The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Lower School

Grade Four

Grade Four

In fourth grade, students continue their journey of understanding who they are as learners and what it takes to be a successful student at Fay. Students begin each day in homeroom groupings, which are created to support the learning and personal welfare of each child. Students meet with specialists for all core academic instruction, which includes language arts, mathematics, science, foreign language, music, art, digital literacy, wellness, physical education, and library. Students participate in a lively academic program that includes direct instruction, class discussions, investigations, and projects. Instructional routines and practices are aligned with the developmental, cognitive, and emotional strengths and needs of each particular group of fourth graders, and teachers encourage increased independence and responsibility for one’s learning as the year progresses.

List of 12 items.

  • Mathematics

    The goal of Lower School mathematics is to encourage and support students as they develop number sense, computational fluency and efficiency, strategies for problem solving, and a beginning understanding of the connectedness of mathematical topics and procedures. The curriculum offers opportunities for self-discovery and exploration of concepts and personal strategies as well as exploring and understanding traditional algorithms. Visual models are used at every level to provide concrete examples of abstract concepts.

    Grade four expands upon the goals and objectives of third grade mathematics with a continued focus on the conceptual and procedural understanding of whole number operations with a concentrated study of multiplication and division. Fractional concepts are introduced with concrete models supported by mathematical conversations and writing. The curriculum encourages students to think critically, question, and analyze, asking more than a recall of basic facts. They learn to represent and explain their thinking using pictures, numbers, and words. Students continue to develop and extend mathematical proficiency in the following areas: number and operations; fractions, decimals, and percents; measurement, geometry; data analysis and probability; and algebraic thinking.

    Students who successfully complete the grade four mathematics program will be able to fundamental understanding of topics in the following categories:
    Number and Operations
    • Recalling and applying basic addition and subtraction math facts
    • Reviewing and applying multi-digit addition and subtraction with regrouping
    • Reviewing strategies for multiplication fact fluency
    • Describing the relationship between multiplication and division
    • Showing beginning computational fluency with double-digit multiplication
    • Practicing and applying the partial-quotients division algorithm with single-digit divisors
    • Identifying various meanings for multiplication and division
    • Finding factor pairs of whole numbers 1-100 and determining whether a given whole number is a multiple of a given one-digit factor
    Fractions, Decimals, Percents
    • Showing how equal fractions of a whole have the same area
    • Showing that equal parts of shapes are not necessarily congruent
    • Describing equivalent relationships among halves, fourths, and eighths
    • Comparing and ordering fractions using a visual fraction model or benchmark
    • Adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators
    • Converting fractions to create equivalent fractions
    • Extending place value patterns to decimals and reading and writing decimals to the thousandths
    • Comparing, ordering, and rounding decimals
    • Adding and subtracting decimals
    Geometry & Measurement
    • Measuring area and perimeter of basic quadrangles
    • Describing the relationship between area and perimeter
    • Describing transformations of two-dimensional shapes
    • Using tools for geometric constructions (compass and straight-edge)
    • Identifying and constructing lines, segments, rays, and angles
    • Classifying polygons based on their properties
    • Solving problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to smaller units
    • Measuring and identifying angles as acute, right, obtuse, straight, and reflex
    Data Analysis & Probability
    • Visually representing data to use as a tool during the analysis process
    • Summarizing numerical data sets in relation to their contexts
    • Defining ways data can be collected
    • Representing and interpreting data using line plots
    Algebraic Thinking
    • Evaluating the meaning of a number sentence to determine whether it is true or false
    • Applying vocabulary and notation for open sentences (introduction of variables)
    • Representing growing patterns geometrically, symbolically, and graphically
    • Using the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems
    • Symbolically and numerically representing contextual problems
    • Solving multi step word problems and representing these problems using open number sentences and variables
    • Generating a number or shape pattern that follows a given rule or function
    • Using parentheses to evaluate expressions
    • Writing simple expressions and equations that record calculations with numbers
    • Evaluating and interpreting numerical expressions without calculation
  • Reading

    In a classroom environment rich with books, grade four students participate in a wide variety of reading experiences in guided and independent settings. Students read independently each day from books at their designated reading levels, choosing from a range of genres including realistic fiction, fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, science fiction, biography, informational texts, and poetry. To improve comprehension, students learn strategies that include prediction, connection, visualization, questioning, and summarizing. Teachers conduct one-on-one conferences with students to monitor individual progress and set individual goals. Teachers conduct guided reading groups that teach students how to discuss literature, ask and answer questions about what they have read, and apply the lessons learned in a text to their own lives. 

