Lower School

Curriculum


PreK4

Our PreK4 curriculum is designed with every aspect of a child's development in mind. Students are active participants in developing their phonemic awareness skills, whether it is by listening to their teacher read or practicing their letter sounds by hearing jingles and singing along. While exploring their environment, they learn shapes, sizes, and enjoy the pleasure of counting and sorting all in the context of a nurturing and loving classroom with teachers who model their Christian faith.
 

Art

Our PreK4 art program is designed with every aspect of a child’s development in mind. The curriculum takes an exploratory approach to art tools, materials, and concepts. Students are introduced to the art of drawing, painting, cutting, tearing, molding, sculpting, etc. They draw and print lines, arrange paper shapes, paint insects, explore clay, create patterns, and mix colors. The emphasis is on the process of creating and discovering, as the process is more important than the product, at this age. Learning to use, respect, and care for tools and materials; engaging the muscles and developing physically; practicing and refining new skills; striving for the right words to describe a work of art and to share ideas – these are all important parts of what it means to discover the artist within.

 

Bible

The PreK4 Bible curriculum is guided by two books, Five-Minute Devotions for Children and More Five Minute Devotions for Children, both by Pamela Kennedy. While learning facts about animals, these stories tie in lessons about Christian living and character. Each week, the children will also memorize a Bible verse which correlates with their devotions. Scripture and Bible stories are brought into daily conversation as opportunities present.

 

History/Social Studies

Our social studies curriculum combines an introduction of history and geography of the United States in addition to a study of American holidays. Our class will discover the “geography” of Whitefield, the importance of building friendships and community, transportation, community helpers, recycling, and other types of community service.

 

Language Arts

Beginning to Read, Write and Listen by Pleasant T. Rowland (McGraw-Hill) is the comprehensive reading-language arts curriculum that we utilize. In order for a child to read, phonic awareness is a foundational skill that begins in PreK4. Therefore, this curriculum encompasses reading, handwriting, auditory, and oral language skills, preparing children to read and to write. Our instruction provides children with a thorough understanding of the letters of the alphabet and their sounds-the most basic elements of our spoken and written language. This is a multisensory program of visual, kinesthetic, and auditory activities. We begin to introduce students to the Orton-Gillingham approach (the clock-face) to handwriting and phonics, which is expanded upon during their kindergarten year. Our language arts supplemental resources include Alpha Tales (stories focusing on each letter of the alphabet; ABC Songs Sing-A-Long CD with Chart) and Handwriting without Tears.

 

Library

Our PreK4 classes learn what libraries are, what librarians do, and appropriate library behavior. They develop listening skills through read-alouds of fiction and nonfiction materials. They learn that books are authored and illustrated by people and the labels for the parts of a book. Our students are introduced to the proper handling of books and rewarded with the opportunity to check out a weekly book and take it home following the Christmas holidays. I Love to Read Week is a major part of the library program for all students. The first quarter is spent introducing students to the library and the books of I Love to Read Week. Each class has a special picture book to represent for the parade, but all students are introduced to these books. The culmination of this is the I Love to Read parade, during which each book is represented in a red wagon float with the students dressing as characters from the story. The picture books chosen represent some of the best of newer children’s literature.

 

Math

PreK4 children are natural mathematicians because they delight in exploring their environment and describing shapes, sizes, and numbers. Our math curriculum supports and builds upon their eagerness to compare quantities, learn and use new words, make designs and move about in our three-dimensional world. The lessons and activities of the McGraw-Hill PreK4 math curriculum closely align with and support the five key math strands identified by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM):

  • Number and Operations which includes comparing sets, counting, connecting number words to groups of objects and numerals, using ordinal numbers, exploring fractions, and generating and solving simple addition and subtraction problems.
  • Algebra which includes sorting, working with patterns, and describing change over time.
  • Geometry which includes two-and three-dimensional shapes, positions, and symmetry.
  • Measurement, which includes comparing and ordering objects according to size, length, volume, weight, and time; using nonstandard measurement units; and exploring uses of measurement tools.
  • Data Analysis and Probability, which includes gathering, displaying, and interpreting data.


Our math supplemental resources includes:

  • Number Tales by Judy Nayer offers a fun and easy way to capitalize on a child’s natural interest in learning numbers. Each simple, imaginative story focuses on a different number or skill, teaching the numbers 0-10, 30, 100, skip counting, simple addition, and simple subtraction.
  • Wide variety of manipulatives

 

Music

Our PreK4 music curriculum is designed to introduce students to basic music concepts. Students sing songs, practice the steady beat, learn to play basic Orff and percussion instruments, and rhythmically move. These and other diverse activities contribute to helping students expand their musical experience at a young age.

 

Physical Education

Our PreK4 physical education curriculum, following the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), is designed to introduce students to new ways to move, be active, and enjoy learning. Students learn basic locomotor and non-locomotor skills, increase activity, and develop and improve their personal, social, attitudinal, and spiritual characteristics needed to be physically active for life while having fun!

 

Science

Science touches every aspect of our lives, and one of the most common ways we experience science is through the life cycles of plants and animals. With the Scholastic Science Vocabulary Readers curriculum, we are building children’s core science knowledge, acquiring key science vocabulary, and applying what they learn to experiences outside the classroom. The science lab is available for use monthly to extend science learning.

 

Spanish

The PreK4 Spanish curriculum is designed to give students an engaging and meaningful introduction into the Spanish language and the rich culture it represents.

Students learn songs, words, and phrases related to basic greetings, body parts, clothing, colors, numbers from one to 20, food, and animals. Students are taught a prayer with which to begin class throughout the school year.

PreK4 students complete arts, crafts, and in-class activities designed to reinforce new vocabulary and to give them a means to revisit previously-taught material.

We celebrate holidays and festivals around the Spanish-speaking world by learning songs and dances, such as Christmas songs and Holy Week customs.

 

 

Kindergarten

Our kindergarten curriculum is carefully structured and designed to capitalize on young minds whose natural curiosity prepares them with a readiness to learn, learn, and learn! Just the right balance of structure and exploration is provided throughout the day, allowing for this age child to reach his or her maximum potential in all areas of development.

 

Art

Kindergarten-level art is a carefully-structured, child-centered program designed to capitalize on young children’s natural curiosity and readiness to explore. The kindergarten program combines a solid foundation in how to use tools and materials with the delight of exploring them, developing skills and inventing new ways to create works of art. Students are introduced to drawing, painting, cutting, tearing, folding, molding, etc. This experimenting with new tools, materials, and processes takes the mystery out of being an artist and opens up the possibility of creative artistic expression. Carefully-chosen works of fine art and the pictures of the world around us help spark our students’ interest and enthusiasm. Kindergarteners create original works of art inspired by rich images, personal experiences, and imagination.

