Primary School

Children are naturally eager to question, develop their own theories — even change a point of view.

Fourth Grade

Math

The mathematics program emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Students are actively engaged in skill- and concept-building exercises and activities in individual, small group, and whole-class lessons at every grade level. Our program focuses on real-world experiences, integrating our outdoor education center, projects lab, and other classes in lessons and projects to support the development of higher-level thinking skills. Our problem-solving and critical thinking based curriculum teaches step-by-step approaches to solving problems while encouraging students to develop and utilize their own problem-solving strategies.

All grade levels junior kindergarten through fourth grade address developmentally appropriate benchmarks following the following strands: number sense, geometry, measurement, operations and computation, patterns and functions, and data and probability. 

The junior kindergarten through fourth grade classes use the Bridges in Mathematics from The Math Learning Center. The program focuses on math literacy, emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking, and utilizes hands-on, real-world components. “Number Corner,” a component of Bridges in Mathematics, is an integrated daily calendar activity which focuses on patterning, prediction, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Math support specialists from the Learning Resource Center provide student support, and also work with small groups and individuals to be sure all students are receiving individualized instruction (enrichment or remediation) as needed.

In addition to classroom mathematics instruction, students work in the projects lab and use measurement, computation and problem-solving skills to build woodworking projects. This allows our students to apply their mathematical knowledge to something relevant and meaningful and experience math in the real world. Junior kindergarten and kindergarten children build small boats and a project of choice. First graders work on a more complicated paddle boat and a project of choice. Second graders spend the year working on building and learning to play a box guitar, even measuring the proper distance for the placement of the frets. Third and fourth graders use their skills to build projects of choice, and depending on the level of difficulty, might create one to three projects during the course of a school year. Through the primary school years, students have the opportunity to create something from scratch, using math, problem-solving, and collaboration with their peers.

Fourth grade students learn to calculate, solve problems, and develop mathematical fluency using the Bridges In Mathematics program and other resources.  Students continue to think and communicate mathematically as they analyze, explore, and investigate with a focus on problem solving and mental math skills. Conceptual and critical thinking skills are targeted using class discussions of highly complex problems. All students are encouraged to present and explain their solutions, the thinking behind them and to explore alternative methods and creative solutions.

Goals and Objectives

Number Sense:

  • Read, write, and compare numbers beyond 9 digits (billions)
  • Name place value in decimals to the thousandths
  • Compare and sequence to the thousandths
  • Round numbers to the nearest thousandth
  • Compare negative and positive integers
  • Identify negative and positive numbers on a number line 

Data Analysis:

  • Interpret information from a table or graph (bar, line, circle)
  • Organize and display data using a graph
  • Find median, maximum, minimum, and mode

Measurement:

  • Measure accurately to the nearest millimeter (metric) and nearest 1/8 inch (customary)
  • Find perimeter of 2-dimensional shapes
  • Find the area of a polygon drawn on a grid 

Operations and Computation:

  • Use parentheses correctly in number sentences
  • Add, subtract, and estimate with decimals to the thousandths
  • Demonstrate ability to use different strategies for solving multi-digit multiplication equations
  • Perform steps of long division using a single digit divisor
  • Use multiplication to check for accuracy in division
  • Add and subtracts fractions with common denominators 
  • Identify and demonstrates ability to find common denominators when adding and subtracting fractions 

Geometry:

  • Label, plot, and read coordinate grids
  • Measure acute, obtuse, and right angles using a protractor
  • Name points, line segments, lines, and rays
  • Form angles and polygons by name
  • Measure the diameter and radius of a circle 

Algebra:

  • Solve for “x” in basic, one-step equations using addition and subtraction and check accuracy using substitution
  • Recognize and solves basic, one-step equations using addition and subtraction
  • Identify a constant and variable in basic equations 

Probability:

  • Compare fractions to compare probability

Fractions/ Decimals and Percents:

  • Compare fractions with like denominators
  • Identify equivalent fractions
  • Convert improper fractions to mixed number form and reverse
  • Convert fractions to decimals and reverse
Spanish

The primary school Spanish program is led by two native Spanish speaking teachers. Students are expected to develop four interrelated skills: auditory discrimination (listening), comprehension (understanding), production (speaking), and communication (the ability to use language meaningfully in new situations). We introduce the Santillana curriculum beginning in kindergarten and continuing through fourth grade. Our goal is for students to develop communicative competence in the Spanish language through cultural awareness activities that focus on the gradual development of listening, speaking reading, and writing skills. We use arts and crafts, role playing, music, visuals, hands-on materials and technology as teaching tools. The student’s progress is evaluated through periodic formal and informal assessments targeting the four main skills. Spanish classes meet four times a week in fourth grade.

