Watch a video about life in the Fourth Grade.
The fourth grade is a true year of growth and change within the Primary Years Program at Dwight School. Students continue to build knowledge and confidence across disciplines, delving into topics like ancient civilizations, force and motion, belief systems and natural resources. Fourth graders build collaboration skills while practicing Learner Profile traits, such as being reflective and thoughtful communicators. Students learn that education crosses subject boundaries, applying and enhancing math skills during Units of Inquiry and using knowledge gained during Units of Inquiry for reading and writing sessions. Learning experiences extend beyond the classroom and include exciting trip opportunities that enhance topics covered during the year. This balanced approach to learning helps cultivate an adaptive and engaged classroom of students.
On any day, you might find our Grade 4 students:
- Visiting a Buddhist temple, a synagogue, the Islamic Cultural Center, or a church as part of their study of world religious beliefs and values
- Exploring Newton’s Law of Motion through a scientific quest to figure out the impact of air resistance on a paper spinner
- Using their 1:1 iPads to virtually animate simple machines
- Connecting to another class in an undisclosed place in a “Mystery Skype” session ― and then trying to guess their location through “yes” or “no” questions
- Taking the stage at Carnegie Hall with Dwight students from New York, London, Shanghai, and Seoul
The fourth grade is a true year of growth and change within the Primary Years Program at Dwight School. Students continue to build knowledge and confidence across disciplines, delving into topics like ancient civilizations, force and motion, belief systems and natural resources. Fourth graders build collaboration skills while practicing Learner Profile traits, such as being reflective and thoughtful communicators. Students learn that education crosses subject boundaries, applying and enhancing math skills during Unit of Inquiry and using knowledge gained during Unit of Inquiry for reading and writing sessions. Learning experiences extend beyond the classroom and include exciting trip opportunities that enhance topics covered during the year. This balanced approach to learning helps cultivate an adaptive and engaging classroom of students.
- Units of Inquiry
- World Language
- Visual Arts
- Physical Education
In fourth grade, students inquire about six units using the transdisciplinary themes. These units cover areas of science, social studies, and personal/social education. These units will inquire into such concepts as: government, forces, resources, major world religions, and civilizations. Students will use New York City to bring each unit to life in many different ways. Some examples of our learning journey will include students examining human impact on resources and reflecting on how their own consumption of these resources impacts the world around them. Through our unit on How We Express Ourselves, students practice being open-minded about religious beliefs and values around the world. In our unit on How the World Works, students experiment with many different forces and how these help our understanding of the world. In the spring term, the entire grade travels to Washington, DC for some tremendous educational and social experiences!
Students begin fourth grade by reflecting on their reading habits and genre preferences. As the year progresses, students dig deeper into the texts they read, building their inferencing skills by uncovering implicit themes, ideas, and character motivations in fictional works. Later, fourth graders practice “reading for a purpose” using nonfiction texts to aid in research and heighten their understanding of the subject matter being studied across disciplines. Students enhance their note-taking skills and formulate questions within their reading that require them to research further for the answer. In book clubs, fourth graders practice analyzing literature with a critical lens, identifying important and relevant topics like social issues within the texts they read. Students also connect with Where We Are in Place and Time by studying place and time in the historical fiction genre.
In fourth grade, students experiment with craft elements, tone, and voice in their writing. Fictional writing is always a fun unit for students where they write a story from beginning to end. Fourth grade writers elevate the quality of their stories by adding description and detail with strategies like “show don’t tell,” as well as practicing introductions that hook the reader. Students also focus on organization in writing, practicing paragraphs, and outlining personal essays, as well as properly using conventions like capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. Students also explore researched based writing by backing up their opinions with relevant research. We connect to our reading by having students journal from a character’s perspective in a historical fiction novel. We also focus on how word choice and more specifically, figurative language, can help create impact on a reader in our poetry unit.
During the year, fourth graders inquire into many different mathematical concepts. Problem-solving skills are interwoven into all units studied. Fourth graders also become more independent in selecting strategies to solve problems, as well as explaining their mathematical thinking. Students learn place value to the nearest million. Multiplication and division are a focus in fourth grade, and students review their basic facts, while becoming experts in multi-digit multiplication and division with remainders. Fourth graders collect data and analyze information to connect to the Units of Inquiry. Students extend their understanding of fraction equivalence and ordering through games and hands-on activities.
All students in the PYP are required to study at least one language in addition to English. Learning these languages is seen to be an important element in preparing young people for citizenship in the developing global community.
Students in French, Spanish, and Mandarin are exposed to the culture of the target language and develop the necessary skills to become active users of the language at the end of their school career. Students in grades 1-5 learn language through a variety of ways including songs, games, role-playing, and cultural activities.
