Upon entering the grade 4 classroom, a combination of rustic charm and intense engagement meets the senses.
Students are always bustling about and collaboratively working at three clusters of whiteboard-topped tables that fit neatly together like flowers. Mrs. Kirkwood brings a sense of community and creativity to all the students do!
"Mrs. Kirkwood is nice and does fun stuff. When she gets mad she doesn’t yell. She just says 'let’s not do that' and stays calm. She also shares her life with us." - Carrie
The Sage Ridge day is split into 6, 1-hour class blocks with a morning break and mid-day lunch placed evenly between. Students take 8 classes and drop 2 each day.
Grade 4 students enter their classroom loaded with the resources they utilized for the night's homework. They unpack their bags into the individual cubbies that help them stay organized and keep their items accessible.
Cubbies also contain the laptop computers provided by the school for each student's exclusive use. These computers remain at school and allow students to engage in a wide range of technology-enhanced lessons and build their computer skills.
8-9 AM | Enrichment Classes
Grade 4 students switch enrichment classes each quarter. For 8-9 weeks each, students explore visual art, music, theatre, and computer science.
9-10 AM | Physical Education
Physical Education is a full class just like any other at Sage Ridge, rather than an occasional group activity or parent-organized event. Girls learn with Ms. Kratzer and boys learn with Mr. Farnsworth. Students learn the fundamentals of basketball, football, volleyball, and more while deepening their understanding of a healthy lifestyle. Occasionally the boys and girls play games with each other. "One fun game involved needing to collect 'money' from the bag, then do what it said, like do 10 burpees or something. It was fun." Students also play a modified dodgeball that somehow incorporates jobs, hula hoops, and a hula hut. The team with most hula hoops wins.
10-10:25 AM | Break
Morning break is a time for snack and recess on the playground. Squeals of excitement are obvious as students hang on the bars, shoot hoops, and play self-organized games.
10:25-12:25 AM | Morning Self-Contained Block
Integrated Literacy II: Reading & Writing
With a 2-hour block, students grow their comprehension and communication skills. Typical reading lessons may be facilitated by a few different types of activities. Students often read in differentiated small groups with their teacher in order to work on fluency and comprehension. Students may also rotate through stations targeting their work on vocabulary, spelling, independent reading, and paired discussion. Discussions are incorporated in different modalities, small group, partner discussion, whole class, and student-led discussions.
Writing is taught through assignments small and large. Weekly Writing always focuses on learning and applying new skills using grammar fundamentals, mechanics, and conventions of writing. Unit Writing then asks students to apply their skills to multi-paragraph pieces. 4th grade focuses on narratives, opinion writing, expository writing, and persuasive writing.
"We don't get too much homework. It is practice, but it's a good amount." - Bryn
12:25-1:15 PM | Lunch and Recess
Students eat and get to talk and play with their friends. The 50-minute block is plenty of time for both!
1:15 PM-3:15 | Afternoon Self-Contained Block
Grade 4 curriculum educates students on Nevada state history. Through reading and small group activities, students learn about the state symbols, state geography, first peoples in the state, impact of the gold rush, and economy of mining in the state. Cross-curricular reading and writing ties together history and literacy through the use of historical fiction. Final projects allow students to summarize their learning through creative outlets.
Grade 4 math class is a lively exploration of place values, addition/subtraction up to the millions, multiplication, division, multi-step word problems will all four operations, fractions, decimals, units of measurement (metric/standard), and angle study. Most classes begin with teacher instruction, transition into small group work to practice, and then wrap up with review.
Two classes are dropped each day, but here is a glimpse at what else enriches the grade 4 experience:
Science in grade 4 is a full class just like any other at Sage Ridge. Students engage in a variety of activities through the year that teach them to "think like a scientist." Students learn to conduct controlled experiments, measure accurately, interpret their data, and apply what they conclude. Hands-on activities are mixed in with videos and demonstrations as students learn about soil, weathering, erosion, mapping, natural resources, forest ecosystems, electric circuits, inventions, and discoveries.
Our self-contained, lower school classes use this time for what best meets the needs of their students. Once a week they attend the Lower/Middle School student-led meeting. Otherwise they engage in discussions about the school's pillars, deepen their understanding of social-emotional skills, dialogue about grade-level issues, or receive extra help. This time is an essential part of our program as it allows teachers to tailor the day according to what most serves the class each week.
After school many students stay for extended care study hall or participate in local extracurriculars, such as soccer, dance, or reading. Homework is always a piece of what they do, but Sage Ridge students also enjoy watching YouTube and participating in extracurriculars such as Girls On The Run.