4th Grade Specials

NFS Curriculum Update :: October, 2013


Fourth and fifth grade artists are in the midst of a serious exploration of the seven fundamental art elements. After an introduction to each element students were asked to use their math skills to equally divide up a page then create a work that demonstrates not only a knowledge of each element but a deep understanding of how the elements connect to each other and can be used in works of art. Once finished, we will move on to investigate a few of the elements deeper. We will begin by exploring value and learning several techniques such as shading and cross hatching to create personal and meaningful works of art that express each student's individuality.


In the library fourth grade will finish their book care slideshow for younger students. Students will review using keywords in Destiny, the library catalog, and continue working with the Dewey Decimal categories. We will read some scary stories.


We are off to a great start in the music room! After finishing our hopes and dreams for the music room, we began reviewing some of our basic music reading skills. We have tackled rhythm reading and reading notes in treble clef. We will be getting out the recorders soon! October will be a review month as we reintroduce recorder technique and songs using the notes B, A and G. I will also be introducing vocal sightreading. We have been using the Kodaly method of solfege syllables and handsigns since Kindergarten, but this has mostly been done through vocal echoing. This year we will be actually learning how to use these skills to read and sing music. The Kodály Method uses a system of movable-do solfege syllables, in which, during sight-singing, scale degrees are sung using corresponding syllable names (do, re, mi, fa, so, la, and ti). The syllables show function within the key and the relationships between pitches, not absolute pitch. Hand signs, borrowed from the teachings of Curwen, are performed during singing exercises to provide a visual aid. This technique assigns to each scale degree a hand sign that shows its particular tonal function. For example, do, mi, and so are stable in appearance, whereas fa and ti point in the direction of mi and do, respectively. Likewise, the hand sign for re suggests motion to do, and that of la to so. Kodály added to Curwen’s hand signs upward/downward movement, allowing children to actually see the height or depth of the pitch. The signs are made in front of the body, with do falling about at waist level and la at eye level. Their distance in space corresponds with the size of the interval they represent.

Studies have shown that the Kodály Method improves intonation, rhythm skills, music literacy, and the ability to sing in increasingly complex parts. Outside of music, it has been shown to improve perceptual functioning, concept formation, motor skills, and performance in other academic areas such as reading and math.


In Lower School PE we will continue to develop our physical fitness and work on core as well as muscular strength. The class will participate in football activities that involve skill development of throwing catching, running and dodging. Body and spatial awareness will continue to develop as the students gain understanding and success in the gymnasium. The class will play large group games like Chaotic Kickball and Defending the Throne that develop skill and teamwork.


Fourth graders have been working on their Watery Earth Unit. They will create a ground water model, which will illustrate that water percolates through the porous earth because of gravity until it reaches the aquifer. We will also learn that 71% of the earth is covered in water. Out of all the water on earth, only about 3% is not saltwater, and 1% is usable (not frozen). Then we will study the water cycle by creating a model and recording our observations in both writing and labeled illustrations for two weeks! During that time, they will observe how the water in their model shift and change (from no condensation, to a little condensation, to a lot of condensation to the formation of groundwater). Students will also learn about the stages of the water cycle (evaporation, condensation, precipitation), why it happens, and sing “The Water Cycle Boogie” to help all the concepts gel.


In October, fourth grade Spanish students will continue learning vocabulary and grammar structures regarding our families. Students will practice orally and in written form, words and phrases that describe someone else’s and their families. They will also learn parts of the body vocabulary in conjunction with the verb TENER structure. Students will spend some time working on subject / adjective agreement such as plural / singular and masculine / feminine. To make it fun students will play games and partake in class activities to master vocabulary and structures