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Fourth Grade

Grade Level Standards For Fourth Grade

Characteristics of the Fourth Grade Student
As opposed to the more exuberant and expansive third grader, the typical fourth grader is on the quieter side. Living more within himself, the child this age is more self-contained and self-sufficient. As this increasing independence emerges, the distance between the child and parent also increases. Parents are replaced by the peer group as the key aspect of the child’s world. Instead of forming close relationships with adults, a child this age prefers to work with them on an activity level. Team sports become important, as well as scouting and outdoor expeditions.

Intellectually, fourth graders have made great strides. They are able to think critically and independently. With their ability to use language as a tool, they are capable of expressing a wide range of emotions. Children this age can exhibit a great deal of understanding and feeling for others.

The activity level of nine year olds is extremely high. They can work and play hard for prolonged periods of time. Most love to test their strength. Games that provide opportunities to do so usually generate a lot of interest.

The typical fourth grader wants and needs to have maturity, independence, and separateness respected. Fourth graders are likely to rebel against authority and may choose pathways of either withdrawal or excessive complaint. Complaints are common and range from the generic, "This is too hard" to a variety of aches and pains that seem to occur almost weekly.

Student at this age will show interest in the community. They are interested in problems of health, weather, seasons, and holidays, as well as in cultures outside of their own. They tell the truth with increasing frequency, which is an indication of their growing moral development. Children this age see themselves as group members. They enjoy groups and clubs, and they attempt to test their self-concepts against peer standards.

English/Language Arts

The English-Language Arts curriculum provides students, through their study and understanding of literature, with intensive experiences in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students progress at their own individual pace through levels of mastery. In grade four, the major focus is developing fluency skills and reading to learn.

The fouth grade student will…


Word Analysis, Fluency, and Vocabulary Development
• Apply multiple decoding strategies, including phonics, syllabication, and word parts, to make meaning from increasingly complex reading selections in both silent and oral reading.
• Apply knowledge of word origins, derivations, synonyms, antonyms and idioms.
• Use knowledge of root words to determine the meaning of an unknown word.
• Use the thesaurus and dictionary to determine related words and concepts.

Reading Comprehension
• Identify and use common strategies to gain meaning from a text (comparison, cause and effect, chronological order, fact and opinion, make generalizations).
• Know and use a variety of reading strategies to understand informational text (skimming, scanning).
• Confirm predictions in a reading selection by using prior information and ideas presented in text (illustrations, ideas, titles, topic sentences).
• Evaluate new information and ideas by testing them against known information and ideas.
• Compare and contrast information on the same topic after reading several passages.

Literary Response and Analysis
• Define and compare terms of literature, including fantasies, fables, myths, and fairy tales.
• Identify the main events of a plot, including their causes and effects.
• Determine the causes of a character’s actions through knowledge of the setting, situation, and character’s traits and motivations.
• Compare and contrast tales from different cultures.
• Identify and understand the use of figurative language in literary works (simile, metaphor, exaggeration, personification).
• Evaluate an author’s techniques, purpose and viewpoint to influence readers’ feelings and attitudes.
• Draw conclusions.


Writing Strategies
• Write clear and coherent sentences and paragraphs that elaborate on a central purpose.
• Consider audience and purpose in writing.
• Use the stages of the writing process (pre-writing, drafting, revising, proof reading and editing).
• Create paragraphs that 1) support a central idea with a topic sentence, 2) include supporting sentences with simple facts, details, and explanations, 3) include a concluding statement that summarizes the points, 4) are indented properly.
• Quote or paraphrase information sources, citing references.
• Use electronic word processing features such as word searches, thesaurus, spell check, and outlining packages to create simple documents.
• Improve rough drafts by adding, deleting, combining, and rearranging text.

Writing Applications
• Write texts that describe and explain objects, events, and experiences that are familiar to them, demonstrating command of standard English.
• Collect information from observation and research and produce a report that accurately reflects the data collected in a third person report.
• Write narratives that relate ideas, observations, or memories using strategies that provide insight into why the event was memorable.
• Write responses to literature that demonstrates an understanding of the literary work and support judgments through references to the text.
• Write summaries that contain the main ideas of the reading selection plus the most significant details.
• Be assessed for proficiency in the Practical/Informative domain of writing, while continuing to write in the three remaining areas; Imaginative/Narrative, Sensory/Descriptive, and Analytical/Expository.


