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3. Curriculum Descriptors

Curriculum Descriptors

August 24, 2017


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Curriculum:  Language Arts is taught using the Macmillan McGraw Hill Reading series, which includes reading, writing, grammar, spelling, speaking and listening.  This series is the core of our language arts program.  This balanced program of instruction includes phonics, comprehension strategies, vocabulary development, as well as a means to experience reading for enjoyment.  Fourth grade students should be progressing toward ‘reading to learn’ as opposed to ‘learning to read’.  For this reason, our program emphasizes many different strategies, types of text, and purposes for reading.  Writing will correlate with the reading program.  We follow a Six Traits model.  This model helps students to evaluate and improve their own writing.  The six traits are Ideas, Voice, Word Choice, Organization, Sentence Fluency, and Conventions.  Grammar skills are taught in a sequential manner and are demonstrated in the reading selections.  We also use the Houghton Mifflin English text as the text for grammar.  Spelling words are taken from the reading series as well as from other curricular areas.

Components:  Shared Reading (whole class) involves a common text and is beneficial for teacher modeling of literacy behaviors, skills, and strategies.  Guided Reading (small group) involves text at instructional levels and is beneficial for direct teaching of skills and strategies.



Curriculum:  Mathematics is taught using the Envision Math Series.  This program offers direct instruction in order to provide a strong foundation for sequential math learning.  The program also emphasizes problem solving skills.  Fourth grade math instruction is the beginning of leading children toward more abstract mathematical concepts – problems that cannot be easily demonstrated or modeled with manipulatives.  Students are required to master multiplication facts up to 10 X 10 and division facts up to 100 ÷10.  We will practice these facts, and as the year progresses, students will be graded on their mastery.

Math is taight by the fourth grade math team.  Instruction may be delivered by Mrs. Andersen or Mrs. Nelson.

Components:  We utilize direct instruction, guided practice, and independent practice.  We emphasize practicing skills, applying skills to real-life situations, and communicating mathematical results.



Curriculum:  Science is taught using the FOSS Series.  Foss is an acronym for Full Option Science Series.  This program has many components including hands-on learning, direct instruction, scientific methodology, and problem solving. 

Components:  Science instruction includes direct teaching, independent learning, experiments, investigations, observations, and demonstrations.



Curriculum:  Social Studies instruction centers around studying Nebraska.  Social studies is taught using The Nebraska Adventure, which involves all strands of Social Studies specifically geography, citizenship, government, technology, culture, economics, and history.    Our materials include newspapers, historical documents, pictures, videos, historical fiction books, and the internet. 

Components:  Social Studies instruction is as varied as the curriculum.  We integrate direct instruction (whole class), small group activities, and a variety of projects.  Our field trip to the State Capital is the highlight of the year. 



Curriculum:  Students receive direct instruction in the Zaner-Bloser method of cursive handwriting.  We begin with a review.  After our review is complete, the students will complete most work in cursive.

Components:   Each student completes handwriting exercises.  Handwriting is also assessed in other curricular areas.  On daily work, legibility – NOT letter formation – is the emphasis.



Curriculum:  Spelling words are taken from the reading series (See Language Arts curriculum descriptor).  Words are grade-level appropriate, grouped by phonetic similarities, and correlate with the reading passages.  Students receive instruction in phonics and vocabulary.  Students should study for their weekly test at home.  Lists come home on the first day of the week.  Final tests are on the last day of the week.  We use the Spelling City website for practice and testing.  Your child can practice using this website at home as well as at school.  Your child will receive their login information at the beginning of the year.  There is a link to Spelling City on my links page.  Your child's information is on a sticker inside the assignment book (planner). 

Components:  Students have 25 spelling words each week.  Phonics and vocabulary work are also included.



Students are required to read and test on Accelerated Reader books each quarter.  Students will take Accelerated Reader tests on books at their independent reading level as determined by the Star Assessment.   In addition the books should be enjoyable for the student or have been read aloud to the class by the teacher.  The student and teacher will work together to set and reach goals in the areas of reading comprehension, time spent reading, and earning points.  Books that are read aloud be the teacher my be recorded as a grade in any applicable subject or subjects.