|Fourth grade is a time when students solidify the skills they have been developing throughout their elementary school years. By the time fourth graders leave the lower school, they have become critical thinkers and active participants in our society and have developed a more pronounced independence. They are able to integrate their knowledge of the past, present, and future. They also learn how to express their observations and understandings in comprehensive and creative ways, ranging from writing news articles or poems to collecting data and assessing its reliability in science class. |
Fourth graders learn how to think critically about economic issues, social justice, civil discourse, and immigration issues through curricular projects that link the classroom to the world at large. For example, our recent “Street Vendor Project” engaged students in interdisciplinary learning through math, writing, reading, social studies, drama, and art. Students took on the perspectives of immigrants, street vendors, and city government officials.
They wrote news articles and letters to city officials, and participated in protests. In math, students figured out how much money a street vendor can earn during a lunch hour by using the cost of running a food cart and calculating how much food they would sell. In art and woodshop, fourth graders use historical and contemporary facts to create concrete items such as pushcarts, toys, and suitcases.
Fourth graders display courage and citizenship both in and outside the classroom. By taking on the roles of journalists, actors, protesters, and emcees, fourth graders gain the confidence to take risks, voice their opinions, and engage with the community. Fourth graders learn how adopt others’ perspectives through a variety of activities, including a simulation on Ellis Island, in which they take on the roles of immigrants during the early 1900s.