Manchester Public Schools
Office of Equity and Partnerships
Grade 4 English Curriculum Information
Here are the things your child will be expected to accomplish during the school year…
  • In this unit, the students learn the structures, routines, and habits of workshop. The students will be taught to read books that fit and that volume is important. They will learn to retell a story chronologically, selecting strategic information. Readers will learn to recap the part they just read and then think about how earlier parts of the text led up to and informed the part they just read (summarizing). They will be reminded to read actively part of that is envisioning. Monitoring for sense will be emphasized and knowing when to use fix up strategies. They will pay attention to story elements: time, plot, setting. Going forward in the unit, there is an emphasis on growing significant, text based ideas about characters. ("Why might the author have included these details?") Characters are complicated; they aren't just one way and are often not as they first seem. The unit moves to building interpretations;
    students will be taught to find meaning in recurring images, objects, and details. They will ask themselves, "What does this teach me? Not just about this book, but about life?"
  • Although this is a unit on writing realistic fiction, it is also a unit on rehearsal and revision. Students will learn to live as a writer, seeing ideas for fiction stories everywhere. They learn to pay attention to moments and issues in their lives and collect story ideas in their writer's’ notebooks. Eventually they pick a story idea from their notebook and develop that idea. Then, the story arc is emphasized.
    Finally, students will prepare their pieces for an audience through more focused drafting, revision, and editing .


  • This unit continues the work of helping students read texts with an awareness of the text structure—work that becomes more challenging as the texts become longer and more complex. This unit focuses on extreme weather, but it can be taught using different topics. It is important to recognize the significance of reading volume and, as such, activities in the active engagement and after the link need to be brief and not interfere with independent reading. Students should be spending most of their independent reading time reading primarily nonfiction books of their choosing, applying the non fiction skills from the minilessons. The research cycle should be fast paced. Students will learn that readers can locate and synthesize information from a variety of texts. They will learn to take notes from one text and then read a second text, asking themselves, "Does this add on to what I have already learned? Change what I learned?" And the new text can be added to notes from the first text. They will present their research to their classmates.
  • This unit, like a number of other units in this series, begins with a quick, intense immersion in the process of writing a new kind of text—in this case, the essay. The goal of “essay boot camp,” is to help students develop a sense for writing an essay. Teachers will plan a simple essay together, aloud, and send students off to draft that spoken essay on paper. Then students will spend a few days gathering entries in their notebook, writing long about people, objects, events, and so on. Students will use what they’ve written in their notebook to develop a thesis statement and plan their essay. In “Developing Personal Essays”, students will collect evidence to support each of the reasons for the opinion expressed in their thesis statement. They will select the most powerful evidence and tell it in a way that supports their reasons. They will draft sections of their essay, using transition words and phrases to create cohesion. As they draft, they will also learn to use the introduction to orient and engage the reader and the conclusion to offer final thoughts. Students will edit to improve their clarity, finding and correcting runon sentences and fragments. They’ll share their work in a mini celebration. The last phase of the unit, “Personal to Persuasive,” focuses on transference and raising the quality of work. Students will develop a plan for a persuasive essay. Then teachers will invite them to take themselves through the process of developing and drafting this essay with greater independence than before, transferring and applying all they have learned and using all the resources, tools, charts, etc., at hand. They will again assess their work, reflecting on their growth during the unit and setting future goals. Students will edit their essay using all they have learned about conventions, in particular ensuring that all gradeappropriate words are spelled correctly. They will publish their pieces in a final celebration.
  • This is a unit on teaching researching history. While its focus is on the Revolutionary War, teachers are not bound to this topic. It is written to complement the writing unit. If
    doing units together, it is expected that the reading starts a few days before the writing to allow students to have some background knowledge on the topic. As it is written, the unit starts with a research project about the events leading up to the Revolutionary War. The students read accessible texts, pay attention to text structures, and look at primary source documents. The chronology moves toward the eve of the Revolutionary War. They continue their research in preparation to debate the question of independence from Britain. Students learn about multiple points of view and prepare to take a side. Lastly, students work in partnerships to research a new project. They will learn to preview and paraphrase and extract main ideas. They will begin to think of the big lessons they will learn. This unit focuses on these skill areas:
    ● Main Idea(s) and Supporting Details/Summary ● Cross Text(s) Synthesis● Analyzing Perspective● Analyzing Parts of a Text in Relation to the Whole