• Ask thoughtful questions and respond to relevant questions in oral settings.
• Summarize major ideas and supporting evidence in spoken messages and formal presentations.
• Give precise directions and instructions.
• Address a specific problem in a group setting by choosing the best course of action after considering alternative solutions.
• Present effective introductions and conclusions that guide the listener’s understanding.
• Use details, examples, anecdotes or experiences to clarify information.
• Use appropriate volume, pitch, phrasing, pace and gestures to communicate meaning.
• Evaluate the role of the media in focusing attention, and in forming an opinion.
• Make narrative and informational presentations that effectively provide insight and information to the listener.
• Deliver oral summaries of articles and books.
• Recite brief poems, soliloquies, or dramatic dialogues using clear diction, tempo, volume, and phrasing.


• Use simple and compound sentences in writing and speaking.
• Combine short, related sentences with appropriate phrases.
• Identify and use regular and irregular verbs, adverbs, prepositions in writing and speaking.
• Use commas in a series, dates, locations, and addresses; apostrophes in possessives and contractions; and parentheses.
• Use underlining, quotation marks, or italics to identify titles.
• Capitalizes names of magazines, newspapers, works of art, musical compositions, names of organizations and the first word in a quotation.
• Use conventional spelling, including roots, inflections, suffixes and prefixes.
• Use legible cursive handwriting with appropriate form, spacing, slant, connecting strokes, and size.
• Use legible manuscript appropriately.

As parents, you can help by:

• Listening to your child read.
• Listening and talking with your child.
• Encouraging your child to write thank you notes and other letters.
• Taking family outings and discussing the experiences.
• Taking your child to the library.
• Encouraging and providing a variety of reading materials.
• Letting your child see you read.
• Discussing books being read at school.
• Keeping in close contact with your child’s teacher and school.
• Reviewing your child’s written work.
• Taking your child to local drama productions, museums, and musical productions.
• Reading to your child regularly.
• Attending parent conferences and school activities.
• Limiting television and video games.


By the end of fourth grade, students understand large numbers and addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers. They describe and compare simple fractions and decimals. They understand the properties of and the relationships between plane geometric figures. They collect, represent and analyze data to answer questions.

The fourth grade student will…

Number Sense
• Understand place value and rounding of whole numbers and decimals to two decimal places, how these relate to simple fractions, and use concepts of negative numbers.
• Add and subtract simple decimals.
• Solve problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers.
• Know how to factor small whole numbers.
• Solve mathematical calculations using calculators.
• Solve problems related to time and money.

Algebra and Functions
• Use and interpret variables, mathematical symbols and properties to write and simplify expressions and sentences.
• Know how to manipulate equations.

Measurement and Geometry
• Understand perimeter and area.
• Use two-dimensional coordinate grids to represent points and graph lines and simple figures.
• Demonstrate understanding of plane and solid geometric objects and use this knowledge to show relationships and solve problems.
• Demonstrate the use a ruler, protractor and compass.

Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability
• Organize, represent, and interpret numerical and categorical data, and clearly communicate their findings.
• Make predictions for simple probability situations.

Mathematical Reasoning
• Make decisions about how to approach problems by identifying relationships, discriminating relevant from irrelevant information, and by observing patterns.
• Use a variety of strategies, skills, and concepts to find solutions. This would include estimation, and using words, numbers, symbols, charts, graphs, tables, and diagrams to explain mathematical reasoning.
• Move beyond a particular problem by generalizing to other situations.
• Calculate mathematical solutions using mental math.

As parents, you can help by:

• Reviewing classroom work and discussing strategies and solutions to problems.
• Practicing basic math facts.
• Encouraging your child to play games involving math.
• Taking your child shopping, discussing prices, and estimating costs.
• Providing opportunities to use measurement (i.e. cooking, sewing, carpentry, and telling time).
• Exploring with your child the math in everyday life (i.e. checkbooks, product contents, speed limits, budgeting, and price comparisons).
• Providing opportunities for your child to manage money.

History/Social Science

In fourth grade, students learn the story of California, in terms of its vast and varied geography, its many waves of immigration, its continuous diversity, economic energy, and rapid growth. Students examine the state in the context of the rest of the nation.

