4/5 Curriculum – Year A

In order to accommodate our multi-age classrooms, the curriculum at Aurora rotates over a two year span. What follows is a look at the curriculum for 2014-2015 (Year A). Click here for an overview of Year B.

Social Studies

This year’s focus is on the physical and human history of California.

Units of Study:

  • The geography of California and how it affects human and animal populations;
  • Indigenous people before the arrival of Europeans;
  • The arrival of Spanish explorers, exploiters, missionaries, and settlers in California;
  • The mission period, the rancho period, and the discovery of gold in California;
  • The arrival of English speakers in California and the coming of statehood;
  • “Manifest Destiny” and how it affected white settlement of the west;
  • Waves of immigration to California during the 19th and 20th centuries; and
  • The construction and symbolism of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Related Field Trips:

  • Oakland Museum of California
  • Bay Model
  • Coyote Hills Regional Park
  • The Golden Gate Bridge
  • 4/5 Overnight at Walker Creek Ranch


This year, the 4/5s:

  • Practice extracting information from nonfiction texts, including using quotations, making inferences, and paraphrasing;
  • Examine the ways historical fiction can offer insights into historical periods and events;
  • Compare and contrast the way authors use characters, settings, voice, vocabulary, and tone;
  • Consider how visual elements contribute to a reader’s impressions and understandings;
  • Support their opinions about books and other media;
  • Experiment with reading different genres; and
  • Learn about such structures as chronology, comparison, and cause and effect.

Possible read aloud texts include:

  • Holes by Louis Sacher
  • Island of the Blue Dolphin by Scott O’Dell
  • Seed of Hope: The Goldrush Diary of Susanna Fairchild by Kristiana Gregory


This year, the 4/5s continue practicing through the writing process. Students will be guided to:

  • Write increasingly focused narratives using dialogue and detailed descriptions;
  • Learn to use increasingly varied and complex sentence structures while focusing on such devices as transitional phrases, punctuation, and adverbs;
  • Practice writing expository paragraphs;
  • Deepen understanding of elements of fiction writing, in coordination of reading and culminating in a fiction-writing writing project;
  • Experiment with dialogue and poetry; and
  • Practice supporting their opinions and conclusions by citing facts and using information extracted from sources.

Curricular resources from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project will be used to support our writing goals and objectives. The 4/5s will also do a number of writing projects to practice their skills and build their knowledge through investigations and research as part of their work in social studies and science.

Word Study:

  • Build vocabularies, practice reading comprehension, and learn to answer questions in complete sentences making inferences from reading using lessons in Wordly Wise workbooks (levels 4 and 5);
  • Practice cursive both in Handwriting without Tears (levels 4 and 5) and in writing assignments;
  • Focus on general academic, domain-specific, and personally interesting vocabulary words;
  • Have mini-lessons on specific spelling rules and utilize weekly spelling lists;
  • Practice using dictionaries, glossaries, and thesauruses;
  • Have mini-lessons and practice with such topics as antonyms, synonyms, homophones, parts of speech, Greek and Latin affixes and roots, verb tense, and writing conventions.


Math in the 4/5s is taught by grade level using the Bridges in Mathematics curriculum.

    5th Grade

  • Multi-digit Multiplication and Division
  • Geometry and Measurement
  • Multiplication and Division
  • Probability and Data Analysis
  • Fractions, Decimals and Percentages
  • Algebraic Thinking

    4th Grade

  • Multiplication and Division
  • Place Value and Multiplying Multi-digit Numbers
  • Fractions and Dividing Multi-digit Numbers
  • Probability and Data Analysis
  • Geometry and Measurement
  • Working with Decimals
  • Basic Algebra


Units of Study:

  • Soil, Rocks, and Landforms
  • Ecosystems
  • Energy and Electromagnetism

Related Field Trips:

  • Lindsay Wildlife Museum
  • Bay Model
  • Guest Speakers (in class)