4th Grade English/Language Arts
The first year of Middle Division develops both the expository and descriptive writing skills that students will take with them throughout Middle Division. Writing is also integrated throughout all subjects, so they apply what they learn in different contexts.
Students come from 3rd grade with the ability to construct a paragraph. They grow their skills in expository writing from the paragraph into the five-part essay. Students also expand on the descriptive writing process, first by writing “Moments in Time,” in which the writer focuses on drawing the reader into a single experience or act, such as taking a sip of water or picking up a leaf. By the end of the year, they write their own stories as well as collaborative stories using the problem-resolution format, with the understanding that the descriptive flair the writer brings is more important than creating a complicated problem to be solved.
Books are selected for their relationship to both the history and SEL curricula. With the focus of history being California from its earliest inhabitants to the time of statehood, readings include Back in the Beforetime (a collection of Native American tales), By the Great Horn Spoon, and The First Rule of Punk. Students participate in read-alouds to foster lively discussions on ethical and social emotional topics that students readily relate to. Students also participate in monthly independent reading clubs that highlight different genres and conclude with a book project. Reading different genres monthly encourages students to think critically about the content, develop skills for independent learning, and instill a love of books and reading.
- 4th Grade