Fourth Grade

4thgradeAkiva-BannerDuring fourth grade at Akiva, students are challenged to think deeply, explore intensely, and express themselves surely in speech and writing.

In mathematics, we emphasize a realistic approach to problem solving, solidify basic skills through ongoing routines and mathematical games, along with revisiting topics regularly to ensure full concept development and long-term retention of learning.

Students investigate the Human Body, Matter & Energy, and Sun, Moon, & Stars by pairing learning with rich non-fiction texts, response reports, interactive simulations, interdisciplinary extensions, and through home connections. Additionally, STEM labs are explored through relevant project based learning using the Engineering Design Process involving straw rockets, bears in boats, tall tower challenges, and solar ovens.

Fourth graders embark on a journey through regions of our country, government, and become state experts through projects, debates, and cultural fairs.

Reading and writing are further developed using the workshop model. Throughout our learning studio we employ technology regularly to intrigue further, provide a clearer meaning, and to effectuate curricular goals.

The theme for Hebrew in the fourth grade is the Unique classroom. Students are challenged to think about how they learn and what makes them unique in the unique classroom. They are also driven to think about what makes them and their classroom successful and how they can function best as a team. Students continue to be immersed in Hebrew in their Judaics classes and are provided with opportunities to lead the school in its learning on Tu B’Shevat, our holiday to honor the trees. Students read, write, listen, and converse entirely in Hebrew and further explore their heritage through songs and literature. Some highly anticipated events at Akiva are the 4th Grade Shabbbaton, the Pesach Seder, the State Fair, and Let’s Ask Akiva.

Social Studies

  • Exploring the Regions of Our Country –  Throughout the year we will learn about the different regions of the United States. We will learn about the people, population, history, industries and more about the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Southwest regions. We will also make comparisons between states and regions in our country.
  • Government of Our State and Country –  During the year, we will research and explore the different parts of the state and federal governments. This unit involves field trips, mock elections, news clips and more.
  • Tennessee Experts –  Our students will become expert on the state of Tennessee. The students will dive deep into the history, geography, and economy of the Volunteer state.

Language Arts

  • Writing –  The writing series by Lucy Calkins will be the guide for the writing workshop in 4th grade. Through this series, the students are exposed to a myriad of genres throughout the year. These include: personal narrative, expository, essays, poems, myth/folk tales. They will also have the opportunity to study a favorite author and then write a story with similar characteristics and style to the author they are studying. The students will also become familiar with letter writing because they will be corresponding with the teacher about their reading and writing.
  • Literature/Reading –  The 4th grade reading program will expose the students to many different genres of literature. The reading will correlate with the writing program when it is appropriate. The students will be learning and using reading skills with their independent reading book.They will be focusing on comprehension, expanding vocabulary, improving accuracy, making meaningful connections, responding to literature, and fluency throughout the year. The 4th grade reading program will also include a new series called Junior Great Books. This program focuses on high-quality literature and fostering critical inquiry through student-centered discussions. Reading Comprehension, critical thinking, and writing are the goals of the Junior Great Books program. As a class, we will be reading a variety of different literature throughout the course of the year. This includes novels, myths, folktales, biographies, and poetry.
  • Word Study/Spelling –  The students will study vocabulary and spelling on a weekly base. The students will learn through interactive vocabulary, interactive edit, word sorts, reader’s theater, and more. Another place that students will be taught spelling and vocabulary is during their independent reading and teacher conferencing. The resources we use are: Wordly Wise and Fountas and Pinnell Word Study.
  • Public Speaking –  Students will have many different public speaking opportunities in 4th grade. Oral reports, morning meeting, class discussions, and the state and science fair are some examples of ways we will encourage our students to speak in public. The students will work on tone of voice, varied tone, posture, and non-verbal communication.


In 4th grade, we study and learn the following math concepts and skills:

  • Number and Numeration
    • Place value and notation
    • Meaning and uses of fractions
    • Number Theory
    • Equivalent names for whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents
    • Comparing and ordering numbers
  • Operations and Computation
    • Addition and subtraction facts and procedures
    • Multiplication and division facts and procedures
    • Procedures for addition and subtraction of fractions
    • Computational estimation
  • Data and Chance
    • Data collection and representation
    • Data Analysis
    • Qualitative/Quantitative Probability
  • Measurement and Reference Frames
    • Length, weight, and angles
    • Area, perimeter, volume, and capacity
    • Units and systems of measure
    • Coordinate systems
  • Geometry
    • Lines and angles
    • Plane and solid figures
    • Transformations and symmetry
  • Patterns, Functions, and Algebra
    • Patterns and functions
    • Algebraic notation and solving number sentences
    • Order of Operations
    • Properties of the arithmetic operations

