4th Grade English Language Arts
How do we make decisions about developing new technology?
In this unit, students will read informational texts about the changes in society related to advancements in technology. They will build schema around the following concepts:
- Technological developments can have negative and positive impacts on society.
- The Digital Age has brought about many new inventions and innovations, such as driverless cars, drones, and robotic technologies
- Scientific knowledge and the needs of society create a demand for new technologies.
Technology will play a part in shaping the future of Earth.
“Humans and Robots Can Work Together”
Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Presence
• Humans speak, laugh, and gesture in unique ways. People are alive, unlike robots and
other machines. In the future robots may look similar to humans, but they are not likely to
be so similar that people won’t be able to distinguish living people from robots.
• Ask students to describe unique behaviors or gestures that are special to their
culture or background.
Social-Emotional Learning: Adaptability
• Technology is changing the job scene, and this affects workers. Workers need to adapt
and learn new skills as automation replaces many of the tasks humans used to do.
• Invite students to share a time in their lives when their circumstances changed. Ask them
to describe how they adapted, or successfully responded, to those changes.
Week 2: “Who’s Driving?”
Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Ownership
• Today, cars in the United States are owned and driven by people. Driverless cars
may become common on American roads in the future,and these cars may be
owned and operated by companies. However, people may still want to own their
own driverless car even if they aren’t actually driving it.
• Have students share how they, their families and/or friends feel about the value of
owning something. Is it important to them? Why or why not?
Social-Emotional Learning: Responsibility
• Driving a car is a major responsibility. A driver is responsible not only for the
safety of passengers in the vehicle, but also for the safety of pedestrians and
occupants of other cars on the road. In the future of driverless cars, this level of
responsibility will change.
• Ask students to compare and contrast the responsibility for drivers of real cars and
driverless cars. If students are able to drive driverless car in the future, what do
they think their responsibilities will be?
Week 3:“Rise of the Drones”
Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Play and Leisure
• All over the world, people use drones for fun. They use drones to take pictures
and video as well as to race in competitions.
• Ask students to share what they and their families do for fun or entertainment.
Encourage students to think about how “fun” means something different to
Social-Emotional Learning: Evaluating Consequences
• Drones have many uses—from disaster relief recovery to monitoring crop health.
But they also come with the risks of invading our privacy and causing collisions.
It’s important to think about these issues before and while using drones.
• Discuss times when students have had to evaluate consequences before making
Unit 3: Essential Question:
How can government influence the way we live?
In this unit, students will read informational texts and fictional stories about the interactions between citizens and government. They will build schema around the following concepts:
- Local, state, and federal governments have unique functions but often work together to protect and provide for citizens.
- Citizens and government interact in civic affairs at the local, state, and federal levels.
- Characters in stories, similar to people in the real world, hold positions in their fictional societies. Some characters have more power than others. The interactions between these characters help develop the story line and can also build social awareness.
Governments provide services that affect everyone’s daily life.
“Solving Problems”Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Space Concept
• The USA is one nation, and there are nearly 200 other nations in the world. All have cities and towns with local governments or leaders. Certain countries have states, such as Mexico and India, and other countries have parts identified by terms such as provinces and territories.
• Invite students to describe other nations’ cities, towns, counties, and states that they know about or have visited. How is the organization of other nations different from the United States?Social-Emotional Learning: Teamwork
• When disaster strikes in the United States, federal, state, and local governments work together as a team to help citizens. Each level of government has its own job to do, from delivering food and shelter on a local level to providing funding on a national level.
• Discuss with students how your class uses teamwork to get things done and improve the classroom environment for everyone.Week 1: “The First Town Meeting”Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Subsistence
• Everywhere on Earth, people need food, water, and safe places to live, sleep, and carry on their daily activities. People work to meet these needs.
• Ask students to discuss the kinds of work people do in their community or in other countries to help provide families and neighbors with food, clean water, and safe shelter.Social-Emotional Learning: Reflecting
• The people of Sparks have a problem that they see as unsolvable. Sometimes when you take time to talk with others and think through a problem, a solution presents itself. Ask students to share ways they have solved problems.
Week 2: “The State Government and Its Citizens”Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Rights and Duties
• In the United States, each state government must serve its citizens. The citizens have rights, such as the rights to life and liberty, and duties, such as obeying laws and respecting other people’s rights.
• Have students discuss how they fulfill their duties when they are at home and in other places they visit.Social-Emotional Learning: Cooperation
•Each state government is made up of different departments that work together for the benefit of the state’s citizens. In addition, several states may cooperate with each other when there is an issue that affects the citizens in all of them. Discuss a time when your class has cooperated with another class or group to accomplish a goal.
