4th-5th Grade Skills and Concepts Plus Curriculum Top Picks

4th-5th Grade Skills and Concepts Plus Curriculum Top Picks - My Teaching Library | MyTeachingLibrary.com
What should you teach in 4th and 5th Grades?
Below you’ll find the Skills and Concepts typically covered for these grades PLUS Curriculum Top Picks!
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4th-5th Grades

English Language Arts 

Written Language
Key Idea: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words
(Grades 4 & 5) Phonics and Word Recognition
a. Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context
Key Idea: Demonstrate automaticity on grade level text
(Grades 4 & 5) Fluency
a. Read grade-level text with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension
b. Read grade-level text across genres orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings
c. Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary
Key Idea: Demonstrate vocabulary acquisition and usage
(Grades 4 & 5) Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies
a. Use context (e.g., definitions, examples, cause/effect relationahips, restatements, and comparisons in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase
b. Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph)
c. Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses) to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases
Key Idea: Demonstrate vocabulary acquisition and usage
(Grade 4) Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings
a. Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors in context
b. Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs
Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their antonyms and synonyms
(Grade 5)
Acquire and accurately use general academic and content-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition)
Key Idea: Demonstrate command of the conventions of academic English grammar and usage when writing and speaking
(Grade 4) Core Convention Skills
a. Explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general as well as in particular sentences
b. Use verb tense to convey various times, sequences, states, and conditions
c. Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense
d. Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement
e. Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons
f. Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their)
(Grade 5)
All of the above plus, use and identify prepositional phrases
Key Idea: Demonstrate command of the conventions of academic English, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing
(Grade 4) Core Punctuation and Spelling Skills
a. Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue
b. Use commas and quotation marks to show direct speech and quotations from a text
c. Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence
d. Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and to add suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness)
e. Use spelling patterns, rules, and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words
(Grade 5) All of the above plus use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence
Comprehension of Text
Key Idea: Main ideas and details
(Grade 4)
a. Locate and refer to relevant details and evidence when explaining what a text says explicitly/implicitly and make logical inferences
b. Determine a theme/central idea of the text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text
(Grade 5) All of the above plus…
a. In literary texts, describe character traits, motivations, or feelings, drawing on specific details from the text
b. In informational texts, describe the relationship among a series of events, ideas, concepts, or steps in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect
c. In literary texts, compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, and events, drawing on specific details in the text
d. In informational texts, explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts based on specific evidence from the text
Key Idea: Craft and structure
(Grade 4)
a. Determine the meaning of words, phrases, figurative language, academic, and content-specific words (Grade 5)…and analyze their effect on meaning, tone or mood
b. In literary texts, compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first-and third-person narrations
c. In informational texts, compare and contrast a primary and secondary source on the same event or topic
(Grade 5) All of the above plus…
a. In literary texts, explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to determine the overall structure of a story, drama, or poem
b. In informational texts, compare and contrast the overall structure in two or more texts using terms such as sequence, comparison, cause/effect, and problem/solution
Key Idea: Integration of knowledge and ideas
(Grade 4)
a. Identify information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, illustrations), and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text
b. Explain how claims in a text are supported by relevant reasons and evidence (Grade 5)…identifying which reasons and evidence support which claim
Key Idea: How to Write an Argumentative Piece to Support a Stated Claim
(Grade 4) Write an argument to support claim(s), using clear reasons and relevant evidence
a. Introduce a precise claim, supported by well-organized facts and details, and organize the reasons and evidence logically
b. Use precise language and content-specific vocabulary
c. Use transitional words and phrases to connect ideas within categories of information
d. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the argument presented
e. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to respond and support analysis, reflection, and research.
f. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from multiple sources while taking notes
Oral Language
Key Idea: Speaking and Listening
(Grade 4)
a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion
b. Follow agreed-upon norms for discussions and carry out assigned roles
c. Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, make connections that contribute to the discussion, and link to the remarks of others
d. Identify and evaluate reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points
(Grade 5) All of the above plus…
Summarize information presented in diverse formats (e.g., including visual, quantitative, an oral)

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Posters and Classroom Helps:
Suggested Reading List by Level
80 Graphic Organizers | All Subjects
Story Elements Poster
Reading Strategy Posters | Set of 8
Conjunctions Bundle | 4 Grammar Posters
Grammar QUICK Reference Chart (Color Version)
Pronoun Posters
Noun Classroom Poster Set
42 Grammar Posters! (Sentence Type, Capitalization, Punctuation)
Syllabication Rule Posters
Classroom Poster | Writing – Using Descriptive Words

