Fourth grade is the BIG CHANGE year! Students are no longer in the primary grades and so there are higher expectations, more things to learn and understand and more homework, more projects and sometimes more field trips.
Here is a summary of what we do in 4th grade:
Religion: Students learn the Beatitudes, the Sacraments as well as the Ten Commandments. Prayers are memorized; chapter tests are taken as well as unit tests. We plan the liturgy several times during the year for All School Masses. We also have 2 Masses a year where we just go and celebrate the Eucharist with Fr. Denny. He invites us around the altar during the preparation of the gifts! I also try to plan a visit at the rectory near the end of the year. We also do research on a saint and portray that saint for All Saints Day.
Spelling: A pretest is given almost every Monday with a final test on most Fridays. Students are also asked to know the Reading vocabulary words as part of their weekly Spelling words. Words from other subjects become our "bonus" words.
Math: Our text covers multiplication, division, graphs, fractions, decimals, geometry and lots more. It is important for students to know their math facts so weekly or bi-weekly math times tests are given.
Grammar: We begin the year knowing the types of sentences and understanding predicates and subjects. The students do a lot of writing as well incorporating what we are learning. We also utilize a magazine called Trail Tales in which we will underline nouns, pronouns, etc that we find as we read.
Reading: Our Reading series includes a consumable "Practice" book. Vocabulary is vital to good comprehension so we read the weekly story first just looking for vocabulary words that are unknown. There is a selection test for each story and throughout the week we study various "skills" to enhance our comprehension. We also study poetry, folktales, tall tales and compare them to fairy tales. We enter a poetry contest every November and some are lucky enough to have their poems published!
Social Studies: We begin the year learning the different hemispheres, oceans and landforms. We learn about our government and study each region of the U.S.. Students are challenged to not only memorize the names of the 50 states and capitals but to identify them as well. We look into our family history when we discuss immigrants and if time permits, we try to recreate Ellis Island here in the classroom. Each student portrays an ancestor and prepares a passport before arriving in our "Great Hall" . Once inside each "immigrant" must pass the literacy test, the medical check up and the final "29 questions". A similar activity occurs in the spring when we become "homesteaders" or pioneers. Nebraska History is part of our Social Studies. This includes a short history of Bellevue along with a field trip to Lincoln and other sites in our capital. In the spring we also study national parks. The students become "junior rangers" during the presentations to other students in the afternoon and to their parents in the evening. It is my hope that someday each student will visit a national park to see the beauty of God's creation here in our state and country. A study of presidents is also done in February. Each student can portray a president through our "wax museum".
Science: We start the year off learning about weather and then the stars, moon and sun. We continue to learn about electricity, magnets, classification, invertebrates, vertebrates, our body systems, etc. The nurse comes in to teach about nutrition and we are delighted that some of our local meteorologists come to visit us!
Handwriting: All assignments are to be in cursive unless otherwise instructed. I expect writing to be legible and neat.
Specials: The students attend Music, PE, Computer and Art twice a week. They attend Library and Spanish once a week. We also participate in the"Ag in the Classroom" program which involves corresponding with a farm or ranch family.
Assignments are written daily on the agenda board. Students are expected to record homework and work done during the day onto their agendas. Parents are to sign off daily on the agendas.