Two fourth grade students work together at their desks

Grade 4 Curriculum

Fourth grade is a year of exciting intellectual progress and growing independence. Students read with higher levels of fluency, expression, and comprehension. Their writing becomes more detailed and dense, their subject matter more intellectual, abstract, and conceptual. Research is more extensive and culminates in written and oral presentations about ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. Fourth grade students savor performances of all sorts. They take on complex logic problems and science experiments. Throughout the year, they internalize the importance of practice, attention to detail, and good organization.

Program Highlights

  • Greek Festival
  • Pyramid project
  • Reading Greek myths and The Odyssey
  • Superhero stories
  • First grade partners
  • Mummifying Cornish hens
  • Plant cultivation and sale

Specialist Time

  • French twice a week for 45 minutes
  • Art studio once a week for 45 minutes
  • Music once a week for 45 minutes
  • Theater arts once a week for 45 minutes
  • Woodworking once a week for 45 minutes
  • Physical education three times a week for 45 minutes
  • Library once a week for 45 minutes

Grade 4 Subjects

  • Language Arts
    Two boys enjoy reading in the library


    The fourth grade reading curriculum builds comprehension skills and vocabulary while fine-tuning the fundamental skills of fluency and expression. To accomplish these goals students read and discuss a variety of novels independently, with partners, in small groups, and as a class. They explore character development and use active reading strategies such as summarizing and questioning.

    Our fourth grade students will:

    • increase fluency, both silently and orally
    • extend vocabulary
    • develop literal, inferential, and evaluative reasoning
    • identify and summarize the main idea and details
    • understand point of view
    • read from a variety of genres

    Class books have included:

    • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
    • Frindle
    • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
    • Flora and Ulysses
    • D’Auliere’s Book of Greek Myths
    • The Odyssey (a children’s version)


    The writing curriculum for the fourth grade includes spelling, vocabulary, grammar, mechanics, usage, and composition. Daily editing exercises and mini lessons aid students in learning the fundamentals of writing as they focus on individual correction areas in their own work. While continuing to master correct end punctuation and capitalization, students are learning the mechanics for writing dialogue and the rules for using commas in lists and compound sentences. Students generate ideas in their writers’ notebooks and meet each Thursday with their Writers’ Group to share and practice giving feedback. They practice putting non-fiction material into their own words, using note cards and outlines to organize their work, and editing and revising rough drafts. Fourth graders work to solidify paragraph structure and learn to join paragraphs together into research papers and other longer compositions.

    Our fourth grade students will:

    • implement the writing process by planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing in a variety of genres
    • share writing and receive feedback
    • organize and sequence ideas
    • identify and write strong sentences
    • understand how to develop and write organized paragraphs using a main idea, topic sentences, and detail sentences
    • understand and demonstrate the process for writing research papers
    • understand and apply correct capitalization and punctuation
    • continue to develop spelling and vocabulary skills

  • Math
    Three girls work on mathematics together

    The fourth grade mathematics curriculum focuses on deepening the students’ number sense, developing problem solving strategies and articulating how to generate a solution. The students solidify multiplication through various activities and they became familiar with solving multi-digit multiplication equations by using many methods including the traditional algorithm. The fourth graders also learn how to identify and define prime numbers and further their understanding of mathematical symbols, including parentheses. Students learn to apply their knowledge of division to solve division problems using two different algorithms. Additionally, the students extend their existing knowledge of place value to learn about decimal place value, using the tenths, hundredths and thousandths places. The fourth graders learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide decimals. They tackle fractions by becoming comfortable adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators and familiar with how to add and subtract fractions with uncommon denominators. The students become proficient at ordering fractions and gain a deeper understanding of fractions by working with Cuisenaire Rods to represent fractional parts. To link to our unit on decimals, the fourth graders learn the relationships among fractions, decimals, and percents. They also work to represent fractional parts of whole numbers. After fractions, the students learn about 3D shapes, polygons, quadrangles and other terminology through a study of geometry.

