4th Grade

In 4th grade, students begin to take more responsibility for their words and actions, recognizing that there are consequences – both good and bad – to what they say and do. And they begin to see that learning extends beyond the walls of the classroom. Our job, as teachers and parents, is to support our students by teaching strategies to that help them become more independent and successful learners and people.


The theme for 4th grade at Hausner is “rule makers and rule breakers.” We continue to explore early Renaissance artists and the development of artistic conventions such as naturalistic art rules, proportion, landscape, and creating space and volume.  We examine the role of art in society and make comparisons to Modern and contemporary artists who set out to break those very conventions. Cubism, Abstraction, and graffiti are an interesting way to contrast how art changes to reflect the culture and times in which it is created. We use a wide variety of media to help in our explorations, including colored pencils, oil pastels, collage, painting, and fabric dying.

We work with students to help them become proficient in reading, reading comprehension, oral comprehension and expression, and writing. In the process, we:

• Encourage them to grow as active, independent readers
• Help them continue to develop a love and excitement for the Hebrew language
• Strengthen their pronunciation and expand their vocabulary and comfort speaking
• Help them learn to answer questions using proper grammar
• Foster critical thinking through debating ideas in Hebrew
• Strengthen their relationship to Israeli culture and heritage through Hebrew


Using interactive posters, CDs, library books, games, and mediums for dramatization, students develop their Hebrew and heritage literacy in a gradual and spiraled process, building new ideas and concepts on top of an expanding foundation of knowledge. The curriculum offers a variety of stories, Jewish sources, songs, recitations, and plays that are age-appropriate and that aim to develop the child and his/her Jewish identity.

Students learn vocabulary, word structure, how to make sentences, and even put together a dictionary. And we encourage students to read at home to strengthen their language and word acquisition.

Talmud Torah (text study)

We study from the book of Numbers (Bamidbar). Our goal is to aclimate students to textual study with the assistance of classic commentators such as Rashi, Rambam, Rashbam, and modern interpreters such as Nechama Leibowitz, and Rabbi Samson Hirsch. Students will have an opportunity to express their ideas regarding various texts in a variety of ways, including art, drama, written and oral expression. We will utilize chumashim, picture books, oral stories, and slide presentations to bring the texts to life and make meaning of the tales.

Through the study of text we will model and allow students to practice the essential comprehension skills of: summarizing main points, formulating interpretive questions, making connections (text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world), formulating responses that require inferential thinking, and making predictions.

Parashat HaShavuah (weekly Torah portion)

Each Friday, students and teachers break from the curriculum to focus on a small section of the weekly Torah portion. Hopefully, students take these lessons with them and share them with their families at dinner that evening.

Tefillah (prayer)

Students in fourth grade embark on a careful study of two important prayers in Jewish liturgy: the three paragraphs of the Shema and the Amidah, also known as the Shmonah Esreh (“the 18”). Study of these prayers will include practice of reciting and chanting, exploration of themes, and contemplation of personal connections to the text.

Mitzvot (commandments and value concepts)

Our concentration in 4th grade is tza’ar ba’alei chayim – compassion for animals (literally, “the pain of living creatures”). Jewish tradition clearly indicates that we are forbidden to be cruel to animals and that we are to treat them with compassion. Throughout the year, students study the texts that delineate this mitzvah, brainstorm ways to carry out the precept, and take part in multiple activities aimed at fulfilling this commandment in the world in which we live.

Chaggim (holidays)

To parallel our attention to detail in the Talmud-Torah strand, students examine one or two specific, small elements of tradition surrounding a chag, delve into their symbolism and historical meaning, examine modern interpretations, and then explore the larger meaning of the holiday. As Rosh Hashanah approaches, students concentrate on the shofar. For Aseret Yemei Teshuvah and Yom Kippur, students study the act of teshuvah. For Chanukah, students prepare for a debate between Hellenism and Hasidism. And the approach of Pesach leads students to study the biblical and legendary Eliyahu.

