Sierra School

sierra School

Language Arts (includes Reading, Spelling and Writing)

Our language arts program is a comprehensive, whole language approach to learning. Several components make up our program that is designed to refine oral, grammar, comprehension, literary, and writing skills. Throughout the year the individual needs of a student are assessed. The assessment results in an individualized reading plan, as each student is unique. Houghton Miffin is the publisher we use for the Language Arts program. In the program, the students continue to develop their comprehension skills and strategies, information and study skills, decoding, writing, grammar usage and mechanics, spelling, vocabulary, and speaking skills. The fourth grader’s reading comprehension and strategy skills are expanded by categorizing and classifying information, making inferences, drawing conclusions, making generalizations, and identifying topics, main ideas and details. Information and study skills are developed by identifying the parts of a book, taking notes, using reference materials, with multimedia and electronic resources, and collecting data while reading and outlining. Plays and visual arts are presented to offer the students the opportunity to learn and gather information through observation. This preparation gives the students the tools to be able to write clear, coherent sentences and paragraphs that support a main idea. Students write narratives, responses to literature, poetry, and research reports. As the year progresses, the students writing skills continue to be developed with more complex independent, shared and coached writing activities which include advanced punctuation, varying sentence types, and writing summaries. Writing skills are supported through the use of our fun and easy to use Step Up to Writing program. The students continue to develop their speaking skills with group discussions, presenting an oral report, a persuasive speech, and participating in a debate. Sierra provides a varied curriculum that enhances basic skills and makes learning interesting.


Every fourth grader is different from the other and possesses a different learning style. This is what makes the mathematics program at Sierra so exceptional and exciting. Using the Scott Foresman Addison Wesley’s curriculum as a basis for our program, we ensure that each student progresses at his or her ability. The fourth grade students are strengthening their basic skills and are continuing to develop an understanding of mathematic operations, geometry, measurement, algebra, data analysis and probability, as well as mathematical processes through a multi-sensory approach of time, place values, monetary transaction, fractions, decimals, customary and metric measurement, graphing and probability, division, and the multiplication of two-digit numbers. In addition, students use algebraic functions to interpret variables, mathematic symbols, and properties to write expressions. Students will also understand area, perimeter, and volume. They develop a positive attitude toward math by incorporating math into their daily activities. When a student completely masters a concept, he or she is encouraged to work ahead while being supervised by the teacher. Our small group and individual instruction ensures that each student achieves mathematical success at his or her own level.

Social Studies

The social studies program in the fourth grade offers the students the opportunity to study the State of California in depth. The Houghton Mifflin California text covers, history, geography, economics, civics, and citizenship. The students develop an understanding of the physical and human geographic features that define places and regions in California.

They also study the social, political, cultural, and economic life and interactions among people of California from the pre-Columbian societies to the Spanish mission and Mexican rancho periods. Students will be able to explain the economic, social, and political life in California from the establishment of the Bear Flag Republic through the Mexican-American War, the Gold Rush, and the granting of statehood. They then explore how California became an agricultural and industrial power, tracing the transformation of the California economy and its political and cultural development since the 1850’s. Students will understand the structures, functions, and powers of the local, state, and federal governments as described in the U.S. Constitution. Our fourth graders enjoy this unique opportunity to study and understand their surroundings and culture; they are creating their own history.


Scott Foresman Science is our chosen curriculum for the fourth grade. Our program captivates students and makes them eager to learn. Our effective style of instruction requires hands-on activities and observation. The students study physical, earth, and life sciences through the use of visual resources, literature, and teacher directed experiments. Life in all forms comes alive through the exploration of plants, animals, and energy from plants, ecosystems and its changes, and systems of the human body. The students expand on their understanding of earth science by exploring water and weather cycles, minerals and rocks, changes in the earth’s surface, and natural resources. The study of physical science delves into the properties of matter, heat, electricity and magnetism, sound, light, objects in motion, and simple machines. Space and technology are particular favorites for the students, especially in today’s world where new discoveries seem to occur on a daily basis. They explore the earth’s cycles, the inner and outer planets, and the effects of technology. Using the scientific method, the class performs science experiments throughout the year, which develop conceptual understanding. The earth and universe is there for them to explore. May the future scientists of the world enjoy their fourth grade science experience


Enrichment activities bring balance to the curriculum and help students become well-rounded individuals. The purpose of music and drama in the fourth grade is to introduce them to the joy and fun of both music and drama. Children will sing songs both familiar and new to them. The idea is to have them sing-along and help develop their sense of pitch. Movement is also introduced to help children with coordination skills. Music and drama are great tools for helping children build self-esteem as well as having a positive impact on their reading skills. Students are exposed to the concepts of music, the family of instruments, the beginning written forms of music, and the components of the orchestra through practice and the continued exposure to important composers and musicians. Each month, students learn about a famous composer or musician, including artists such as, Bach, Vivaldi and George Frederick Handel. Students continue their exposure to the concepts of music, the brass components of the orchestra and become familiar with the child-friendly biographical profiles of the composers. Students also love to participate in the Sierra choir. Each semester, anticipation builds as the students prepare a program for parents, friends, and teachers. By presenting these programs, students have the opportunity to overcome the fear of speaking, singing, and acting in front of other people. Music is truly a universal language and one for all to enjoy.

Visual Arts

The fourth grade offers the students the opportunity of creating and understanding the elements of art through observation and group discussions. They begin their studies with art of the Middle Ages in Europe. They continue through Islamic Art and Architecture, art of Africa, China and the United States. They become familiar with the religious nature of European art in the Middle Ages, and can recognize the differences between gothic architecture and the characteristic features of Islamic architecture (such as domes and minarets). They study the spiritual purposes and significance of African art work within the community as well as Chinese art and early American art. The fourth graders look forward to a year of creativity and learn to appreciate the visual world surrounding them.


In fourth grade, students expand their understanding of Spanish and the Hispanic culture through speaking, grammar, writing, listening, music, stories, videos, and games. Their knowledge increases as their study of verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and possessive words gives them the basis to describe the world. The students delight in learning ways to describe and compare people, including clothes, appearance and personality as well as writing about their homes, places, and things. The fourth grader’s interest in Hispanic culture is enhanced through their study of Hispanic holidays. It is wonderful to watch the students continue to develop their Spanish skills.

Physical Education (PE)

Students continue to develop an understanding of physical activity, team sports, and sportsmanship through a variety of individual and group activities, games and organized sports. The students develop coordination, grace, and control along with a sense of fair play and cooperation. They are provided opportunities in planning, organizing, and leading sports activities.


Students continue to develop their typing skills by utilizing the Disney Interactive Software, and reinforce their reading and math skills through the use of specific classroom software. In addition, they develop an understanding of technology and it’s usefulness through individual activities and programs.

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