4th Grade

The fourth graders are the leaders of the Lower School – shouldering new responsibilities and privileges and serving as role models and sources of inspiration for the younger students. They delve into their reading, writing, and math studies and begin thinking about the world in broader terms: government structures, geography and landforms, and political action.

List of 6 items.

  • Writing

    Fourth graders are avid writers, who explore and practice the writing process from prewriting and drafting to editing, revising, and final drafts. They focus on writing effective paragraphs in descriptive, narrative, expository and persuasive essays, and letters. Through workshopping their writing with fellow students and their teachers, the students develop and apply effective word choices, ideas, voice, and sentence fluency. There is also continuing focus on grammar, spelling, and mechanics.
  • Reading

    Increasingly sophisticated and nuanced readers, fourth graders use literature circles, whole-class novel studies, and independent reading to continue to grow as readers and thinkers. Classwork integrates reading material with social studies content, including historical fiction, to promote interdisciplinary thinking. While reading, fourth graders explore character development and motivation, authors’ styles, conflicts, themes, and their own personal connection to the literature. Then, the students use discussion and written assignments to develop their understanding of implicit and explicit meaning in texts. They also focus on further developing their vocabularies.
  • Mathematics

    Mathematical concepts are explored in fourth grade through group work, guided work, and independent practice. Students explore strategies for multi-digit multiplication and division, use manipulatives and tools to master concepts, and develop questioning and problem-solving skills. Students also develop whole-number operations through the thousands, focusing on the relationship between the operations. The fourth grade continues its study of decimals, percentages, fractions, geometry, probability, and measurement. To emphasize the real-word applications of math, technology is incorporated into the curriculum.
  • Social Studies

    The social studies curriculum in fourth grade uses discussion, debate, storytelling, and role-playing to link current events to historical topics. For their projects and presentations, fourth graders practice research skills, such as use of primary and secondary sources, databases, illustrations, and maps. Units in social studies include a study of the Bill of Rights; Choosing to Participate, a study of people and events involved in the Civil Rights struggle from 1850 to the present; The Geography of America’s Regions; The Exploration and Colonization of the United States; and The Revolutionary War.
  • Science

    In fourth grade science, students develop and apply their scientific inquiry skills in a range of areas. In the lab, they perform experiments according to the scientific method and learn how to use the scientific observation tools available to them. They participate in individual and group projects and maintain their own science journal. There are several units over the course of the year’s curriculum. In Life Science, students use The Cathedral School campus as a springboard for inquiry into ecosystems. They also study animal classification and appearance, animal habitats, food chains, and life cycles, and then research and design digital field guides about an animal they choose. In the lab, they perform dissections of a worm and a chicken. In STEAM, the fourth grade challenge is to build a model of an innovation for a theme park. Earth science focuses on landforms, rocks and minerals, and soil composition. In a magnetism and electricity unit, students investigate static electricity, simple circuits, how batteries work, and electric currents and computers. Finally, fourth graders learn about innovations in urban farming, including sourcing seeds, roof farms, and hydroponics and aquaponics. This unit includes hands-on farming in state-of-the-art planting beds on the School’s lower terrace.
  • World Languages

    After four years of Spanish-language instruction, fourth graders prepare to take on new challenges in their world language study. All fourth grade students will take a semester of Spanish and a semester of French. This gives students the option to experience both languages before choosing a language concentration in Upper School, where they elect to study either French or Spanish. For both languages, the students continue to expand their language listening, speaking, reading and writing skills through conversation, hands-on activities, songs, and games. French and Spanish culture, traditions, and history are also in integral part of the world language curriculum.
The capstone project of the Lower School curriculum, Passion for Learning, is a presentation that all fourth graders conceptualize, write, edit, and present to the entire Lower School during Assembly throughout the school year. These presentations help students develop leadership skills, prepare them for the demands of the Upper School and demonstrate Cathedral’s core values in a meaningful way. After choosing their topic—past Passion for Learning projects have included reading, photography, soccer, robotics, and even Elvis Presley—fourth graders work with an assigned advisor who helps them brainstorm ideas and structure their presentation. Passion for Learning presentations help promote perseverance, determination, leadership, and confidence for each fourth grader as they transition from the Lower School to the Upper School.
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