What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know, Revised Edition: Fundamentals of A Good Fourth Grade Education (Core Knowledge Series)

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9780385497206: What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know, Revised Edition: Fundamentals of A Good Fourth Grade Education (Core Knowledge Series)

With thirty-two pages of full-color illustrations, a bolder, easier-to-follow format, and a thoroughly updated curriculum, WHAT YOUR FOURTH GRADER NEEDS TO KNOW, REVISED EDITION, reflects the Core Knowledge Foundation’s ongoing commitment to providing a solid educational foundation for today’s elementary school students.

WHAT YOUR FOURTH GRADER NEEDS TO KNOW, REVISED EDITION, covers the basics of language arts, history and geography, visual arts, music, math, and science. A collection of American speeches, tales from around the world, math problems, and biographies of famous scientists add to the book’s usefulness and enhance the pleasure of both adult and child as they work together. Hundreds of thousands of children have benefited from the Core Knowledge series. This revised edition gives a new generation of fourth graders the knowledge they need to make progress in school and establish an approach to learning that will last a lifetime.

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About the Author:

E. D. Hirsch, Jr., is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and the author of The Schools We Need, The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, and the best-selling Cultural Literacy. He is chairman of the board at the Core Knowledge Foundation and lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

Introduction

This chapter presents poems, stories, brief discussions of grammar and writing, and explanations of common sayings and phrases.

The best way to bring children into the spirit of poetry is to read it aloud to them and encourage them to speak it aloud so that they can experience the music in the words. Until children take pleasure in the sound of poetry, there is little reason to analyze it technically.

Most of the stories in this book are either excerpts from longer works or abridged versions of those works. If a child enjoys a particular story, he or she should be encouraged to read a longer version. Several of the novels excerpted here are available in child-friendly versions as part of the Core Knowledge Foundation’s Core Classics series, available on the Foundation’s Web site (www.coreknowledge.org).

Parents and teachers can help draw children into stories by asking questions about them. For example, you might ask, “What do you think is going to happen next?” “Why did one of the characters act as he did?” “What might have happened if . . . ?” You might also ask the child to retell the story. Don’t be bothered if children change events or characters: that is in the best tradition of storytelling and explains why there are so many versions of traditional stories.

You can also encourage children to write and illustrate their own stories. Some children may be interested in beginning to keep a journal or writing letters to friends or relatives – these are both fine ways for children to cultivate their writing skills. Another way to build vocabulary and foster language skills is by playing word games such as Scrabble, Boggle, or hangman, and doing crossword puzzles.

Experts say that our children already know more about grammar than we can ever teach them. But standard written language does have special characteristics that children need to learn. The treatment of grammar and language conventions in this book is an overview. It needs to be supplemented and rounded out by giving the child opportunities to read and write and to discuss reading and writing in connection with grammar and spelling.

In the classroom, grammar instruction is a part, but only a part, of an effective language arts program. In the fourth grade, children should be working on vocabulary and spelling. They should enjoy a rich diet of fiction, poetry, drama, biography, and nonfiction. They should be involved in the writing process, inventing topics, discovering ideas in early drafts, revising toward “publication” of polished final drafts –all with encouragement and guidance along the way. They should practice writing in many modes, including stories, poetry, journal entries, formal reports, dialogues, and descriptions.

For some children, the section on sayings and phrases may not be needed; they will have picked up these sayings by hearing them in everyday speech. But this section will be very useful for children from homes where American English is not spoken.

For additional resources to use in conjunction with this section, visit the Foundation’s online bookstore and database, Resources to Build On, at the Web address above.
POETRY

Monday’s Child Is Fair of Face
(author unknown)

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise and good and gay.
Humanity
by Elma Stuckey

If I am blind and need someone
To keep me safe from harm,
It matters not the race to me
Of the one who takes my arm.

If I am saved from drowning
As I grasp and grope,
I will not stop to see the face
Of the one who throws the rope.

Or if out on some battlefield
I’m falling faint and weak,
The one who gently lifts me up
May any language speak.

We sip the water clear and cool,
No matter the hand that gives it.
A life that’s lived worthwhile and fine,
What matters the one who lives it?
Fog
by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Clouds
by Christina G. Rossetti

White sheep, white sheep
On a blue hill,
When the wind stops
You all stand still.
When the wind blows,
You walk away slow.
White sheep, white sheep,
Where do you go?
the drum
by Nikki Giovanni

daddy says the world is
a drum tight and hard
and i told him
i’m gonna beat
out my own rhythm
Things
by Eloise Greenfield

Went to the corner
Walked in the store
Bought me some candy
Ain’t got it no more
Ain’t got it no more
Went to the beach

Played on the shore
Built me a sandhouse
Ain’t got it no more
Ain’t got it no more

Went to the kitchen
Lay down on the floor
Made me a poem
Still got it
Still got it
Dreams
by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Afternoon on a Hill
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show,
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down.
The Rhinoceros
by Ogden Nash

The rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he’s not a feast.
But you and I will never know
Why Nature chose to make him so.
Farewell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I’ll stare at something less prepoceros.

* * *

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