  • Writing

    The Lower School writing program encourages students to develop an understanding of and appreciation for creative and expository writing, poetry, and drama, and to communicate effectively through written and spoken language. Students write daily and complete assignments through a workshop process where they develop strategies for organizing their thoughts, revising and discussing their work in student/teacher conferences, and presenting completed assignments to the class.

    Students explore and apply proper language and grammar usage with the goal of improving their writing. Throughout the writing curriculum, process writing and grammar study are designed to be parallel and interconnected methods of ensuring mastery of skills. Using the 6+1 Traits of Writing (ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation), students work through the various stages of the writing process, from writing simply to get ideas down on paper, to later and final drafts of publishable writing. From the earliest stages of a rough draft through a “published” piece, students use the Six Traits as a guide during the revision process.

    In grade four, students begin to work through the stages of writing at their own pace and are encouraged to edit their work more independently as they become more facile with the mechanics of writing. Students learn about paragraph formation, dialogue, and literary devices as ways to enhance their written work. The spelling curriculum advances to the next level.

    A yearlong vocabulary and word study program is also an integral part of English instruction. In fourth grade, teachers create a word-rich environment by modeling an interest in words through what students see in the classroom, read in a variety of texts, hear in the classroom, and use in speaking and writing. As part of their word study, students explore derivational relationships and Greek and Latin roots, making meaningful connections between words they know and those they may not know.

    Fourth graders continue to participate in our public speaking program, crafting speeches on how others—whether family members or historical/cultural figures—have inspired them and delivering their speeches in the theater. The public speaking curriculum provides ample opportunities for developing confidence and presentation skills.
  • Social Studies

    The fourth grade social studies curriculum is designed to help expand students' knowledge and understanding of world geography and their place within it. Students study key components of the five themes of geography before embarking on an "Around the World in 160 Days" journey. Students "travel" to several countries on multiple continents and learn about five key elements: food and culture, sports and entertainment, economy and goods, geography and tourism, and government and nationalism. Student practice collaboration, reading comprehension, research and note-taking, presentation building and public speaking, and contextual writing. Student completing fourth grade social studies will be able to:

    • Demonstrate understanding of the five themes of geography 
    • Analyze information
    • Compare and contrast information
    • Identify and extract main ideas and supporting details from a variety of resources
    • Organize information with and take notes
  • Science

    Lower School science practices have been adopted from the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas  and build on skills and material covered in Primary School. Students who demonstrate success in Lower School science courses will be able to:
    • Ask clarifying and extending questions
    • Apply the scientific process to creative real-world projects
    • Create and follow a written plan for an investigation
    • Gather, organize, and explain data
    • Predict the outcome of an investigation and analyze the results
    • Collaborate effectively to complete investigations and solve problems
    • Use evidence from real-world observations to demonstrate conceptual understanding
    • Communicate concepts and observations through writing and drawing

    Fourth graders study the environment, with a focus on water, land, and air pollution. They conduct in-class research, culminating with the creation of student-produced informational videos and an engineering design project in which students design, build, test, and redesign a pollution solution. In a unit on color, light, and sight, students learn about vision and hearing and how the ear, eyes, and brain work together. Finally, fourth graders explore biomes, focusing on what it is that plants need to grow. Revisiting their work from the fall, students design and create sustainable biomes that enable plants to grow in potentially adverse conditions.

  • Digital Literacy

    Digital Literacy provides students with key technology skills that they need to be successful both in and out of the classroom. Students learn how to leverage technology to achieve their goals; they also learn how to be responsible digital citizens by using technology in safe, legal and ethical ways. Digital Literacy focuses on learning how to use technology as a tool for productivity, with a focus on construction, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. The Digital Literacy curriculum is based on the International Society for Technology in Education Student Standards. In grades 4 - 6, students participate in a Digital Literacy Badging program, where students learn discrete skills that they can apply both in school and at home. 
    Each Lower School student has access to a Chromebook for use in all classes throughout the day, and students use a range of Google Education tools, including Gmail, Google Classroom, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, Sites, Jamboard, and Keep. Students also participate in activities that utilize tools including Seesaw, Adobe Spark, Common Sense Media, and a range of coding and keyboarding practice applications.
  • World Languages: Spanish and French

    Fourth graders choose one language–Spanish or French–to study throughout the year; for most students they continue their study of the language they selected in third grade. Fay’s Lower School French and Spanish program is based on F.L.E.S. (Foreign Language in the Elementary School). The F.L.E.S. methodologies are based on the developmental progression of first language acquisition, which involves the active use of and exposure to the language being learned. The learning style is hands-on and activity-based with textual support. Teachers emphasize listening and speaking skills through interactive activities such as games, choral repetition, TPR (Total Physical Response), acting out dialogues, and music. Through the use of Francophone and Hispanic children’s literature, students develop basic reading and writing skills. The study of culture continues to be a highlight of the program, as it allows the students to learn and appreciate French and Spanish speaking communities. Teachers encourage students to use French or Spanish to express basic ideas and to participate in brief conversations.

