Third and Fourth Grade
Through traditional and hands-on learning experiences, third and fourth-grade students are encouraged to take the academic, creative, and social risks that foster deep learning. In the process, students grow in their curiosity, self-motivation, and personal responsibility. They learn how to learn. As the oldest students in lower school, students are urged to think critically about their roles as friends, mentors, and mediators. Students prepare for middle school by reflecting on their lower school experiences, reinforcing their knowledge of guiding Quaker principles, and developing the academic skills that will carry them through the years ahead.
In third and fourth grade the Language Arts are less the subjects of study and more tools employed to gather information, organize thought, and express oneself. Assignments are differentiated so that every student is challenged. Employing the workshop model, every student reads and writes at her or his just right level. Students hone listening and speaking, as well as reading and writing, skills. This growth and development is reflected in students’ critical thinking and self-expression. Third and fourth-grade students formulate and share opinions, listen to others, analyze data, and interact thoughtfully. Oral presentations and classroom discussions afford opportunities for students to develop strength in public speaking and confidence in sharing ideas.
During Writers Workshop, students not only learn techniques for writing but come to think of themselves as authors. They are introduced to a wide range of genres, including journaling, memoir, informational essays, and poetry. Our writing curriculum helps students understand the craft of writing, find their unique writer’s voice, and develop a rich pool of information and ideas about which they have something to say.
During Readers Workshop, students expand their engagement with books. Individual reading and responding remain important, strengthening comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary skills. Students come together in cooperative work groups and as a class to discuss texts and build on each other’s reading experiences. Comprehension and conversation abilities flourish, as newfound independence enhances the desire to learn more about the world through reading.
Students hone their mental math abilities and understanding of number as they explore patterns in multiplication and place value. Students undertake problem-solving in probability, fractions, data analysis, geometry, and more. Verbal and written communication help students connect previous learning to new concepts. Math games provide an engaging context for employing newly acquired math skills. Mathematics increasingly becomes a tool for solving problems of quantity in a more generalized interdisciplinary way. Calculators and computers begin to have a role to play in solving such problems.
Students expand their understanding of themselves and the world around them. In the course of a rich two-year curriculum, students examine hard questions about fairness as it is manifest in the way we share (or not) the resources of our world. Students develop research and report writing skills. They draw upon books, film, interviews, and online sources. They are introduced to the need to assess the veracity and validity of their sources. They are introduced to primary source materials. Students study the compelling stories of people who were important agents of change and growth in our history.
Social and Emotional Learning
Students deepen their ability to take care of themselves. Using the Zones of Regulation curriculum, students are taught to identify their emotions and develop strategies for managing them. Students deepen their ability to care for each other. Collaboratively students create an agreement at the start of the year that describes how we will treat one another— in a word, with kindness. Students deepen their ability to care for the wider world. Through a variety of service projects, both inside and outside the classroom, students learn about being good stewards of our environment.