Friday, January 19, 2001
Fourth grade curriculum outlined
The overview of the Fourth Grade Curriculum was a hot topic on the Carlisle school committee agenda January 9. Integrating the subjects of U.S. History, math, language arts, and science provides the basis of the curriculum for the sixty-seven students, divided into three classroom sections., according to fourth grade teacher s Gerry Madigan , Bill Gale , Karen Allred and Carolyn Wiseley.
"Sources for fourth grade math are the text developed by the University of Chicago and a problem solving book," said Madigan. She continued that emphasis is placed on problem strategies, the use of math skills and what one can do in math such as weighing, measuring, and computation.
Teacher Bill Gale said that language arts and history are highly integrated in the fourth grade. The focus is U.S. history from 1789 - 1865, the Constitution and government, the industrial revolution, westward expansion and the civil war. While learning about history the students are encouraged to learn about different types of writing, the writing process, and the parts of speech. The students also do readings about the rush for gold, the enormous opportunities in the west, and traveling on the Oregon trail. Within the context of the core curriculum the students organize in groups of literature circles of four to five children. Each circle has a facilitator and the students are encouraged to talk and ask questions about the readings. "The groups become self-driven," said Gale.
In science the foundation is physical science and includes learning about Newton, Galileo, animal adaptation and classification, and geology. The students keep journals and read books like Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat.
School Committee member Cindy Nock commented that the curriculum is mature. "Skills are reintroduced and reinforced. The class takes the MCAS tests now required by the state in stride." Madigan said the curriculum has already been realigned to the tests. Bell confirmed this by saying that the tests "...really haven't changed instructional practices."
© 2001 The Carlisle Mosquito