Parents: Boston Public Schools Grade 4

Grade 4 Learning Standards

This information is from the Boston Public Schools Citywide Learning Standards.


Oral Presentation and Discussion Students will be able to:

  • Follow agreed upon rules for large and small group discussions.
  • Participate in small group discussions, book clubs, literature circles and class projects; carry-out assigned roles.
  • Use listening skills to obtain information.
  • Adapt language to persuade, to explain, or to seek information.
  • Give organized formal and informal oral presentations using eye contact, proper pace, volume, and clear enunciation of an informational nature.
  • Express an opinion of a literary work or film in an organized way, with supporting details.
  • Retell a story with a beginning, middle, and end, including important details and story elements with subject related information and vocabulary.
  • Use teacher developed criteria to prepare presentations.
  • Explain multi-step directions on how to do something.
  • Identify the meaning of common prefixes, suffixes, and root words.
  • Identify common idioms and figurative phrases.
  • Identify unknown words using their context.
  • Use knowledge of word origins; synonyms, antonyms, homonyms; multiple meaning of words.
  • Identify playful uses of language: puns, jokes, and palindromes.
  • Use the meaning of common Greek and Latin roots to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
  • Determine meanings of words and alternate word choices using a dictionary or thesaurus.
  • Differentiate between formal and informal language in advertisements read, seen, and heard.
  • Understand and use fundamental skills: sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and spelling for grade four as defined in the BPS Course Guides.
Reading and Literature
  • Use comprehension strategies to access text: accessing prior knowledge, predicting, questioning, visualization, summarizing, and structural analysis.
  • Read grade appropriate narrative and expository text with comprehension, fluency, accuracy, intonation, and appropriate timing and phrasing.
  • Identify similarities and differences between characters or events in a literary work.
  • Identify the different forms of literature such as poetry, prose, fiction, nonfiction, and drama in reading and apply this knowledge as a strategy for comprehending text.
  • Identify themes as lessons in folk tales, fables, and Greek myths for children.
  • When reading literary text, identify and show the relevance of foreshadowing clues, sensory details, and figurative language, and the speaker of a poem or story.
  • Locate facts that answer the reader's questions, distinguish cause from effect, distinguish fact from opinion and summarize main ideas and supporting details when reading informational text.
  • Make judgments about setting, characters, events and support them with evidence from the text.
  • Identify story and analyze plot, character and setting in the stories they read and write.
  • Identify and use knowledge of common textual and graphic features and organizational structures in order to gain meaning from a variety of informational materials.
  • Identify rhyme, rhythm, repetition, similes, visual and auditory images in poetry read aloud.
  • Identify the adventures or exploits of a character type in literature.
  • Identify phenomena explained in origin myths (Prometheus/fire; Pandora/evils).
Writing and Composition
  • Take seed ideas from the writing notebook and bring through the drafting, revising, and editing process to a published product.
  • Use appropriate language for different audiences.
  • Understand and use writers' craft in their writing utilizing elements of style, including word choice, tone, voice, and sentence variation.
  • Write several related paragraphs on the same topic.
  • Understand and use writers' craft in their writing.
  • Write legibly in cursive and use correct mechanics and grammatical conventions.
  • Use knowledge of word study to monitor and check spelling.
  • Spell common homophones correctly in their writing.
  • Organize plot events in an order that leads to a climax in their writing.
  • Write personal narratives in a way that makes sense.
  • Write in different genre: personal narrative, nonfiction, poetry, a friendly letter, informal notes, thank-you notes, diary entries, and journals.
  • Write a response to a key question from a piece of literature.
  • Write an explanation of a title or statement.
  • Write a brief interpretation or explanation of a literary or informational text using evidence from the text as support.
  • Write an account based on personal experience that has a clear focus and supporting detail.
  • Use appropriate language for different audiences and purposes.
  • Revise their writing; determine what could be added or deleted; improve the level of detail.
  • Make up an open-ended question on a research topic.
  • Evaluate his/her own research.
  • Create presentations using computer technology, posters, and reports, using the Internet and CD-ROM on informational topics from social studies and science.
  • Use their understanding of television to distinguish between fact and fiction.
  • Examine and explain advertising.
  • View, understand, and discuss informational media productions.