    Fourth graders review the material learned in third grade and expand on basic vocabulary. They learn simple grammatical concepts, theme-based vocabulary, and common cultural expressions through hands-on activities, games, and age-appropriate Francophone and Hispanic literature and media. Throughout the year, students participate in group activities that enable them to sharpen skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The class transitions to a more expanded use of French or Spanish, thus enabling the students to enhance their listening comprehension and speaking skills. By the end of the year, students are comfortable using French or Spanish expressions and basic language in the classroom. Culture is an important part of the program, and the students learn about special Francophone and Hispanic traditions and celebrations.

  • Music

    The Lower School music program is based on the educational philosophy of Zoltán Kodály and incorporates other methods, including Orff and Dalcroze. Children acquire musical skills and appreciation through singing, speaking, listening, games, movement, music reading and writing, improvisation, composition, and playing instruments. Students also perform in school concerts and plays. Students are exposed to a repertoire of music from folk songs and world music to classical music. As music is a language of emotion, the music curriculum supports Fay’s core value of Wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit by supporting the development of children's emotional intelligence.

    Grade four goals include review of all grade three concepts; identification and demonstration of the extended do pentatonic scale (low la, low so, high do); recognition of the do, la, and so pentatonic scales; reading whole notes and whole rests; identifying uneven rhythms (syncopation); identifying half steps; learning the solfege tone fa, identifying tetrachords and hexachords, learning about key signatures; identifying meter of 3, and singing in harmony. Fourth graders continue their study of the soprano recorder at a more advanced level.
  • Art

    Students focus on techniques of illustration throughout the year. They work with pencil, pen, watercolor paints, oil pastels, dry pastels, and acrylic paint. They learn about the differences and similarities among these media. One major project is a painting on canvas from observing a still life.

    Students who successfully complete the fourth grade art program will be able to:
    • Use media and tools appropriately
    • Listen to and understand multi-step directions
    • Understand the slab method of clay construction
    • Work cooperatively
    • Understand the color wheel as they learn to mix paint for a still-life on canvas
    • Care for their materials and maintain a clean workspace
  • Drama

    Building upon the foundation established in third grade, fourth grade drama is a year-long course that offers students an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the foundations of drama including voice, body, imagination, ensemble, and story. Students ill explore the art of the theater, express themselves through storytelling, and learn to collaborate with peers as an empathetic ensemble member. 

  • Physical Education

    The fourth grade P.E. program continues to focus on cardiovascular fitness and developmentally appropriate skills and activities as well as continuing progress towards developing an awareness of and participation in team sports. Teachers address skill development, effort, participation, and sportsmanship, with a focus on how to handle competitive situations in a positive manner. As grade four students will be choosing from among a range of athletic offerings in grade five, the department introduces options to students by inviting a coach from each Upper School sport to speak to the grade four students in a guest lecture format, so students can listen to the expectations of coaches on that level and to ask questions. Students begin using lockers in Harlow Gym and are expected to change into appropriate physical education attire at the beginning of each class. They begin with warm-ups and stretching exercises.

    Fall: Flag football, field hockey, cross country, soccer, and tennis
    Winter: Basketball, floor hockey, volleyball, climbing wall
    Spring: Lacrosse, softball, baseball, track and field, and pillo polo

    Other PE Activities:
    Tag games, capture the flag, kickball, parachute, obstacle courses, Frisbee (ultimate and golf), basic tumbling and stunts, creative movement and spatial awareness activities, relay races, scooter activities, muscle conditioning (vs. weight lifting)
  • Wellness

    Throughout the year, fourth graders participate in a Wellness class that meets once per rotation. Students address the issues of cliques, bullying, decision making, creating an inclusive environment, physical health, problem solving, self-advocacy, mindfulness, and cooperation. The curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of the students based upon class social dynamics, school climate, and other issues that may emerge.

main number 508-490-8250
admission 508-490-8201