# Getting the most out of 4th grade

Based on Common Core Standards
Written by Brian Galvin, MEd Chief Academic Officer

#### Key Takeaways

These are the most critical skills a 4th grader should master before entering 5th grade:

Math:
1. Geometry
2. Fractions
3. Number Operations

English Language Arts:
1. Determine and Describe Text Structure
2. Understanding Word Relationships and Nuances in Word Meaning
3. Writing an Essay

Find out which 4th grade skills your student needs to work on by taking our learning assessments:

4th grade is a critical year for developing advanced elementary school math skills and utilizing previously developed self-sufficient reading and writing habits, both of which will form a foundation for 5th grade and beyond. This scholastic checklist will help you ensure that your fourth grader is confident with the critical path skills that will determine 4th Grade readiness, as well as provide a summary of all the skills your student should have mastered by the end of 4th grade.

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## Critical Skills for Math

Geometry
Before exiting the 4th grade a student should be able to draw and identify types of lines and angles, solve problems to determine unknown angle values, measure angles with a protractor, recognize a line of symmetry for two-dimensional figures, and draw lines of symmetry. These skills are important as students progress through elementary school and into middle school and geometry becomes more complex. In the near future students will be challenged with more geometric concepts and terms including the coordinate plane, irregular shapes, and 3-dimensional figures.

Fractions
In 4th grade, students move from understanding the basic concept of fractions to actually being able to use and calculate fractions. Students should be able to create line plots to display data using fractional increments (½, ¼, ⅛), recognize and generate equivalent fractions, compare fractions with different numerators and denominators, add and subtract fractions (including mixed numbers) with the same denominators, multiply fractions by whole numbers, and use decimal notations for fractions with denominators of 10 or 100. As students move into 5th grade they will apply these skills to solve multi-step word problems and will graduate to calculations featuring different denominators.

Number Operations
Students in 4th grade will build upon previous knowledge of numbers and operations to build a more complex skill set for 5th grade and beyond. Students will need to multiply a four-digit number by a one-digit number, multiply a two-digit number by a two-digit number, divide using place value strategies with four-digit dividends and one-digit divisors, determine if a number is prime or composite, find factor pairs for numbers 1-100, and use all four operations to solve word problems. In 5th grade, students will face division problems with 2-digit dividends, multiplication and division problems mixing integers with fractions and mixed numbers, and pre-algebra concepts that require a strong foundational understanding of all four numerical operations. It is important that students feel strong with these skills heading into the next level.

Our smart learning system can assess your student, identify their strengths and weaknesses in a subject, and recommend learning tools to help them improve their mastery.

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## Critical Skills for English Language Arts

Determine and Describe Text Structure
By the end of 4th grade, it is important for students to be able to break apart texts to determine and describe the overall structure of their events, ideas, information, and concepts. Students should be able to decipher if the text is written in a chronological, compare/contrast, cause/effect, or problem/solution format and how that format affects the way the story is understood. They should be comfortable with both literature (fiction) and informational (non-fiction) texts. As students progress to 5th grade they will have more complex texts (and multiple texts) to compare and contrast the structures of. They will also be asked to find multiple structures within one text.

Understanding Word Relationships and Nuances in Word Meanings
A vital part of 4th grade is developing a deeper understanding of the relationships of words and the nuances in our language. Students should be able to recognize similes and metaphors and explain their meaning in context. They will also encounter idioms, adages, and proverbs within texts and should be able to use context clues to decipher their meanings. Students should also be able to understand and use antonyms and synonyms. Mastery of these skills will improve a student’s reading comprehension and writing ability. In 5th grade, students will be asked to independently decipher figurative language in poetry and dramas and will be challenged to add nuance to their own writing, making this understanding of wording nuances a critical skill to build upon.

Writing an Essay By the end of 4th grade, a writer should be able to complete a four-paragraph essay based on a provided prompt and text set. Graduating 4th graders should be able to write a clear introduction paragraph, create two body paragraphs that use text evidence to support their writing, and finish with a concluding section that summarizes the essay. Their writing should be on-topic, use complete sentences and age-appropriate vocabulary and varied diction, and rely on self-correction of grammatical and spelling errors through an editing phase. In 5th grade and middle school, writing will become lengthier, be based on research, and involve more complex thought processes and literary devices. The foundational writing skills learned in 4th grade are key to success in 5th grade, middle school, and beyond.