Writing - Fourth grade Writer’s Workshop includes on-demand writing, thesis-driven persuasive essays, information writing and research, and realistic narrative fiction. Students also write poetry and book reports, and study grammar and vocabulary.
Reading - Mastering independent reading is central in fourth grade, as student also participate in student-centered/driven literature circles and group book discussions. Students continue to build fluency and comprehension, and write about texts.
Fourth grade consists of more reading practice in the target language with addition of their first Spanish novel, Brandon Brown quiere un Perro. Students also begin learning the past tense of previously acquired verbs, using the imperfect and preterit tenses in their narratives created with the teacher. Writing and reading comprehension are also focal points of this year.
Fourth graders continue studying health-related fitness components and definitions, and begin fitness testing. They study and explore concepts of speed, endurance, and pacing for running. Additionally, they continue to participate in a variety of target, net and wall, striking and fielding and invasion games.
The Lower School library curriculum encourages students to be information literate, to become independent learners, and to engage in social responsibility. They read; are read to; make connections between the class curriculum and library resources; share their stories; learn to be inclusive and open minded through an array of literature; and find joy in reading. Fourth graders explore the world of legends, folktales, mythology as part of Banned Books Week. They practice literary analysis, complete a poetry study, and continue their exploration of digital citizenship, online etiquette, and finding reliable resources.
Students at this stage continue to develop a foundation in the key areas of Mandarin language learning. This stage has a strong focus on speaking and listening, introducing the student to conversing with their teacher and classmates in a gentle, interactive manner. This includes topics of common courtesy expressions, introductory conversation, simple expressions of feelings and emotions, commonly used verbs and descriptive phrases, and responding to simple questions. Students also explored the cultural topics and gained an understanding of the pictographic evolution of Chinese characters.
Design and innovation connects to all grade levels at Redwood Day as core teachers connect with the Director of Innovation and Design to utilize the lab for the extension of curriculum covered in their classrooms. Students might ideate, design, and build as a way of extending their understanding of electricity and simple circuits. Students might also engage in a building experience as a way to explore the creation of three dimensional shapes using basic two dimensional shapes from their math studies. The general flow will be from Tinkering to Making, with an emphasis on the design process as students move into the upper grades.
Fourth grade service learning focuses on the environment and habitat restoration. In partnership with Friends of Sausal Creek, Lake Merritt Clean-up, and the Alameda Dump, students learn about our impact on the environment, waste reduction, and recycling; they also engage directly in clean-up and habitat restoration activities.
Lower School art is where students explore and express their creativity through a variety of mediums. The art teacher collaborates closely with core teachers to create interdisciplinary projects that complement what students are studying in the classroom. The program is fluid and philosophically rooted in the idea that art inspires us to cherish the past, enjoy the present, and create the future. Projects for fourth graders include: oil pastel drawings of California poppies; using pinch pot techniques learned in kindergarten to create little clay owls that they get to dress up with wacky adornments; and single-block printing.
Expressing, creating, and performing continue to be integral in fourth grade music. Students learn more about the musical alphabet and note names on the treble staff. They review literacy skills such as note reading, rhythm reading, and musical dictation and continue to develop breath management, vocal tone, range (head tones), expression, part-singing, and intonation (in-tune singing). The 4th-5th grades spring musical is a culminating experience for fourth graders as they deepen their participation in dancing, singing, instrument exploration, and creative movement.
Fourth grade scientists explore ecosystems and environments, wetland habitats, geographical formations, rocks and minerals, electricity, and circuits. Students explore the various micro-environments of our school, and conduct a waste-system audit of the lower school.
Fourth graders continue to work on laptops, and honing their saving and navigation skills on the “cloud.” Media literacy is a focal point throughout the year, and students begin to search the internet independently as they evaluate various websites for each project. They use GoogleDrive extensively, improve formatting and organizational skills, and are introduced to the collaborative power of cloud work, that include digital citizenship responsibilities.
Gardening at Redwood Day is more than starting a seed, planting a flower, or watering some plants. In split classes, fourth graders learn to respect the creatures living in the garden and help keep our plants and habitat healthy. They learn to apply their math skills and use workshop tools to build planters, raised beds, and birdhouses. They actively participate and engage in the cycle of planting, nurturing, and harvesting varieties of plants (including edibles) and learn simple recipes to taste test the results.