Introduction to Ancient Civilizations of the Old World

Teaching for Understanding

  • Significant time needs to be spent during the year developing students' understanding of key concepts or "big ideas" that are important to all eras and regions of the world. Examples of these big ideas are listed below.
  • At the beginning of the year, teachers should engage students in activities to find out what they already know about some or all of the big ideas. At the close of each topic, teachers should return to the big ideas and ask, "What's something new you have learned about the big ideas? What people, places, events, documents, artifacts, and other details have contributed to your new understandings? How are your new understandings different or similar to your previous opinions and beliefs?"
  • Teachers may also pose more specific key questions that stimulate additional thought, discussion and writing by students. Over the course of the year, students' opinions and beliefs will be sharpened into generalizations and principles supported by the evidence they have collected along the way.
Key Concepts/Big Ideas: Examples
  • Economic, Political, Social Justice
  • Economic, Political, Social Systems
  • Power
  • Freedom
  • Race/Gender/Ethnicity/Class
  • Discrimination
  • "Unalienable Rights"
  • War/Peace/Violence
  • Religion
  • Art, Music, & Culture
  • Childhood, Adolescence, and Family Life
  • Money, Wealth, Poverty
  • Work: Laborers and Managers
  • Business & Economics
  • Leaders & Leadership
  • Government & Politics
  • "My country, right or wrong"
  • Geography/Natural Resources/Nature
  • "E pluribus unum"
  • "Of the people, by the people, for the people"
  • Individual, Civic, and Social Responsibility
  • Imperialism/Colonialism
General Standards
  • Construct historical timelines; associate period with chronological order.
  • Identify events by date and put them into temporal order.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of cause and effect, and the relations between events.
  • Demonstrate an understanding that actions can have intended and unintended consequences.
  • Be familiar with the key people, places, events, documents, movements, and other details identified under each topic.
  • Make connections between key people and events, people and events from their own lives, the lives of family members, and people and events in the world around them.
  • Compare and contrast ideas, rituals, customs, and concerns expressed or conducted by individuals of the past that may be similar or different from their own.
  • Increase and demonstrate their understanding of the big ideas associated with each topic, using key people, places, events, document, et al. to illustrate and support their own ideas.
  • Conduct historical inquiry projects.
  • Employ a variety of sources to gather information and evidence, and reach conclusions.
  • Identify primary and secondary sources.
  • Differentiate among the kinds of texts they read.
  • Understand the use of evidence in studying the past and the need for multiple sources.
  • Understand that narrative accounts vary in emphasis and accuracy depending upon to the author's point of view and understanding of cause or significance.
  • Develop versatile means of expressing understanding: oral, written, dramatic, and artistic.
Discussion and Presentation
  • Use agreed upon rules to participate in and facilitate large and small group discussions.
  • Organize and present their thoughts in a logical manner.
  • Support their ideas with evidence or details; expect and request the same of others.
  • Actively listen, respond to, and build on ideas generated during discussions.
  • Use the information to inform or change their perspectives.
  • Ask for clarification when others' responses are unclear.
  • Summarize and evaluate what they have learned from the discussion.
  • Evaluate the productivity of discussions using established criteria; make suggestions to improve the discussions.
  • Give oral presentations, using established criteria to prepare, assess, and improve their presentations.
