Grade 4

A Spirit of Adventure

Fourth grader are becoming more independent in their learning and their lives. They are developing new capacities for academic study and are eager to work. They are curious about the world and how people choose to live in it.

Through the year, students learn about their environment and study California geography and history. They are ready to take up an instrument and begin to play together as a class orchestra. The class also explores the animal kingdom and works with fractions.

Heroes and Tricksters

Fourth graders are captivated by stories of adventure and misadventure. They identify with heroes and delight at tricksters, larger-than-life characters with human strengths and foibles. The exploration of Norse Mythology and epic tales in world literature resonate with students of this age and provide an engaging launching point for the study of language arts—reading, grammar, and original composition.


Language Arts

  • Spelling, cursive writing, and writing composition
  • Grammar: all parts of speech, verse tenses, punctuation
  • Class readers and summer reading build reading comprehension and complement the curriculum
  • Daily speech, dramatic, or poetic recitations supports literacy, language development, and reading comprehension


  • Fractions: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; reduce and expand; improper fractions to mixed number fractions.Emphasis on creating parts from a whole with experiential lessons.
  • Prime numbers and square number; exploration of factoring patterns.
  • Long multiplication and long division
  • Times tables table practice, in and out of sequences
  • Word or situation problem followed-by practice problems


  • Comparative zoology: exploration of physical forms of humans and the animal kingdom.
  • Observation of characteristics, writing, and artistic rendering of animals. Archetypal animals explored:keen-eyed eagle, fiery lion, and powerful bull.

Social Studies

  • Local geography: mapping of the classroom, school, neighborhood, home, city, and state
  • California history: Native American studies, Spanish explorers, the Gold Rush, and the ranchero period.
  • Geography and sciences are linked in the study of animals, plants, and minerals.


  • Reading, writing, and grammatical concepts are introduced in the transition from spoken word of earlier grades.
  • Verb conjugations and syntax introduced; vocabulary expands
  • Oral language practice continues: simple questions and answers to complete sentences; individual recounting of a story
  • Students develop simple sentences in short compositions; read and report on several topics


  • Introduction of Zhuyin alphabet system
  • Language focus on animals and local culture; use of animals as pictograms to introduce Chinese characters
  • Development of skills in reading and writing Chinese characters
  • Further emphasis in correct methods of writing Chinese characters through the use of “word squares” (to learn character structure) and “rainbow words” (to learn stroke order).
  • Taiwan Aborigines culture and folklore

Form Drawing

  • Mastery of braided and knotted forms


  • Painting and drawing compositional work expands and reflects the curriculum
  • Embroidery is introduced in handwork; stiches inspired by other parts of the world
  • Continued lessons in sewing, including cross-stitch; practice in design symmetry
  • Deepening practice with sculpture
  • Crafts of other culture explored, such as Native American pouches and basketry


  • Singing in two-and three-part rounds
  • Recorder practice in parts
  • Beginning study of time signatures and note reading, and play rhythmically with group
  • Introduction of orchestral instrument and music lessons outside of school.
  • First orchestra practices as a class.


  • Exploration of gestures and the movement qualities of the animal kingdom (complements zoology)
  • Work with alliterative poems with strong steps and gestures
  • Musical phrasing and mood between major and minor is experienced, tone gestures are practiced
  • Continued practice with geometry forms to develop spatial and social awareness within a group

Games & Gym

  • Themed games based on Norse Mythology and Native American culture
  • Social and cooperative games; tagging games; relay races; ball games; throwing skills
  • Basic rock and rope-climbing skills
  • Spatial Dynamics and Bother Gymnastics
  • Circus art such as jumping, vaulting, unicycle, jugging, and balancing activities

Grade 4 Faculty

Ganga Sivasankaran
Class Teacher
Maria Loreto
Yi-Hsin Yao


Deborah LeDean
Handwork Assistant


Erin Kemp

Kristine Joyce-Ragudo

Monika Leitz

Mona Nemetz
Games and Gym

Outdoor Exploration

The class takes a week-long excursion into a California wildness area -- Point Reyes National Seashore, Sierras, or Big Sur. They build connections to the natural world and explore science and geography.

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