Spring 2014 (4th)

Great Fun Children’s School
Spring 2014 Curriculum
Fourth Grade / age 9

Mission: Cultivate academic skills, multicultural awareness, and a joyful resilience, nurturing connections in a community of increasing love and complexity.


  • Books-on-tape (cd), daily.  Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, Book 4) by Rick Riordan,  Scat by Carl Hiaasen, By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman,  Things Not Seen, Things Hoped For, The Last Holiday Concert, School Story by Andrew Clements,  Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Ragweed, Poppy and Ereth, and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, Jacob Have I Loved, Bread and Roses, Too, and The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson, Gifts, Voices, Powers (Annals of the Western Shore #1, #2) by Ursula K. Le Guin,  The Goblet Of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, I Am Not Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos, Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth by Anne Rockwell, Molly: An American Girl (Collection) by Valerie Tripp,  Addy: An American Girl (Collection) by Connie Porter, Elijah of Buxton, and The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963  by Christopher Paul Curtis, Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy #1) by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Pirates of Pompeii (The Roman Mysteries) by Caroline Lawrence, I, Dred Scott by Shelia P. Moses,  Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos, Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis, Julie: an American Girl (Collection) by Megan McDonald, The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart, Savvy by Ingrid Law,  I, too, sing America: three centuries of African-American poetry, selected by Catherine Clinton, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, Stargirl and Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Disc III, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity (Brixton Brothers) by Mac Barnett, Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze (Melendy Quartet) by Elizabeth Enright
  • Independent reading:  Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass, Ahyoka and the Talking Leaves by Connie and Peter Roop,  Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine, Spring Pearl: The Last Flower (Girls of Many Lands-CHINA) by Laurence Yep and Kazuhiko Sano.
  • Plus 4th and 5th Grade Book Club, Berkeley Public Library, 1hr, 1x/mo. (One book per month.)  A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park, Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook, by Mary Amato. Also three-session Spring Break Writing Workshop for Kids at Oakland Public Library, taught by Janet Heller of Oakland’s Chapter 510 project.
  • Phonics Pathways by Dolores G. Hiskes. (For spelling), pp.162-176.
  • What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know, by E.D. Hirsch Jr. , relevant chapters.


  • Singapore Math: Discovering Mathematics Common Core, 7A (sections 4.3-5.1)
  • Beast Academy, 3C, rest of chapter 9. (Postponed 3D due to delayed shipping of book.) 4A, chapter 1, 2.
  • Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra II with Economics. (Reading only, no paper work or tests.)
  • Berkeley Math Circle, Beginner level (=5th & 6th grade kids), 1x/wk. Math Kangaroo, Level 4, March 20, 2014.
  • Supergirl Math club with Henri Ducharme, 1.5hrs, 3rd grade-ish level, 2x/mo.
  • Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, UC Berkeley (Anna Head Alumnae Hall), January 26, 2014; Pixar (Emeryville, CA), Feb 8, 2014; Google (Charlie’s Cafe), April 13, 2014

History & Geography

  • Story of the World, Volume III: Early Modern Times, by Susan Wise Bauer, supplemented by library books suggested in the companion Activity Book, and others. Chapters 35-39 (slave trade, trail of tears, opium war).
  • A History of US, Book One: The First Americans: Prehistory-1600, Book Two: Making Thirteen Colonies, and Book Three: From Colonies to Country by Joy Hakim (audiobooks)


  • Exploratorium, ~1x/mo.
  • Sausal Creek Restoration Project (4-H), 1x/mo
  • Science Olympiad “East Bay Nerds” junior team, Sounds of Music event

Computer Literacy

  • Weekly classes in MIT Scratch at The Museum of Arts and Digital Entertainment (MADE). Also classes in Twine (interactive fiction game engine.)
  • Hour of Code and related activities via Code.org etc (Cargobots, Codea, Gamestar Mechanic, etc.)

World Languages

  • Mandarin Chinese: My First Chinese Words (BetterChinese.com), lesson 12. Also character practice on Skritter.


  • Free doodling, misc crafts (at church, etc). Nature Journaling classes with John Muir Laws, 1x/mo.
  • DIY.org Skill Badges: Beatmaker, etc
  • What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know, by E.D. Hirsch Jr. , relevant chapters.
  • Bay Area Maker Faire, one day as Maker Corps/Traveller volunteer staff and one day as attendee, San Mateo, May 15-17  2014.

Values, Religion, & Character

  • Weekly Sunday school at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists. East Hills 4-H club. Girls Scouts Junior.

Phys Ed

  • Soccer, Albany Berkeley Soccer Club, Galaxy team, 3x/wk.
  • Archery (4-H) w teacher Lee Donaghey, 1x/mo
  • Basketball w coach Rick Slettedahl, UC Village Rec program, 1x/wk
  • Aerial Arts (trapeze, silks) w teacher Shaley Borgen, UC Village Rec program, 1x/wk
  • Gymnastics with coach Matt Schwey, UC Village Rec program, 1x/wk

Social Friends! Attachment parenting. Classes and group activities, structured and unstructured, same-age and multi-age, cousins, groupmates and neighbors. ACHC housing cooperative, BFUU religious congregation. Weekly Park Day with SFBUN and Homegrown Kids at local playgrounds; also active in  BAGHS (2x/mo), Girl Scouts (2x/mo), and East Hills 4-H (3x/mo).