Yisrael (Israel)

In 4th grade, students learn about the culture and geography of Israel through the “Cities of Israel” project. Working in groups, students research the history, landmarks, tourist spots, and populations of major Israeli cities, including Haifa, Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Eilat, and Beer Sheva. They present their findings to the class using a variety of formats, including PowerPoint, a skit, a poster, a cartoon, and more. Through this project, they develop a deeper connection to locations in Israel that students will visit on their 8th grade trip.


Reading Workshop

Students in fourth grade now have the skills needed to be successful readers. Over the course of the year, students read many books and are encouraged to do as good reader’s do in exploring different genres, authors and texts. The program emphasizes the interaction between readers and texts. Students learns to ask questions, make connections with prior knowledge and previously read texts, and ask questions to clarify faulty comprehension they recognize has occurred. The program includes peer conferences and teacher conferences with students but emphasizes students’ independence and supports them to become successful readers outside of the classroom. Students will be assessed three times a year to determine independent reading level based on accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. (readersworkshop.org)


1=N or below



4=Q or above


1=O or below



4=T or above


1=P or below



4=T or above

Key: 1=Experiencing Difficulty; 2=Below Grade Level; 3=At Grade Level; 4=Above Grade Level

Writing Workshop

This method gives students extensive opportunities to write on topics they care about, while providing explicit and sequenced instruction that helps them develop along a learning progression and critical feedback that helps them know next steps. Writers engage in a process of collecting, drafting, revising, and editing. Students write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames. The increased level of production comes with practice. The three main types of writing that students will become familiar with are persuasive/opinion, informative/explanatory, and narrative.


Our goal is that students develop a mathematical mindset and see math in the world around them. We are making problem solvers!

Math In Focus – This curriculum helps students build solid conceptual understanding through a focus on problem solving. Students learn the “why” and the “how” through instruction, hands-on activities, and problem solving. The following units are covered:

• Working with Whole Numbers
• Estimation and Number Theory
• Whole Number Multiplication and Division
• Fractions and Mixed Numbers
• Decimals
• Perpendicular and Parallel Line Segments
• Squares and Rectangles
• Conversion of Measurements
• Area and Perimeter
• Symmetry


Silicon Valley Math Initiative Resource: Problem of the MonthProblems of the Month are non-routine math problems that promote problem-solving. These problems stretch students to go deeper into mathematical complexity.  

MARS – Students will take the MARS exam, part of the Silicon Valley Math Initiative, in March. The MARS exam is a summative math performance assessment to measure students’ ability to solve non-routine problems, explain and justify their solutions, and promote high-level thinking skills.

Number Talks – These are classroom conversations around computation problems that are solved mentally and designed to elicit specific strategies that focus on number relationships and number theory. By sharing and defending their solutions and strategies, students reason about numbers while building connections to key conceptual ideas in math.


• DynaMath – Monthly magazines where students read short, interesting articles on current topics and solve the related practice problems.

• Math In Focus Unit Enrichment Packets

• Weekly math enrichment activities with a math specialist. Each student will participate in these small group sessions at least once a month.

In 4th grade, students learn about the different musical styles developed during the 20th century, including rock and roll, jazz, rap, disco and many more. They explore the roots of these styles and why they evolved, and what makes each of them special. Students learn about the songs, dances, fashions, and instruments of each style, as well as which style allows them to express themselves most freely. Fourth graders also learn to play the recorder, which challenges them to learn to read music properly, including correct notation, rhythms, and technique.

They are provided with a recorder and a music book at the start of 4th grade, and are expected to bring their books and recorders to every music class. Students learn to play simple melodies using basic fingering, and are taught correct posture and breathing as well as how to read simple notation from the treble clef. Home practice is required throughout the course of study. Students have opportunities to improve their playing through extra in-school practice times as well as additional materials.

Students in 2nd through 8th grade can join Hausner’s choir program. Meeting twice a week for 25 minutes during lunch or snack break, students practice in preparation for two performances a year, one before Winter Break and one before Summer Break. There may also be additional performances, as needed, i.e. Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day. Class includes singing voice warm-ups, learning fun pop tunes to sing for fellow students, and choreography to go along with the tunes. Students with all ability levels are welcome to join in this fun activity!

Fourth grade students develop manipulative skills such as rolling a ball with accuracy towards a target, catching an object while traveling, and throwing and catching while increasing distance and maintaining control. Flexibility and movement are incorporated into dance, as well as the physical fitness test.