In fourth grade, students can reproduce all previously learned content and learn more complex grammar and vocabulary. Students can produce a guided conversation by using correct words and sentence structure to give and ask for information. Students are able to understand dialogues and learn to write simple sentences. Chinese culture is explored through arts, music, and storybooks, and the celebration of Chinese New Year.
In fourth grade, students are able to reproduce all previously learned content and learn more complex grammar and vocabulary, such as action verbs and daily activities. They can read and understand a short paragraph in Spanish and can engage in short conversations. Students can also generate original short sentences. Students will experience some Spanish traditions throughout the year as they celebrate “Día de los Muertos,” “Three Kings Day,” and “Cinco de Mayo.”
In fourth grade, students are able to reproduce all previously learned content and learn more complex grammar and vocabulary, such as action verbs and daily activities. They can read and understand a short paragraph in French. Students start to take part in more complex conversations. Students can also generate original short sentences. Students will experience some French traditions throughout the year as they celebrate “la Francophonie.”
By fourth grade, students are becoming more familiar with the different stages of the creative process, from generating initial ideas to the completion of a project. They begin to use personal interests, beliefs, or values as the starting point to create a piece of artwork. Fourth graders explore the artworks of ancient Egypt in great depth as they inquire into Where We Are in Place and Time. Students delve into the concept of imagery and symbolism in the visual arts, and they create their own symbolic characters to tell stories about their lives, which they pour and then carve into fresh plaster to create frescoes. In other units, students are introduced to the principles of graphic design and to the power of iconographic imagery. The principles of balance, contrast, and emphasis are discussed as students inquire into the function of design in the world and explore different types of printmaking. Students use a range of strategies to solve problems during the creative process and now use a variety of media, including technology, to explore and express ideas.
Fourth graders have a great opportunity to perform at our annual, global Dwight Carnegie Hall concerts along with Middle and Upper School students. In a creative, design thinking lab setting, students continue to strengthen essential learning and problem-solving skills while singing, composing, and playing various instruments. Students are exposed to and utilize the latest age-appropriate music technology and are engaged in various Basic Music Theory activities that further strengthen their knowledge of the art form. Students enjoy singing two and three-part choral arrangements and study and perform a rich vocal repertoire in various styles and genres. Throughout the year, fourth grade students present and share their music talents in Community Meetings, Holiday concerts, Lower school assemblies, and Community Outreach Projects. The IB Learner Profile is at the center of our rich musical life in Timothy House and is an integral part of our music curriculum.
Students build on the foundational elements explored in third grade to further their knowledge of dance composition. Exploring improvisation as a technique for their own dance-making, they hone their choreographic skills, focusing on specificity of movement through space, as well as working with or against the music. Attention is paid to rhythmic clarity during the floor exercises, where students have the opportunity to improvise using their own ideas as well as to dance together as a group. This year, the focus is on enhancing and expanding their choreographic toolbox, by exploring how to use the body to employ creativity, cooperation, discipline, and risk-taking in making dances.
Fourth grade students solve challenging problems in groups and identify and utilize the strengths of individual group members in team activities to accomplish a common goal during adventure challenges.They apply skills and techniques involved in a variety of lead-up games, and modified versions of these games. Students also develop their own games and related activities. Fourth grade students use their bodies in response to stimuli and as a medium for expression. They improve and refine traditional gymnastic skills and work in groups to design their own sequences. Students understand the interconnectedness of the factors that contribute to a safe and healthy lifestyle, begin to set goals, and identify strategies that will help to develop well-being. A special focus is on biomechanics, which also helps them to improve techniques of jumping, throwing, and running. They have the opportunity to test their new skills and independently collect and record data in at least one activity in a modified track and field event.
Fourth graders continue to work on being independent researchers and library users. They begin using the online card catalog and its tools in order to broaden their research. The tools and skills of research and note-taking continue to be reinforced through the study of topics connected to the PYP Units of Inquiry. Genre studies focus on informational text as a way to expand their book choices. In addition, students are encouraged to pursue personal reading interests through stories in folklore as well as book discussions and shared read-alouds. Students are encouraged to utilize the library and its resources as they continue to enjoy reading for pleasure and to satisfy their curiosity.
In the fourth grade, technology classes build on the skills from the previous three years of technology classes in the Primary Years Program. Starting in fourth grade, students are using their iPads with increasing independence. Students work on projects that support the PYP units of inquiry while still acquiring skills to become more sophisticated technology users. Students engage in digital citizenship and literacy, learn both the importance and process of internet-based research, and produce and edit products to communicate information and ideas for an intended purpose and a target audience. Students become proficient in presenting their ideas using Keynote and Pages. Students apply design thinking to build 3D structures in Sketch-Up, and animate simple machines throughout their different Units of Inquiry.