    Our fourth grade students will:

    • learn to value mathematics and to appreciate the role of mathematics in other curriculum areas as well as in their daily experiences
    • become confident in their own mathematical ability
    • communicate mathematically through discussing and writing about mathematical ideas
    • reason mathematically and draw logical conclusions
    • explore number patterns
    • learn and practice a variety of problem solving strategies
    • become computationally proficient with whole numbers
    • acquire a solid foundation in understanding decimals and fractions

  • Social Studies

    The fourth grade social studies curriculum is a year-long study of ancient cultures. The students develop an understanding of and appreciation for the history of ancient Egypt and Greece. Students learn about fact verses theory, the recording of time, and geography to help them investigate these civilizations. They learn through writing, reading, research, group and individual projects, and discussion. The first trimester covers archaeology, the important aspects of a civilization, timelines, and ancient Egypt. During the second trimester, fourth graders continue their exploration of the ancient civilization of Egypt. They study about an individual topic of interest. Students practice research skills, read nonfiction texts, develop theories, and analyze information. Fourth graders spend the third trimester studying ancient Greece. They read children’s versions of Homer’s great epic poems,The Iliad andThe Odyssey, as well as D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths. They research and study the people, places, and events of this great ancient civilization in order to create an ancient Greek magazine. At our fourth grade Socratic school, students ponder interesting philosophical questions, and they also learn about ancient Greek architecture in order to create Hera’s Temple. Our culminating event, the Greek Festival, highlights student knowledge of Greek story and their work for the year.

    Our fourth grade students will:

    • create a personal time line
    • understand BC and AD and BCE and CE as designations for measuring time
    • learn the geography of ancient Egypt and Greece
    • gain experience with archeological techniques
    • understand how ancient civilizations grow and thrive
    • research an ancient Egyptian topic and present at the Ancient Egyptian Symposium
    • discover the oral traditions (Homer) and mythology of ancient Greece
    • participate in an ancient Greek class production
    • practice reading nonfiction texts
    • develop research skills, such as finding resources and taking notes

  • Science

    Our fourth grade science explorations begin with a unit on plant growth and development. Through a series of activities, the students learn about plant structures and their functions by growing their own bean plants.

    Our study of ancient Egypt is the focus of our second semester work in the science room. The students learn and apply the science of pyramid building to build their own scale models, engineering their pyramids by using a variety of recycled materials. The fourth graders review the process by which the ancient Egyptians mummified and then wrapped their dead. Students then embark upon a very exciting project to successfully mummify Cornish hens!

    The third trimester of science sees the fourth graders exploring light and the constellations. Each student is responsible for learning about one constellation in-depth, by creating illustrations, and retelling myths. Additionally, every student collaborates with classmates to create a star map depicting the constellations they would see during a particular season of the year. Connecting with their prior study of plants, the fourth graders grow plants from seed and leaf cuttings to sell at a school-wide plant sale, in order to generate funds for an environmental cause. Students finish the trimester with a unit focused on marine studies, specifically the rocky shore of Massachusetts.

    Our fourth grade students will:

    • make connections in the world of science
    • wonder and increase their knowledge and understanding of the natural and physical world
    • increase their experience with the scientific method of making observations and predictions, testing hypotheses, performing experiments, and recording results
    • keep an observation journal to record experiments, observations, and theories about topics studied
    • understand the scientific process and how to apply it to scientific investigations

  • World Language
    Three four graders laugh together

    At Belmont Day, exposure to world language begins in pre-kindergarten. The students have a variety of informal language experiences in the classroom based on languages spoken by the classroom community. Twice a week, the students also study French through songs, poems, video skits, and games. In third and fourth grade the emphasis is on communication by reinforcing oral skills and developing reading and writing skill.

    The topics are revisited and broaden each year and include:

    • greetings and civilities
    • expressing moods, needs, feelings, and ailments
    • numbers
    • colors
    • clothing
    • house and furniture
    • physical and personality description
    • foods likes and dislikes
    • family members and their relationships
    • pets, sports, activities and hobbies
    • time, days, months, and seasons
    • weather expressions
    • prepositions
    • actions verbs, including classroom directions
    • Europe facts, including the study of France

    The students are introduced to French reading rules. They are introduced to basic, but crucial, grammar concepts such as word order, gender, noun adjective agreement, personal pronouns, and tenses. They also write short texts about themselves and practice communicating missing pieces of information.