 

Bible

Our Bible curriculum, Positive Action for Christ, , emphasizes a study of biblical events and personalities in order to build upon students' faith and knowledge. Opportunities are given for students to apply biblical principles and develop character traits through weekly Scripture memorization. Once per year, each class performs a school-wide chapel program focusing on a favorite Bible verse or lesson; this begins in kindergarten and continues through fourth grade.

 

History/Social Studies

The social studies curriculum in kindergarten is published by Pearson Learning. It is designed to teach history and geography topics in a sequential order throughout a student’s Lower School years. At the conclusion of kindergarten, students will be able to identify and name the seven continents. Other topics covered include map and geography skills, the history of Native Americans, the history of the United States, world exploration, and the history of the American presidents.

 

Language Arts

Our kindergarten reading curriculum incorporates the blending of the Open Court kindergarten curriculum with Orton-Gillingham instructional practices. Through the combination of these curricula, our students are introduced to the critical components of phonics and reading. These include multisensory instruction, a comprehensive curriculum sequence, and the direct instruction of phonics. At this age, students are at various levels of reading ability, and we respond by providing books according to that ability. At the same time, we work with each student to master reading age-appropriate level of books in preparation for first grade. Our annual theater field trip enhances the students’ learning in the following areas: knowledge of various literature types and a visual appreciation of stories coming to life on stage as well as audience participation and etiquette.

Additionally, the Open Court curriculum provides a systematic and explicit instruction in the areas of comprehension, writing, language skills, and strategies. Through the curriculum, the students are introduced to rich and diverse genres of literature. The handwriting section of language arts is based on the Riggs Institute Handwriting curriculum and Orton-Gillingham phonics. Our students are introduced to the lines on the paper, the basic strokes to form the 26 letters of the alphabet, and the placement of those strokes to form letters. Through dictation exercises, teachers assess students’ accuracy of matching letter sounds to the appropriate letters to write and spell. In addition, teachers monitor letter formation, spacing, and neatness.

The writing curriculum evolves from the handwriting lessons to the actual dictation of complete sentences. The students are introduced to sentence rules and proper punctuation. This curriculum progresses to include the kindergarten “Power Writing” process. The students are introduced to the basic parts of a paragraph and follow this format as they begin to produce their own stories and illustrations.

 

Library

In kindergarten, selecting books based on personal interest and learning checkout procedures are a major focus. Students are taught to use alphabetical order to locate books and how to select books by perusing the shelves. Emphasis is placed on the joy of reading and learning to read. During the first semester, kindergartners are allowed to check out one book at a time. During the second semester, kindergartners are allowed to check out an additional book in order to feed their growing interest in independent reading.

I Love to Read Week is a major part of the library program for all students. The first quarter is spent introducing students to the library and the books of I Love to Read Week. Each class has a special picture book to represent for the parade, but all students are introduced to these books. The culmination of this is the I Love to Read parade, during which each book is represented in a red wagon float with the students dressing as characters from the story. The picture books chosen represent some of the best of newer children’s literature.

 

Math

The comprehensive math curriculum at Whitefield Academy is McGraw Hill My Math. It provides a basic introduction to math operations. Throughout the year, the topics include sorting, patterning, position recognition, graphing, plane and three-dimensional shapes, fractions, time, money, length, weight, addition, subtraction, and number recognition from 0-100. Within each lesson, a variety of manipulatives are used such as Unifix cubes, thermometers, rulers, scales, clocks, and money to enhance learning. Students also complete many in-class, hands-on activities and create math journals to further engage learning and critical-thinking skills.

 

Music

In kindergarten, students continue to develop the fundamentals of a musical experience by learning about instruments and their families, participating in song time, playing rhythm and Orff instruments, learning the basic fundamentals of musical expression [loud/soft, high/low, and fast/slow], and learning basic rhythm reading. Acquisition of these skills aids students in developing deeper musical experiences in later grades.

 

Physical Education

Our curriculum continues to follow the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). During kindergarten, our students continue to improve their locomotor and non-locomotor skills, fitness, health, and nutrition. Incorporated into P.E. are aspects such as compassion for others, cooperation vs. competition, respect for equipment, good sportsmanship, and honoring God in our play. Health and nutrition is also introduced at this grade. The goal of the health and nutrition program is to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice health-enhancing behaviors such as proper nutrition, healthy eating, and food selection.

 

Science

Science and literature are integrated in kindergarten through a variety of literature and meaningful hands-on exploration in class and with visits to the science lab. Through our Open Court Reading curriculum, science topics such as the ocean, the wind and weather, plants, and shadows are further explored. The kindergarten science program is augmented by the Science Studies Weekly publication. The experiential learning in science includes a trip to the Pettit Creek Farm.

 

Spanish

The kindergarten curriculum is comprised of basic vocabulary and simple phrases that will be built upon as they continue in the Lower School Spanish program. Using songs, games, and arts and crafts, kindergarten students learn vocabulary related to greetings, counting, colors, weather, animals, food, housing, and clothing. Students are taught two prayers throughout the school year with which to begin class. In the Spanish kindergarten classroom, students are exposed to several children’s books and stories, many of which are familiar but are now presented to them in the Spanish language. These include such classic titles as “Los Tres Cerditos” (The Three Little Pigs), “La Oruga Muy Hambriente” (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), and “Huevos Verdes con Jamón” (Green Eggs and Ham).

 

 

1st Grade

Our first-grade curriculum builds on the solid foundation of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, and rich literature read by the teacher and takes it to the next level--each child reading at his or her determined level with close checks on fluency and comprehension. Math concepts are taught in the context of "hands-on" manipulatives, while educational games and math workshops make learning fun!

 

Art

The first-grade art program builds upon the elements of art: line, shape, color, texture, and form, which are embedded throughout each unit to ensure continual application and understanding. The sequence of lessons has been carefully planned to accommodate the interests, skills, and abilities of all students. The following are included in first-grade art:

  • Looking Around: Seeing our world, students are encouraged to see the beauty in the world, in everyday objects, and in nature while creating artwork inspired by this universal theme. They paint colorful gardens and create insect prints inspired by Claude Monet.
  • People and Places: Seeing details and actions in which students create self-portraits, portraits of their friends, and people in action, as well as pictures of houses and rooms where people live, using various art mediums.
  • Colorful Stories: Students will use their imaginations to make color choices to paint and illustrate stories and poems. Students learn to mix color palettes and develop painting techniques because “art is a way of experimenting with color.”
  • Art and Nature: Fascinated and inspired by the natural world, students will learn to draw and print insects and plants, make cut-paper creatures, and create clay nests and fossils.

Every unit is enriched with images from art and the real world.

References include Explorations in Art, Davis Publications, Inc., Wilton Art Appreciation CD-ROMs: “Elements of Art” and “Principles of Design and Color.”

 

Bible

Our first-grade Bible curriculum focuses on the many gifts of love provided for us by God. Emphasis is on creation, families, friends, possessions, Jesus Christ, and God’s care for us. Biblical integration is a vital part of our curriculum and is woven throughout all subject areas. The students memorize weekly Bible verses and character traits. Teaching all subjects from a Christian worldview is the foundation of first grade. Our experiential learning activities for Bible include students’ participation in a class chapel program (presented to the entire Lower School), as well as a Christmas service project at a local nursing home.

 

History/Social Studies

Our history curriculum, published by Pearson Learning, is rooted in truth and historical facts. First-grade students enjoy learning about Native Americans, Sacagawea, early explorers, and settlers. Our students are introduced to life on the Mayflower and the many hardships endured by the Pilgrims as God called them to settle America. The second half of the year is devoted to studying American symbols, leaders, and citizenship. Various events and activities used to experience this learning include: Black History Month, a United States presidential poster presentation, and the study of cultures from around the world.

 

Language Arts

Our first-grade language arts curriculum creates a literature-rich environment that instills a passion for lifelong reading and a love of literature. Students will be exposed to many different genres such as fiction, non-fiction, informational writing, photo essays, and poetry. Through the use of our curriculum, Open Court, an anthology of rich children’s literature, the students will learn comprehension strategies such as predicting, sequencing, drawing conclusions, inferring, and summarizing. Students’ reading programs in first grade include both whole group instruction as well as tailored leveled “readers” based on individual diagnostic assessments (such as reading inventories, fluency rates, and level of comprehension). Vocabulary instruction is an integral part of the first-grade language arts curriculum. Vocabulary is taught explicitly within the context of reading and within the units of study.

Orton-Gillingham is a multisensory approach to explicitly and systematically teach phonics, spelling, and reading. Students are taught reading and spelling as an interrelated discipline using all pathways to the brain. The disciplines are broken into three strands: word structure, syllabication, and division rules; and 150 core first-grade words for spelling. Students learn through a systematic approach of using phonograms and common spelling patterns.

The first-grade handwriting curriculum is Riggs and is taught explicitly and systematically. The students transition from kindergarten wide-lined paper to first-grade specific Riggs paper. Students review the basic strokes to form the 26 letters of the alphabet. Through daily handwriting activities, students are taught proper letter formation, spacing, neatness, posture, correct paper position, and proper adherence to margins.

During writing lessons, our students are taught written expression through a systematic format which includes sentence structure, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. Students complete first grade with a skill set which allows them to write a complete, eight-sentence paragraph that includes a topic sentence, major details, minor details, and a conclusion. The use of grammar is reinforced throughout the writing process. Writing skills are reinforced by creating Christmas letters for the residents of local nursing homes. This activity coincides with the first-grade service project.

Grammar is taught explicitly within the context of composition writing. Students identify and appropriately use nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adjectives. Writing dictated sentences is a daily part of our curriculum. Students can identify four types of sentences: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory. Students also master the use of commas in dates.

 

Library

In the first grade, students are introduced to the Dewey Decimal System of classification. They learn about the different sections of the library and that books are shelved according to the author’s last name. Fiction and nonfiction is differentiated through various books and sections of the library. As individual reading skills expand, students are guided to books they are able to read on their own that will challenge their reading level. Students begin transitioning from easy books to chapter books. First-graders check out two books per week and are encouraged to come to the library as they need new books. During the second semester, first-graders are allowed a third book from the Arch Bible story series in order to practice reading the stories of the Bible in an early reader format.

I Love to Read Week is a major part of the library program for all students. The first quarter is spent introducing students to the library and the books of I Love to Read Week. Each class has a special picture book to represent for the parade, but all students are introduced to these books. The culmination of this is the I Love to Read parade, during which each book is represented in a red wagon float with the students dressing as characters from the story. The picture books chosen represent some of the best of newer children’s literature.

 

Math

McGraw-Hill My Math curriculum is a proven, scientifically-based research curriculum. Our program builds math concepts by going from the concrete to the abstract in a very systematic, hands-on approach. Skills covered in first grade include number concepts through 20; addition and subtraction concepts; data graphing, classifying, and sorting objects; spatial sense and patterns; fractions and probability; solidifying place value, ordering, and comparing numbers; time and calendar; using money, length and weight, capacity and temperature, and two-digit addition and subtraction. Our students master math facts 0-18 by learning strategies and applying these on timed tests. Each student utilizes a math journal that includes the following sections: problem solving, application of concepts, and math vocabulary. Students participate in hands-on learning via educational games and math workshops. Students are expected to learn and apply rich mathematical vocabulary in class discussions.

 

Music

In first grade, students begin their journey to music literacy by learning how to read and perform rhythm patterns both by themselves and with others. Much time is spent developing basic singing skills and kinesthetically feeling musical concepts with rhythms, motions, and Orff instruments. Additionally, learning about instruments and their families through discussion and multimedia examples is a large part of the first-grade curriculum.

 

Physical Education

The goal for our first-graders is to improve locomotor movements and begin to develop non-locomotor skills such as throwing, catching, kicking, paddle striking, etc. These movements are the building blocks to more complex motor movements that will be needed in future skills. We emphasize including others and honoring God in our play. First-grade nutrition education incorporates introducing students to the food pyramid. The goal of the nutrition program is to equip students with the knowledge and ability necessary to make health-wise choices. The curriculum for the first-graders still follows the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).

 

Science

All of science is taught in the context of integrating our Christian faith into science education. Teachers point students to evidence of creation and God’s love, wisdom, power, and majesty. Connections made between the concepts of science and the Word of God will enable each student to respond with love, gratitude, awe, and a reverence toward the Creator.

Developing scientific thinking in students is an important part of science education. To learn how to think this way, students need opportunities to develop the skills in science process, critical thinking, and scientific reasoning that support scientific inquiry. Therefore, we provide students with many opportunities to construct their own knowledge of science through hands-on investigations. Experiential learning, relative to science, typically includes a day at the Chattahoochee Nature Center and a visit to Tellus Museum.

First Grade units are:

  • Life Science: Mammals, Fish, Birds, Insects
  • Physical Science: Movements and Machines
  • Earth and Space Science: Seasons and Matter, Space, Rocks and Minerals
  • Human Body: Teeth, Bones and Muscles, Heart and Blood, Lungs and Air, Stomach and Food

 

Spanish

The first-grade curriculum builds upon the PreK4 and kindergarten skill sets. Students are taught three prayers throughout the school year with which to begin class.

The Risas y Sonrisas (Laughter and Smiles) textbook is utilized. In the first grade, we cover chapters one and two of this program. These two chapters teach and reinforce vocabulary related to colors, numbers from one to 100, shapes, emotions, body parts, and directions/prepositions. Each student receives a workbook with exercises to coincide with the textbook lessons in class. Additionally, we explore the culture and geography of the Spanish-speaking world using songs, games, hands-on activities, and occasional classroom guests. Students are encouraged to speak by repeating after the teacher and by using the specific words and phrases being taught in each lesson.

Special emphasis is given to the holidays of Christmas, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, and Latin American Heritage Month. Students learn about the music, food, and customs of celebrations around the Spanish-speaking world and about important Americans of Hispanic heritage who have made significant contributions to our country.

 

 

2nd Grade

The second-grade year continues to build upon the sequence of lessons which have been taught in previous grades. Careful planning and collaboration with other teachers ensure that the interests, skills, and abilities of students are met with a curriculum that is solid and challenging.

 

Art

The second-grade art program continues to build upon the elements of art, which are embedded throughout each unit to ensure continual application and understanding. The sequence of lessons has been carefully planned to accommodate the interests, skills, and abilities of students.

The second-grade units include:

  • Nature’s Beauty: Students learn that most people respond to nature’s beauty. Our students’ projects include creating pastel leaves and flowers; mixing colors to paint a colorful garden, while using cool and warm colors to create sceneries such as calm seascapes and active skies, showing the moods of weather.
  • Expressing moods and feelings through art, students create paper collages of faces, draw portraits of a classmate, and learn to use “perspective” (near and far) creating various scenes of people.
  • Back to Nature: Using nature as a backdrop for ideas and details, students will draw favorite animals and create underwater scenes or illustrate fantasy landscapes.
  • Picture Stories: Through images and ideas, students learn to illustrate stories by drawing colorful characters or molding porcupines out of clay. The art classroom provides a rich and engaging context for developing and encouraging oral language. Students naturally use and expand their language skills while viewing and discussing fine art.

Every unit is enriched with images from art (artists and their work) and the real world. Background music provides a variety of genres, time periods, and themes to inspire students during studio time.

References: Explorations in Art, Davis Publications, Inc., Wilton Art Appreciation CD-ROMs: ”Elements of Art”, “Color”, and “Artists at Work.”

 

Bible

Our second-grade Bible curriculum focuses on the many character traits of the heroes of our faith. Biblical integration is a vital part of our curriculum and is woven throughout all subject areas. Students memorize weekly Bible verses and character traits. Teaching all subjects from a Christian worldview is the foundation.

We center our classrooms on Matthew 5:16 – “Let me be a shining light for You. Let me be a joy to You always.” Biblical heroes of study are: Moses (humble, courageous, and diligent), Joshua (obedience), Daniel (confidence/faithfulness in God), Job (self-control, patience), Esther (unselfishness, following wise council), Elijah (bold in faith), Jesus (merciful, compassionate), David (repentant, courageous), and Nehemiah (cooperation, boldness).

Weekly scripture memorization includes: Ephesians 6:11-20 (Armor of God), Psalm 119:9-16 (Living by God’s Word), 1 John 4:7-14 (God’s Love and Ours).

The curriculum for second grade is published by Association of Christian Schools International. Students participate in daily devotions from God’s Word to bolster their individual walk with Christ.

 

History/Social Studies

In second grade, students continue the study of history and geography through the Pearson Learning curriculum. Students begin the year learning about immigration and citizenship in the United States. They work with their parents to make an ancestral family tree and learn that the United States population is made up of people from around the world. Additionally, students study the American government and the making of the Constitution. In this unit of study, our students will learn about the courageous delegates who wrote the Constitution and the three branches of government they created. The students learn that a democracy is government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Students will research a United States president and learn godly character traits that are important for effective leadership.

We also travel back in time to study the American Civil War and how Americans began westward expansion. In our Civil War unit of study, we learn the history of how the war began and a brief timeline of the battles and the leaders of the war. Students are fascinated to learn that our own campus was a battlefield for a brief skirmish during the war and that artifacts have been found here at Whitefield. Westward expansion describes how the rest of America began to expand and how travelers made westward expansion either in boats, on foot, or by wagon. Students are excited to make a wagon of their own to help envision and mimic the way brave people had to travel to find new land.

Additionally, our studies turn to the geography of the Americas. A main focus for this unit is learning the names and locations of the countries in South America. Students will learn map skills and study our neighboring countries, Mexico and Canada.

 

Language Arts

Our language arts curriculum creates a literature-rich environment that instills a passion for lifelong reading and a love of literature. Second grade uses a reading curriculum entitled ALPHA reading, developed by a Whitefield Academy teacher contingent and Clerestory Learning. This program is grounded in the systematic, explicit instruction of comprehension skills and strategies, fluency development, and vocabulary instruction. Students are exposed to many different genres such as short stories, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In addition, we use anthologies from the Open Court curriculum to engage students with great literature and to serve as an anchor for the skills we are teaching each week. Each aspect of our reading program is meant to bolster the students’ love for reading and reading comprehension skills, and to build lifelong confidence. Reading comprehension strategies taught in our second-grade units include: visualization, character, predicting, sequence of events, summarizing, cause and effect, main idea and details, and more. Book groups give significant emphasis to comprehension skills exploration and additional vocabulary exploration. Class read alouds are integrated into each day to ensure a literature-rich environment. Monthly reading minutes are recorded by individual students and are vital to personal reading growth.

Additionally, a novel study of Helen Keller is incorporated into our reading curriculum during the fourth quarter. Experiential learning events include a guest speaker from Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia and a service project to raise money for this organization.

Our spelling curriculum revolves around The Purposeful Design publication, an affiliate of ACSI. Spelling patterns for the year include (though are not limited to) the following: short/long vowel sounds, r controlled vowels, consonant blends, contractions, homophones, singular/plural nouns, prefix/suffix usage, and compound words. Phonics skills learned in first grade through the Orton-Gillingham multisensory approach are reviewed and practiced throughout our spelling program. Also incorporated into the spelling curriculum is knowledge and use of 150 second-grade core words for spelling (words 151-300).

Second grade follows the Open Court Language Arts Handbook, as a well as Shurley English, for sequential writing skills. We begin the year with sentence review: subject/predicate, four types of sentences (declarative, exclamatory, imperative, interrogative), and complete sentence structure. Use of graphic writing organizers, pre-writing drafts, and final editing are components of our writing lessons. Journaling, personal narratives, well-versed paragraphs, informational reports, persuasive writing, and other forms of writing are practiced throughout the year. In preparation for third grade, students will begin using more detail in their writing-- descriptive adjectives, figurative language, transition words, as well as the use of stronger beginnings and endings to their stories.

The Shurley English curriculum is used to teach grammar in second grade. Students begin learning the eight parts of speech by chanting jingles, which incorporate the definitions. Rhythm, rhyme, and movement enhance learning and retention of basic grammar concepts. In classifying sentences with the Question and Answer Flow, critical thinking is developed. This is an oral class activity in which students ask questions to determine how each word is used in the sentence. Written exercises provide opportunities to practice new concepts and apply capitalization and punctuation rules.

In our handwriting curriculum, review of Zaner Bloser printing format is introduced at the beginning of the year. Primary focus is on letter alignment, spacing, neatness, posture, correct paper position, and proper adherence to margins. Zaner Bloser cursive is introduced during third quarter. All 26 upper and lower case letters are taught throughout the year, concluding with students completing assignments in cursive writing by the end of the year.

 

Library

In second grade, searching for books within the online catalog begins. Reference skills include research with online resource and nonfiction books.

Students are able to check out three books each week and are to make selections from easy books, chapter books, and other nonfiction materials. Students are taught how to find these books by title, author, and subject. Library class time includes “read-aloud” opportunities, during which discussions center around more complex story designs, such as plot, character, and theme.

I Love to Read Week is a major part of the library program for all students. The first quarter is spent introducing students to the library and the books of I Love to Read Week. Each class has a special picture book to represent for the parade, but all students are introduced to these books. The culmination of this is the I Love to Read parade, during which each book is represented in a red wagon float with the students dressing as characters from the story. The picture books chosen represent some of the best of newer children’s literature.

 

Math

In second grade, we use the McGraw-Hill My Math curriculum. Skills covered in second grade include instruction in the following areas: Place value through 1,000’s, number concepts and patterning, geometry (plane and solid shapes), addition/subtraction re-grouping to the 100’s, counting money/making change, time, data/graphing, fractions, and beginning concepts of multiplication/division. Our students continue to hone their math facts 0-18 and to develop their critical-thinking skills relative to math. Problem solving is incorporated throughout our units, and specific problem-solving strategies are taught using the four-step (read, plan, write, and check) process. Students are expected to apply these skills to two- and three-step story problems.

 

Music

Our second-grade students continue music literacy development by incorporating traditional notation in reading and performing rhythms. During this school year, students learn about the musical alphabet as well as solfege hand symbols. Students learn to read solfege as well as music on the treble clef staff. Learning about music composers through discussion and multimedia examples is also taught throughout second grade.

 

Physical Education

We use the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) as our curriculum. Our second-graders continue to demonstrate competency in locomotor movements including galloping, hopping, jumping, leaping, running, skipping, sliding, and walking. Additionally, emphasis is placed on the non-locomotor skills such as batting, catching, foot dribbling, hand dribbling, overhand throwing, forehand striking, volleying, dodging/fleeing, passing, shooting, tumbling, etc. Nutritionally, the goal for all second-graders is to be able to identify foods within each food group. Sportsmanship is stressed throughout the year and how this relates to honoring God with our play.

 

Science

In the study of science, we understand that the Lord controls all of nature and cares about every detail. Our approach to science is from a biblical worldview, emphasizing God’s handiwork. We investigate the world through inquiry and process skills. Hands-on investigations are designed to interest and motivate students through each unit of study. Experiential learning, relative to science, includes a day at the Georgia Tech Paper Museum and overnight field trip to Zoo Atlanta.

Second Grade units are:

  • Life Science: Plants, Vertebrates, Invertebrates, Habitats
  • Physical Science: Energy, Heat, Light
  • Earth Science: Weather, Ocean
  • Human Body: Sound and Hearing, Sight and Touch, Taste and Smell

 

Spanish

Students are taught three prayers throughout the school year with which to begin class. Students also learn the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Risas y Sonrisas (Laughter and Smiles) textbook is utilized. In the second grade, we cover chapters three and four of this program. These two chapters teach and reinforce vocabulary related to family, adjective opposites, numbers from 100 to 1,000, wild animals, school, calendar skills, and holidays. Each student receives a workbook with exercises to coincide with the textbook lessons in class. Additionally, we explore the culture and geography of the Spanish-speaking world using songs, games, hands-on activities, and occasional classroom guests. Students are encouraged to speak by repeating after the teacher and by using the specific words and phrases being taught in each lesson.

Special emphasis is given to the holidays of Christmas, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, and Latin American Heritage Month. Students learn about the music, food, and customs of celebrations around the Spanish-speaking world and about important Americans of Hispanic heritage who have made significant contributions to our country.

 

 

3rd Grade

The saying goes like this, "Third-graders go from learning to read to reading to learn." The third-grade curriculum challenges students to continue learning in an environment that fosters critical thinking along with core knowledge. Laptops and SmartBoards allow for interactive opportunities when learning or practicing skills.

 

Art

The third-grade art program is organized around universal themes relevant to students’ daily lives. Elements and principles of art, skills and techniques are learned not as isolated concepts, but as tools that help students interpret the ideas of artists and express their own ideas through art.

The Third Grade units are:

  • Alone and Together: Students create self-portraits, portraits of people with different facial expressions, and a clay sculpture of the human figure with correct proportions. They learn about the life of different artists (DaVinci, Picasso, and VanGogh) as they look at and discuss their work.
  • Invented Worlds Imagination and Wonder: Students use their imagination to see our world in new, creative ways. In this unit, they explore and develop ideas and images that show us unexpected and unexplored territories full of beauty and mystery. Students create imaginary creatures and places as they continue to study the theory of color.
  • Places and Spaces Architecture in Our Lives: Students learn about different styles of architecture, draw buildings, imagine a castle, and create mosaic pictures inspired by the art of Pompeii.
  • Forces of Nature Variety and Contrast: Students are delighted by the beauty and endless variety of the world, marvel at changing seasons, and are thrilled by the majesty of nature and humbled by its power. Students create colorful watercolor paintings and clay penguins inspired by Japanese “pictures of the floating world,” Hokusai’s “The Great Wave,” and mixed media drawings of landscapes.

Every unit is enriched with images from artists that reflect the real world in order to inspire students.

References: Explorations in Art, Davis Publications, Inc. and Wilton Art Appreciation CD-ROMs: “Elements of Art”, “Color”, and “Artists at Work.”

 

Bible

In the Lower School, we weave the principles of God’s Word throughout our entire curriculum; we also teach it intentionally, using Cherie Noel’s Positive Action Bible curriculum, Growing with God. Biblical literacy is foundational to a true Christian education; our major goal is to make the Bible meaningful in students’ lives. Beginning with factual knowledge of the Trinity, parts of the Bible, the life of Joseph in the Old Testament and progressing through the life of Daniel, each weekly lesson emphasizes the comprehension of Scriptural concepts, as well as life applications. Engaging, relevant stories and character trait activities are designed to help students analyze the principles taught, integrate knowledge into their personal lives, consider various viewpoints, and interpret values. Each week we memorize a new Bible verse and vocabulary and take a quiz on the lesson.

“Sword drills” enhance the students’ working knowledge of where to find things in the Bible. Each class leads the Lower School in a chapel program once a year. These programs give students an opportunity to perform for others and to teach biblical values in daily living. Every morning, when we pledge allegiance to the Bible, we reiterate our belief in God’s “love letter” to us.

 

Computer/Technology

In third-grade computer class, students are instructed in best typing practices and build a working knowledge of Google-related features, including the use of Chromebooks. Students work on correct typing skills as well as increasing their typing speed through various web-based programs. Students are introduced to various Google apps and create simple projects in each area. Students learn internet safety as well as appropriate and safe research skills.

Our computer classes begin in third grade in order to instill a love of reading, to appreciate hearing good literature read, and to have time for social interaction, both with teachers and students, in the initial Lower School grades. After thoroughly understanding Whitefield’s Computer Acceptable Agreement policy and signing it, students in third grade accomplish the following skills on Mac laptops: know and name the basic components of the computer, learn proper finger placement and practice keyboarding skills, learn the history of the internet, create PowerPoint and Word documents, and use internet search engines in order to conduct research projects relative to their school subjects and assignments.

 

History/Social Studies

The third-grade social studies curriculum is rich in fundamental knowledge of the history of the world and facilitates learning by making connections between and among well-known events and people. This journey begins with learning the names of all of the countries of Europe through the use of many tools, such as interactive SmartBoard applications. Knowledge of European country locations naturally supports our study of the Roman Empire, during which students get an overview of each phase of the empire from kings, to the republic, to emperors. Students learn about daily life in Ancient Rome, key figures in its history, architectural and engineering accomplishments, and reasons for its rise and fall.

Next, through regular classroom learning and a special project, we study the explorers that opened up the New World. Students then get an understanding of life in the American colonies. In addition to these historical eras, our curriculum informs students about a variety of holidays and their origins: Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, MLK Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, and Memorial Day. Patriotic songs are learned, and appreciation for our men and women in uniform is taught and highly valued. Each year, veterans are invited to be guest speakers. Special letters are written to our veterans, and students conduct one-on-one interviews with veterans.

 

Language Arts

Reading is the cornerstone of all other academic learning; therefore, the primary motivation for teaching children how to read is to enable them to read various genres, including the Bible, short stories, chapter books, and novels. By using a variety of reading strategies, students are able to comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate what they read in order to align with a biblical worldview. Based on our goal of teaching our students to read for the purpose of gaining knowledge and understanding, spiritual discernment, a sense of enjoyment, and laying the groundwork for academic success, our program consists of application of explicit comprehension skills, responding to reading by writing, and practicing fluency. The novels we choose reflect a standard of time-tested and/or quality literature. Each one possesses themes which inspire students to take the high road in their individual life journeys. In addition, through these novels, vocabulary is built and strengthened, oral reading skills are practiced, and comprehension/retention skills are assessed.

We teach and apply explicit skills through direct instruction, such as making an inference, determining the sequence of events, and finding the main idea. These are reading skills that students can apply broadly to many other disciplines. We also seek to strengthen oral reading skills through exercises that increase fluency, such as chunking or voice inflection as determined by punctuations. Our philosophy drives a curriculum which supports helping students graduate from learning to read to reading to learn. Lastly, third grade students complete summer reading requirements before entering their fourth-grade year.

Third-grade spelling begins with an emphasis on core words (each grade level in the Lower School has its own unique list of 150 words). These words are “core” based on their frequency of usage in students’ everyday writing. These words were determined by a committee of Whitefield teachers and are not considered the same as words on other lists, such as the Dolch Sight Word List. Students are expected to spell these words correctly within everyday assignments. In addition to the core word list, students regularly learn and practice words that contain a particular letter, sound, or structure pattern. This provides the explicit phonics component of the curriculum.

Our third-grade writing curriculum builds upon the Power Writing foundation that began in grades kindergarten through two, in which students master writing paragraphs that include topic sentences and supporting details. Now, students progress to putting paragraphs together to produce well-developed narratives. Students are first introduced to authors’ techniques through reading a variety of short stories in order to begin to appreciate how authors accomplish a particular mood or tone. Next, students learn other techniques that enhance the style of their writing (i.e. learning to expand a moment, using repetition for effect, creating hyphenated modifiers, etc.) Once that groundwork is laid, students begin the writing process of planning a story, writing a first draft, proofreading-editing-revising, and writing a second and final draft. There are six main criteria used to assess writing: overall development, organization of writing, support, sentence structure, word choice, and mechanics. These criteria are based on the Writing Assessment Program (WrAP) available from the Educational Records Bureau. Third-grade students are assessed each spring using the WrAP narrative assessment. Writing in the third grade is a challenging journey that equips each student with a new set of skills and a sense of confidence with their writing proficiency.

Building a rich vocabulary base in third grade is supported by using the systematic approach found in the Wordly Wise curriculum. We strive to instill in our students a love for words and the way in which they are used in the English language. Additional words are supplied by the content areas, such as the Bible, science, reading, math, and social studies. The dictionary and thesaurus are popular books in our classrooms! Additionally, we encourage learning from context clues, using prefixes, suffixes, and root words, and applying meanings in a variety of ways. The ability to speak, hear, and comprehend words is given to us by God in order to bring glory to Him.

Building on the foundation laid in second grade, cursive handwriting is reviewed intensely the first two weeks of third grade. After that, cursive handwriting is assessed through the spelling curriculum all throughout the year. All assignments and homework are completed in cursive throughout the remainder of third grade.

The Shurley English curriculum is used to teach grammar in third grade. Students begin learning the eight parts of speech by chanting jingles, which incorporate the definitions. Rhythm, rhyme, and movement enhance learning and retention of basic grammar concepts. In classifying sentences with the question and answer flow, critical thinking is developed. This is an oral class activity in which students ask questions to determine how each word is used in the sentence. Written exercises provide opportunities to practice new concepts and apply capitalization and punctuation rules.

 

Library

Our students gain more independence in third grade as they are encouraged to search for and locate books on their own by employing their knowledge of the Dewey Decimal organizational structure of the library. Table of contents and indexes are explained, and guide words are used to find information and topics. Students are able to cite bibliographic information from a book. Students are also introduced to the skills of critical thinking in regards to the use of online research materials. Students are also encouraged to explore widely in their reading in order to learn various genres.

I Love to Read Week is a major part of the library program for all students. The first quarter is spent introducing students to the library and the books of I Love to Read Week. Each class has a special picture book to represent for the parade, but all students are introduced to these books. The culmination of this is the I Love to Read parade, during which each book is represented in a red wagon float with the students dressing as characters from the story. The picture books chosen represent some of the best of newer children’s literature.

 

Math

Whitefield’s third-grade math curriculum is designed not only to enable students to master the foundational knowledge and skills of mathematics, but to progress in applying more complex mathematical concepts. For example, students transition from identifying a simple shape, such as a square, to classifying that square as quadrilateral, parallelogram, polygon, and a type of rectangle.

We build upon the foundations of place value, rounding and estimation, money concepts, addition/subtraction, fractions, geometry, probability, measurement of time, temperature, length, weight, capacity, and problem-solving strategies. These concepts are presented in a significantly more in-depth manner than in the earlier primary grades. Basic multiplication facts up to 12x12 are presented, practiced, and memorized early in the year. Quick recall of these facts is critical to success with multiplying larger numbers and performing long division, both of which are essential parts of the third-grade math curriculum. Manipulatives are utilized to teach or to enhance the understanding of concepts. iPads and the SmartBoard allow for interactive opportunities when learning or practicing skills.

