At Hamline Elementary, we have two fourth grade classrooms. Class size is approximately 25 students per classroom. Our student body is diverse with many native languages and cultures. We also have an ELL teacher to support this grade level.
In reading, we follow Minnesota's common core standards. We also follow the suggested skills/strategy sets from Jennifer Serravello's work. These reading strategies consist of comprehension monitoring, determining important ideas, making inferences, making connections, asking questions, visualizing, summarizing and synthesizing, and understanding text structure. Students receive individualized guided reading instruction in small groups and are expected to read independently both at school and at home on a daily basis. As a part of SPPS requirements, our fourth grade team also utilizes FAST software that includes reading assessments, progress monitoring, data analysis and inerventions.
In math, we follow SPPS's new math guidelines. This new way we teach and interact with math is hands on and works from starting with concret and working our way to abstract concepts. Some important concepts we cover are: geometry, organizing and interpreting data in the form of graphs and tables, major emphasis on multiplication and division, decimals and fractions and percents, big numbers, estimation, perimeter and area, reflections and symmetry, and measurement.
Our writing curriculum is the Writer’s Workshop model. Students keep a Writer’s Notebook where they focus on the writing process. Throughout the year, we study a variety of writing genres. There are several writing projects that culminate in a published piece.
Our Social Studies focus is on the five main regions of the United States and also on Minnesota History. We use the African Americans In Minnesota text to launch our Minnesota History study, and incorporate information about how the fur trade, the Native Americans, and the European settlers influenced the development of our state. We visit the Mill City Museum and Fort Snelling to provide a hands-on learning opportunity that enhances our classroom lessons.
We have two rotations of specialists: science and physical education. The Science curriculum studies the water cycle, magnets and electricity, ideas and inventions, engineering design, and measurement. We also cover the systems the help a human body function and we take a brief look at astronomy.
Physical education teaches important skills for healthy, lifelong habits and provides an opportunity for students to learn about different sports and games. We have physical education 3 times a week.
Last but certainly not least, through our partnership with Hamline University fourth grade has swimming lessons at HU throught the YMCA for free. We also have academic pairings through literacy, math and other areas such as social justice.