Building on a solid foundation
When students get to fourth grade they are prepared for the relevant and rigorous curriculum that awaits their remaining lower school years.
In fourth grade, students participate in more independent work and directly apply all subject matter concepts on their own with faculty guidance. The heavily integrated curriculum gives students the opportunity to think deeper and wider, to problem solve, interpret, and understand concepts.
With three research projects, our students are continuing to develop the “reading to learn” concept and continue more in-depth biography reports. They develop their research and creative writing, and hone their poetry skills.
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- World Languages
- Visual Arts
- Music & Performing Arts
- Physical Education
Reading, writing, grammar, and spelling are all components of the fourth-grade language arts program.
In fourth grade, our students have great exposure to nonfiction and novels. They dissect their readings and dig deeper than recall; they make inferences, look at imagery and themes, and discuss character analysis.
Reading becomes a large part of the research report process, as students are continuing to read for information and put to use their comprehension skills. In addition to research report writing, our young learners also develop creative writing and poetry writing and are able to put these into practice during their journal reflection time.
By fourth grade, students are writing paragraphs with greater ease and are learning how to properly organize their work using topic sentences, supporting details, and conclusions. They learn compound and complex sentences and practice grammar while fine-tuning their understanding of punctuation.
We continue with our Singapore Math in fourth grade, emphasizing the why behind operations instead of teaching the algorithm and “tips and tricks.” We feel this conceptual approach gives our students stronger math sense.
Since our fourth graders come to us knowing math facts, we jump right into higher level multiplication and division. We expand on place value and go in-depth with fractions. We teach our students equivalencies, improper fractions, and mixed number problem solving.
In third grade, students have a week to work on the math Problem of the Week; in fourth grade, students complete several Problems of the Week to get more comfortable with numbers and problem solving with more frequent usage.
New in fourth grade math is our integrated unit on menu math, where students immerse themselves in real-world problem solving situations and get a greater understanding of the value of money and numbers.
Fourth grade is heavily focused on earth science. Students draw inferences from simple and more complex outdoor and indoor experiments while studying weather and geology. They explore the properties of fossils, rocks, and minerals, how they form, and natural phenomena. Our students look at fast and slow changes of the Earth and investigate the effects of erosion, weathering, volcanoes and earthquakes.
Fourth grade science is accompanied by overnight field trips to Glen Helen, and day trips to Cox Arboretum, the Ohio Caverns and more.
In addition to earth science, our fourth graders learn about electricity, circuits and morse code, which will continue to be a part of their fifth grade science learning.
Ohio history and US geography take up a good portion of the social studies curriculum. For the better part of the year, our fourth graders learn about Ohio, from prehistoric times through modern times—all topics that eventually give them direction and clarity with their culminating state project in the spring. The state research project is a good opportunity for students to practice and get to know what a detailed, longer research report looks like, so by the time they’re in middle school they can write research papers with relative ease. The eight-week project is also good time management practice, a skill our young learners will continue to use during the duration of their education.
Fourth grade marks the second year that a lower school student studies either Mandarin or Spanish throughout the whole year. Fourth graders attend two or three classes each week depending on the schedule. The program focuses on both language acquisition skills and culture study. The language skills program builds on the phrases and vocabulary learned in the four previous years to progress on to sentences and simple conversations. Through songs, games, role-playing, hands-on activities, projects and performances, the program continues to expose them to good pronunciation skills through listening and speaking and progresses on to develop a writing and reading component. In addition to the language skills, students develop an awareness of and respect for other cultures by studying the customs, geography, art, history, mythology and music of the native countries or provinces. Students continue to learn through reading non-fiction as well as fiction literature, researching culture-related topics, watching movies, cooking and eating native foods, learning authentic dances or martial arts movements, engaging in art activities and celebrating special holidays. Through a well-rounded program of language and culture in both Spanish and Mandarin, students continue to develop a new perspective of the world and their roles as compassionate global citizens.
Grades 4 and 5 make art everyday for two weeks immersing themselves in technique or delving into new processes. Students can experiment, find their own style, and learn to wisely use time to resolve and refine their work. Individually and collaboratively, students use an array of materials to create two- and three-dimensional artwork. Projects arise from student interest, art history, and exploration of materials. Students begin to critique their own work and reflect on the work of others. Drawing, painting, and sculpture are the core media each year and, depending on the class, printmaking, photography, and installation art may emerge. Student work and exhibitions may be completely different from year to year.
A few of the highlights in fourth-grade art include: designing and printing t-shirts that are worn on the fourth-grade class field trip to Glen Helen and creating a papier mâché sculpture as a large group. Students are also exposed to a variety of famous artists and, in conjunction with an artist research project, they create a painting in the style of their chosen artist.
Once students reach fourth and fifth grades, they begin to work together in one of three performing ensembles: band, choir or strings. Ensemble participation at this early age allows our students to learn the joy of making music together and lays the foundation for deep and skillful self-expression throughout their MVS career, and beyond. Fourth graders attend music classes every other day, and all are able to showcase their collaborative work through regular performances.Fourth and fifth graders are also exposed to performing arts and enjoy the annual fourth and fifth grade musical, a culminating arts experience for lower school students. It is a grand-scale production with strong student and family involvement. Housed on our main stage theatre, expert directors guide the student cast and crew through the exciting process of a full-scale theatre performance.