  • Write frequently in response to readings, lectures, and other presentations (e.g., summaries, questions, reactions, interpretations, connections, perspectives, predictions, "in the shoes" narratives and reflections, and other written or artistic responses to people and events.
  • Maintain a system (e.g., history notebooks) for collecting, referring to, and sharing their notes, thoughts, and writings, including formal writing products.
  • Write occasional, brief research reports to extend their knowledge beyond classroom presentations; include a clear focus and supporting details.
  • Write, share, assess, and revise frequent responses to MCAS-like, open response (key) questions posed by the teacher.
Topic 1: Geography
  • Recognize the purpose of geographic representations such as maps, globes, and diagrams and how to display spatial information on a map, globe, or other geographic representation.
  • Recognize the concepts of location and place and define terms such as absolute and relative location, hemisphere, equator, Prime Meridian, lines of latitude and longitude.
  • Describe the physical characteristics of a place (e.g., landforms, bodies of water, vegetation, weather and climate).
  • Explain the human characteristics of a place (e.g., settlement patterns, ethnicity, nationality, religious beliefs and customs, language, how people live, work, and play, form of government, economic development of the place, etc.).
Topic 2: Human Beginnings and Early Civilizations
  • Recognize how scientists and archaeologist learn about the past.
  • Explain the physical characteristics of Africa today and explain the effects of geography on the life of early man.
  • Describe the daily life of early man and identify the technologies/discoveries that improved their quality of life.
  • Recognize the effects of the Agricultural Revolution on human life; explain the importance of domestication of animals and the concepts of surplus and leisure time.
  • Explain the importance of writing to a society.
  • Explain the concept of a civilization.
The following standards will be used for the study of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Nubia, the Indus River Valley civilizations of Mohenjo-daro and Harrapa, and China and Greece.
  • Identify on a map or globe where the civilization was located in relation to Boston and other civilizations under study.
  • Describe the physical and human characteristics of each civilization including the kinds of homes or shelters used by the people (and materials used to construct them), principle buildings in the civilization, clothing of the people, how humans interacted with the environment and how the environment /geography influenced the development of the civilization (economic and social development).
  • Compare the social history or daily life of the people under study to include describing how people lived, describing family life among the rich and poor, and telling what people did for entertainment/recreation.
  • Describe and compare the cultural history of ancient people and civilizations; identify the system of writing, literature, visual/performing arts, architecture, philosophies and religions/beliefs of the people under study.
  • Compare the lives of people long ago to the lives of people today by explaining the impact of inventions in mathematics, science, technology, and engineering on the quality of life.
  • Recognize the ways that people earned a living and traded; explain how the civilization made money (economic development), including the kinds of jobs done by men, women, and children in the society.
  • Explain the role of the leader in the civilization and the major issues that each faced.
  • Describe the laws and rules that governed ancient societies and compare them to our own rules and laws.
  • Recognize the reasons for the decline of a civilization and consider what, if anything, could have been done to prevent the decline.
  • Compare and contrast civilizations in terms of geographic location, social, economic and political developments.

Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability

  • Formulate questions, collect and organize data using observations, measurements, surveys, or experiments, and identify appropriate ways to display the data.
  • Make quick sketches, including a line plot, of the data to use as working tools during analysis
  • Describe the overall shape of the data, including clumps, gaps, range, and outliers.
  • Summarize what is typical of the data.
  • Choose and refines a research question.
  • Define the way data will be collected.
  • Record data accurately.
  • Organize collected data.
  • Write a description of data collected.
  • Students match representations of a data set such as lists, tables, or graphs with the actual data set.
  • Interpret different kinds of graphs.
  • Construct, draw conclusions, and make predictions from various representations of data sets, including tables, bar graphs, pictographs, line graphs, line plots, and tallies.
  • Invent representations of data.
  • Compare two sets of data using the shape of each set and what's typical in that set.
  • Find the median in a set of data arranged in numerical order.
  • Find the median in a set of data grouped by frequency.
  • Use the median to compare two data sets of data.
  • Write an interpretation of the findings from data collected.
  • Predict the probability of outcomes of simple experiments.
  • Describe events as likely or unlikely and discuss the degree of likelihood using words such as certain, likely, unlikely, equally likely, and impossible.
  • Describe, model, draw and compare and classify 2-D and 3-D shapes.
  • Develop concepts and language needed to think about and communicate about spatial relationships in 3-D environments.
  • Understand standard drawings of 3-D cube configurations.
  • Describe geometric figures such as rectangles and squares in several ways.
  • Describe and apply techniques such as reflections, rotations, and translations for determining if two shapes are congruent.
  • Compare area of shape.
  • Compare shapes that are congruent.
  • Predict and validate the results of partitioning, folding, and combining 2-D and 3D shapes.
  • Develop skill of translating 2-D pictures into 3-D structures
  • Understand geometric perspective.
  • Using ordered pairs of numbers and/or letters, graph, locate, identify points, and describe paths (first quadrant).
  • Use positive and negative coordinates t name and locate points on grids.
  • Calculate distances on a grid based on paths along grid lines.
  • Identify and describe line symmetry in 2-D shapes.
  • Use mirror and rotational symmetry to place rectangles on a grid and to design complex patterns of rectangles.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of such attributes as length, area, weight, and volume, and select the appropriate type of unit for measuring each attribute.
  • Identify benchmarks for the measure of length, weight, volume, and time.
  • Order items by measures of weight and by measures of liquid amount.
  • Measure weight with a balance scale and weights.
  • Develop meaning for the concepts of volume and density; distinguish between quantity and weight.
  • Understand that equal fractions of a whole have the same area but are not necessarily congruent.
  • Begin to relate cube configurations and the spatial relationships in 3-D objects to volume.
  • Carry our simple unit conversions within a system of measurement.
  • Measure weight using a pan balance.
  • Identify time; compute elapsed time and using a calendar.
  • Estimate and find area and perimeter of a rectangle, triangle, or irregular shape using diagrams, models, grids or by measuring.
  • Develop strategies for estimating perimeters and areas of rectangles, triangles, or irregular shapes.
  • Understand measurements are approximations; investigate how differences in units affect precision. Consider the degree of accuracy needed for different situations.
  • Determine when precise measurement is required and when estimates are good enough.
  • Identify and use appropriate metric and English units and tools to estimate, measure, and solve problems involving length, area.
  • Choose and accurately use appropriate tools for measuring: weight, volume, capacity and time.
  • Recognize which measurement units are U.S. standard and which are metric.
  • Estimate familiar distances in miles and tenths of miles.
  • Measure distance on maps using scales.
Number Sense and Operations
  • Exhibit an understanding of the base ten number system.
  • Add and subtract multiples of 10.
  • Estimate how many hundreds are in a group of three-digit numbers.
  • Recognize patterns that are useful for multiplying by multiples of 10 (for example: 2 x 7 = 14; 2 x 70 = 140; 20 x 7 = 140).
  • Read, write, and locate in sequence numbers up to 10,000.
  • Make sense of the magnitude of numbers up to 10,000.
  • Identify and use important landmarks up to 1000 (25, 50, 75, 100,125, 150, etc.)
  • Represent, order, and compare numbers.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of fractions as parts of wholes and locations on a number line.
  • Understand that equal fractions of a whole have the same area but are not necessarily congruent.
  • Understand and use fractions that have numerators larger than 1.
  • Combine different fractions to make a whole.
  • Order fractions using both numerical reasoning and the area model.
  • Select, use, and explain models to relate common fractions and mixed numbers, find equivalent fractions, and order fractions.
  • Recognize parts to make equivalent wholes.
  • Compare any fractions to the landmarks 0, 1/2, 1, and 2.
  • Understand the relationships among halves, fourths, and eighths.
  • Understand the relationships among thirds, sixths, and twelfths.
  • Identify equivalent fractions.
  • Have strategies to compare fractions.
  • Identify and generate equivalent forms of common decimals and fractions less than one whole.
  • Exhibit an understanding of the base ten number system by reading, naming, and writing decimals between 0 and 1 up to the hundredths.
  • Recognize classes to which a number may belong, and identify the numbers in those classes. Use these in the solution of problems.
  • Recognize a prime number as a number with only one pair of factors and one array.
  • Recognize and accurately uses the terms multiple, factor, and prime number.
  • Select, use, and explain the various meanings and models of multiplication and division of whole numbers. Understand and use the inverse relationship between the two operations.
  • Select, use, and explain the commutative, associative, and identity properties of operations in whole number problem situations.
  • Select and use appropriate operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) to solve problems, including those involving money.
  • Know multiplication facts through 9 x 9 and related division facts.
  • Demonstrate fluency of multiplication pairs (for example: either automatically knows the pairs or has one quick strategy for finding the answers).
  • Add, subtract, multiply, and divide accurately and efficiently.
  • Select and use a variety of strategies to estimate quantities, measures, and the results of whole number computations, and to judge the reasonableness of the answer.
Discussion, Presentation, and Composition
  • Use agreed upon rules to participate in large and small group discussions.
  • Express ideas in an organized way.
  • Explain their mathematical thinking in writing.
  • Maintain a system for collecting, referring to, and sharing their work.