Great Texts from the Past
Pollard’s Advanced Speller
McGuffeys Forth Eclectic Reader
McGuffeys Fifth Eclectic Reader

Reading, Comprehension, Vocabulary, Spelling
Making Predictions | Reading Worksheet
Cause and Effect | Reading Comprehension
Author’s Purpose
Determining Author’s Purpose Worksheet | P.I.E.
Compare and Contrast
Generic Vocabulary Terms – Definitions Worksheet
Vocabulary Word Maps for Word Study
Latin Word Roots | Reference
Syllables | A Language Arts Game for 4th-6th Grades
4th Grade Reading Vocabulary | 1st Semester
Spelling Curriculum for 4th Grade
Spelling Curriculum for 5th Grade

(The below can be used to help practice and demonstrate comprehension)
Lincoln Informational Text BUNDLE | 3rd-4th Grades
Landforms | Informational Text
American Crocodile | Informational Text and Puzzle
Endangered Animals | Informational Text
Jumanji Book Unit
Saint George and the Dragon | Caldecott Book Guided Reading and Response
Johnny Appleseed Book Unit
The Whipping Boy (1987) Book Unit
On the Banks of Plum Creek Book Literature Unit | Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses | Caldecott Guided Reading and Activities
Sarah, Plain and Tall (1986) Book Unit
Grandfather’s Journey | Caldecott Book Guided Reading Activities
The Long Winter Book Literature Unit | Laura Ingalls Wilder
Number the Stars Book Activities
The Giver (1994) Book Unit

Grammar, Writing and Communication
Sentence Types | Learning, Practicing, Testing
Grammar Review 1 | Parts of Speech
Grammar Review 2 | Rules and More
Learning about Alliterations
Language Arts Fun – Similes, Alliteration, Fact or Opinion, Acrostic Poetry
Conjunctions Bundle
Let’s Learn Conjunctions | Grammar Unit
Daily Writing Prompt Journal – ONE YEAR BUNDLE
Guided Note Taking
Writing with a Purpose Assignment
Research Notecards

Newspaper Templates for Expository Writing
Fall Chaos | Creative Writing Activity
The Writer’s Station – Inspiring Writing Center
Pumpkin Poetry – Fall Creative Writing
Autumn Leaves Cross-Curricular Publishing Materials
Thanksgiving Grammar & Creative Writing Activities for November
Haiku Poetry Unit | Spring

Search ALL AVAILABLE Resources for 4th-5th Grades here.


(Grade 4)
a. Draw and identify points, lines, segments, rays, angles, and perpendicular and parallel lines in 2-dimensional figures
b. Classify two-dimensional figures based on lines, and angles, including recognizing right triangles
c, Recognize and draw lines of symmetry in two-dimensional figures
d. Calculate area and perimeter for rectangles in word problems or real-world scenarios
e. Recognize angles as geometric shapes formed by two rays and concepts of measuring angles (an angle is measured with reference to a circle with its center at the end point and considering the arc between the points where they intersect)
f. Measure angles using a protractor with whole-number degrees, recognize angles as additive
(Grade 5)
Classify and organize two-dimensional figures into Venn diagrams based on attributes
Fractions and Decimals
(Grade 4)
a. Use the four operations to solve word problems involving simple fractions and decimals
b. Make a line plot to display fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8) and solve addition and subtraction equations
c. Compare decimals to hundredths and fractions using <, >, and =, recognizing comparisons are only valid when referring to the same whole
d. Compare fractions with different denominators and numerators by creating common denominators.  Recognize comparisons are only valid when the fractions refer to the same whole
e. Decompose fractions into a sum with the same denominator (3/8 = 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8)
f. Convert fractions to decimals with denominators of 10 or 100 (0.62 = 62/100)
(Grade 5)
a. Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to the hundredths
b. Add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators by replacing with common denominators
c. Solve word problems with addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole, including unlike denominators
d. Interpret a fraction as a division of the numerator by the denominator.  Solve word problems involving division of whole numbers leading to answers in the form of fractions or mixed numbers
e. Multiply and divide fractions and whole numbers with fractions
f. Recognize the scaling of multiplication as it relates to fractions; when multiplying a given number by a fraction larger than one, the product will be greater than the given number and when multiplying by a fraction smaller than one, the product will be smaller
g. Solve real-world and word problems involving multiplication of fractions and mixed numbers
(Grade 4)
a. Recognize units of measurement including: km, m, cm, kg, g, lb, oz, l, ml, hr, min, sec
b. Within a single system of measurement, recognize conversions using multiplication and ability to create a 2-column chart expressing two equivalencies (foot-to-inch)
b. Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, time, and money.
(Grade 5)
a. Convert measurement units within a given measurement system and use these conversations in multi-step problems
b. Make a line plot displaying a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8).  Use operations on fractions for this grade to solve problems using this information.
c. Understand volume as an attribute of solid figures and understand concepts of volume measurement in standard and non-standard units
d. Relate volume to the operations of multiplication and addition to solve real-world mathematical problems involving volume.  Use the formulas V = L x W x H and V = B x H for rectangular prisms.  Recognize volume as additive with solid, non-overlapping figures

