Subject Overview

Spelling
        We use a published spelling workbook as the basis of spelling instruction, Houghton Mifflin Spelling and Vocabulary.  A spelling practice pretest is usually given on Tuesdays.  The final graded test for the week is given on Friday.  During weeks when there is no school on Friday, the alternate test date is announced at the beginning of the week.

        Things to do at home in addition to studying the spelling of the words
1.  Always make a copy of the list of words for the week to have at home.
2.  In class on Monday we go over the pronunciation and meaning of the new words and the lesson of the week.  It may be helpful to review the meanings of the words at home with your child.
3.  Writing sentences with the words is a good way to practice the spelling and the meanings, as well as improve sentence writing skills.

Social Studies 
        Ohio is the major theme of study in the fourth grade.  Our textbook is, Ohio Adventures in Place and Time, by Macmillian/McGraw-Hill.  The children will also be responsible for learning and keeping materials which will be part of a folder devoted to Ohio studies.  We hope to take a number of field trips related to our Social Studies themes.
        We will also spend a significant amount of time studying map reading skills and geography.
        The children need to review this subject often to prepare for quizzes and tests.  All major tests are announced in class at least four days before they are given.

Science
        In Science we attempt to develop thinking skills (scientific method) with the content information we are covering.
        The children need to review science information often to prepare for quizzes and tests.  All major tests are announced in class at least four days before they are given.  Our textbook is, Destinations in Science by Addison-Wesley.  The children are encouraged to visit the classroom science displays to try activities and examine materials.

       Weather permitting, we visit the outdoor education Land Lab weekly.  We will keep a Naturalists's Notebook journal of our Land Lab activities.  This journal is intended to teach research skills, observation skills, accurate recording of information, and improve written expression.

Language Arts
        Basic grammar skills are studied, but much of this subject is actually learned through writing. The major goal is to successfully communicate thoughts and ideas clearly.  Parents can help children by encouraging them to write at home, especially letters to family and friends.  Encourage children to share stories they have written.

        We will study research skills.  Beginning in January, the children will begin writing formal reports.  Detailed information sheets will be given to the children in January to guide them through this process from start to finish.  Please use the information sheets to help your child complete each phase of the report on time.

Math
        It is expected that all basic addition and subtraction facts have been mastered in second and third grade.  Multiplication facts will be mastered before the children leave fourth grade.

        Practice making change and counting money with your children.  Many children this age have trouble with this important life skill.  There are a few students each year who come to fourth grade who have never paid for anything in a store by themselves.   We practice at school with play money and pretend store items, but real life practice in stores under parent supervision is very helpful.
        In fourth grade we will begin to work with larger numbers.  Fractions and geometry are major units of study. Problem solving and probability concepts which go beyond the traditional "story problems" are also explored.
        Our Math textbook is, Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Math.

Reading
        The best activity for helping children improve reading skills is to simply READ, READ, READ.  Our class visits the school library weekly to check out books for pleasure reading and for research projects.  Have your children read out loud to you, to younger brothers or sisters, or grandparents.  Have children read directions to put things together or to cook something.  Read to your children.  Children in elementary school will always benefit from hearing a fluent reader.  Work puzzles from the newspaper or magazines together to improve vocabulary development.  Many newspapers run a special weekly kids page you can use.  Go over word puzzles and vocabulary activities your child brings home from school.  It is very helpful to use the vocabulary from Social Studies and Science to expand your child's vocabulary.
        Reading is taught using a variety of books and resources.  Content area textbooks, basal readers, trade books, and newspapers are all used for reading instruction at school.