  • Visual Arts
    Students learn to sew

    Students in fourth grade continue to explore a wide variety of materials and processes. As they engage in visual expression, students learn about artistic concepts such as color, shape, texture, contrast, form, and pattern. They draw, sculpt, paint, print, and combine materials to create two and three-dimensional artworks. Self-expression and connections between visual art, nature, daily life, other artists, and cultures are explored as students design and develop their artworks.

    Artists construct their own sketchbooks in which they draw from observation and imagination. Student art making experiences also include combining materials to create sculptures connected to classroom curriculum related to classroom units on ancient Egypt and Greece, printing with inscribed blocks based on student drawings, painting to develop imagery, and collaborations with other specialists and classroom teachers such as the woodworking class to create handmade looms to make one of a kind dyed weavings.

    Past fourth grade projects include:

    • coil constructed ceramic Greek vases
    • low relief ceramic tiles
    • dyeing and weaving projects
    • quiltmaking
    • Minoan-inspired illustrations
    • classroom mural painting
    • flora and fauna block prints

  • Music
    A girl holds her ukulele in music class

    The fourth grade music program is organized into units that introduce students to songwriting and folk songs from around the world. Every student learns about the components of a song such as lyrics, chord progressions, musical scales, and rhythm. Units end with a showcase of the various compositions written. Fourth grade students also conduct research about a folk song and country of their choice.

    Our fourth grade students will:

    • Learn and perform songs using basic chord progressions with C, F, G7 and Am chords on the ukulele
    • Write their own lyrics after studying rhyme schemes and imagery
    • Practice their songs using original strumming patterns  and rehearse in small groups
    • Perform their original song using vocal and instrumental skills
    • Perform rounds and partner songs in the Winter Concert
    • Sing folk songs in various languages and study its meaning and form
    • Learn about the pentatonic scale, blues scale, and major/minor scale
    • Perform arrangements of the folk songs using xylophones, boomwhackers, tambourines, piano, and ukuleles

  • Theater Arts
    Taking inspiration from the study of ancient cultures, fourth graders use improvisation and collaboration to develop a script they will perform—complete with student-crafted costumes and sets.

    In fourth grade, students build on the fundamental skills of theatricality they acquired in third grade. They begin to utilize and master more advanced public speaking skills such as intonation, volume control, and eye contact. Having become proficient at speaking using both handheld microphones and hanging microphones, students now concentrate on techniques for singing with microphones. Through the use of drama games, creative movement, choreography, puppetry, poetry, and theatrical critique, fourth grade students continue to expand upon their performing arts skills. In addition, students take part in the fourth grade musical production, which introduces them to the process of devised theater, giving them a hand in creating the script they will then perform. Students are tasked to learn lines and lyrics, acquire choreographic moves, and help with the creation of costumes and sets.

    Our fourth grade students will:

    • learn about and become part of the process of devised theater
    • connect and build upon acquired knowledge of Greek mythology—a major focus of fourth grade curricular study
    • further expand theatrical vocabulary
    • utilize physical expression techniques (with focus on Zen Zen Zo methodology)
    • study, learn, and act out parts from William Shakespeare’sMacbeth
    • build upon previously learned improvisation skills to create and perform dramatic events and characters
    • continue to build their confidence as orators and presenters

  • Woodworking
    Fourth graders solve a pyramid design challenge in the woodworking studio

    Fourth graders enter woodworking with the opportunity to reinforce their woodworking skills and develop many new skills during the year. In conjunction with their art class the students create a tri-loom. The details of construction involve accurate measurement and layout using a speed square to create an isosceles triangle. The tri-loom assembly require a sequence of steps involving gluing and nailing many individual parts together. Their wooden box project reinforces current skills and introduces additional woodworking techniques. During the winter the students complete a miter box and in the spring design and build a project of their choice. The students are justifiably proud of their successful accomplishments in completing long term projects incorporating skills fundamental to the craft of woodworking.

    Our fourth grade students will:

    • complete project boxes: each student designs, builds, and finishes a box of specific dimensions
    • follow a process from design drawing to a finished project
    • measure accurately
    • use tools properly
    • understand construction techniques
    • finish items with polyurethane or paint
    • use safe workroom habits

  • Physical Education

    Students in the fourth grade physical education program focused on refining and strengthening fundamental movement patterns and are introduced to basic sport concepts in preparation for their transition to the athletics program. Students gain basic knowledge of sports specific skills by combining locomotor and manipulative skills in increasingly complex situations. They participate in various movement activities including volleyball, badminton, track, basketball, soccer, and noodle floor hockey.

