Grade 4

Course Outline


FM Virtual University® uses the Balanced Literacy Approach to best address the needs of all students. This approach involves mini lessons about key reading skills, frequent and in-depth discussions, exposure to high-quality literature and nonfiction texts, and the reading of books at each student\’s own level.

Reading – During the year, students in the fourth grade will be working on:

  • Reading deeply into a text to learn about a character through a character\’s thought, words, or actions.
  •  Using specific evidence from a text to develop inferences, opinions, and theories about actions.
  •  Using multiple strategies, specifically predicting, making connections, visualizing and asking questions, to carefully read and comprehend a fiction text or poetry.
  •  Figuring out the main idea by noticing what key details have in common.
  •  Summarizing a chunk of text or the entire text
  •  Figuring out how the text is structured (chronological, cause and effect, question and answer)
  •  Collecting, organizing, and integrating information from multiple texts
  •  Interpreting what they\’ve learned from multiple texts and presenting/explaining their learning to their peers.
  •  Noticing how poets use unique language and play with language to enrich the meaning of the poem (for example, by using similes, metaphors, repetition)
  •  Figuring out why the author wrote the poem or what message s/he wants to communicate to readers.
  •  Figuring out the theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text
  •  Comparing books with similar themes by using specific details and quoting accurately from the text
  •  Engaging in discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) on topics and texts, building on others\’ ideas, expressing their own ideas clearly, and using evidence to support claims.

Writing – FM Virtual University®\’s writing program emphasizes giving students many opportunities to write each day across subject areas. As they write during the year, students in the fourth grade will be working on:

  • Organizing ideas on a topic into five connected paragraphs
  •  Using linking words and phrases to connect ideas with correct punctuation (for instance, in order to, in addition)
  •  Using effective leads (beginnings) to pull in the reader and endings to tie together my writing.
  •  Using more effective details (showing instead of telling)
  •  Choosing adverbs and precise words including specialized vocabulary to communicate ideas.
  •  Using figurative language (simile) to make comparisons (for example, the diamonds were as bright as the sun)
  •  Using details and evidence that are relevant to the topic.
  •  Writing a variety of sentence beginnings with correct punctuation using adverbs and prepositional phrases
  •  Correctly spelling grade level words using resources if needed.
  •  Choosing and using punctuation for effect
  •  Correctly using homonyms (their/there/they\’re, it\’s, its)

Over the course of the year, students will complete three types of writing: narrative (story), informative, and opinion. Examples of these in fourth grade could include: writing a travel brochure to convince others to come to a place, explaining how the water cycle affects climate, or writing a personal story about a special moment.


Adapted from PTA Common Core Guide and Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Critical Areas. Please see the Massachusetts Frameworks for more detailed standards and skills. During the year, students in the fourth grade will be working on:

  • Rounding whole numbers to any place
  •  Recognizing lines of symmetry, perpendicular lines, parallel lines
  •  Adding and subtracting whole numbers quickly and accurately
  •  Multiplying and dividing multi-digit numbers in simple cases (e.g., multiplying 1,638 x 7 or 24 x 17, and dividing 6,996 by 6)
  •  Knowing multiplication facts and related division facts through 12 x 12
  •  Understanding and applying equivalent fractions (e.g., recognizing that 1/4 is less than 3/8 because 2/8 is less than 3/8)
  •  Solving word problems that involve the addition and subtraction of fractions.
  •  Multiplying a fraction by a whole number (e.g., ½ x 5)
  • Understanding how fractions and decimals are related (e.g., .38 = 38/100)
  •  Solving real world problems that involve area and perimeter.
  • Solving multistep word problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division that involve time, distance, money, weights, and volume.
  •  Measuring angles and finding unknown angles in a diagram
  •  Recognizing lines of symmetry, perpendicular lines, parallel lines

During the year, students in the fourth grade will be learning:

  • That the speed of an object is related to the energy of the object
  •  That energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
  •  How energy changes when objects collide
  •  How a device can convert kinetic energy to electrical energy or uses stored energy to cause motion or produce light or sound
  •  That waves are regular patterns of motion along which energy travels and can cause objects to move.
  •  That there are multiple ways to transfer information through encoding, sending, receiving, and decoding a pattern.
  •  How rocks, soils, and sediments are broken into smaller pieces through mechanical weathering and moved around through erosion
  •  To analyze maps of Earth’s Mountain ranges, deep ocean trenches, volcanoes, and earthquake epicenters to describe patterns of these features.
  •  That energy and fuels humans use are derived from natural resources.
  •  That some energy and fuel sources are renewable, and some are not

During the year, students in the fourth grade will be learning to:

  • Identify and use latitude and longitude.
  •  Use maps including scales of miles and legends.
  •  Identify the countries of North America
  •  Identify and describe the regions of the United States including climate, physical features, and natural resources.
  •  Identify states, capitals, and major cities.
  •  Identify and describe the physical and political features of Canada and Mexico