In fourth grade, second language teaching can be described as both multi-sensory and multicultural. It is multi-sensory because our program includes visual, auditory and behavioral expectations for all students. It is multicultural because traditions and festivities from the Spanish-speaking world are brought to the classroom in different ways such as films, dances and art projects. Also, our students participate in an exchange program with Colegio Williams School in Mexico. They write to penpals and spend a week with a team of Mexican teachers who visit our school. Fourth grade students begin more formal reading and writing practice to prepare them for the middle school program.

Goals and Objectives

Listening Comprehension:

  • Comprehend questions based on dialogues such as: ¿Cómo te llamas?, ¿Cómo se llama tu mamá?, ¿Dónde viven tus primos?
  • Follow simple directions to complete an activity, for example: Abre el libro en la página número
  • Understand and utilize gender and number agreement

Speaking:

  • Conduct simple dialogs with classmates
  • Express their feelings (¡Estoy cansado!).
  • Ask simple questions (¿Te gusta el fútbol?)
  • Respond to most routine statements, questions, and commands

Reading:

  • Identify main idea and sequence of events in story line
  • Read paragraphs aloud with an understandable pronunciation

Writing:

  • Recognize nouns and adjectives
  • Use properly the learned “key question words” (qué, quién, cuándo, etc.)
  • Construct a short paragraph respecting grammar structure.
  • Develop an outside the classroom experience through “Pen-pal Program” giving the students opportunities of global education
Social Studies

Social Studies in the primary school has a universal focus on community awareness and global citizenship. Daily interactions provide much of the foundation for social studies as students learn how to work together, navigate conflict, and be a productive member of the classroom and community. The beauty of diversity is explored, and there is a central focus on cultural competency, or the understanding of difference. Studies of people, the community, and how these are related help to connect the social studies curriculum between the grade levels. 

The year  long focus in fourth grade is on the state of California. A multidisciplinary approach is used, incorporating the state’s rich history, diverse geography, government, economics, social, and cultural issues. Students also focus on world geography, as well as landforms and how they influence life. The interrelated study of people in the societies of past and present aims to help students develop skills and insights that will help them act in a purposeful, knowledgeable manner in a rapidly changing world. Students also prepare weekly current events and present information to the class using technology and other resources. Public speaking skills are greatly emphasized in fourth grade through the current events and class presentations. A strong focus is also placed on working in groups to accomplish a larger task, providing students with relevant experiences in working with others, navigating conflict, and collaborating for a common purpose.

Goals and Objectives

Social Skills:

  • Develop an understanding of the importance of studying history and the relationships between past, present, and future
  • Develop good questioning skills and techniques for research
  • Develop oral discussion skills
  • Develop a respect for human rights
  • Recognize point of view and develop personal opinions
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion
  • Identify and utilize the steps of good decision making

Geography:

  • Read maps of different types and scale
  • Track the European explorers and their effects on the people and the land
  • Read, interpret, and develop timelines
  • Read and interpret charts, graphs, and tables
  • Use latitude and longitude to locate places on maps and globes
  • Recognize landforms and identify the agricultural and natural resources in our state
Language Arts

The goal of the MP&MS language arts program is for students to develop a lifelong love of reading, writing, and learning. Small class sizes and the expertise of our Learning Resource reading specialists allow for individualization and small group work in all primary classrooms.

The primary school utilizes the Writer’s Workshop framework for writing instruction and practice in the classroom. Similar in format, the Reader’s Workshop model teaches students strategies for reading and comprehension. Students in the early primary grades focus on spelling, phonics, and vocabulary through the Words their Way developmental program.

