GRADE 4 ACADEMICS

Grade 4 is a time of budding intellectual curiosity. Students begin to see the bigger world, including issues of justice and fairness. The Grade 4 program taps into student curiosity and actively engages students in their quest for knowledge. Based on the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), the curriculum provides a framework for inquiry-based learning that focuses on the development of the whole child, both in the classroom and in the world outside.
 
Language Arts
The language arts curriculum includes a variety of components to develop reading and writing skills. Instilling an everlasting love of reading is a major goal. The Guided Reading Program introduces and encourages students to practice such skills as character study, comparative analysis, analytical development, drawing inferential conclusions, sequencing and understanding the concept of structure and plot. The Grade 4 writing program uses the Six Traits of Writing and encourages proficiency in organization, writing fluency and grammar.
 
Social Studies
The Grade 4 social studies program enhances inquiry skills through real world problems and issues. Students delve into such themes as leadership and government, ways in which the brain and the environment contribute to learning styles, and the skills required to be an effective historian when investigating the past and present history of Washington State and Annie Wright Schools. Through structured inquiry activities students develop skills such as formulating questions, planning and collecting relevant data and information, and communicating findings orally, in writing and through presentations. Collaborative as well as individual work is valued and celebrated, as students engage in the attitudes as well as skills to become lifelong learners.
Mathematics
The Grade 4 mathematics program emphasizes a three-pronged approach for mathematical competence: conceptual understanding, arithmetic and vocabulary. To develop competence, students build skills and then practice within the context of real problem solving. Math activities allow for cooperative group work and for students to use math as a tool, developing communication skills while working on long-term projects. Using the Math In Focus Singapore Math program, students explore mathematical concepts through real world problems as well as hands-on and visual representations all designed to build flexible mathematical thinking.  Topics include estimation strategies, problem solving and logical reasoning, geometry, measurement of area/perimeter, review of basic math facts, long division, fractions and decimals, algebraic thinking, data collection and interpretation.
 
Science
A variety of integrated units explore the human brain, decomposition, electrical circuits and forces. Students focus on the scientific process, measurement, note-taking and study skills. Inquiry-based experiences both in the classroom and in the science lab engage students in discovering science concepts and in applying science process skills.

Spanish
Grade 4 students practice Spanish in pairs, small groups and whole class activities. They also continue to use a textbook, organized around such themes as likes/dislikes, school activities and family. Students utilize the Internet as a resource for language learning and practice by accessing online dictionaries, learning activities and other reference materials. After engaging in various unit-based dialogues throughout the year, students culminate the year by performing original skits that encompass all units.

Technology
Grade 4 students continue to use computers as important learning tools. They use a variety of applications and productivity tools at this level and begin to make decisions on the appropriate way to communicate information using technology. Interacting with multiple programs simultaneously, students also begin to use the Scratch coding program, Makey-Makey hardware, 3-D printers and Lego Mindstorms to enable the students to make a true link between software and hardware. Best practice for Internet and search engine use as well as basic troubleshooting to independently solve routine hardware and software problems are also reinforced.

Learning Resources
Teachers recognize students’ unique learning styles and assist them in reaching their full potential by helping them develop strategies for success. Learning resources are also available from Learning Specialists, who provide both extra challenges and extra support with specific skill work as necessary. Social/emotional resources are also available from the Lower School Counselor, who offers parent education; meets with teachers, individual students, small groups and entire classes; and provides the social/emotional support that helps children feel secure, successful and happy.

Library
Grade 4 goes to the library weekly for stories, books and library activities. During group story time, students enjoy listening to longer chapter books as well as completing research activities based on class assignments. Students are introduced to additional information sources such as almanacs and nonfiction literature and use these resources in completing a spring biography project. During independent library time, students continue solidifying browsing skills and reading comprehension through increasingly sophisticated use of online quizzes and the online catalog.

Art
The primary goal of visual arts instruction is to engage children in the use of visual language. Students learn to understand content, meaning and context, connecting them to the larger world. Spatial and sculptural concepts in visual language are the primary guide for all of the activities with media that include paper, clay, found objects, wire and plaster. Students gain a technical understanding for each medium and develop important conceptual and analytical thinking skills.

Music
Grade 4 students continue to develop instrumental, singing, reading and writing skills during the the year. Performance skills practice often includes solos and small groups. Composition, improvisation, dancing and movement are integral to the music program. Orff instruments are used Kindergarten - Grade 5.

Physical Education
Grade 4 PE classes emphasize multi-skill development in a fun, non-threatening environment. Team games make the PE and intramural classes emotionally engaging, physically challenging and dynamic. Grade 4 team games and specific skills are complex and demand more maneuvering, tactics and strategies. Students hone such skills as kicking, throwing, catching, shooting, dodging, dribbling and passing.

Swimming
Grade 4 students are often very competent swimmers with a strong array of swim skills. In addition to learning and refining advanced swim skills, students experience lessons, games, safety training and water rescue, snorkeling and free play time. Students also enjoy playing water volleyball, wet ball (a junior version of water polo) and relay games. In addition to regular lessons, after-school swim club is offered for Kindergarten - Grade 5.

Grade 4 Living Museum

Contact

Annie Wright Schools
827 North Tacoma Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403
253.272.2216

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Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower and Middle Schools offer co-ed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for boys, starting in Fall 2017, and girls offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School. Learn more at www.aw.org.