information in front of class
  • Perform/recite short written work
  • Express feelings and opinions to peers and adults
  • Elaborate on ideas

Vocabulary/Word Recognition
  • Continue to expand vocabulary, including content-area vocabulary
  • Understand synonyms, antonyms and homonyms
Word Analysis
  • Continue to use phonetic, structural and contextual analysis to read unfamiliar words
Comprehension: Literal
  • Recall sequence of events
  • Recognize characters, setting and plot
  • Follow written directions
Comprehension: Inferential
  • Understand main idea
  • Predict outcomes
  • Interpret character traits and feelings
  • Interpret a character’s point of view
  • Recognize contrasting points of view among characters
  • Differentiate between fact and opinion; fiction and nonfiction
  • Determine cause and effect
Comprehension: Interpretive
  • Relate text to self, other text, and the larger world

Preparation for Writing
  • Brainstorm, alone or in a group, to develop topics
  • Select a topic to develop
  • Use a template to structure writing
  • Use information skills to research a topic
  • Learn to write complete sentences and develop a coherent paragraph
  • Write a piece that communicates effectively to an audience
  • Respond to the reactions of an audience
  • Share writing with peers
  • Compose fiction, nonfiction, poetry, reports
  • Reread own work to assure the meaning is clear
  • Delete unwanted portions of the work
  • Use revision strategies to enrich the piece
  • Recognize and correct spelling mistakes using appropriate resources
  • Use correct capitalization and punctuation
  • Use correct subject/predicate agreement
  • Use adjectives and adverbs correctly
  • Correct run-on sentences and sentence fragments
  • Choose several pieces of work for publication

  • Nouns: common, proper, singular and plural
  • Verbs: action and being
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • Aspects of grammar
    • Subjects and predicates
    • Complete sentences
  • Sentence beginnings and the word “I”
  • Proper nouns
  • Titles
  • Quotation beginning
  • Titles for people
  • Names of places
  • Names of states
  • Time and dates
Punctuation Marks
  • Periods
  • Question marks
  • Exclamation marks
  • Commas in series
  • Commas in numbers
  • Commas in letter writing
  • Quotation marks in direct quotation
  • Quotation marks with other punctuation marks
  • Hyphens to indicate syllables at the end of a line
  • Apostrophes used to show ownership
  • Apostrophes in contractions

Learning to spell is a developmental process. Spelling instruction includes helpful strategies and some useful rules that can help children learn to spell. The goal of the spelling program is to help students become competent, independent spellers and encourage them to apply their spelling skills across the curriculum in meaningful writing experiences. Students learn useful spelling rules and generalizations to aid in spelling development.

The key components of the spelling program:

Students use word lists that include:
  • Words most frequently used in writing
  • Words governed by reliable or phonic generalizations
  • High-frequency demon words that defy generalizations
  • Words most frequently misspelled in writing
  • High-utility content-area words
Misspelled words are identified and worked on in writing.

Accountability and evaluation are built into the spelling program.

Students learn a variety of multi-sensory techniques to help learn new spelling words:
  • Learn spelling words as whole unit
  • Develop visual imagery
  • Try alternate spellings; see which looks correct
  • Sound out word
  • Learn to spell in clusters (to-get-her)
  • Think of related words
  • Think of word parts
Students learn and use proofreading skills that may enable the writer to distinguish between correct and incorrect spelling.

Students learn use of dictionary and other resources to check spelling.

  • Use legible upper-and lower-case cursive or printing.
Information Skills
  • Use an on-line catalog to locate materials by subject, title and author
  • Locate fiction and nonfiction materials in the Ray School library/media center
  • Locate and use table of contents, index and glossary
  • Use guide words and indexes to locate information in books and encyclopedias
  • Use encyclopedias, almanacs and atlases to find information on a topic
  • Use nonprint materials as source of information
  • Use newspapers and magazines as sources of information
  • Use a search strategy for locating resources on a specific topic
  • Take notes in his or her own words, using key words and phrases
  • Share information and ideas with a written, oral or visual presentation
  • Participate in open-ended discussions of literature
  • Recognize the work of a variety of authors and illustrators
  • Recognize a variety of literary genres
  • Listen while teacher reads aloud
  • Recognize and appreciate examples of good literature
  • Read books of own choosing in class
  • Choose appropriate books independently in the library
  • Progress through developmental stages of oral and silent reading.


