Inquiring with Ms. Kathy

The 4th grade year is a developmental milestone for children as they transition from primary to upper elementary grades. Our days are structured with this in mind. The children learn new organizational routines that support and foster this change and prepare them well for 5th grade and beyond. Fourth grade children start to become independent learners that take pride and responsibility for their own intellectual development. And all is not serious!

We extend our classroom into the wonderful outdoors which surround our school to incorporate writing, social studies, science or math.

Our students are fortunate to have access to Google Chromebook this year. This new technology is incorporated in research as well as writing. The students can take a journal entry or draft and use keyboarding to create a copy for editing and revisions. During the year the students work on personal narratives, expository writing, dialogue, poetry, letters and reports. Journaling is used to help organize thoughts and ideas throughout the creative writing process.

Our reading program is rich, varied and cuts across all disciplines.

We study various literary genres and explore them with the entire class, in smaller reading circles as well through carefully selected and assigned independent work geared specifically to each student’s needs. Special days are earned during the year to celebrate reading.

As part of our science program, we work on building our understanding of measurement and the human body and skeletal system. We study land formations, volcanoes and the rock cycle. Our students work on creating and experimenting in each of our sections.

In Social Studies, we devote time to learning about the history of Oregon and experiencing the adventure of Lewis and Clark and the Oregon Trail. through the study of the Oregon Trail. We read, write, study and create maps. Our year is culminated with our very own trek on the Oregon Trail using our own campus. We load up the wagons and navigate through our trails to the campsite where parents have prepared a trail meal. After games and journaling, we have to clear the campsite, repack the wagons and make it back to the classroom. The day gives the students a chance to experience some of the challenges faced by children on the trail.

Although mathematics study follows the Every Day Mathematics curriculum, it is enhanced and supplemented by outside resources to meet the needs of students. As much as possible, we bring real life learning to our program. Children “shop” for dinner, “eat” their fractions, and engage in various activities and games to make math come alive as well as meet the needs of different learning styles.

In addition to our core classes, our days are interspersed with the rich offerings of our many specialist classes such as art, music, public speaking, physical education, computer, and studying one of our three foreign languages. Our days bustle with activity and learning. We experience new ideas and challenges.

Our motto in fourth grade is: “We don’t say I can’t. We try. We do. We can.” We don’t give up or quit as learners.

Kathleen Stahmer, Fourth Grade