The fourth grade student will…

• Demonstrate an understanding of the physical and human geographic features.
• Describe major effects that the transition from Pre-Columbian societies to the Spanish mission and Mexican rancho periods had on the people of California.
• Explain the economic, social, and political life of California from the establishment of the Bear Flag Republic through the Mexican-American War, the Gold Rush and California Statehood.
• Explain how California became an industrial power.
• Understand the structure, functions, and powers of the United States local, state, and federal governments as described in the U.S. Constitution.


In addition to the standards for grades 1-5, students demonstrate the following intellectual, reasoning, reflection and research skills.

Chronological and Spatial Thinking
• Students place key events and people of the historical era they are studying both in a chronological sequence and within a spatial context; they interpret timelines.
• Students apply terms related to time correctly, including past, present, future, decade, century, and generation.
• Students explain how the present is connected to the past, identifying both similarities and differences between the two, and how some things change over time and some things stay the same.
• Use map and globe skills to determine the absolute locations of places and interpret information available through the map’s legend, scale, and symbolic representations.
• Judge the significance of the relative location of a place and analyze how those relative advantages or disadvantages can change over time.

Research, Evidence and Point of View
• Students differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
• Students pose relevant questions about events encountered in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, maps, art and architecture.
• Students distinguish fact from fiction by comparing documentary sources on historical figures and events with fictionalized characters and events.

Historical Interpretation
• Students summarize the key events of the era they are studying and explain their historical contexts.
• Students identify the human and physical characteristics of the places they are studying.
• Students identify and interpret the multiple causes and effects of historical events.
• Students conduct benefit/cost analyses of historical and current events.

Character Education
The district’s character education program seeks to instill in students habits of the heart, mind and will that contribute the development of a “person of character.” Six core values have been adopted to guide and systematically address ethics in the instructional program, as well as in the school community.

• Trustworthiness
• Respect
• Responsibility
• Justice and Fairness
• Caring
• Citizenship

As parents, you can help by:

• Taking family trips to historical or cultural locations (missions, museums)
• Using maps to plan vacations or family outings.
• Setting a positive example of character and ethical behavior.
• Discussing the implications of positive and negative choices of public figures.
• Developing an awareness of media influences on society.


The district science program encourages children to comprehend the nature of the physical universe (the interdependence and the connection) in a laboratory setting. Major science themes (Energy, Evolution, Patterns of Change, Scale and Structure, Stability, and Systems and Interactions) and the scientific thinking processes (observing, communicating, comparing, ordering, categorizing, relating, inferring, and applying) are crucial to the sciences.

The fourth grade student will demonstrate an understanding that…

Earth Science
The earth operates in many cycles.

• The earth revolves around the sun as the moon revolves around the earth.
• Water in its various forms has the power to shape the earth and create new land forms.
• The earth consists of three layers; the uppermost of which forms plates. The movement of these plates causes volcanoes and earthquakes.
• Earth’s weather and climate patterns result from interactions between land, water, and the sun.

Life Sciences
Living things function within their own ecosystem.

• Living things exist in different biosphere.
• Living things adapt to the type of water in their environment.
• New life is capable of returning to an area after a natural disaster.
• Plants have adapted and evolved in order to survive in different climates.

Physical Sciences
Matter interacts with energy in predictable ways.

• Matter has physical and chemical properties.
• Substances can interact to form new substances with different observable properties.
• Energy changes and chemical reactions can be observed.

As parents, you can help by:

• Visiting science-oriented locations such as aquariums, arboretums, and observatories.
• Using the scientific method to investigate phenomena and answer children’s questions about the world around them.
• Discussing science programs on TV, video, or on the Internet.


Physical Education Standards

The physical education program provides students with opportunities to achieve motor skills and movement knowledge, develop a positive self-image and recognize personal achievement, and develop social skills of respect and acceptance of others.

The fourth grade student will…

• Learn how to practice to achieve a skill and develop a practice plan.
• Demonstrate the correct technique for throwing, catching, striking, kicking, dribbling and trapping a ball.
• Teach a two player game.
• Describe how forces, such as your muscles, are used to correctly throw, kick, strike, or catch an object.
• Design a one-day exercise program for improving muscle strength and muscle endurance.
• Assess personal fitness and compare scores to a health-related standard.
• Adjust to success and failure through movement experiences.
• Create a movement which displays their interpretation of literature, fine art, music, and/or sports.
• Respect the rights of others and their property.
• Value multicultural, local sport, and recreational opportunities in California.