Math resources: Everyday Math


  • Physical Science –  The Matter and Energy unit consists of four sequential investigations to introduce the multiple forms that matter and energy can take and to give students experience with the transfer of energy from one form to another. Light absorption and reflection is the focus of an entire investigation. Students also conduct and observe chemical reactions and are introduced to atoms and elements. (From FOSS official website
  • Earth Science –  The Sun, Moon and Stars unit consists of three sequential investigations, each designed to introduce students to objects we see in the sky. Through outdoor observations made during the day and at night, active simulations, readings, videos, and discussions, students study the Sun, Moon, and stars to learn that these objects move in regular and predictable patterns that can be observed, recorded, and analyzed. (From FOSS official website.
  • Life Science –  The Human Body unit consists of four sequential investigations that engage students in thoughtful activities about the form and function of a most remarkable machine, their own body. (From FOSS official website
  • Life Science –  The Human Body unit consists of four sequential investigations that engage students in thoughtful activities about the form and function of a most remarkable machine, their own body. (From FOSS official website

Ivrit/Judaic Studies

In the 1st-4th grades at Akiva, our teachers use the Tal Am curriculum (תל עם) for Ivrit and Judaics. It is a program developed in Canada and Israel that was created based on years of research on the principles of language development and learning patters. The goal of the program at Akiva is to develop children that are literate in the Hebrew language and equipped with the knowledge and skills to inspire informed Jewish living.

Students in the classroom are surrounded in a stimulus rich environment. Knowledge is acquired through a variety of activities using the five senses, including stories, songs, visual aids, and games. Our students develop their Hebrew and heritage literacy in a gradual, spiraled process each year that builds new ideas and concepts onto an expanding foundation of knowledge.

In fourth grade, the students’ learning revolves around the theme, HaKita HaMeuchedet, (The United Class). The students learn about the rules of etiquette and derech eretz (good manners) and link them to Jewish sources and selected proverbs of the Jewish Sages.

In their study of holidays, the students learn the connection between the holidays and the oral law through the proverbs and commentaries of the Jewish Sages. In addition to this, many of the holidays are connected to the books that are traditionally read. For example, in preparation for Yom Kippur, the students study the Book of Yonah. Key concepts and aspects of the holidays that were studied in grades 1-3 are expounded on and linked to the Jewish sources.

In Torah, the students finish the last parsha of Sefer Breishit (the Book of Genesis) and begin their study of Sefer Shemot (Numbers). The students work on developing their reading and comprehension skills further and increase their skills in Torah commentary as well as they develop their biblical textual skills. They increase their awareness of the specific ways of approaching the Torah text and begin to recognize the structure of the biblical narrative.

Signature Projects

State Fair –  Each student will pick a state to research and become an expert about that state. The 4th grade will hold a state fair for the upper grades to come and learn about each state that has been researched. The 4th graders will try to convince the other students to move to that state.

Let’s Ask Akiva –  The students will come up with a question they want answered. They will create surveys to hand out to the rest of the school. They will use skills they are learning in math to perform data analysis on the information they have gathered. Their work will be displayed for the rest of the school to see.

4th Grade Theater –  In language arts, we will be using reader’s theater as a way to learn how to speak in public. As we perfect different reader’s theater, we will be performing them in morning assembly for the whole school.

Science Fair –  Please check our events calendar. Science Fair is held in the Spring.

The Memory Folder –  This is a collection of their work over the years in Hebrew that helps increase their memory of their learning. In addition to this, students add work that represents what they are proud of.

Pesach Seder –  The 4th grade leads a Seder entirely in Hebrew with their class. This serves as a culmination of their 3 years of study of the Pesach Seder in Hebrew and prepares them for their leadership of the 5th and 6th grade Seder.

Tu B’Shevat –  The 4th grade is responsible for leading the learning and celebration for Tu B’Shevat, our holiday to honor the trees.

Signature Field Trips

  • Adventure Science Center
  • Nashville Children’s Theater

Classroom Policies and Procedures

In 4th grade, the students travel between their homeroom and the Ivrit/Judaic Studies classroom. They are responsible for keeping up with their material when traveling between the two classes. They are expected to complete all assignments given by both teachers. The students will have a homework folder that has two sections. One section is for work that needs to come back once it is complete, and the other section is for work that stays home. The students are also reminded to write their assignments in their planner as a way to know what is due the next day. This is another good way to make sure all assignments are complete in the given time. Please check in with your students to make sure they are completing assignments and getting necessary work signed and returned.

Behavior Plan

This year, the Responsive Classroom program will be implemented into 4th grade. This is a thoughtful, hands-on program that involves all students. Together, as a community, they establish guidelines that encourage cooperation, respect, and responsibility. Our classroom guidelines are: Be confident, respect yourself, respect others, challenge yourself, and have fun. If these guidelines are not followed, logical consequences will be implemented. This allows the misbehavior to stop quickly, calmly, and respectfully so that the class, the student, and the teacher can get back to learning.

These are the logical consequences that could arise:

  • You Break It, You Fix – If a child’s mistake is a result of simple carelessness, impulsivity, or forgetfulness, reparation gives them the opportunity to take responsibility by fixing the damage they have caused. This response to misbehavior is simply, if they break something, they need to fix it. If they spill something, they need to clean it up.
  • Lose a Privilege- If it appears that students cannot behave in a responsible way, they will lose the privilege. For example, if they are getting the privilege to sit in the comfy chair that day and can not pay attention while sitting in the chair, they will not be able to sit their the rest of the day.
  • Take a Break - If students are having difficulty focusing and cooperating, they may be asked to go to the take a break chair until they are ready to re-enter the group. This is not seen as a punishment, but rather as a moment to calm down and recollect themselves.

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