    Fourth grade students will:

    • work cooperatively in a group
    • develop self-control and sportsmanship
    • improve ability to balance while stationary and while moving
    • build muscle strength and body coordination
    • develop knowledge of basic wellness principles
    • develop enhanced concept of personal fitness
    • increase cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength
    • improve ability to work and play with others toward a common goal
    • develop ability to listen, suggest ideas, and compromise
    • exercise vigorously during each physical education class

  • Social Competency and Health and Wellness
    boy on climbing frame

    The social competency and health and wellness curriculum provides an opportunity for students to learn about structures and importance of community, personal relationships, and healthy individual choices.

    Our fourth grade students will:

    • develop the elements of positive social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, self-control, and empathy
    • understand that there are similarities and differences in people in terms of needs, emotions, and cultures
    • respect and care for their bodies
    • respect all community members through the use of respectful language, actions, and attitudes
    • participate in building community
    • follow classroom expectations
    • develop negotiating skills
    • learn conflict resolution skills
    • develop ability to communicate feelings and ideas
    • develop leadership skills
    • participate in an Introduction to puberty class
    • participate in discussions on media influences and stereotypes

    Topics of study:

    Social Competency

    • Building community
    • Classroom expectations
    • Negotiating skills
    • Conflict resolution
    • Being a good friend
    • Communication of feelings and ideas
    • Leadership skills

    Health and Wellness

    • Introduction to puberty
    • Self care: hygiene and stress relief
    • Friendship
    • Empathy

  • Focus
    Four students at desks in a circle working with their Primary Mathematics workbooks

    Focus class is a student support period providing students with additional academic support to increase confidence and success in the classroom.

    In fourth grade, the Focus curriculum follows along with grade-level content in math, language arts, social studies, and science classes. There is a balance between providing remediation in key foundational skills and reviewing and previewing current topics. A strong emphasis is placed on math fact fluency, writing mechanics, approaching multi-step tasks and long-term projects, as well as study skills for tests and quizzes.

    Examples of topics covered in fourth grade Focus:

    • identifying the main idea and supporting details in text
    • making inferences and drawing conclusions
    • developing vocabulary-building strategies and note-taking skills
    • identifying the parts of a sentence and a paragraph
    • writing a four to six-sentence paragraph using a graphic organizer
    • sequencing ideas in logical order
    • editing and revising writing
    • using mental math strategies to improve math facts in the four operations
    • identifying and comparing fractions, finding equivalent fractions, adding and subtracting fractions with like and unlike denominators, and multiplying fractions by a whole number
    • developing time management, planning, and organizing skills
    • developing homework strategies

  • Information Literacy and Technology
    A student wearing a cap leans against the book stacks reading in the Erskine Library

    In fourth grade, students begin learning digital citizenship concepts, such as the importance of developing and keeping a secure password and the basics of email etiquette. Students regularly contribute to the classroom blog and create multimedia presentations. In collaboration with the classroom teachers, the librarian familiarizes students with the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award and the nominees for the year. Students read books and publish reviews in the library catalog in order to add to the collective scholarship and, in so doing, learn about online publishing and editing. The teachers and the librarian work to reinforce concepts related to the research tools available both in the library and online. When completing their in-depth research projects on Egypt, students learn how to use information ethically and are introduced to a citation management tool, which they use to practice citing works for their projects.

    Our fourth grade students will:

    • understand that there are awards for quality literature
    • cite sources using title, author, page, publisher/web page, and copyright date for a variety of print used in research
    • define major genres in children’s fiction and recognize a variety of distinguished authors in those genres
    • develop an appreciation for quality literature
    • develop online search skills using keywords for simple searches by subject
    • follow the process for library checkout and return
    • locate nonfiction books by call number using Dewey Decimal System
    • understand the process of producing high-quality writing for publication
    • understand their role in contributing to the greater learning community by submitting a book review to be published in the library catalog

Our Teachers

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