As parents, you can help by:

• Encouraging extra-curricular involvement in organized sports (team or individual).
• Limiting your child’s use of video games, TV, and computers to promote opportunities for physical activity.
• Taking family walks or hikes.

Health Education

The health curriculum provides students with opportunities to explore concepts in depth, analyze and solve real-life problems, and work cooperatively on tasks that develop and enhance their conceptual understanding. It also provides students with the knowledge and skills that can lead to lifelong positive attitudes related to health.

The fourth grade student will…

• Accept personal responsibility.
• Demonstrate respect for, and promotion of, the health of others.
• Understand the processes of growth and development.
• Use health-related information, products, and services.

As parents, you can help by:

• Involving your child in planning nutritious meals and snacks.
• Modeling and encouraging healthy habits in hygiene, rest, activity, and eating.

Visual and Performing Arts

Dance, music, drama, and visual arts are a means to develop personal dimensions within the learning process; thus, they provide the necessary curriculum balance in developing the whole person. They are integrated throughout the curriculum, though at times become subject-centered fine arts classes.

The fourth grade student will…

• Communicate an understanding of dance through creative expression, aesthetic perception and valuing, and dance theater heritage.
• Create a simple repeatable dance
• Engage in rhythmic movement
• Experience the creative process of dance
• Attend or participate in a school production

Express and communicate an understanding of music by creative expression, aesthetic perception, and valuing.
• Sing songs with limited range
• Experience playing with percussion instruments
• Become aware of differences in pitch
• Distinguish between singing and speaking
• Experience music of various cultures

• Communicate an understanding of drama through creative expression, aesthetic perception and valuing, and drama theater heritage.
• Begin to participate in story dramatization
• Move as an object or storybook animal
• Reproduce sounds individually or with others (rain, wind, thunder, wind, etc.)
• Begin to acquire a sense of drama through storytelling and improvisation

Visual Arts
• Express and communicate an understanding of visual arts by creative expression and aesthetic perception and valuing.
• Maintain a portfolio with art work produced throughout the year
• Create a number of products that represent an initial understanding of the design elements: line and color
• Be introduced to drawing, painting, and constructing techniques using pens, tempera, crayon, and watercolor

As parents, you can help by:

• Visiting art museums, musical concerts, theatrical performances, and other exhibitions.
• Encouraging your child’s participation in organized music, dance, theater, or art classes.


Our vision is to prepare students for a changing future through the expanding use of technology that serves as a catalyst for learning. To this end, students will regularly use computers and other educational technologies. Through a district network, teachers have access to electronic mail and both teachers and students have access to selected educational sites on the Internet. In first grade, the major focus is on beginning computer skills.

The fourth grade student will…

Computer Hardware and Software
• Perform basic trouble shooting on equipment
• Merge documents with assistance
• Type approximately 20 words per minute

Technology Etiquette
• Follow district policies
• Obey copyright laws
• Demonstrate proper care of equipment

Technology Skills That Improve Learning
• use electronic reference media
• Use the Internet as a source for a research project
• Use curriculum software appropriately

As parents, you can help by:
• Working with your child on keyboarding skills.
• Guiding your child toward appropriate use of the Internet.
• Monitoring student access to the Internet.

The Move to Common Core Standards

Educational standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject in each grade. In California, the State Board of Education decides on the standards for all students, from kindergarten through high school.

Since 2010, 45 states have adopted the same standards for English and math. These standards are called the Common Core State Standards. Having the same standards helps all students get a good education, even if they change schools or move to a different state. Teachers, parents, and education experts designed the standards to prepare students for success in college and the workplace.

The California Department of Education helps schools make sure that all students are meeting the standards.

  • Students and families who are looking for more information may visit the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Web page for Students, Parents, and Guardians.
  • Education professionals who want to learn more about the standards and find resources to support student attainment of the standards should visit the CCSS and Educators Web page.
  • Below you will find information about the standards and the CCSS-related activities taking place in California.

The Standards