RIDGEWOOD AVENUE SCHOOL
Glen Ridge School District
FOURTH GRADE CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK PARENT BULLETIN
Dear Parents and Guardians,
At Ridgewood Avenue School we strive to deliver a curriculum that challenges every child while building a solid foundation for future success. Our staff and administrative team work together with students and parents to develop a positive school environment where an exciting place is found for students to learn and grow.
Our students not only receive instruction in the core academic subjects, Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies, but they also experience an extensive related arts curriculum that includes Art, Music, Physical Education, Media Skills, World Languages, Science and Technology Enrichment, Guidance and Health. Each subject area curriculum is reviewed and revised on a five year rotation plan.
Our dedicated highly qualified staff is committed to the goal of academic success and student personal growth. Instruction is delivered with consideration of the various learning styles amongst the students. Technology and character education are integrated in the lessons. We offer numerous enrichment opportunities through assemblies, field trips, clubs, band, chorus and after school courses.
We will continue to work hard to provide a safe and supportive environment that enhances a joy of learning for all of our students.
Michael Donovan, Principal
The study of language arts is an integral component to the fourth grade instructional program. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are developed and maintained throughout all curricular areas. The Macmillan/McGraw-Hill: Wonders provides a literature-based program offering a variety of genres. Through whole group and small group guided reading lessons, fourth graders are exposed to multicultural stories, various forms of fiction and non-fiction, plays, and poetry. Within the language arts curriculum, students will develop skills in comprehension, vocabulary, predicting, sequencing, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, inferring, cause and effect, character analysis, identifying story elements, and identifying main ideas and details.
In the area of writing, students learn to write in clear, concise, organized language that varies in content and form for different audiences and purposes. They also learn to implement the writing process, which includes prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. Students will learn to focus on the 6+1 Traits of Good writing; ideas and content, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions while working through the writing process.
The Everyday Mathematics series addresses the age-old question “When am I going to use this in the real world?” Lessons are focused on real world application and uses of math concepts. This program uses a spiral approach to learning where concepts are not simply presented in one lesson never to be seen again. They reappear throughout the year to ensure that students are retaining mastery of the skill. In addition, the concepts taught in math class relate to those presented in other areas such as science and social studies so children can see they are not learning skills in isolation.
The units covered in the fourth grade curriculum include: naming and constructing geometric figures, using numbers and organizing data, multiplication and division, decimal numbers, big numbers, estimation and computation, map reference frames, measures of angles, fractions and their uses, perimeter and area, chances and probability, and percents.
The fourth grade science program combines independent and collaborative studies through the use of the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill: Science: A Closer Look student textbook and supplemental resources. All science units include hands-on activities, labs, and connections to students’ everyday lives. The themes below will be covered throughout the year.
Science classes will explore the different kingdoms of life with focus on the Animal Kingdom, various ecosystems and how living things survive in different habitats. Students will enjoy learning about Earth’s amazing animals and how they interact with their environment.
Next, students will investigate weather and space including climate, air and weather patterns, the water cycle, and learn how to track weather. The classes will make various weather tools and collect their own data to forecast and predict the weather.
During the study of physical science, students will focus on matter, including its properties and changes. Students will investigate forces and energy, such as changing motion, work and energy, and simple machines. In addition, students will examine energy forces, such as heat, sound, light, electricity, and magnetism. Youngsters will really enjoy the opportunity to experiment with magnets, create circuits, and explore the various paths of electricity.
Additionally, classes will investigate the solar system, the solar system’s components such as the Earth, Sun, Moon, and star constellations. They will also study the Earth and its resources, including minerals, rocks, soil, water, and resources from the past. Throughout these units, a focus is placed on conservation of our Earth’s natural resources.
The fourth grade social studies program features an exciting and varied curriculum. Students learn about the Garden State as they study both the geography and geology of New Jersey’s past and present. Utilizing the Pearson textbook series, students learn about the uniqueness of our state. Known history begins with the arrival of the Lenape Indians. Our state has experienced the full sweep of exploration, colonization, revolution, industrialization, and the intense excitement of the twentieth century.
Over one hundred ethnic groups have found a home here in the nation's fifth smallest state. Students quickly learn that New Jersey is a representation of the United States, highlighting both the contradictions and extremes that are modern America. The Garden State possesses magnificent suburban communities along with decayed urban centers. Sprawling farmlands exist along with overcrowded highways. Factories dating back to industry's infancy are prevalent in our state, as are gleaming super-structures housing the marvels of high tech.
