Fourth grade provides an excellent balance between very challenging academics and the pure enjoyment of learning. Students are placed in reading classes that meet their individual needs. Placement is based on test scores and recommendations. Students are offered more options for areas of study. Activities such as orchestra, cheerleading, and TCSA Academic Meet are only a few of these options. The opportunity for such challenging and enriching activities make this grade level one of the highlights of our students’ elementary years.
Students in grades 1-5 use the Building on the Rock curriculum from Summit Ministries. Fourth Grade focuses on the concept of servanthood and character traits. Key Biblical truths include: we were created as social beings to serve others in love, God ordained the family and nation in which we are to live and serve others, sin creates disharmony among families and nations, and through Christ we can be restored in relationship with others as members of God’s new family and nation. Weekly elementary chapels also help instill a desire for worship and Christian leadership.
The fourth grade reading curriculum is teacher-created. It is challenging as well as enjoyable. Students are now truly “reading to learn”. Higher level thinking skills are needed to evaluate and respond to various genres of literature. Students are expected to be able to compare/contrast, make predictions, note important details and support judgments in their readings. Book reports and various projects enrich the lessons. Students are evaluated quarterly using the STAR assessment program and reading progress is tracked. Students are encouraged to take Accelerated Reader tests on a regular basis. Weekly visits to the school’s library keep students well supplied with good books. Students are placed in reading classes that best meet their individual needs.
The Houghton Mifflin English curriculum is used to reinforce basic grammar skills mastered in the 3rd grade. Daily editing procedures ensure regular practice. The Houghton Mifflin company provides an educational website that assists teachers, parents and students with additional practice for each lesson.
Students in fourth grade work with a writing specialist several times per week using the Write More curriculum. The writing process, as well as basic story elements, are directly taught. Students learn to write in a variety of genres. Journal writing is also a major part of the curriculum. In addition, students are taught how to conduct research, take notes and write informational text. Skills learned in the writing class are utilized throughout the regular curriculum.
The Houghton Mifflin Spelling and Vocabulary series uses an emphasis on spelling patterns, phonics, vocabulary and editing. Houghton Mifflin provides an educational website for students, teachers and parents to reinforce concepts learned in the classroom and to further extend lessons.
The Houghton Mifflin Math Expressions Common Core 2013 curriculum provides an excellent balance between computation skills and analysis. Students are expected not only to derive answers, but to justify them as well. Students review addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in the fall semester. They are introduced to higher-level thinking using real-world story problems that require multiple steps. Hands-on manipulatives help students understand concepts more fully.
The Scott Foresman 2008 Diamond Edition curriculum focuses on life, physical and earth science. Learning.com’s Aha! Science supplemental curriculum is also used. It is web based and highly interactive. Students experience science with a science specialist who has a passion for this subject and loves to share it from a Christian perspective. Technology is heavily integrated into the class. Labs, projects and hands-on activities help make science a favorite among the fourth grade students.
Texas Studies Weekly is used as a basis for instruction. Students are exposed to the unique history of our state as well as important personalities that shaped our future. A major research project called the Wax Museum is required. It utilizes language arts skills such as research strategies, writing, poetry, display designs and speech presentations. Classroom MacBooks/iPads are used throughout the year for many tasks, including project-based assignments. Various field trips to Dewberry Farms and the San Jacinto museum reinforce state studies. Critical thinking and higher level reading skills make this curriculum very interactive and highly challenging.
Fourth graders at Northland may choose between music class OR orchestra and attend class for 45 minutes 3 times a week. Musical concepts such as major scale, sightreading, and sixteenth note rhythms are learned through singing games, folk songs, and traditional hymns. Fourth graders are also encouraged to express themselves in Reader’s Theater performances and instrument accompaniments. Two-part singing is introduced through partner songs, and simple vocal ostinatos. Fourth grade students are invited to audition for singing and speaking roles in the Christmas musical. Western Day brings lots of fun with traditional square dances that increase in difficulty from year to year. Fourth grade students have many roles in the spring musical performance. The year culminates in a study of composers and some of their most popular pieces.
*Third grade students have the opportunity to participate in the Northland Honor Choir. Honor Choir meets before school two days a week. Participation in Honor Choir is optional. Auditions are usually not required but will be used if needed.
This program is conducted by the Northland high school orchestra teacher using the Suzuki method. Students may choose between the violin, viola, cello or bass. Students learn to play by ear and progress to actually reading music by the end of the year. Students are given the opportunity to perform at the annual Christmas concert and at the Community Open House. Additional off-campus community service performances are offered. An instrument rental fee applies. Purchase of music books is required as well. Students who participate in orchestra class do not attend the regular music class.
Art is integrated into the regular classroom curriculum. Bible lessons are taught using student artwork and seasonal art projects allow students to be creative on a regular basis. Students enjoy making Christmas crafts during the holiday season. Special projects include Rodeo Art drawings for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The elementary Physical Education program was developed by SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) and is taught by two highly-qualified coaches who have many years of teaching and coaching experience. P.E. classes are designed to develop skills that enhance learning in the classroom. All students participate in 30 minutes of P.E. daily. Classes are taught in the school’s gymnasium and are highly structured in nature. Our belief is that daily physical activity is essential for good health and well-being. Students continue to hone large-motor and fine-motor skills through various games and activities.
Keyboarding skills are reinforced on a regular basis. Students become more adept at using the Microsoft Office suite. Classroom iPads for each student and a fully equipped one-to-one iPad lab enhance the learning experience.