English Language Arts

4th Grade

4th Grade ELA Course Summary

In 4th Grade English Language Arts, students explore how people’s identities, values, and beliefs can shape their lives, and how courageous individuals can create change by standing up for what they believe. Students build their social-emotional skills in Finding Fortune and Believing in Yourself, explore the history of the United States in Heart and Soul and Examining Our History, learn about natural disasters in Preparing for the Worst, and see how the Greeks used mythology to understand the world in Interpreting Perspectives. In each unit, students engage in process-based writing projects connected to the core texts that develop their narrative, informational, and opinion writing skills. 

Using authentic, engaging texts, teachers help students develop their language comprehension and address grade-level reading, writing, language, and speaking and listening standards. Over the course of 4th Grade ELA, students deepen their understanding of the world around them through thematically-aligned, knowledge-building units, embedded daily writing instruction, and frequent opportunities for in-class discussion.

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Recommended Sequence

Unit 1

28 Lessons

Finding Fortune: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

By reading and discussing Grace Lin's novel Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, students explore what it means to have good fortune and how families shape a person’s identity, values, and beliefs.

Unit 2

22 Lessons

Preparing for the Worst: Natural Disasters

Students learn the science behind natural disasters, such as volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires, with an emphasis on how natural disasters happen. 

Unit 3

20 Lessons

Interpreting Perspectives: Greek Myths

Students dive into the world of Greek mythology with the classic myths of Pandora, Arachne, and Echo and Narcissus, and explore how the Greeks used mythology to make sense of their world.

Unit 4

24 Lessons

Examining Our History: American Revolution

Students examine the ideas and values behind the American Revolution, and what drove the colonists to seek independence, through nonfiction texts including Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began.

Unit 5

19 Lessons

Believing in Yourself: The Wild Book

Students explore the difficulties of having a learning disability and how that influences a person's self-image, enabling them to see the world as a diverse place, by reading the core text The Wild Book.

Unit 6

25 Lessons

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

Students read about and discuss United States history, from slavery to the civil rights movement, grappling with the discrimination and broken promises that African Americans faced.

Alternate Units

Alternate Unit 1

27 Lessons

Taking a Stand: Shiloh

Students grapple with how a person develops values, identities, and beliefs, and explore what it means to stand up for what you believe in, while reading and discussing the novel Shiloh.

Alternate Unit 2

14 Lessons

Powering Our Future: Energy

Students explore how energy is transferred and how it can be converted into different forms, and learn about renewable and nonrenewable energy while looking towards the world’s energy future.

Alternate Unit 4

29 Lessons

Politics and People: U.S. Government

Students explore the structure of the American government, the three branches of government, the history of women's suffrage, and read biographies about famous Americans who fought for change.

Alternate Unit 5

23 Lessons

Learning Differently: Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

Students read, discuss and write about the novel Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, focusing on how the author develops characters and relationships, and giving them a glimpse into the life of a child with ADHD.

Alternate Unit 6

29 Lessons

Discovering Self: Bud, Not Buddy

Students learn about the Great Depression through the eyes of a ten-year-old African-American boy, analyzing themes of compassion, maturity and the idea of home, through the novel Bud Not Buddy.

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