The fourth grade classrooms are located on the top floor of the Primary Building. The fourth grade year is marked by growing independence and rising expectations in responsibility. They are Buddies to the kindergarten classes and get to use planners for the first time. Fourth graders take leadership roles in the building, and are preparing themselves for the move to the upper school.
Fourth grade is a time of transition in the classroom. The students will be working toward independence in classroom expectations, class work, and homework. The independent steps will be supported by the teacher, and will meet each student at his/her readiness level. Academics reflect this step. Skills that have been acquired in the lower grades will be the tools used in fourth grade. For example, reading is the skill that has been taught, now reading is the tool for acquiring necessary knowledge in content areas.
4th grade students are taught and encouraged to manage their time and materials throughout the year. They also begin to use planners for the first time. This allows students to take control of their study habits by recording homework assignments, upcoming tests and important dates all in one place. These management strategies set the 4th grade students on the right path for succeeding in Junior High, High School and beyond.
The mission within the 4th grade is to learn to wholly love and respect ourselves and those around us, develop a strong sense of integrity and give back to our community through acts of service. The 4th grade achieves these goals by learning a variety of prayers such as, the Prayer of St. Francis, participating in the Examen, meditation and using personal and group prayer. The students also study scripture such as the ten commandments, the beatitudes, the Gospel and Psalms. The 4th grade primarily focuses its community service on St. Martin De Porres, St. Mary's Food bank, Catholic Relief Services.
In fourth grade, students read skillfully with meaning and purpose using appropriate comprehension and vocabulary strategies. Students read, discuss, reflect, and respond, using evidence from text, to a wide variety of literary genres and informational text. Students read for pleasure and continue to choose books based on personal preference, topic, theme, or author.
Our reading pillars include fluency, vocabulary , comprehension and phonics. Within these pillars, we work to increase independence, build strong content knowledge, comprehend and critique, understand the value of evidence, use technology and digital media as well ac come to understand other perspectives and cultures. We do this by using literature circles, independent reading, class novels, read aloud, readers’ theater leveled readers, basal reading program.
Language arts includes writing, speaking, and listening.
Each year in their writing, students should demonstrate increasing sophistication in all aspects of language use, from vocabulary and syntax, to the development and organization of ideas, and they should address increasingly demanding content and sources.
Writing focuses on appropriate formats for various genres: note-taking, outlines, letters, poetry, paragraphs, and reports. We use the 5 Step Process, teach the Six Traits of Writing, and spend time each trimester with Writers' Workshop. Students spend time in self evaluation, peer conferencing, and goal-setting for improving writing skills.
Following in the Jesuit and Sisters of the Holy Names' tradition, fourth graders practice the arts of speaking and listening through a variety of experiences: reading and reciting poetry, presentations, group projects, readers' theater, and plays. They work on speaking loudly, clearly, slowly, and with expression. Listening with a discerning ear to encourage, and improve, is also practiced.
Math in Focus is the math series used in the 4th grade.. It is based on the Common Core State Standards, which have identified big ideas at each grade level. The key elements are number sense, operations, and algebraic thinking. Measurement, data, and geometry are also important application of the foundational number and algebra concepts. The Standards for Mathematical Practice are integrated within the content through activities, explorations, practice and meaningful discussion. Common Core State Standards correlations are provided for each chapter. Math in Focus helps students build solid conceptual understanding through a focus on problem solving. The strategic, articulated sequence of topics are developed in depth to mastery following the Singapore Mathematics Problem Solving Framework. Students learn the “why” and the “how” through instruction, hands-on activities, and problem solving.
In 4th grade, students study Washington State exclusively. The text book begins with many of the geological features of our region. Later in the book, 4th grade students study Washington's geography, history, important economic resources, and state government. Students work on content reading, vocabulary, test preperation, answering essay questions, and connecting the past to the present.
In order for our students to gain a deeper understanding of important concepts in social studies, a variety of projects are in place that promote research, attention to detail, presentation, and demonstration of mastery. Projects include: Of Cedar and Salmon 2 day workshop, Native American Comparison Project, Traveling the Oregon Trail, and a family history project, titled Passport to Washington. Our spring science project connects to Washington State, also, as each student researches an animal native to the evergreen state.
4th grade science at St. Joseph School is a mixture of hands-on experiments, research, technology use (internet searches, videos, Keynote presentations), guest speakers, and discussion. We teach and emphasize the scientific method in all units.
Electric Circuits: Electricity and magnetism unit. Students explore properties of electricity and magnetism by performing a variety of hands-on experiments including: building circuits, identifying conductors and insulators, series and parallel circuits, constructing a flashlight, and wiring a model house.
Energy and Inventions: Students explore the theory of global warming and its causes. We experiment with a variety of forms of energy, and its conversion from one form to another, emphasizing green energy. We explore and imagine inventions that can stop global warming and/or help us live with it.
Rocks and Minerals: The earth materials FOSS unit brings students in touch with earth's basic building materials. They experience simulated and real rocks, investigate minerals and their properties, and learn techniques used by geologists for taking apart and identifying several important rocks and minerals.
Washington Wildlife/Habitats: Students use a variety of resources including books, web sites, a power point presentation, and guest speakers to gather information about a native species. Students are required to develop detailed notes, write a published report, and present learned information to their classmates.
Each 4th grade student has a Chromebook to use in class. This technology is used as a part of the school's commitment to differentiate learning for all students and enhance learning experiences. Students learn how to appropriately and efficiently research topics, create Slide presentations, produce paragraphs and essays, use online sources to practice math and grammar skills, and collaborate digitally.
Online Resources: Students become familiar with Google Docs, Google Slides, Kidblog, IXL (Math and Grammar), and a plethora of educational websites aimed at deepening student understanding.
4th graders study Washington State history, starting with the Native American cultures from our state. The unit highlight is our two day workshop called Of Cedar and Salmon. Long Claw comes to St. Joe's to teach about the Coastal Culture of the Native People. We take advantage of our local museums to enhance our state study. In the spring, docents from Woodland Park Zoo come to teach us how to take field notes, in preparation for our annual Tiger Mt. hike. There we explore the temperate forest's flora and fauna!