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4th Grade Social Studies Overview

Page history last edited by Tracy Hoskins 7 years, 11 months ago

 

Fourth Grade Social Studies

Instructor: Debbie Lolla

 

Curriculum Map, Class Page

 

Fourth graders at Woodlawn explore the question “How does when and where we live influence how we live?” through the social studies and Language Arts curriculum.  This question is a thread that is woven into everything that is done at this grade level.  A highly integrated, project-based curriculum allows students to examine issues that may generally be considered social studies topics, in our language arts class, and vice versa. This unique approach to learning reinforces the acquisition of knowledge.  Throughout all lessons, students are continually challenged to consider multiple perspectives and to respect those perspectives.  Through writing, literature studies, and discussion, students in fourth grade learn to analyze information from a variety of sources, and apply newly acquired knowledge.  Language Arts and social studies are reinforced once again through the carefully constructed, integrated curriculum with art, Spanish, math and science.

 

The fourth grade social studies focus is on our state, our nation, our history and our government.  Students spend the majority of the year studying the geography and history of North Carolina.  Learning about North Carolina’s physical and cultural characteristics of the three regions (Mountain, Piedmont, and Coastal) illustrates the diverse environment in which we live.  Students explore geographic regions, landforms, climate and resources of the state. Students write descriptive and informative poetry describing the lighthouses of the Coastal Plain, in conjunction with an art project in which they paint the lighthouse about which they’ve written.  This project based, integrated approach reinforces information, and helps students understand that learning in one subject is not done in a vacuum.  Students showcase their learning through the authoring of alphabet books (P is for Piedmont), games they’ve created describing the natural resources and industries of a particular region, and a final group project title “Nothing Could Be Finer.”

 

Included in this study of North Carolina is an analysis of the people that have contributed to the development of this state and our country, beginning with the Native Americans who once inhabited the local area.  Visiting a Catawba Indian Village helps students visualize over 400 years of Catawba Indian culture, adaptation and survival.  A study of Native American literature coincides with these studies.  An in-depth look at the Trail of Tears through the use of a novel helps students to better understand the indigenous people of the Mountain Region of our state, and this unit is concluded with the students writing poetry about the Cherokee.

Continuing through our region’s history, students examine the role of North Carolina and her people in the settlement of the area.   Students are engaged in class discussions of the events leading up to the Revolutionary War, through the use of a non-fiction book titled Liberty!.  Continuing through history, the issue of slavery is examined and students learn about life at Latta Plantation, a circa-1800 cotton plantation and living history farm.  Using literature to learn about the Underground Railroad, students keep a journal from the perspective of someone who is involved in the organization.  Our study of slavery culminates in an art project in which students create a quilt in the style of a slave quilt.  

 

The role of North Carolina in the Civil War, and time thereafter, is also studied as students create a 3-D timeline of events leading up to, throughout and directly after the war.  Traveling through the civil rights movement, students write speeches in which they portray a hero or heroine from this time period.  This study coincides with an in-depth examination of the book Maniac Magee.  Poetry, art and fictional writing from another’s perspective are integral parts of our study of civil rights.

 

Students explore many genres of literature in fourth grade.  They participate in independent genre exploration throughout the year, writing book reviews for their peers based on the books they’ve read.  Students read and discuss novels in small groups for deeper understanding and higher order reasoning.  Each novel introduced related to our big question: How does where and when we live influence how we live?  These novels also often reinforce social studies concepts and topics.  Students kick off the year as participants in the Young Authors Bookwriting Contest, sponsored by Charlotte Parent Magazine.  They generate an original story idea, develop plot and characters, and follow the book writing process through to publishing.  They work on their illustrations in art class, using a variety of mediums.  Students learn the art of story telling and its importance to the people of North Carolina.  Purposeful writing is an integral part of the social studies and language arts curriculum at Woodlawn.  Students understand the interactive process of writing, and focus on descriptive, narrative, and expository writing throughout the year.  By the fourth grade year, students are expected to have mastered basic grammar rules, and to apply that knowledge in their written work.  

 

 

 

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