Place Value / Number Fluency
(Grade 4)
a.  Compare multi-digit numbers using <, >, and =
b. Use place value understanding to round multi-digit whole numbers
c. Generate number or shape patterns that follow rules, such as the rule “add 3” will result in alternating even and odd numbers.  Explain informally why this is so.
(Grade 5)
a. Recognize in a multi-digit number, a digit in the one place represents 10 times as much as in the place to its right and 1/10 of the place to its left
b. Use whole number exponents to denote powers of 10.  Explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying a number by powers of 10 and patterns in the placement of the decimal point when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10.
c. Read, write, and compare decimals to thousandths, including the use of symbols <, >, =
d. Use place value to round decimals to any place
e. Generate two numerical patterns using two given rules. Identify apparent relationships between corresponding terms. Form ordered pairs consisting of corresponding terms from the two patterns, and graph the ordered pairs on a coordinate plane. For example, given the rule “Add 3” and the starting number 0, and given the rule “Add 6” and the starting number 0, generate terms in the resulting sequences, and observe that the terms in one sequence are twice the corresponding terms in the other sequence. Explain informally why this is so.
(Grade 4)
a. Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers
b. Multiply or divide a whole number up to four digits by a one-digit number and multiply two two-digit numbers
c. Solve equations and word problems involving multiplication of a fraction by a whole number
d. Addition and subtraction of fractions with a common denominator, including creating common denominators
e. Solve multi-step word problems with whole numbers and whole number answers using the four operations, including representation of the unknown variable using a letter
f. Self-correct or assess the answers found when solving equations by using mental computation or estimation strategies, such as rounding
g. Determine whether an equation is true or false and find the unknown number in an equation by using comparative relational thinking (without adding 60 + 24, determine whether 60 + 24 =- 57 + 27)
h. Find all factor pairs for a whole number in the range of 1-100 and recognize that a whole number is a multiple of each of its factors
i. Determine whether a given whole number from 1-100 is prime or composite
(Grade 5)
a. Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers
b. Find whole number quotients of whole numbers of up to four-digit dividends and two-digit divisors
c. Use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions
(Grade 5)
a. Understand how to identify and place coordinates on an X/Y grid


These concepts are not divided into Grade 4 and Grade 5. You are encouraged to teach as you feel led by child interest
to cover these skills and concepts within these two grade levels.


Conducts experiments using the scientific method:

1. Observes and Researches
2. Develops a Hypothesis (based on observations and research)
3. Makes Predictions
4. Experiments
4. Develops and shares a Conclusion

– Develops further questions to research and create new experiments based on previously done experiments and previously realized conclusions.
– Collects and uses data to support experiments and what he/she learns.
– Writes about and orally presents the findings and conclusion of an experiment, using specific reasons and proofs to explain his/her reasoning.
– Researches and takes notes on information on a variety of topics using texts and computers.
– Experiments with diverse types of materials and different matter such as solid, liquids, and gas to observe different types of physical and chemical changes.
– Studies and creates models of systems and objects to further explore and show an understanding of the scientific concepts learned.

– Can classify organisms into kingdoms; classify plants and animals according to physical characteristics.
– Classify minerals by their physical properties.
– Identify the three categories of rocks; explain how rocks are formed and change over time.
– Water Cycle: Can describe the water cycle.
– Describe ways in which soil is formed; identify different properties of soil.
– Describe changes in the earth’s surface due to weathering, erosion, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc.
– Differentiate between the sun, stars, and planets; identify and describe constellations, comets, and meteors; under- stand the effect of earth’s rotation and revolution on the position and movement of stars.
– Understand what an ecosystem is; describe relationships within an ecosystem.
– Explains photosynthesis.
– Describes the food chain
– Can give examples of inherited characteristics that may change as adaptations to changes in the environment enable organisms to survive
– Can describe instinctive and learned behaviors of animals.
– Can identify the states of matter
– Compare and contrast solids, liquids, and gases based on their properties.
Energy and Machines
– Light: Identify and describe light and sound as basic forms of energy; describe light and its properties; identify sources and causes of light
– Sound: Describe sound and its properties; relate vibration to pitch.
– Identifies magnetism and electricity as basic forms of energy. Can describe the properties of magnets and magnetic fields; classify objects as attracted by or not attracted by magnets.
– Compare and contrast simple and complex machines.
– Can identify the parts of an electrical circuit; make and test a parallel and series circuit; classify materials as conductors or insulators.
Curriculum Top Picks:

