Experience and responsibility are key words for Form IV. During the school year, the girls travel the state as we focus on our studies of Ohio. Visiting historic and natural sites throughout Ohio provides opportunities for the students to observe and experience the state’s history and environment and to use real places as primary sources for research. These educational travel experiences, along with classroom lessons, provide opportunities for the girls to write in various modes including letters, persuasive essays, and paragraph reflections; incorporate mathematical concepts; encourage predictions and comparisons; articulate opinions, ideas, and concepts; and interact with professionals within the greater community and among Form IV classmates.
Form IV is the perfect grade for students to learn the value of responsibility and develop a greater sense of autonomy. We teach responsibility for home and class assignments through the use of a daily planner, which allows the girls to organize themselves for both short and long-term assignments. Students discover how to resolve the situation if they forget an assignment. Throughout the school year, students in Form IV learn to persevere and take risks in their continuing quest to become critical thinkers. By using strategies that develop the whole child academically, socially, and personally, teachers augment the knowledge and skills essential for developing each CSG Form IV student into a confident and capable woman who is a lifelong learner.
The goal for each student is to enjoy her time in art and to extend her learning in integrated studies for a rich understanding of the topic. A sampling of focal areas: artists who work to create change in their communities, art connected to science and the environment, art created in cultures all over the world throughout history and today, and Columbus-area artists. We will also be laying a foundation of art and art history including significant artists, movements, and skills such as observational drawing.
Girls in Form IV learned about positive and negative space, or the space around and between the subjects of an image. The use of equal negative space balances positive space in a composition. Students used plants as inspiration, and we drew from life both in the art room and outside. Girls moved from pencils to charcoal and learned the different properties of each medium.
In Form IV, Integrated Units of Study vary from year-to-year, but all themes connect in some way to Ohio and the state’s history. Whether it is studying about the Underground Railroad and realizing that many Ohioans risked their lives to help others gain freedom, learning about Ohio’s environment and the student’s role as a steward of the Earth, or researching a country in Europe and determining which Europeans immigrated to Ohio, each girl discovers that Ohio has played a significant role in history.
For several years, Prehistoric Ohio has been a unit of study that has appeared in many ways. Some years the focus has been on writing reflections and creative stories. In other years, students have done in-depth research on the different cultures of Prehistoric Ohio, culminating with a formal research report. One year the unit overlapped with the study of Ohio’s Government to create a learning environment that brought government into a real life experience as the girls worked to make the Adena Pipe Ohio’s Official State Artifact. Projects like this enable the girls to see and experience learning through real life situations to problem-solve, work for a cause that adds a positive community connection, and persevere.
Below is an example of the approaches and goals for the unit Prehistoric Ohio:
- Who were the early people of Ohio?
- How did Ohio’s land influence these people?
- Where did these people settle? Why did they select these areas to settle?
- How did their land differ from the land of today?
- What significant contributions did these people give to Ohio?
- How have these people influenced our state and lives today?
- What resources can be used to research and discover more about these people?
- How can one determine whether the information discovered is a fact or an opinion?
- What role does an archaeologist play in researching early Ohioans?
- How can we record our thoughts about these people?
Each Study emphasizes several concepts and skills:
- Compare and contrast the different prehistoric cultures found in Ohio.
- Develop an appreciation for different cultures by studying the surviving artifacts and determining what their environment was like.
- Identify and compare the changes in Ohio from prehistoric times to present day.
- Identify the geographical locations and topographical features where the prehistoric Ohioans lived and why analyze why these locations were selected.
- Interact with specialists (archaeologists, historians, state legislators,) to develop an understanding of different career options.
- Think critically and analytically using only surviving artifacts to make predictions about what life might have been like 5000 years ago.
- Use research tools, both primary and secondary resources.
- Map and locate geographical locations in Ohio and Ohio’s surrounding states.
Students in Form IV write using different venues, such as a research reporting, thank you notes to the specialists, journaling and note taking, reflections, creative stories, and poetry.
Our focus of instruction matches the developmental stages of each student through differentiation and continual monitoring of growth to ensure literacy success.
The Lower School reading curriculum immerses students in a balanced literacy program that addresses the five components of reading instruction as identified by the National Reading Panel: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. The classroom teacher and the Lower School literacy specialists provide opportunities for reading support and enrichment.
In Form IV, girls read every day for pleasure and for information. Students check their personal choices for reading with their teachers, and reading for at least 30 minutes each night is a daily homework assignment on Monday through Thursday nights. Either verbally or in written form, the girls share their knowledge and understanding frequently with their homeroom teachers and classmates. Students demonstrate their commitment to daily reading by journaling and keeping a log of their reading.
