Welcome to Fourth Grade. Welcome to activities, concepts, reading lists, writing topics, speeches, and plays, all built around exploring the roots of our country's diversity. Imagine you are nine or ten years old, loving life, and entering Fourth Grade. In the fall you will study Native American life in depth, including the local Delaware/Lenape groups. You will participate in an overnight trip to Cape Henlopen, seeing one of the areas where they lived. You will pick a tribe of your choice and become a specialist. You will think about why Europeans wanted to find out about the vast world largely unknown to them, and why settlers came to these shores. On Colonial Day you will become a colonial child, dressing in period clothes, dipping candles, learning games like dominoes and marbles, braiding rugs, and cutting a silhouette of your profile. In the winter you will go pioneering, traveling with a wagon train in a simulation of the experiences of those early pioneers heading for Oregon.
You will have the opportunity to study the Underground Railroad and the involvement of many Chester County residents, you will visit sites used by those slaves fleeing toward a better life. A spring topic will be the study of immigration and how it shaped our country. You will find a current immigrant and create a "living history" through interviews with him or her, and you will travel to Ellis Island to round out the study. Continuing a Westtown tradition, fourth graders create a crosstitch sampler, as students did 180 years ago! Finally, you will choose one of the 50 states to learn about and then create a project for our fourth grade state fair.
Math in the fourth grade involves gaining mastery of the four basic operations, plus fractions, decimals, estimation, problem solving, and data manipulation. The basis for this curriculum is Singapore Math. Students are taught mental math strategies and computation as skills needed to solve problems which are the focus of the curriculum. Emphasis is placed on number sense, mathematical confidence, and metacognition – a true understanding of what is being learned. Children are encouraged to use and share multiple strategies to solve problems.
Fourth grade places a continual emphasis on reading, both for pleasure and content. At least two novels accompany each thematic study.
Writing includes poetry, letters, essays, paragraphs, stories, analyses, summaries, and research pieces, many of which are connected to the history themes. The use of Writer's Workshop, from Columbia University, engenders a love of writing and sharing.
In addition, students go to specialist teachers for science, Spanish, gym, music, and computers.