We use the comprehensive Language Arts program by Scott Foresman which covers reading, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and writing. Students are exposed to a variety of genres: non-fiction, historical fiction, science fiction, biography, classics, and mysteries.
In addition, reading skills, phonics, and literary analysis are taught through the class novels, Island of the Blue Dolphin, By the Great Horn Spoon, Sarah, Plain and Tall, Blue Willow, and Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Fourth grade students work on developing their expository writing skills through paragraphs and essays which compare/contrast, summarize the main idea, work with similes and metaphors, and analyze point of view.
The Harcourt Brace math series emphasizes place value, fact families, number sense, multiplication by two and three digits, division by two or more digits, fractions, decimals, reading graphs and graphing, geometry, measurement, elapsed time, probability, and word problems.
Our fourth grade science curriculum includes Earth Science topics such as geology, weathering, and rocks/minerals, Physical Science topics such as magnetism, electricity, and simple machines, and Life Science topics such as ecosystems, biomes, the food chain, adaptations and survival. Through our Foss Science program students also use the scientific method to conduct experiments, interpret and analyze data, and formulate conclusions.
The study of California history and geography is the primary focus of the fourth grade social studies curriculum. Students begin their study with the geography and geology of California; they learn about the California Indians and the first explorers; students learn about the Mission Period and Ranchos as well as the Westward Movement, the Gold Rush, emergence into Statehood, the development of the Transcontinental Railroad, Farming and Agriculture, the rise of Industry, Dust Bowl Migration, New Immigrants, and the Future of California.
Special Projects and Field Trips
Each student uses his/her writing skills to research and write a report on life during the Mission period with a particular emphasis on one of the many California Missions. In the spring, students research a scientist’s life and contributions and then give a first-person presentation in costume to family and friends. As enrichment, students attend a number of field trips which include the Buenaventura Mission, Olivas Adobe, La Purisma Mission, Stagecoach Inn, the Lemon Packing House, and Olvera Street. Two programs, “Rock and Roll Geology” and “Watt is Electricity”, are an important part of the fourth grade science program.