Lower School Curriculum (K–4)

At Krieger Schechter Day School, we emphasize teaching the whole child by using various methods and modalities and working with “multiple intelligences.” We know that some children learn best visually, others orally and others still through hands-on engagement. Our philosophy is to integrate content in age appropriate and meaningful ways, including through the arts and physical activities, to enhance learning. Additional teaching personnel are available in the content areas at each grade level to maximize small group instruction and meet individual needs. Our program is designed to meet the learning needs of each child in the class.

Language Arts

The language arts curriculum incorporates listening, oral participation, reading, comprehension skills, spelling and writing. Classes are instructed in the steps of the writing process from pre-writing to editing, with formal instruction in mechanics and word choice.

Fourth graders continue to focus on developing higher level thinking skills including analysis, synthesis and application of the reading materials. Students continue to identify cause and effect, make inferences, explore character development, determine the main idea, and summarize texts. In addition, students in 4th Grade concentrate on the practice of locating details in the text to support an answer. Readings expand to include the genres of fantasy, mystery and Greek mythology. Students apply the writing process to produce narrative and expository writing, with a focus on paragraph development, organization of ideas, and language usage. Students use a variety of resources in order to complete a research paper. Skills include note taking, outlining, and compiling a bibliography.

Math

The math curriculum uses a spiraled approach, which means classes return to previously covered topics each year to build knowledge and understanding. Teachers present math problems using real world situations and emphasize the strategies and methods of solving math problems.

Fourth graders apply their skills to solve a wide range of mathematical problems. Mastery of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division math facts is expected. Students explore the meaning of fractions and decimals, using knowledge to compute sums, differences and products. Fourth graders further explore numerical relationships as they develop an understanding of a variable in an algebraic equation.

Social Studies

Fourth Grade social studies focuses on the history, government, geography, and ecology of our state, a focus that gives rise to making many cross-curricular connections. A study of history from the arrival of the first colonists through the Civil War culminates in a grade-wide play. An exciting unit on the Chesapeake Bay takes students on a boat trip on the Bay with the Living Classrooms Foundation. Students experience this major geographic site and see all the organisms studied in science class. Additional highlights include a visit to St. Mary’s City, where Maryland began. Students experience what life was like in the 17th Century in Marylands’ first capital. Through hands-on activities, living history encounters, and touring a replica of the ship that the immigrants took on their journey to Maryland, students come away with an unforgettable experience.

Science

Science in the Lower School is taught with a hands-on approach, incorporating the scientific method. In 4th Grade, students are scheduled in the science lab twice per week. This enables students to spend more time applying the scientific method with experiments. Units include: ecology; flight; detective Skills; alcohol and tobacco; and waterways. Enrichment opportunities such as a science club are provided outside of instructional time.

Judaics and Hebrew

Students in 4th Grade continue to strengthen their understanding of the Hebrew language through listening, speaking, reading, writing and building vocabulary. Students continue to learn principles of Hebrew grammar, strengthening their grasp of the past tense as they are introduced to the future tense. Fourth graders begin Bible study of the Book of Exodus in the original. This leads students to connect to a deeper understanding of Passover. Other topics include the Holocaust and Israel.

Art

Art classes call on children to make decisions as well as they develop fine motor skills and knowledge of materials and techniques. In 4th Grade, students focus on additive sculpture using materials such as papier-mâché. Every student has a chance to display work in the halls during the school year.

Music

The fourth grade music curriculum includes a unit on jazz in which students learn about 12-bar blues form, instrumental improvisation, and scat singing. Students continue lessons in musical notation, and they practice reading the notes using games and instrument activities. A highlight of the fourth grade year is the Maryland Day performance in the spring.

Physical Education

PE includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and skills building through drills, games and sports contests. Our goal is to discover the joy of athletic participation and to provide an introduction to teamwork, cooperation and good sportsmanship.