Topic: Animal Studies

  • Give examples of how inherited characteristics may change over time as adaptations to changes in the environment that enable organisms to survive, e.g., shape of beak or feet, placement of eyes on head, length of neck, shape of teeth, color.
  • Give examples of how changes in the environment (drought, cold) have caused some plants and animals to die or move to new locations (migration).
  • Describe how organisms meet some of their needs in an environment by using behaviors (patterns of activities) in response to information (stimuli) received from the environment. Recognize that some animal behaviors are instinctive (e.g., turtles burying their eggs).
  • Recognize plant behaviors, such as the way seedlings' stems grow toward light and their roots grow downward in response to gravity. Recognize that many plants and animals can survive harsh environments because of seasonal behaviors,
  • Give examples of how organisms can cause changes in their environment to ensure survival. Explain how some of these changes may affect the ecosystem.
Topic: Motion and Design
  • Identify the basic forms of energy (light, sound, heat, electrical, and magnetic). Recognize that energy is the ability to cause motion or create change.
  • Give examples of how energy can be transferred from one form to another
Topic: Electricity & Magnetism
  • Identify the basic forms of energy (light, sound, heat, electrical, and magnetic). Recognize that energy is the ability to cause motion or create change.
  • Give examples of how energy can be transferred from one form to another.
  • Recognize that electricity in circuits requires a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass, and that electricity can produce light, heat, and sound.
  • Identify and classify objects and materials that conduct electricity and objects and materials that are insulators of electricity.
  • Explain how electromagnets can be made, and give examples of how they can be used.
  • Recognize that magnets have poles that repel and attract each other.
  • Identify and classify objects and materials that a magnet will attract and objects and materials that a magnet will not attract.
Topic: Earth's Materials
  • Give a simple explanation of what a mineral is and some examples, e.g., quartz, mica.
  • Identify the physical properties of minerals (hardness, color, luster, cleavage, and streak), and explain how minerals can be tested for these different physical properties.
  • Identify the three categories of rocks (metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary) based on how they are formed, and explain the natural and physical processes that create these rocks.
  • Explain and give examples of the ways in which soil is formed (the weathering of rock by water and wind and from the decomposition of plant and animal remains).
  • Recognize and discuss the different properties of soil, including color, texture (size of particles), the ability to retain water, and the ability to support the growth of plants.
  • Differentiate between properties of objects (e.g., size, shape, weight) and properties of materials (e.g., color, texture, hardness).
Topic: Technology/Engineering
  • Use appropriate materials, tools, and machines to extend our ability to solve problems.
  • Use the Engineering design process to solve a practical problem that reflects the needs for storage, shelter, or convenience.
  • Describe different ways in which the problem can be represented.
  • Compare natural systems with mechanical systems that are designed to serve similar purposes, e.g., a bird's wing as compared to an airplane's wing.
  • Participate in formal and informal discussions in large and small groups, using agreed upon rules to conduct and facilitate them.
  • Contribute knowledge to class discussions.
  • Give formal and informal oral presentations using effective presentation skills.
  • Express an idea in an organized way, with supporting details.
  • Retell an observation with a beginning, middle and end, including important details.
  • Use teacher developed criteria to prepare their presentations.
  • Use listening skills to obtain information.
  • Write frequently in response to readings, other presentations, and observations (e.g., summaries, questions, reactions, connections, predictions, reports).
  • Maintain a system for collecting, referring to, and sharing their thoughts, observations, writings, illustrations, and other work.