Week 3: “Stanley’s Release”Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Precedence
• At a state prison or detention center, the warden is in charge. However, the state’s Attorney General has greater authority. When the Texas Attorney General says that Stanley should be released, the warden must comply. In most organizations, leaders have ranks, with more highly ranked officials holding precedence.
• Have students discuss leaders in organizations, telling the levels of leadership in places such as schools, scout troops, and sports teams or leagues whose officials they know and have experience with. Have them consider whether all societies are structured this way.Social-Emotional Learning: Responsibility
• Stanley is ready to be released from the juvenile detention center, but he feels responsible for his friend Zero. Stanley knows Zero will be mistreated after he leaves, so he refuses to abandon his friend.
• Hold a class discussion about instances when it is important to stand up for another person.Lexile: 820L–1000LGrade 4
Writing: In this unit, you’ll have the opportunity to plan, research, draft, revise, and edit an Informative/Explanatory Essay about a problem the government helps solve.
Unit 2: Characters’ Actions and Reactions
How do we reveal ourselves to others?
In this unit, students will read a prose version and a play version of two stories with iconic characters. They will build schema around the following concepts:
- Fictional novels, short stories, and plays may vary in length or structure, but they all contain characters that lead the reader through the plot.
- Authors use description, action, dialogue, and tone to illustrate character traits.
- Characters’ actions and reactions influence a story’s plot, as well as other characters.
- Real-life actions and reactions have effects on real events and people.
- Characters often exemplify universal human traits and offer an opportunity for readers to make connections to—and examine—themselves, others, and the world they live in.
Characters—like people—reveal themselves through their words and actions.
“Peter Meets Wendy”Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Gesture
• As Peter meets Wendy, he bows to her according to a custom he knows from his life in the world of Tinker Bell and other fairies. Wendy is impressed and bows to him.
• Invite students to share different gestures people use to show respect in their family, culture, or community.Social-Emotional Learning: Feeling Regret
• When Peter realizes he has hurt Wendy’s feelings by not giving her the credit she deserves, he immediately feels sorry. He is able to recognize his mistake and tries to make her feel better.
• Discuss ways to make amends when you have hurt someone’s feelings.Week 3: “Peter’s Shadow”Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Grooming
• Tinker Bell the fairy is clothed in a skeleton-leaf dress, and in the play, Peter Pan’s clothing is partly made of autumn leaves. Wendy does not wear such garments.
• Ask students to identify types of clothing that people in their family, culture, or community wear, including both similar and different garments. Social-Emotional Learning: Impulse Control
• Perhaps because he never had adults to guide him, Peter has difficulty controlling his impulses. He makes a mess digging his shadow out of the drawer, forgets that he has locked Tinker Bell in the drawer, and gets frustrated easily when his shadow doesn’t automatically attach itself to him.
• Discuss tools or methods students can use to help control sudden impulses.
Lexile: 870L–1020L Grade 4 • Unit 2
“Dorothy Meets the Scarecrow”Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Language
• The Scarecrow uses chatty, colloquial language: “Well, I’ve been savin’ up to buy me some brains” and “Honey, you know it!”
• Ask students when it is appropriate to use informal language and in what circumstances they should use formal language.
Social-Emotional Learning: Adaptability
• When Dorothy hears the Scarecrow speak to her, she realizes things are different here. Where she is from, scarecrows can’t talk. Dorothy is able to quickly adapt to her new situation and help the Scarecrow with his problem—getting down off the pole.
• Discuss with students ways they can help someone adapt to a new situation
“How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow”Culturally Responsive Perspectives: Values
• When the Scarecrow asks Dorothy to help him gain liberty from the pole, she lifts him to the ground. She seems to immediately understand the value of freedom to a person she meets.
• Ask students to share what freedom means to them. Encourage them to give examples based on personal experience. Social-Emotional Learning: Paying Attention
• Dorothy spends several moments considering the Scarecrow. She studies what he is made of, the boots he is wearing, and his odd painted face. It is while she is looking closely at his face that she is surprised to see him slowly wink at her. • Discuss how taking time to notice details can show you things that you might not have noticed otherwise.
Student Writing Prompt
After reading “Dorothy Meets the Scarecrow” and “How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow,” write an essay in which you give your opinion about which selection, the narrative or the play, better helped you understand the scarecrow’s character.Be sure to include:
- an introduction;
- support for your opinion, using information from the selections; and
- a conclusion that is related to your opinion.