The Island School, a private school on Bainbridge Island, offers an engaging 4th Grade program for students from the Kitsap Peninsula, including Poulsbo, Suquamish, Indianola, Kingston, Hansville and Silverdale.
During a fourth grader’s day, students have the opportunity to learn in a whole group, work in cooperative small groups and investigate individual ideas on their own. This ensures that each student receives what she/he needs to grow as an individual learner.
The development of a caring and safe classroom community is crucial for learning to occur. To cultivate these qualities we have brief classroom meetings in the morning and afternoon to get to know each other, give compliments, celebrate successes and solve problems as they arise. Together we will discover and reinforce how to respect our own and other’s right to learn and feel safe.
During Writer’s Workshop students have the opportunity to continue to grow creatively and practice necessary skills to become effective writers. Students have free choice writing, as well as assigned writing projects where we work together to explore different types of writing. Select pieces go through the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing).
As a class we write:
- Expository pieces
- Narrative stories
- Letters of opinion
- Research projects
We deepen our knowledge of the craft of writing guided by the Six Traits: Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Conventions. Students are encouraged to share their writing during all phases of the writing process.
Students are guided through strategy-based lessons in comprehension, accuracy, fluency and expanding vocabulary. They learn how to find a “just right” book and read independently. We work in small groups to discuss literature and we meet for individual reading conferences to identify independent goals for each child. As the year progresses we begin reading groups. Students are:
- Exposed to a variety of genres
- Read a variety of genres including Scholastic News Magazine
- Read independently
- Read with partners and in group
- Respond to books orally and in journals
Spelling (Word Work)
We use a spelling program called Words Their Way. Students are:
Grouped into appropriate level spelling "sorts," depending on their initial spelling assessments
- Introduced to a new group of words with a specific feature as the focus each week
- Working on hands-on activities to sort words with common characteristics into defined groups
- Thinking hard about whether these features mean they have to HEAR what the words have in common or SEE what they have in common (or both)
Words Their Way spelling provides instruction that fits student’s particular stage of spelling development. It allows students to build on what they already know, to learn what they need to do next and to move forward.
Our math program is based on our 4th grade math curriculum goals and aligns closely to the Common Core Standards. Lessons are pulled from various math programs that best fit our students’ individual needs.
Math topics that are taught include:
- Place value and rounding
- Computation through division
- Decimals to the hundredths
- Comparing, adding and subtracting fractions
- Classifying 2-dimensional figures
- Finding the area and perimeter for regular shapes
- Measuring using standard and metric systems
- Interpreting and creating graphs based on given data
- Solving multi-step problems using words, numbers, and pictures
Students alternate between whole group and small group instruction based on the needs of the class. Students work in math groups to deepen their understanding of the lesson learned, work on timed math facts and reinforce skills by playing math games. Groups rotate to insure that everyone receives small group instruction from the teacher, based upon their needs in that math strand. Students also have days to practice their math skills through math games and problem solving strategies.
We begin the year reviewing our research skills by learning about our class mascot. We begin an ongoing unit on geography using maps and globes, and then focus on landforms and regions of Washington State. We will then move into our studies with the 3rd graders. Our focus is based on a two-year rotation and covers the following topics:
- Native People
- Civil Rights
- School Wide Cultural Study
- The Scientific Method
- The Five Senses
- Force and Motion
- Biographies of Important People in History
- Local Agriculture and Bainbridge Island Farming
- Bainbridge Island History
- Human Body
- Greek Mythology
- Civil Rights Forum
- Cultural Study
- Research Projects during Cultural Study
Using student laptop computers, students are introduced to:
- Key boarding – in class and online typing programs
- Online reference resources for research
Our field trips offer valuable and engaging learning activities that can be experienced outside our classroom walls. Most field trips are based on our social studies/science curriculum. Field Trips include:
- Seattle Art Museum
- A multi-day, outdoor education camp at NatureBridge
- The Suquamish Tribal Museum
- The Burke Museum
- The Marine Science Center in Poulsbo
- Bainbridge Island History Museum
- Japanese Memorial Wall at Pritchard Park
- Seattle Children’s Theater
- Kitsap Children’s Musical Theater
Parents as Partners at The Island School
Parents and grandparents are an integral part of The Island School, helping in the classroom, reading with students. They share their expertise or passion, serve on the Board, and assist on field trips. Parents also help in the library and organize special events and holidays. They are at the heart of all school fundraising events, including the Annual Fund, Fall Carnival, Autumn Gathering and Spring Auction.