Students engage in novel studies and guided reading. There is emphasis on reading comprehension including identifying main ideas, interpreting text, predicting outcomes, summarizing events, making inferences, empathizing with characters, drawing conclusions. Students in fourth grade write daily, begin to understand the steps in the writing process, and learn to self-evaluate their writing. Greek and Latin roots are introduced at this level. Students also engage in daily spelling activities. Everyone participates in group discussions, present oral reports, read alouds, and have the opportunity to present at school assemblies. Listening skills are key as they develop interpretive skills through dictated materials, listening to teachers and peers read aloud, evaluate oral reports, and participate in group discussions.
In math, students focus on creating and interpreting graphs. After gathering information, they learn to find mean, median, and mode while discovering probability and patterns in data. Fourth graders will create and solve multi-step addition & subtraction problems. They will begin to recognize the meaning of simple algebraic equations and place value to the hundred millions. While solidifying their understanding of multiplication, students will learn common multiples and factors of numbers 0-100. These students will learn to divide larger numbers. Measurement skills will include weight, mass, and liquid volumes. Fourth grade geometry concepts will incorporate points, lines, line segments, rays, angles and symmetry, and congruency plane figures. They will explore a variety of 2-D and 3-D shapes. Finally, the students will begin understanding fractions with unlike denominators, order of operations, multiplying fractions, and decimals.
Fourth grade science units include ecology and biomes, Earth's surfaces, weather, water cycle, and properties of matter. During the Human Body Fair, fourth grade explores the skeletal and muscular systems. The students will also examine various plants and animals. Finally, they will have a brief introduction to the Periodic Table.
At the beginning of fourth grade, the regions of the United States are reviewed. The main focus for the year is the state of Virginia. The students discover the rich history of the early settlers as well as the characteristics of the five major regions. During the Passport Program, students delve into the life and culture of ancient Italy including the Roman Empire.
Spanish in Lower School is done as a hands-on approach. It is lively and fun, and follows closely with the curriculum of the program and what the homeroom teacher is teaching at a particular time. Later on, students will continue to develop vocabulary and pronunciation skills and an understanding of the target cultures through hands-on and culturally stimulating ways. By fourth grade, reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills continue to be developed introducing grammatical and linguistic features.
Students begin keyboarding lessons in lower school, and basic computer vocabulary and functions are emphasized. Projects in class are used to extend classroom lessons, whether it is building a presentation, writing a paper, creating a poster, etc. for a currently studied unit. Students are given assignments that continue to enhance and develop their technical skills and understanding by producing increasingly more sophisticated documents and presentations.
Students learn more abstract ideas and terms while being introduced to more challenging software and the structure of networks. Netsmartz and Digital Compass age appropriate areas are used to teach and engage students in conversation regarding a variety of topics in digital safety and citizenship.
Fourth and fifth grade students will continue to build their vocabulary of art terminology. Students begin to learn about different artists, art history periods, movements, and styles. They will discover how to create color schemes and use them when creating artwork. Students will learn how to use proportion and experiment with drawing 3-D forms.
The Sullins model for music education is built upon each student progressing in their knowledge per annum. Beginning in Kindergarten, students at Sullins are introduced to music through beat (steady beat), voice (whisper, talk, shout), rhythm (discovering the difference between beat and rhythm), pitch, patterns, introduction to instruments, dynamics, duration, and listening.
As their year at Sullins progresses, students will learn to sing in tune and on pitch with more consistency, learn to demonstrate a steady beat with more consistency, identify and read rhythmic notation, coordinate movement with music in the form of dances, more complex circle games, and creative movement.
Students will sing in tune and on pitch with more consistency, will demonstrate a steady beat with more consistency at different tempo, and will learn to sing and play simple two-part songs. Students will also be introduced to the concept of harmony and will learn to identify the following musical symbols: staff, treble clef, bar line, measure, double bar line, repeat sign, quarter note, quarter rest, half note, half rest.
The children will coordinate movement with music in the form of more complex dances, circle games, and creative movement.
Fourth grade students are familiar with the library and its procedures, growing more independent in all facets of library use. Students continue to strengthen research skills as well as develop a greater appreciation for many literary forms through independent reading and read alouds of chapter books.
Lower School curriculum focuses on team sports, cooperation, team-building, and individual skills. Sports include volleyball, soccer, baseball, tennis, football, basketball, and hockey. Students participate in bi-annual fitness testing, single and team jump ropes, and seasonal tag games. Fourth and fifth grade students complete the PE Central Challenge. As a culmination of Heart Health Awareness month, students participate in the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart.