Often we think of 4th grade as the beginning of a new adventure for our students. No longer are our students learning to do many different skills; instead, they are applying what they have learned and are now able to be more independent learners.

For example, in Science, questions are often posed to our students or tasks given; students then must figure out the best way to proceed. Students are encouraged to try multiple ways to solve problems in Math; this will enable them to understand that there is not only one way to achieve the correct answer.

By asking students to think outside of the box in both Math and Science, we are allowing our students to become creative problem solvers who can take on new challenges fearlessly. We strive to give our students lots of opportunities to expand their knowledge base without being dependent on a textbook in both Science and Math.

Our Reading and Language Arts curriculum is challenging yet it provides students with great literature and solid foundational skills in grammar and spelling. Students are exposed to great novels and dynamic informational text pieces. In rising to meet the rigorous writing standards, students are required to write extensively across all subject areas. No longer do we focus on creative writing; students must now demonstrate their capabilities in writing explanatory pieces as well as opinion pieces.

The Social Studies curriculum covers the history of Tennessee and the United States through 1850. Although a tremendous undertaking, our students rise to the challenge of learning about our great leaders, government, and cultural aspects of life as our country developed. Technology and media are used frequently to bring history to life for our students. We also use biographies and historical fiction to tie Social Studies to Reading and Language Arts.

  • Misti Pickett
    Science

  • Christa Pilkinton
    Reading

  • Marsha Rains
    Social Studies & Writing

  • Tonya Williams
    Language Arts

Enhancing the Learning Experience for 4th Grade

Technology and media are at the core of classroom instruction. Every classroom has an ELMO and projection system coupled with a laptop to provide both the teacher and students with access to all the Internet has to offer. Carefully selected videos, musical selections, websites, and apps provide for a rich and extensive learning experience for our students.

Two sets of laptops are available to the 4th grade classes exclusively. We also have access to iPads and a dedicated STEM Computer Lab which may be reserved by teachers for their students.

Our 4th grade students use Northside’s main computer lab twice per week. They have the opportunity to work on academic skills for their core subjects as well has some fun activities. Most students thrive using technology since it is part of their daily lives.

Northside provides Physical Education classes daily along with weekly Guidance classes, creative dramatics, and access to the library.  Our students are also encouraged to use their creativity in the classroom through projects.

“I love the ‘light bulb” moments the most! In Science, my students spend much of their time working on experiments or doing activities involving inquiry. I love the moments when they see a potential solution or discover why the experiment did what it did. These “aha” moments are priceless! I know, without a doubt, that my students truly understand a concept or idea! It is simply amazing!”
Misti Pickett, 4th Grade Science Teacher
“One of my most enjoyable moments each year is when students realize “Ice Age: The Movie” is based on real events in history! The looks are their faces are absolutely priceless! They see a picture of a wooly mammoth in our Social Studies book and we start talking about a land bridge connecting Asia to North America. The animals begin migrating and all of a sudden their faces light up! It is both wonderful and hilarious to watch!”
Marsha Rains, 4th Grade Social Studies Teacher
a child with mother holding hands

Parent Involvement of Fourth Graders

We encourage all parents to be actively involved in their student’s academic pursuits. Attending events at school is always a great way to know what is going on in their student’s school life.

Northside holds an Open House at the beginning of the school year where parents have the opportunity to tour our school, meet their student’s teacher(s), and become knowledgeable about the status of Northside based on test scores, academic successes, and various programs.

In 4th grade, each student takes home a folder weekly to be signed by parents. This folder serves as a communication system to allow parents and teachers to share insight and knowledge about each student. In the weekly folder, parents will find a student discipline report, student work, and notes/information about upcoming events.

Parent-Teacher Conferences are held twice per year and this is the perfect time to check on academic progress. Of course, parents may send a note requesting a conference at any time during the school year.

On a daily basis, we ask parents to review work that has been completed in the classroom to make sure the students are confident and secure in their learning. Students should be reading, both assigned academic selections and just for fun, on a daily basis. We strongly believe that reading is the key to success and we strive daily to instill the love of reading in our students. Therefore, we ask parents to share with their student(s) their enjoyment of reading and spend time reading together.

Parents have opportunities to accompany students on field trips and participate in classroom activities. We always appreciate a helping hand with Science inquiry activities or class projects in all subjects. Even if a parent cannot physically come to school and help, we are always appreciative of donations or helping at home to prepare for classroom activities.

Expectations

At the beginning of the school year, we expect students entering 4th grade to be excited about learning and have a sense of pride in themselves and our school. We expect our students to “be good school citizens” and exemplify the characteristics of “Respectful,” “Responsible,” and “Ready.” These three words are the foundation of how students should behave on a daily basis at school.

Parents are encouraged to visit our school’s website and become familiar with Northside’s policies and procedures. We also send home detailed expectations regarding behavior and academic guidelines during the first week of school. By 4th grade, we feel students are able to be more independent and should take a greater responsibility for their learning and behavior.

kids playing with hoola hoops