Students in Grades 4 and 5 each have a homeroom that they begin the morning in, and then students rotate to three different classrooms to receive instruction from the four intermediate level teachers. The fourth grade and fifth grade will rotate separately as a class to Ms. Sem for Math and Science, Mrs. Easley’s room for English and Religion, Mrs. Bedard for Social Studies and Literature, and Madame Giron for 4th & 5th grade French.
The content areas were paired up to provide a more authentic study of the material and skill development. Rarely in this world do the skills we use in high school, college, or our careers have only one focus. Rather, it becomes important to think of the skills we are building in a holistic manner. The combination of two content areas also helps prepare the students for the rotations and collaboration between content areas that they will experience in middle school without overloading them with too many stressors that they are not developmentally prepared to handle.
The content areas that each teacher will be responsible for were assigned to that specific teacher because of their strong background and passion for teaching that focus. The strong team of teachers and students will benefit greatly from having each one of them in both fourth and fifth grade.
The curriculum for Elementary Spanish integrates literacy skills with learning about the Spanish speaking world. We start with the building blocks of language (such as learning the phonetic sounds of the alphabet in Spanish), basic conversational questions, answers and expressions, and begin acquiring important high-frequency verbs through immersion in our classroom environment and the context of stories. Listening and reading are emphasized, with speaking and writing eventually following suit as we make connections with literacy skills in our first language. We learn about the cultures and traditions of Latin America and Spain using images and stories, making comparisons, noting connections, and identifying the communities that make up this diverse and colorful heritage. Students also begin learning other basics such as numbers, colors, shapes, animals, and other vocabulary that rises to the surface in the context of our community of learners talking and learning about life. Fourth and Fifth-grade Spanish classes are differentiated by age-appropriate activities, reading content, and the class virtues (or themes): 4th – Persevere, 5th – Trust.
A Glimpse into the Intermediate Level Experience
4th Grade Students Study Erosion with the Four Winds Program
Through the use of direct instruction, small group discussions, hands-on projects, and a student led puppet show, students get a well rounded lesson that is both engaging and meaningful.
Author Study Podcasts in 4th Grade
In the first podcast, students use paraphrasing and reading from a prepared script to demonstrate character qualities and to show an understanding of concrete and inferred details from a story. In the second, students questions and draw conclusions about the author’s writing style, similarities and differences among her works, and connections to the text.
5th Grade Hosts Veterans Day Assembly
Mater Christi School students, faculty, and parents gathered to remember and thank veterans on their special day. In particular, the gathering focused on veterans who are related to the Mater Christi School community in some way, and many of those veterans were present at the assembly.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Fourth graders presented Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume in literature class. They have done readers theater activities throughout the year, but this was an opportunity for students to act out a play, planning for stage direction, props, and even costumes. Not at all surprisingly, several students demonstrated a flair for all things theatrical, and all of the students participated enthusiastically and constructively.
4th Grade Students Participate in a “Broken Heart” Lesson about Tolerance and Empathy
Students in 4th grade participated in a lesson about tolerance and empathy, which correlated with one of Mater Christi School’s six core values – concern for human dignity. Students learned how words can have a deep impact on other people.