Problem Solving
  • Solve problems that require a variety of strategies, with and without manipulatives
  • Evaluate solutions
  • Write word problems
  • Solve multi-step problems
  • Investigate patterns which mix operations
  • Work alone and in groups to investigate problems and identify one or more strategies for solving them
  • Discuss, draw and write about mathematical relationships and concepts
  • Discover and discuss the relationship between processes
  • Connect mathematics to the real world, i.e. science, art, economics, literature
Number Sense and Numeration
  • Read, write and make a model of any number up to 6 digits
  • Discuss and give examples of the uses of numbers
Number Operations
  • Basic facts – all operations
  • Explore the relationships among the four operations
  • Understand and explore the concept of fractions
  • Explore the operations of addition and subtraction of fractions with common denominators
  • Understand and write fractional parts up through eighths
  • Find the sum of any three four-digit numbers
  • Find the difference between two four-digit numbers
  • Develop concept for finding the product of one or two digit factors (i.e. 24 x 7)
  • Investigate the meaning of multiplication and division by using manipulatives, pictures and arrays
  • Multiply three-digit numbers by two-digit numbers
  • Divide three-digit numbers by one-digit numbers, with remainders; check by multiplying
  • Understand and write fractions (with demominators 2 through 8 )
  • Add/subtract fractions with like denominators
  • Use a variety of strategies to estimate the results of a problem involving either the four operations with whole numbers or measurement
Geometry and Spatial Sense
  • Identify, describe, and draw models of rays, parallel and perpendicular lines, and right, straight, acute and obtuse angles
  • Explore parallelograms, rhombi, and trapezoids using concrete models, such as geoboards, and make a list of properties for each
  • Explore congruency
  • Explore lines of symmetry
  • Name and describe properties of cylinders, cones, cubes, spheres, and pyramids
  • Recognize and describe three-dimensional shapes
  • Use standard units to measure length and temperature
  • Find area and perimeter
  • Recognize names and values of coins and calculate change
  • Figure time intervals in hours and minutes
Data Analysis and Probability
  • Collect data and construct picture, bar and line graphs
  • Interpret graphs
  • Explore probability
Functions and Relations
  • Recognize, describe, extend, and create a wide variety of patterns
  • Write and solve open sentences


Children will use the scientific method to study the physical and natural sciences. Through research and inquiry, students will explore themes in:

  • Anatomy and Physiology-e.g., digestive system, nutrition
  • Zoology-e.g., animal behavior
  • Physics-e.g., simple machines
  • Earth and Space Science-e.g., solar system
  • Environmental Studies-e.g., ecology, ecosystems, recycling
The process of investigation will help students realize that becoming involved and remaining open to new ideas are critical to scientific discovery. They will be encouraged to take calculated risks without fear of failure, become involved, and understand and tolerate individual differences. In the course of their studies, children will employ the following skills:


  • Use senses to gain information
  • Recognize patterns
  • Describe observations
  • Compare and contrast similarities and differences
  • See continuity and changes
  • Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant observations
  • objects, actions, relationships and data
  • nonstandard and standard units, using appropriate instruments
Manipulate information
  • Gather and organize data
  • Generalize from data
  • Make predictions
  • Draw a logical conclusion
  • Interpret data
Use the Scientific Method
  • Identify a question
  • Identify variables
  • State hypotheses
  • Design an experiment
  • Carry out an experiment
  • Evaluate results

Social Studies

Children will begin to gain an understanding of the larger world through social studies. In addition, they will begin to understand themselves, their relationships, and their responsibilities to themselves and to others.