Fourth graders experience literacy in an environment designed to  extend their skills and prepare for the transition to middle school. Students continue to participate in large and small group discussions and literature circles. Content area reading is an integral part of the fourth grade experience. Reading and writing workshop become more integrated with social studies and science, incorporating increasingly complex research and group projects. Creative writing is prominent, and students spend time writing about and presenting current events. Fourth grade also incorporates technology as a daily element and important learning tool through the one-to-one iPad program.

Goals and Objectives

Reading:

  • Reads thoughtfully, connecting new information to prior knowledge and experience
  • Reads grade level text with increasing fluency
  • Raises interpretive questions about what is read
  • Predicts meaning of new words using etymological and context clues
  • Demonstrates comprehension in conversation and written responses
  • Uses effectives strategies when reading for different purposes
  • Makes inferences and predictions
  • Compares and contrasts characters, settings, and stories
  • Recognizes point of view
  • Discriminates between reality and fantasy, fact and opinion, fiction, and nonfiction

Writing:

  • Writes using complete sentences, topic sentences and concluding sentences
  • Uses specific details to support ideas or facts
  • Uses a range of vocabulary and sentence structures
  • Includes an introduction, development, and closing thoughts to a topic
  • Shows correct usage of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and other writing mechanics
  • Uses the stages of the writing process
  • Uses descriptive language to enhance and elaborate ideas
  • Effectively uses multiple forms of writing

Handwriting:

  • Forms letters correctly, especially for pinpointed letters
  • Places correct amount of spacing between words, all letters on the line
  • Practices typing 3 times a week for 15 minutes

Grammar:

  • Identifies basic parts of speech - noun, verb, adjective, adverb
  • Develops a familiarity with transition words
  • Develops an ear for subject/verb agreement

Listening and Speaking:

  • Follows a series of directions
  • Actively engages in class discussions
  • Presents a current event to the class each week
  • Contributes relevant responses during academic discussions, problem solving exercises, and peer discussions
Science

Science at Marin Primary & Middle School is taught through the innate curiosity of children using a hands-on, experiential method. Questioning, exploring, experimenting, and discovery are essential components of the science curriculum at all grade levels. Students begin learning about scientific investigation as early as junior kindergarten, conducting experiments and observing nature. Each grade level spends time in the Outdoor Education Center (OEC, our school garden) taking advantage of the wonderful ecosystems flourishing there, observes weather, and seasonal changes, and explores ways to help the environment. 

Fourth grade approaches the study of science as part of a lifelong exploration of the world around us. Students are encouraged to draw their own conclusions and study the scientific method in depth, using this to conduct experiments based on the questions that arise throughout the year. This emergent curriculum allows the students to build on their natural curiosities and make discoveries that matter to them as scientists and learners. Much of the science curriculum is integrated with the study of California, as students learn about plants and animals that are native to our state. Specific units include studies of the layers of the Earth, forms of energy, magnetism, light and color, and soil studies. The Outdoor Education Center is used throughout the year to teach students the process of composting, conduct soil studies, and to learn natural ways to treat plants for disease and pests. Fourth graders also participate in the school Science Fair for the first time, and conduct their own experiments at home to share during the fair.

Goals and Objectives

Scientific Method, and Inquiry:

  • Form original research questions and hypotheses
  • Follow a set of written instructions for a scientific investigation
  • Collect, organize, and report data
  • Analyze and interpreting data
  • Construct and interpret graphs
  • Practice drawing conclusions

Life Science:

  • See plants as a source of energy
  • Diagram the process of photosynthesis
  • Identify plant nutrients and learn their importance
  • Witness the process of decomposition
  • Follow food chains and webs
  • Experience and research various California ecosystems and their interdependence
  • Explore California watershed systems
  • Recognize adaptations & behaviors of living things as methods of survival
  • Become more aware of the patterns and cycles of nature  
  • Investigate some of the ecosystems and watershed areas of the San Francisco Bay

Earth Science:

  • Use magnifying lenses to identify soil composition
  • Sort and classify different types of rocks and different types of minerals
  • Investigate some of the ecosystems and watershed areas of the San Francisco Bay

Physical Science:

  • Explore the properties of water
  • Explore the 8 different forms of energy and experiment with how one form can convert into other forms
  • Observe and question the concept of the conservation of energy
  • Experiment with force, motion, and machines
  • Connect electricity and magnetism by building and designing simple circuits
  • Relate light and color to the structure of the eye


 
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