English Language Arts

4th Grade

Course Summary

Our complete 4th grade English Language Arts curriculum is made up of three main components: Literature units, Science and Social Studies units, and independent reading. Together, these three components build students' knowledge and understanding of the world, and support student mastery of all literature, informational, writing, speaking and listening, language, and foundational skills standards. To learn more, see the Pacing Guide for this course.


In 4th grade Literature, students explore how people form identities, values, and beliefs, and how those beliefs influence a person’s behavior. Students explore big topics such as what it means to have good fortune, when an individual should take a stand against injustice, how relationships with others can transform who we are, why it is always important to believe in yourself, and how family motivates and shapes who we become. It is our hope that through deep analysis and discussion of these themes, students will realize that their identity, values, and beliefs are constantly evolving. 

Science and Social Studies

In 4th grade Social Studies, students to think about how conflict and courageous individuals can create change, what it means to stand up for what you believe, and how the centuries-long struggles for freedom and equal rights has helped make the American promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness a reality for all Americans. It is our hope that these units will inspire and motivate students to fight for the change they wish to see in the world, no matter what obstacles may stand in the way. In Science, students learn more about the world around them, including natural disasters and energy. 

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Literature Units

Unit 1

26 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.

Unit 2

27 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 3

18 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 4

22 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 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.

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.

Science and Social Studies Units

Unit 1

26 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 2

27 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 3

28 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.

Unit 4

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.

Unit 5

29 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.

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