 

Music

The third-grade year is a culmination of skills and knowledge taught in PreK4 through second grade, resulting in our students’ opportunity to learn a “beginners” musical instrument—the recorder. Students participate in a program called “Recorder Karate” in which they learn songs and earn different colored “belts” when they play these songs for the teacher. Class time is spent developing correct playing technique and learning repertoire that demonstrates various musical concepts.

 

Physical Education

Using the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) as our curriculum, our goal of physical education in third grade is to transfer motor skill and patterns into movements necessary for modified games and sports play. Emphasis is placed on responsible personal and social behavior during physical activity, including proper sportsmanlike conduct, compassion for others, best effort, self-control, following directions, cooperation, constructive competition, and honoring God in our play. The Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) Test is used to assess fitness status in the fall and again in the spring. Track competition is introduced, and the top athletes in track/field are selected to compete against other schools in a full day track meet. Nutrition education continues to focus on food groups, determining portion sizes and habits for healthy eating to “fuel” your body for physical fitness.

 

Science

In the study of science, we understand that God has created everything and sustains it. Students become familiar with various methods of scientific investigation, such as questioning, classifying, inferencing, hypothesizing, analyzing, and observing. Hands-on investigations enhance the conceptualization of each unit of study. Experiential learning, relative to science, is an overnight field trip to DeSoto Caverns, where we spend the night in a 300-foot cave, learning how water and limestone shaped the structure.

Third Grade units are:

  • Life Science: Ecosystems, Life and Plants, Plant Variety
  • Physical Science: Matter, Motion and Force, Electricity, Magnetism
  • Earth and Space Science: Earth’s Surface; Changes in the Earth’s Surface; The Solar System; Stars and Constellations; Rocks, Minerals, and Speleology
  • Human Body: The Musculoskeletal System, The Nervous System

 

Spanish

Students are taught three prayers throughout the school year with which to begin class. The Risas y Sonrisas (Laughter and Smiles) textbook is utilized. In the third grade, we cover chapters five and six of this program. These two chapters teach and reinforce vocabulary related to verbs, personal pronouns, simple verb tenses, food and restaurants, telling time, and household items. Each student receives a workbook with exercises to coincide with the textbook lessons in class. Additionally, we explore the culture and geography of the Spanish-speaking world using songs, games, hands-on activities, and occasional classroom guests. Students are encouraged to speak by repeating after the teacher and by using the specific words and phrases being taught in each lesson.

 

 

4th Grade

Students in fourth grade grow in their love for learning through experiential field trips, discussions in the classroom, jumpstart homework sessions, and after school programs while forming stronger relationships with their classmates and teachers. These students are serious learners for life!

 

Art

The fourth-grade art program is organized around universal themes relevant to students’ daily lives. These themes help students make meaningful connections to artworks across time and place. Students create original artworks as they explore the ways artists think and work and as they learn to perceive, think, talk, and write about art.

The Fourth Grade units are:

  • Appearances: Looking At Our World - Students learn to look very carefully at our world and practice contour and gesture drawings, create a wire sculpture, and paint a landscape from a bird’s-eye view and a colorful still-life composition.
  • Presenting Places: The Human Landscape - Students review the elements of art: line, shape, texture, color, and space, while designing dream houses and colorful towns. They learn about architecture of ancient Greece and Rome along with other architectural styles.
  • Nature’s Gifts: Students look to wild and tame creatures in nature for ideas, draw animals, paint an owl in its natural habitat, and use materials found in nature (clay) to make coil pots.
  • Traditions: Our Artistic Heritage - Students understand that traditions are the living history of the human race. Traditions are vital and dynamic, reflecting over time the changes in the cultures that celebrate them. They’ll create “molas” in the style of Kuna Indians, “batiks” inspired by the art of Indonesia, and papier-mâché masks looking at the African examples. This unit has strong geography cross-curricular connections.
  • Imagination: Invention and Abstraction - Students learn that challenges inspire human creativity. Artists challenge themselves to see their worlds in new, different ways, using their creativity to show us, through their artworks, unique and innovative interpretations of everyday scenes and familiar objects. Students create imaginary clay sculptures, paint abstract landscapes, and draw make-believe creatures.


Every unit is enriched with images from art and the real world. Students create vocabulary cards as they learn to talk about art.

References: Explorations in Art, Davis Publications, Inc., Wilton Art Appreciation CD-ROMs, and Davis “Compare and Contrast” CD-ROM

 

Bible

Fourth-graders will explore the life of Christ from the Gospels, a study of the Holy Spirit, and a study of the life of Paul as they examine Acts and the Epistles. Weekly Scripture memory, life application activities, and vocabulary help ensure a lifelong appreciation and knowledge of God’s Word. Students apply biblical principles as they prepare and lead a chapel program for the Lower School student body. Fourth-graders will also lead a service project within our community and exhibit compassion and the love of God.

In fourth-grade Bible, students will find knowledge, wisdom, and understanding for themselves from the Word of God. The curriculum helps establish each student in the Word so that he/she can begin to find answers for themselves. While it is important to begin with the factual knowledge of the Scriptures, we believe that students need to grow in wisdom and understanding. At Whitefield, we want to guide each student to comprehend, discern, apply, analyze, and evaluate a variety of concepts. An intimate study of Scripture helps them form personal convictions and develop strong character.

 

Computer/Technology

In fourth grade, students are instructed in best typing practices and build a working knowledge of Google-related features using Chromebooks. Students work on correct typing skills as well as increasing their typing speed through various web-based programs. Students create more advanced projects using all of the various Google apps found on their Google Drive. Students learn internet safety as well as appropriate and safe research skills.

 

History/Social Studies

Fourth-graders study the world around them and perform an in-depth study of the United States regions. Through geography, students reinforce their knowledge of both the United States and Georgia history. We learn about the landforms, climate, plants, animals, history, and other important characteristics of each region and the contributions these regions make to our economy and government. Students study the states and capitals, Central America, and the Caribbean. Fourth-graders investigate the following: the American Revolution; Trail of Tears; slavery; the Civil War; Reconstruction; World War I and II; the U.S. government; and the rights and responsibilities of the American people. Students study economic concepts that include the role of the consumer and producer; profit and loss; as well as Georgia’s economy. We will examine the state of Georgia as we focus on Georgia’s past and present. Other experiential learning includes trips to the Atlanta History Center, the King Center, and the Driftwood Education Center on Saint Simons Island.

