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Curriculum Overview

Fourth Grade

English Language Arts (ELA)

Fourth grade students grow their literacy learning throughout the year by engaging in collaborative classroom inquiry projects. There is an increased emphasis on fluency in reading and on deeper comprehension of texts.  The classroom community works to continue building the habits of mind crucial for developing students for the 21st century.

Literacy skills taught in fourth grade include:

  • Writing thoughtful reflections in response to reading
  • Engaging in informal debate through book clubs and other classroom activities
  • Identifying and understanding the theme(s) of texts
  • Making meaningful connections to ideas and themes in traditional literature
  • Summarizing more complex texts
  • Using inference to study characters and ideas in texts more deeply
  • Identifying text structures
  • Understanding social issues (divorce, homelessness, etc.) through text study and analysis
  • Writing a memoir
  • Writing in-depth informational texts on topics of interest

Students in all grades K-8 learn reading and writing strategies and skills through teacher modeling, guided practice and independent reading and writing time.  Through daily reader’s and writer’s workshop time, students learn to live as a reader and writer, thinking critically about texts and generating numerous narrative, informational and opinion writing pieces over the course of a year.


In Grade 4, students will use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to solve word problems, including problems involving measurement of volume, mass, and time. Students will continue to build their understanding of fractions—creating equal fractions, comparing the size of fractions, adding and subtracting fractions, and multiplying fractions by whole numbers. They will also start to understand the relationship between fractions and decimals. Activities in these areas will include:

  • Adding and subtracting whole numbers up to 1 million quickly and accurately
  • Solving multi-step word problems, including problems involving measurement and converting measurements from larger to smaller units
  • Multiplying and dividing multi-digit numbers
  • Extending understanding of fractions by comparing the size of two fractions with different numerators (top numbers) and different denominators (bottom numbers)
  • Creating equal fractions (3 ⁄4 = 3×2⁄4×2 = 6 ⁄8)
  • Adding and subtracting fractions with the same denominator
  • Building fractions from smaller fractions (3 ⁄8 = 1⁄8+⁄1 8+⁄1 8)
  • Connecting addition and subtraction of whole numbers to multiplying fractions by whole numbers
  • Connecting addition of fractions to the concept of angle measurement
  • Representing and interpreting data
  • Converting fractions with denominators of 10 or 100 into decimals
  • Locating decimals on a number line
  • Comparing decimals and fractions using the symbols > (more than), = (equal to), and < (less than)


Students will gain understanding of scientific investigation, interpretation of data, and evaluation of models, inferences, and experimental results through exploring a variety of scientific concepts including:

  • Energy – definitions, conservation of, and transfer of,  and the relationship between energy and forces
  • Natural resources
  • Wave properties and electromagnetic radiation
  • Structure, function, and information processing of living organisms
  • The history of planet earth
  • Earth materials and systems, biogeology, plate tectonics
  • Natural hazards

Social Studies

In fourth grade social studies students will learn about the following concepts:

  • Geography through the study of the relationships among people, places, and environments in the five regions of the U.S.
  • History of Wisconsin, the United States, and the world, examining change and continuity over time in order to develop historical perspective, explain historical relationships, and analyze issues that affect the present and the future.
  • Behavioral sciences, exploring concepts from the discipline of sociology, the study of the interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions; the discipline of psychology, the study of factors that influence individual identity and learning; and the discipline of anthropology, the study of cultures in various times and settings.