To further develop critical reading skills, Form IV students read many books as a class and during read-aloud segments. Throughout the week, we share chapter books, picture books, or poetry. Over the course of the year, students form groups to read and discuss the same book, books with the same theme, or books by the same author. Students also read books that relate to the current theme of study. We assess skills throughout the academic year by frequent informal assessments, as well as by formalized assessments such as the Developmental Reading Assessment and STAR program.
Classroom collections based on curricular themes are available for the girls in the classroom, in the library, and online. In class, students share books that they read individually and in small groups through different types of creative projects and presentations. Regular visits to the Power Library with the Lower School Librarian and with classroom teachers emphasize reading for pleasure and help to practice informative reading and note-taking skills. In addition to reading instruction in class, we invite Form IV students to join a book club that meets during lunch once a month. The CEDAR (Cultivating Empathy Diversity and Respect) Book Club focuses on high quality literature that develops within the girls a greater sense of the world and promotes discussions that deepen their understanding of acceptance, inclusion, and empathy.
The Lower School writing curriculum is grounded in a writing process that includes prewriting (brainstorming, webbing, outlining, etc.), composing the rough draft, editing for conventions, revising for content, and publishing the final draft. Students in the Lower School learn to write within multiple genres to broaden their exposure to literary components. Teachers often integrate writing projects through thematic units of study.
Writing occurs on a daily basis for personal expression, summary of information researched, assessment of spelling, and word usage with an emphasis on effective expression of thoughts. This process improves sentence structure and mechanics from rough draft to final draft. Selective writing assignments emphasize particular concepts in a specific area of focus. Students complete final drafts in cursive writing or by typing on the computer. They begin the year by practicing keyboarding skills and continue with encouragement from parents at home.
The spelling program in the Lower School follows Primary Spelling in Forms I-IV and components of Spellography in Form V. These are systematic, explicit programs written to enhance each student’s phonological and orthographic understanding of word construction, as well as syllable identification, morphology, and parts of speech. Students learn grammar and vocabulary through mini-lessons and also through application to the writing process.
The Form IV spelling program teaches sound-spelling links (phoneme-grapheme correspondence), common irregular words, syllable spelling patterns and combinations, prefix, root, and suffix constructions (morphology), sentence structure, parts of speech, idioms, and figures of speech. Each lesson emphasizes a main concept, but students practice other concepts many times as well.
As a complement to the word study curriculum, Form IV uses the grammar text “Sadlier-Oxford Grammar Workshop” which extends the girls’ understanding of parts of speech as well as punctuation and mechanics. The lessons explain and model the rules and principles of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Exercise sets give the students practice both in the skills themselves, as well as in the application of those skills in writing.
Oral Language: Speaking, Listening, and Presenting
Foundational oral language skills include speaking, listening, and presenting. Teachers embed these skills into daily experiences by highlighting them in a variety of ways, including through classroom ambassadors, lunch announcements and jokes, curriculum showcases, and grade level presentations to the entire Lower School in the Unicorn Theater.
In Form IV, students have many opportunities to articulate their learning and ideas throughout the year. Each girl participates in an annual performance in the theater which centers on one of our Integrated Studies units. Students also make presentations to their classmates in the form of book talks, partner-created mini lessons, and as a culminating activity after researching a given topic. In many instances, students have the chance to speak to the community at large during field trips and special studies that take us outside the classroom.
Lower School students use Math in Focus, a textbook series based on Singapore Math methodology, to guide mathematical understanding. Concepts are introduced developmentally in a three step progression: concretely, pictorially, and then abstractly. Sprints and daily counting techniques promote stamina, focus, and number fluency. In addition, problem-solving is integrated daily, and teachers encourage students to explain strategies, formulate multiple solutions, and collaborate with peers. Each lesson involves the use of technology. Math in Focus is organized to teach fewer concepts at each level with mastery as a goal. When a concept appears in a subsequent grade level, it is always at a higher or deeper level.
Basic operations are solidified in Form IV. Students fluently add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers to 100,000 with and without regrouping. They illustrate mathematical algorithms with base ten chips, mats, and virtual manipulatives. Clear and engaging visuals allow students to gain a strong conceptual understanding. The girls explore fractions and use models to show relationships between improper fractions and mixed numbers. They represent decimals to tenths and hundredths place. Geometry units involve measurement of length and distance, classification of angles, and calculation of area and perimeter of composite figures. Students construct and implement estimation strategies to evaluate the reasonableness of an answer and practice mental math. Small group collaboration fosters effective mathematical communication and analysis of multiple solutions.