  • “Building Ideas in Information Writing,” brings this work to a new level as students move from organizing information to developing their own ideas about the information. This bend is all about historical interpretation, very heady work for fourth graders, but work for which they have been prepared not only throughout this unit but throughout the entire school year. Their research will take on a new focus as they generate life lessons from their topic, generate questions, and then hypothesize and research answers to those questions. As always, students will spend time editing their writing before publishing it, this time focusing on the unique way writers of history use punctuation. The
    unit will culminate with an expert fair, at which students will be given the opportunity to teach others all they have learned about their topic.


  • This unit focuses on developing ideas about characters, determining themes, inferring within a text, comparing and contrasting texts, and synthesizing across texts. Readers will be working in book clubs, with each club adopting a time period and reading several historical novels as well as nonfiction related to that time period. Readers work to synthesize evolving settings with plot lines and subplots. There is a strong emphasis on literal comprehension and monitoring for sense. Readers learn that historical stories unfold along two timelines, not one. There is one timeline for historical events and there is another timeline for the protagonist's life. Readers must examine the relationships between the timelines. There is also work analyzing perspective. Focuses include interpretation and the understanding that novels are about ideas. Books are not just about plots they are about ideas. Students learn to draft, revise, and elaborate upon possible interpretations of texts. They will learn to pay attention to the importance of minor characters and also to symbolism. This unit brings in nonfiction text, beginning with primary source images. There is a strong cross text emphasis with students being asked to think across fiction and nonfiction.
  • To write well about reading, students need to learn more not only about writing but also about reading. Throughout this unit teachers will teach students ways writers read complex texts closely and then write about the literature they are reading. They will first teach students to notice author's choices about the setting, objects, words, metaphors, and characters they use in their texts. This work, so central to the Common Core State Standards, is especially powerful work for students who are analyzing texts for ideas and interpretations. Students learn that there are certain aspects of a text that tend to be more important, and they learn to pay attention to those aspects, noticing what the author has done and fashioning evidencebased theories about the text. From the getgo, teachers will teach students to write structured, compelling essays in which they make and support claims and analyze, unpack, and incorporate evidence. Students focus on arguing for their ideas about characters while carrying forward what they have been taught about planning and drafting essays, writing introductions and conclusions, and marshalling evidence in support of reasons. This allows the main focus of teaching to be devoted to the special challenges of writing essays about texts. After drafting and revising an essay about a familiar short text and receiving feedback, students are asked to repeat that cycle, this time applying all they have learned and also working to write more interpretively and analytically. Writing about favorite texts—readalouds, short stories, novels—students learn to value complexity examine all sides of an issue with the most open mind possible. In doing so they will also learn new, more complex ways of structuring an essay and more nuanced ways to mine a text for the evidence they need. The unit
    ends in which students learn to write comparison/contrast essays, noting different texts’ approaches to the same theme or issue. Students will learn to write in ways that take into account not only the subject of a text but also the author’s treatment of that subject. In this way students are taught to write more about point of view, emphasis, and interpretation, and to be aware of the craft moves authors use. Students will also learn ways to structure a comparison/contrast essay and cite evidence from two texts in a seamless, purposeful way.

  • In this unit of study, students will be engaged in learning about various regions across the United States. This unit personalizes student learning by allowing for choice, research and creative presentation styles. Teachers will be modeling both inquiry and research process using the Northeast Region. Students will be given the choice of a region to investigate and the format for which to demonstrate their learning. They will be responsible for keeping a log which
    will include their research, and evidence and then presenting their learning through a beautification brochure, a tour guide experience using Google maps, a tourism commercial, a photo essay that describes the "beauty of this place", etc.

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