Students participate in literature circles and write in literature response journals. Written expression expands on the craft of writing to include alliteration, onomatopoeias, idioms, similes and metaphors. In writing workshop, students write creative, persuasive and expository pieces in addition to poetry. Each fourth grade student does an individual research report in the winter. In addition to reviewing the research skills introduced in the third grade, lessons on note taking and outlining are presented. Parental support is encouraged and appreciated at this time.
Students expand on their knowledge of basic facts, learning multi-digit multiplication and long division. They begin to explore fractions and decimals providing a solid foundation for Middle School.
Fourth graders study several units chosen from the chemical, physical, and biological sciences that include: Motorized Legos, Graphing Calculators and Motion Detectors and Model Rocketry. Fourth graders also meet weekly in Science Centers. In Science Centers, students work independently to complete self-selected laboratory investigations of special interest.
Units in fourth grade social studies fosters the exploration of people, places and history.The Imperialism study includes explorers and colonization. African American history includes biographical research of Martin Luther King, Jr., poetry and historical perspective.The Greek mythology unit culminates in performances of Greek plays followed by a feast, a favorite Tatnall tradition.
Fourth grade students add spreadsheet applications to the software titles that they use for completing assignments and continue using the Internet for research. Examples of projects include typing, formatting, and editing writing assignments for language arts classes and creating individual poetry anthologies complete with student-designed covers and "About the Poet" pages. Fourth grade students also complete a formal keyboarding program.
Fourth graders create more complex works of art using a variety of media with greater attention paid to each student's expressive intentions. Students are encouraged to use the elements and principles of design such as color to create a mood or repetition to create visual rhythm. Special projects, the inventive use of different materials and media, observational skills and art history are emphasized.
The opportunity to perform using percussion and pitched instruments is embedded in the program. During the fourth grade, students learn to use their voices correctly through proper breathing and tone production. There is a greater emphasis on singing parts, and exact pitch production is stressed. Fourth graders sing unison and two-part music, alone and together. Students continue to develop their music reading skills and discuss musical elements such as melody, harmony, tempo, rhythm, dynamics and texture. Students study music from all parts of the world, plus songs from many different periods in history.
Fourth grade students participate in physical education classes three times a week. During their last year in the Lower School, they continue to experience the modified team activities introduced in third grade but develop them in greater depth. Becoming a contributing team member by performing one's best is emphasized. Leadership and cooperation are modeled and practiced in the fourth grade. For two weeks in both the fall and the spring, the students engage in a fitness-training program.
Fourth grade classes spend one hour each week in the library. Students are introduced to the I-Search research method and choose a topic to investigate in depth this year. Information literacy skills are strengthened to locate, extract, synthesize and evaluate print and online resources and then applied to class projects. Weekly book talks introduce readers to new authors and genres. Students check out books each week for both pleasure and class assignments.