Students focus on strategies and skills that are used in a number of sports, such as the difference between offense and defense, spacing needs for offense and defense, and distinguishing between punting and kicking. To help with this development, students participate in a variety of sports, including baseball, basketball, bowling, flag football, soccer, street hockey, and volleyball.

Challenging Question: How is the land set aside as a national park that much more special and worthwhile to protect than other land?

Project Description:

Students will craft a letter to their parent(s) to persuade them to take a trip to a California National Park within a year. Students will highlight the unique features of the park in their letter, as well as a plan to convince their parents that this will be a worthwhile trip. In addition to the letter, students will work in groups to produce a 30 second tourism commercial to aid in their persuasive plan. Parents will be surveyed to see if they plan on visiting that park as a family, in the next year. Parents will also be surveyed a year later to see if they actually went to visit the national park their child presented.  

Entry Event:

• See National Parks Adventure in IMAX
• Explain Wallace Stegner’s quote from “The Best Idea We Ever Had”– The parks are: “Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”
• Read Press Release: President Obama gives every 4th grader admission to National Parks


Key Knowledge and Understanding

• Read for Information/Research
• Opinion Letter Writing: Students write a letter establish a controlling idea, develop supporting arguments, provide detailed evidence, and include persuasive techniques. The writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing, use of technology.


Key Success Skills

• Critical thinking
• Collaboration working with group members
• Creativity and innovation


PBL (Project Based Learning) with STEM – Building Bridges

Challenging Question: How do you design a sturdy bridge with limited time & money?

Project Description: Each bridge is designed and built by 3-4 students. They draw blueprints and use toothpicks and glue. Students identify how geometry affects bridge design and function and apply knowledge to design and construct a bridge on budget. During the project, they meet with an architect who speaks about the supports, why they are used in specific locations, and what about their arrangement makes them strong, and he helps with their plan drawings. This experience gives students an understanding of the requirements of a human-made structure, which they encounter in cities and towns on a regular basis, must meet.

Entry Event: Students walk/run on the Golden Gate Bridge to learn about:

• the history of the bridge
• architecture and engineering
• better understanding of bridge building


Key Success Skills

• Critical thinking
• Collaboration working with group members
• Communication through written journal with daily goals and checklists


California’s social science framework assigns fourth grade the theme ‘California: A Changing State’. Houghton Mifflin’s California and supplemental sources serve as the basis of the curriculum.


Location, geography, and natural resources of California California Native American tribes and their environments European explorers and settlers Development of the mission system and its effect on the Native population and environment Spanish Rancho period Gold Rush California’s admission to the United States as a state Development of the Transcontinental Railroad

In 4th grade, students engage in hands-on activities that stimulate their curiosity and encourage them to be interested in science. Students actively participate in the annual STEM Fair, working in small groups to build models demonstrating key principles of physics.

One of the big engineering projects is bridge building. Groups of three to four students work together to draw blueprints and create structures out of toothpicks and glue. They identify how geometry affects bridge design and function, and apply that knowledge to construction of a bridge.  This fun and challenging activity gives students a better understanding of the requirements of a human-made structure, and a frame of reference for their real-life encounters in cities and towns. A field trip to the Golden Gate Bridge helps put that all in perspective, and allows them to explore architecture and engineering, better understand bridge building (the complications and the recipes for success), participate in hands-on activities that are engaging and educational, and walk over the bridge.

To augment classroom lessons, each month students can read about life, earth, and physical science topics in Scholastic SuperScience magazines.


Our science program, Mystery Science, meets all fourth grade Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) through activities that stimulate curiosity and motivate students to be scientists. Students will also participate in the annual STEM Fair.


• Rocks – volcanoes, rock cycle, weathering, erosion, natural hazards
• Human body – muscles, skeleton, eyes and vision, brain and nerves
• Energy – stored energy, motion, speed, collisions, electrical energy, energy and engineering
• Waves of sound – sound and vibrations, waves


Scholastic SuperScience magazines capture the excitement of science. Each month’s issue is filled with life, earth, and physical science topics that engage students.