In the Lower School, the music curriculum develops skills, cultivates creativity, and helps students cultivate an appreciation for the art of music. Using techniques from the Kodaly, Orff, and Dalcroze methods, steps toward musical literacy and ear training prepare students for future ensemble work. The music faculty also works closely with the other Lower School teachers to create meaningful, authentic experiences that reinforce content learned in other subjects.
Form IV students complete the full major solfege scale and expand their rhythmic literacy with syncopation, triplets, and dotted notes. Form IV students experience singing in a traditional choral setting and work on skills such as sight-reading and healthy vocal tone. Students may begin a band instrument or continue to advance their skills in Form IV strings.
In Form IV general music students will engage with music through musical games, collaborative and solo projects, movement, and singing. Students will improve their music literacy and musicianship skills. We will spend the year learning about beat, rhythm, pitch, musical notation, expressive elements, instruments, music history, and a variety of musical genres. Students will also apply their knowledge by completing a composition project.
Students participating in Form IV strings continue to experience music through the study of their instrument and collaboration in orchestra. Students build on the foundation of proper posture, instrument placement, and production of quality sound. We develop our music reading and musicianship skills and begin playing orchestra music during the second semester. Students learn important rehearsal and collaborative skills, and build confidence as performers.
The curricular focus for students choosing to play a wind or percussion instrument begins with responsibility for and care of the instrument. They will begin to connect their musical knowledge from previous music classes to their recorder or band instrument. The goal is to be able to perform simple to complex melodies with an ensemble and independently.
Form IV band members learn how to properly care for their instruments and maintain their working order. They also learn how to breathe, articulate, produce a steady musical tone, and play as an ensemble. Then they focus on musical terminology corresponding to the music they are playing as well as note names, rhythms, expressive elements, and different genres of music. We strive to develop secure beginning musicians who enjoy making music on their instruments individually and together.
In Form IV, the girls develop maturity and versatility in the use of their fundamental motor skills and movement patterns. Some of the target units in this Form are kickball and matball, scooter hockey, scooter soccer, and scooter relays, dance, and swimming. Motor and manipulative skills continue to be applied and enhanced through sport specific and fitness activities. They are beginning to use these skills in dynamic and complex environments that require them to focus more on teamwork, cooperation, and sportsmanship. Physical fitness is a key component of the curriculum. The girls are encouraged to begin setting personal fitness goals in the fall and again in the spring during their FITNESSGRAM assessments for cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and core and upper body strength. The students continue to develop their understanding of health-related fitness concepts. In the pool, Form IV students will develop their water safety, swimming, and diving skills. They will also engage in collaborative water games and activities.
In Form IV, students study the various types of fossils, how they are formed, and what the fossil record reveals about Earth's history. They also study changes that affect the Earth's landscape, including erosion, volcanoes, and earthquakes. Special emphasis is on fossils and changes that pertain to Ohio's geologic history, in keeping with the Form's Integrated Studies unit. A second unit focuses on forms of energy, including electricity. The year concludes with a comparative study of life cycles of animals and plants. Students continue to develop proficiency in recording observations, creating graphs, and generating evidence-based claims. New skills include using field guides to identify rocks and fossils, writing scientific arguments, and designing simple experiments with a control and variables.
Form IV students begin to develop fluency in the Spanish language through reading and storytelling. They begin to write original stories using the vocabulary learned in class and also study about the culture of Spain and its influence in the Americas.
- Students learn word processing and presentation software.
- The robotics program begins in Form I with 3D design and culminates with programming LEGO robots in Forms IV and V.
- Students utilize a variety of programs, including green-screen technology, to create multimedia projects.
- Using curriculum materials from Common Sense Media, students discuss how to be safe and smart when online and using technology.
Form IV students use individual network accounts, navigate to files on the network, learn intermediate skills in Microsoft Word, and hone keyboarding skills using Type to Learn 4 from home. They learn web design using Weebly and create a variety of multimedia projects, including using green-screen technology to make videos. Students build and program the robots using WeDo LEGO robotics. Research skills are integrated through student research projects in many core classes including integrated studies, science, and Spanish. They are introduced to age-appropriate Internet safety concepts in staying safe online by understanding rings of responsibility and cyberbullying, protecting private and personal information, using keywords for searching, and showing respect online. Form IV students are empowered to explore programs and apply what they know.