Below can be found the principles and philosophy we follow with respect to the different subject areas of the Curriculum
4th Grade Curriculum
The language arts program incorporates a balance of rich literature, grammar, and spelling. Instruction reflects integration of writing, speaking, listening, penmanship, and vocabulary development. The students communicate their growth in skills through a variety of methods, including projects, plays, games, reports, and lively discussions.
The fourth grade reading program is literature based, with an emphasis on integrating skills through quality fiction and nonfiction. Much of the literature correlates with the social studies units of study. Lessons focus on various comprehension skills, vocabulary, critical reading, and clear written and oral expression of thought. The children share their knowledge through culmination projects, reports, in class writing responses, discussions, impromptu play acting, individual conferencing, and extension activities.
Process writing in writers' workshop allows students to brainstorm, write a rough draft, conference with a teacher, revise, share with peer writers, and publish a finished piece of writing. The children write in conjunction with all their subjects, expressing opinions and direct answers in paragraph and short essay form. They respond to literature through journals, reports, creative prose and poetry, and research. Grammar is taught through a textbook in connection with literature and is applied in various writing and speaking activities. Students continue to focus on application of spelling skills in written work and practice good cursive handwriting skills through the D'Nealian method.
The mathematics program, based on Everyday Mathematics, builds on the students' capabilities by expanding their ideas and life experiences. Supported by a rich, hands-on curriculum, students strengthen mathematical thinking skills. The program covers a broad range of mathematical concepts with an emphasis on application of skills in daily life. Mathematics instruction includes ongoing review, daily routines, the use of games and projects, cooperative learning, and problem solving for everyday situations. Students gain number sense, an understanding of operations, knowledge of measurement, an appreciation of relationships in data, and experience with geometric principles.
Fourth grade mathematics instruction focuses on:
- Naming and constructing geometric figures
- Using large numbers and organizing data
- Solving problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; (gaining mastery of addition and subtraction while developing skills in 2 digit multiplication and division)
- Applying number sense to recognize reasonable answers and to detect errors
- Understanding and using decimals, fractions, and percents, including converting from one to the other, ordering, comparing, adding, and subtracting
- Measuring, in both the standard and metric systems, and using appropriate measurement tools, including a protractor
- Understanding probability
- Naming both flat and 3-dimensional geometric shapes
- Using estimates to increase mental math strategies
The social studies curriculum allows for an understanding of cultural diversity and human civil rights. Through various units of study, the students gain a knowledge of economic and social interdependence. Geographical concepts such as map and globe skills are incorporated into each unit. Students share their knowledge through activities, projects, and discussions.
The fourth grade social studies program focuses on the geographical regions of the United States. Each area of study integrates history, economics, citizenship, and geography. The students see the cause and effect of events in history and gain an awareness of how these events relate to them and their lives. They learn researching skills through studying about Georgia, local history, and the ancient Inca civilization. The children read, discuss, and debate relevant issues, and enhance their learning through reading additional factual material and historical fiction.
Walker students use a hands-on, inquiry based science curriculum. Experiences appropriate to the students' developmental levels are used as a way of asking and answering questions. The children often work in collaborative groups as they use the scientific processes to explore a variety of content areas. Each grade has opportunities to investigate the areas of life, earth and physical science, as well as environmental concerns.
The fourth grade explores the content areas of magnetism and electricity, the senses, the life cycles of plants and animals, environmental concerns, rocks and minerals, and the metric measuring system. The units are used as a basis for gaining awareness of the scientific methods of observing, comparing, organizing, relating and classifying, and applying learned principles. Science classes are held in our elementary science room.
Creativity and appreciation of children's art work are given great emphasis at The Walker School. Children work in an environment that fosters respect for their unique and original art and encourages respect for the work of others. The art curriculum offers well-rounded and varied art experiences for children in first through fifth grade in the school's well-equipped Art Lab. The students look at their projects and assignments as opportunities for problem solving as they work with a wide range of media, projects, and themes within each grade level. Students enjoy creating a variety of ceramic projects making use of the Art Lab's large kiln, slab roller, and professional pottery tools. Through art projects and class discussions, students are introduced to art vocabulary, elements of design, and principles of design as they progress through Lower School. In Pursuit of the Arts, a month long celebration of the arts, includes art exhibits, music presentations, dramatic performances, visiting authors and artists, workshops, and discovery courses.
Character Education in the Lower School is a highly visible and cooperative program which is integrated across the curriculum at each grade level and throughout the special areas. Classroom activities and group meetings, bulletin board displays, assembly performances and closed-circuit video productions are all designed to highlight a special virtue each month. Additionally, student participation in various service projects throughout the school year is a vital component.
In computer class students use educational software to enhance language arts, math, social studies, and science skills. Classroom and computer teachers work together closely to make sure that the selected software is relevant to topics being taught in the classroom. In addition, students learn computer literacy through a progression of basic skills including key board functions, network logging in, internet research, e-mail access, and word processing.
Counseling and Guidance
The Lower School counseling program consists of monthly classroom guidance lessons on character education, peer relations, conflict resolution and other subjects of interest for elementary age students. Self-esteem, divorce/loss, and friendship groups are also available for children, as are individual sessions for concerns in these and other relevant developmental areas.
The Lower School media center supports the curriculum by helping students develop skills to locate, understand, interpret, and communicate information and ideas from books, periodicals, and computer sources. Through the library program, students develop an appreciation of literature, a love of reading, and independent research skills. The collection consists of over 13,000 books. A computerized card catalog provides access to a variety of print, non-print, and electronic sources. The students come to the library once a week to learn library skills, listen to stories, and interact with peers through different types of literature. In addition, story tellers and authors visit throughout the school year.
Music offers an outlet for self-expression and group participation. Through singing, instruments, movement and listening, students experience the many facets of this art. The culmination of music study for grades 1-5 is the annual Spring Play, which incorporates drama, singing and dancing.
The goal of the Physical Education program is to promote the appreciation of a healthy lifestyle through the development of basic physical skills. A variety of developmentally appropriate activities emphasizes coordination, physical fitness, sportsmanship, team work, sport specific skills, and fun. The activities work toward individual improvement and self confidence.
The study of a foreign language prepares students to compete and cooperate in the international arena and helps to promote multi-cultural understanding. Instruction in grades 1-5 introduces students to pronunciation and intonation patterns as well as vocabulary. This is done primarily through listening and speaking skills. The program of study is flexible to allow for different levels of competency among the students.