This SFUSD fourth-grade instructional guidance is organized into four sections: Culture of Learning, Academic Ownership, Essential Content, and Demonstration of Learning. We recommend you explore the four sections so you have a sense of what is available here and then focus on the Culture of Learning section for the start of the year. There you will find guidance on the development of 9 and 10-year-olds, setting up your classroom, building family partnerships, and launching the school year. For content-specific guidance go to Essential Content.
Our intention here is to provide an overview of fourth-grade instruction and make the information easily accessible. This is not a scripted manual - fourth-grade instruction is more complex and nuanced than these pages alone can illustrate. Still, there is a lot of information here that we believe will be supportive. Please do not feel compelled to dive into this website all at once. Please use it as a resource throughout the year as needed. This guide is one piece of the puzzle; your partnerships with students, fellow teachers, coaches, families, administrators, sites, and departments are all essential to supporting you in creating a learning environment where every day we provide each and every student with the quality instruction and equitable support required to thrive.
The Instructional Guidance Team
Student-Centered Fourth Grade
Each and every student comes to the classroom with a wealth of strengths and lived experiences along with specific developmental assets, and needs. These constitute the root that instruction should be informed by and grow from. Honoring these roots, cultivate an environment where your students can tap into their joy for learning and nurture it with their classmates.
Support them to deeply engage in their learning by modeling, scaffolding, and providing ample opportunities to freely ask questions, openly explore and share their thinking, provide and use feedback, and ask for help when needed. Support each student to develop and demonstrate a sense of ownership for their own learning and that of their classmates - growing a sense of shared responsibility for academic and non-academic routines, procedures, and expectations throughout their fourth-grade experience.
There's an intense inner stirring in nine-year-olds as they become profoundly aware of the intricacies and subtleties of the world around them. This is a solemn age of intellectual stretching, wondering, arguing, questioning, and doubting--all signs of remarkable growth in these children's resilience, intellectual curiosity, maturing moral character, and capacity for independent thought. Nines impatiently question the ways adults have made the world--a world they begin to see they will have the power and responsibility to manage and to change.
Fairness begins to matter a great deal as nines take on the cognitive task of understanding ethical behavior at a new level. They have a growing sense of peer importance and group solidarity. Nine is an age not only of growing peer identification but also of increasing self-definition - as such, they can be critical of both self and others. As nines approach test-taking or other tasks they find challenging, they prefer caution to risk. Support nines with modeling, role-playing, and many opportunities for practice so they can make the most of their growing intellectual capacities.
Ten-year-olds feel like they can take on just about anything and delight in every minute of it. During this sunny year, children love to play, to learn, and to relate to others. This is a time for consolidating the gains from their early years as they find comfort in themselves, their teachers, their parents, and even their siblings. Tens relax in childhood as they gather strength for the impending challenges of adolescence.
The Core Four
This page was last updated on June 1, 2023