 

Language Arts

Students build on grammar learned in third grade by continuing the use of Shurley English curriculum. Students are active participants as different aspects of English are learned and explored. Each lesson builds upon prior lessons, making the pace of learning quite rigorous. A focus on vocabulary and analogies is prevalent throughout each chapter, and classroom practices, chapter checkups, and tests provide immediate feedback on each student’s progress. Some of the unique features of the Shurley English method include the following:

  • Jingles: Definitions to the parts of speech are taught in jingle/chant form. This style of learning improves memory and makes learning more enjoyable.
  • Question and Answer Flow: Students use a systematic approach to sentence “dissection” by asking questions to determine the role of each word in the sentence. This process is done orally in a group environment and helps the student analyze sentence patterns, sentence types, and the context of the various words within a sentence.
  • Practice and Revised Sentences: In order to write more fluently and use complex sentences, students are given daily practice through revision and review.
  • Writing: Fourth-graders use the knowledge of sentence structure to form paragraphs and then to expand to narrative essays. Students learn the steps of prewriting, writing rough drafts, revising, editing, writing final papers, and publishing. Shurley English supports our writing curriculum to help students produce eloquent five-paragraph writing pieces.


Students experience reading through many avenues to help them learn, analyze, and appreciate a variety of resources, while developing a love for reading. Fourth-graders do novel studies with books of various genres, fiction, and nonfiction. Students learn both as a class and individually as they explore these books, recognize symbolism, and make life connections together. They learn to distinguish events and characters in texts, discussing how they relate to both the secular and Christian worldview. Students experience God’s greatness by observing the talents and craft of writers. These observations are applied during writing workshops as they share their own craft with other students. Additionally, we study strategies to master comprehension skills and figurative language that will enhance their foundation for success in reading, as well as other subjects.

Through learning vocabulary and the correct spelling of words, students develop a richer knowledge of English words and their meanings. Fourth-graders use the Wordly Wise 3000 series, published by Educators Publishing Service, for vocabulary development. They receive spelling lists based on novels studied in class. Spelling is systematically taught using phonetic rules and spelling patterns which are then included into their composition writing pieces. The Wordly Wise curriculum helps expose our students to a wide variety of vocabulary terms. There are also online practice activities which engage the students in the learning process. The student lessons involve reading passages, while using context clues to determine meanings.

Fourth-graders learn the art of expressing their thoughts through writing. They focus on narrative writing throughout the year. Students will learn to brainstorm and organize their thoughts in order to begin the writing process. They will learn how to solidify the parts of a sentence, how to use a dictionary and a thesaurus to get rid of “worn out words” and enhance their writing, and how to go back and edit their own work. Strong focus on development, organization, support, sentence structure, word choice, and writing mechanics are practiced throughout the year. They will also master a five-paragraph essay by the end of fourth grade. Fourth-graders’ writing is assessed through the WrAP Writing Assessment in the spring.

Upon entering fourth grade, students are expected to know how to use competent cursive handwriting. Proper handwriting is expected in all subjects and is assessed in writing pieces and on daily work.

 

Library

Mastering book selection skills takes place throughout the fourth grade year. Students become comfortable and proficient using the online catalog. They are able to connect spine labels with call numbers and can locate materials in the fiction, nonfiction, and reference sections of the library. Listening and comprehension skills increase as books are read over a period of weeks. Discussion of plot, characters, and theme becomes more in-depth. The various genres are discussed as students select personal reading materials.

I Love to Read Week is a major part of the library program for all students. The first quarter is spent introducing students to the library and the books of I Love to Read Week. Each class has a special picture book to represent for the parade, but all students are introduced to these books. The culmination of this is the I Love to Read parade, during which each book is represented in a red wagon float with the students dressing as characters from the story. The picture books chosen represent some of the best of newer children’s literature.

 

Math

The primary goal of fourth-grade math is to build upon the foundational base of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Through hands-on activities, technology integration, manipulatives, and real-life situations, math concepts are practiced and mastered. Students will learn key strategies and problem-solving skills as they work individually, with partners, and in cooperative groups, exploring new ways to use reasoning skills. Fourth-graders will also focus on comparing and ordering numbers, decimals, estimating, fractions, integers and rational numbers, mixed numbers, place value, algebra, measurement, geometry, working with money, and other mathematical strategies.

 

Music

Fourth-grade students continue to learn many of the themes introduced in previous years, which include delving deeper into instrument learning, reading music, as well as listening and watching high-quality music. Students also dive more deeply into the playing of Orff instruments. Composition is another major topic covered in the fourth-grade curriculum. Using a computer-based curriculum, students construct original compositions with the help of pre-recorded loops and self-written examples.

 

Physical Education

In the fourth grade, the students continue to follow standards based on the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). Fourth-grade physical education continues to develop skill proficiency while practicing, performing drills, playing modified games, and honoring God in our play. Our goal is that students will demonstrate competency in knowledge, activity, and fitness objectives, including the benefits of physical activity, aerobic activity, abdominal/lower back strength, arm/shoulder strength, and hip/lower back flexibility. At this point, we want to make sure that our fourth-graders are capable of playing sports and games with minimal teacher intervention. We continue our health and nutrition education throughout this grade, with more emphasis on establishing life skills and daily habits. As with the third grade, they are benchmarked with the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) Test in the fall and again in the spring. Lastly, track competition is continued in fourth grade and the top athletes in track/field are selected to compete against other schools in a full-day track meet.

 

Science

In the study of science, we learn more about our God and our world through enlightening activities and lessons. Our curriculum is based on a distinctively Christian perspective, building all lessons on the foundation of God’s Word. Students learn science concepts most effectively by exploring concrete examples, recording observations, making predictions, and drawing conclusions. These key science skills are taught using textbooks, technology integration, and active experimentation. Experiential learning related to science includes a visit to Driftwood Education Center, located on St. Simons Island, for a two-night, three-day experiential immersion into the study of animal life and culture. During this time, students get to dissect a fish, explore ocean life on the beach, and hold reptiles. In addition, this trip creates a wonderful atmosphere for the students to work cooperatively and form stronger relationships with their fellow classmates.

Fourth Grader units are:

  • Life Science: Design of Life, Order of Life, Diversity of Life, System of Life
  • Physical Science: Energy and Heat, Light and Sound, Matter and its uses
  • Earth and Space Science: The Lithosphere, The Hydrosphere, Oceanography, The Atmosphere
  • Human Body: Cells to Systems, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, Respiratory System

 

Spanish

The fourth-grade curriculum is a culmination of skills built throughout our Lower School Spanish program and emphasizes application of vocabulary and speaking skills. Students are taught four prayers throughout the school year with which to begin class.

The Risas y Sonrisas (Laughter and Smiles) textbook is utilized. In the fourth grade, we cover chapters seven and eight of this program. These two chapters teach and reinforce vocabulary related to locations around town, occupations, clothing, and farm animals. Each student receives a workbook with exercises to coincide with the textbook lessons in class. Additionally, we explore the culture and geography of the Spanish-speaking world using songs, games, hands-on activities, and occasional classroom guests. Students are encouraged to speak by repeating after the teacher and by using the specific words and phrases being taught in each lesson.

Special emphasis is given to the holidays of Christmas, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, and Latin American Heritage Month. Students learn about the music, food, and customs of celebrations around the Spanish-speaking world and about important Americans of Hispanic heritage who have made significant contributions to our country.