In addition, students will gain an appreciation for their own freedoms through exposure to primary documents such as the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Classes will discuss revolutionary leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin and evaluate the impact that such individuals had on our nation's history. Fourth graders will also consider the significant impact of women and African Americans on our state and nation. Throughout the Social Studies program, students will develop the critical thinking and social skills necessary for effective citizenship in the democratic society of our classrooms, school, state, and country.
The general goal of the fourth grade program is to link the students more closely to history utilizing content, concepts, reading skills and geography through community and real life experiences. The program will develop the students’ understanding of their environment, culture, nation, and state and will foster patriotism and respect for diverse communities. Students will expand their knowledge of the regions of the United States through investigations of major historical events, key geographical and natural resources, as well as the history and economy of each region.
Appreciation for the printed word is a priority at the Ridgewood Avenue School library. Reading as a pleasurable pastime is encouraged. During class, stories, poems, and essays are read and discussed. The value of reading magazines and newspapers is also emphasized.
Additionally, the librarian provides instruction for all grades in research and computer skills. It is also an “open library” in that teachers and students may use the resources within whenever necessary. Students are scheduled for library for at least one period in every six-day cycle.
Starting in the third grade, students begin developing their research skills. They use dictionaries, almanacs, encyclopedias, and atlases. Gradually, they become more comfortable with finding answers on their own. By the time they are sixth graders, students should be quite comfortable using print sources as well as databases and the Internet.
At all levels, emphasis is placed on the accuracy and reliability of information sources. Information literacy grows significantly during students years at Ridgewood Avenue School.
Physical education is part of a school-based program that promotes social, emotional, and physical well-being. The purpose of physical education is to develop and enhance gross motor skills, social and life skills, and the learner's thinking and problem solving skills.
Fourth grade physical education encompasses the skills that foster participation in physical activities throughout life. Students will learn and apply movement concepts, health related fitness concepts, as well as social concepts. These skills and concepts are taught through a variety of activities and units including dance and movement, individual and team sports, and integration of other discipline areas.
The three domains of physical education include psychomotor, cognitive, and affective. Psychomotor skills include all physical movements from traveling to throwing and catching. Cognitive skills may include decision-making, learning rules of a sport, and/or creating strategies to become more successful. The affective domain encompasses teamwork, being prepared, respect for self and others, and good sportsmanship.
Health education is part of a school-based program that provides information to foster student skills, attitudes, and behaviors that will result in lifelong healthful decision-making. Health education promotes student physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.
The fourth grade health program focuses on the body systems (Nervous, Skeletal, Muscular, Respiratory, Circulatory and Digestive) and the ways to keep these systems healthy. The harmful effects of tobacco and alcohol are stressed while avoidance options are promoted. Safety procedures at home and away from home are discussed. Development of positive character education traits is also reinforced.
Effective communication in Spanish is the primary goal. Students are asked to use all four components of language: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, in order to be able to communicate in an effective manner. Spanish is often used in the classroom to teach language concepts.
Fourth graders will focus on four units throughout the school year including expressing time and weather, describing identity, expressing and describing community life, and describing and meeting our personal needs. Pictures, stuffed animals, gestures, acting, and music help to convey meaning and reduce or even eliminate the necessity for direct translation. Homework is a written reinforcement of concepts taught in class. Periodic assessments are given to determine the students' level of comprehension. All four language components are assessed during the marking period.
Students in grade four receive world language instruction two times in a six-day cycle, with a teacher who comes into their classroom. Students are assessed and a grade for world languages appears on their report card.MUSICThe curriculum for music in fourth grade is divided into three sections. All fourth grade students take the first section, general music. In this class, students will learn the basics of listening to, performing, writing, and appreciating music.The second section of music offered to fourth graders is the choral program. This is a performing ensemble that meets twice a week before school. The chorus consists of students of all ages, grades and ability. The main focus of this ensemble is reading music and performing.
The last section of music available to the fourth grade is the instrumental program. There are two bands at this school currently, an advanced band and a beginner band. The beginner band is for all first year instrumental students. They perform one concert a year in the spring with the advanced band. The advanced band is available for anyone wishing to audition during the year. There are currently students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades in this ensemble. The advanced band performs two concerts, one in the winter and the other in the spring. All instrumentalists receive one music lesson a week during the school year.
As youngsters enter the fourth grade, they embark upon an ambitious and exciting year in art class. Students acquire a knowledge of skills that will increase an aesthetic awareness in the visual arts. At the same time, they develop and define design through the use of perceptual, intellectual, and technological skills in the utilization of the art elements and media. Students develop a working knowledge of the elements of art criticism based on aesthetic criteria. As art students, the fourth graders are taught to identify and describe various art forms from different historical and contemporary periods and cultures. An appreciation and recognition of the impact of the visual arts in daily life is gained as well.