Fourth-grade studies include:


  • Native American Studies
  • New Hampshire
  • US Geography
Skills and Processes
  • Participate in discussion of world and local events
Map Skills
  • Read maps and globes
  • Make maps
  • Interpret a variety of maps
Research Skills
  • Locate information on a topic using a variety of sources
  • Record information
  • From notes summarize and present information
  • Similarities and differences
  • Historical growth
  • Cultural diversity and equity issues
  • Forces of supply and demand


Children study the foundations of personal health and physical well being through a program of health education that integrates age-appropriate information about issues and concerns in the categories of:

  • Growth and Development
  • Mental/Emotional Health
  • Personal Health
  • Family Life and Health
  • Nutrition
  • Disease Prevention and Control
  • Safety and First Aid
  • Consumer Health
  • Substance Use and Abuse
  • Community and Environmental Health Management


  • Computer awareness
  • Use LOGO or Micro Worlds for simple graphics programming to reinforce subject area skills
  • Begin to use AppleWorks 6 for word processing
  • Introduction to the Internet


The fourth grade arts program reinforces positive attitudes and skills developed in earlier grades and offers new ways to apply skills and concepts in drawing, painting, collage, fiber arts, mixed media, and sculpture. Students are introduced to proportion, perspective, and color theory and continue to develop other basic design elements such as texture, form and pattern.

Students learn about styles, characteristics, similarities, and contrasts between the arts of various Native American cultures. Fourth graders will have the opportunity to learn about and work with a variety of native plants used for basketry and fiber dyes that will grow in Ray School’s new “Gathering Garden“. The work of a North American artist, (such as Georgia O’Keeffe or Frederick Remington), is explored, enhancing their understanding of art and expanding their knowledge of U.S. history. In addition, all classes will create art that correlates to our PTO- A.R.T. gallery artist.


General music at the Ray School is full of hands-on activities that help students learn the concepts of music and the art of listening. The majority of general music classes use the Orff-Schulwerk method, a teaching approach which promises that we and our students will interact as partners in making music. Playing instruments, singing and moving are treated as ensemble experiences, requiring mutual awareness and cooperation in order to create successful musical expression. Improvisation and composition are an integral part of this process. Some of the materials used in class may include barred instruments, recorders, bells and simple percussion.

Additional instrumental and vocal opportunities are available. Students in 4th grade may elect to study violin in group lessons while 5th graders may choose violin, cello or one of the traditional band instruments. Chorus is a requirement for all 3rd and 4th graders and is optional for 5th graders.

In December, two concerts are held: one by students in grades K-2 and another by the singers in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade choruses. These older choruses also perform in late spring. Throughout the year, children may participate in mini-recitals, giving them an opportunity to showcase skills learned outside of school. The maxi-recital in June is reserved for 5th graders only.

It is our goal that all students leave the Ray School with a well-rounded knowledge of music and a deep desire to learn more.

Physical Education

In physical education the children begin to assume responsibility for taking care of themselves, and to develop cognitive knowledge of physical fitness. They learn how to assess, achieve and maintain physical fitness through activity, testing and goal-setting. Through cooperative activities and games, they learn to appreciate the relationships with others that result from participation in physical activity. We continue to promote an atmosphere that encourages fun and activity for all, no matter what their ability level.

Special Educatation

In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), special education at the Ray School will provide individual education programs (IEPs) that enable children with identified disabilities to make steady educational progress, while participating to the greatest extent possible in the mainstream classes and the curriculum described herein.

Affective Education

A comprehensive guidance and counseling curriculum encourages each child to grow in skills in the following areas: personal, social, emotional, educational and moral. Students will work toward achieving self-understanding, social skills and decision-making skills, and gain competence in taking care of oneself.

Bonding to Family and School

  • Appreciate self as special
  • Identify personal strengths and strengths of others
  • Identify healthy ways to have fun and feel good
  • Identify ways to take care of the body
  • Abide by ground rules for discussing
  • Discuss sensitive topics in front of others
  • Make decisions
  • Identify source of influence
  • Learn to say “NO” and keep friends (refusal skills)
Drug and Alcohol Information
  • Define drugs and their effects
  • Discuss effects of chemical dependency on the family
  • Know the effects of alcohol and nicotine on various body systems
  • Discuss reasons people do or do not use drugs
  • Discuss risk factors and ways to reduce risks
  • Identify and evaluate sources of information about drugs

Susan Hendrickson

4th Grade Teacher

Joyce Roy

4th Grade Teacher

Brendan Scribner

4th Grade Teacher

Rebecca Sexton

4th Grade Teacher

Emily Wilson

4th Grade Teacher