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Guided Note Taking
Scientific Method | Checklist and Vocabulary
Science Lab Observation Worksheet | Elementary
Science Lab | Using a Compound Microscope
101 Science Experiments
7 Fun Electricity Experiments
Edison Inspired Experiments | Projects
Fun Experiments inspired by Benjamin Franklin
Matter Article and Worksheet
A Study of the Earth – Natural Resources
Earth’s Layers – Geology Nomenclature Cards
Biome Study | Temperature Comparison
Parts of a Volcano – Geology Nomenclature Cards
Learning the Parts of a Volcano
Volcanoes | Interactive Science Notebook Project
Make your own Volcano! Activity
Forces & Motion – Informational Text, Worksheet & Crossword
Science Mini-Lessons: Magnetism
Weather Vocabulary | 3rd-5th
Winter Weather Unit – Forms of Precipitation
Planet Posters | Solar System
Solar System Info Graphic
Planets of our Solar System Informational Text
Solar System Posters and Worksheets
Constellations in the Winter Sky – Northern Hemisphere
Constellation Flashcards
Constellation Quizzes
Reptile and Amphibian Classification Activities
Insects – Spiders – Creepy Crawlies | Woodland Pictorial Key
Mammals Research and Report Activity | Placentals
Mammals Research and Report Activity | Monotremes | Egg Laying
Mammals Research and Report Activity | Marsupials | Pouch Carriers
Natatorial Mammals | Swimming Animals | Science Research and Report
Saltatorial Mammals | Jumping or Leaping | Science Research and Report
Fossorial Mammals | Ground Dwelling | Science Research and Report
Arboreal Mammals | Tree Dwelling Animals | Science Research and Report
Flying Mammals | Science Research and Report Activity
Endangered Animals | Informational Text
Ants | Hands-on Insect Science
Insect Note Cards
Rock Chart
Rock Identification Booklet
Botany – Plants | Interactive Learning
Photosynthesis Posters
Photosynthesis in Plants – Posters
Photosynthesis | Food Factory in the Forest | Cross-curricular

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Social Studies

Skills and Concepts for Social Studies are based on ten themes. These themes are built upon throughout a student’s K-12 educational experience. These themes are:

1. Culture
2. Time, Continuity, and Change
3. People, Places and Enviornments
4. Individual Development and Identity
5. Individuals, Groups and Institutions
6. Power, Authority and Governance
7. Production, Distribution and Consumption
8. Science, Technology and Society
9. Global Connections
10. Civic Ideas and Practices

These ten themes should be incorporated progressively but can be taught in ways that include student interest and through the study of differing towns, cities, states, and nations.

If you are in the U.S., typically a study of your state is highly encouraged and/or required in the 4th or 5th grades. Also, basic U.S. History is introduced in greater detail, including the government (three branches, Declaration of Indepenence and the U.S. Constitution). European influences and global trade will be discussed along with basic economic priciples.

Below you’ll find a list of “process and skills” that should be covered in 4th-5th grades:


Reading and Communication

a. Use appropriate strategies to read and interpret basic social science tables, graphs, graphics, maps, and texts.
b. Differentiate between primary and secondary source documents.
c. Express social science ideas or information in written, spoken, and graphic forms including tables, line graphs, bar graphs, and maps.
d. Identify point of view and bias.

Inquiry, Reearch and Analysis
a. Use compelling and supporting questions to investigate social studies problems.
b. Differentiate between compelling questions and supporting questions.
c. Use supporting questions to help answer compelling social studies questions.
d. Know how to find relevant evidence from a variety of sources.
e. Use data presented in social science tables, graphs, graphics, maps, and texts to answer compelling and supporting questions.
Public Discourse and Decision Making
a. State an issue as a question of public policy and discuss possible solutions from different perspectives.
b. Apply Democratic Values or Constitutional Principles to support a position on an issue.
c. Construct an argument and justify a decision supported with evidence.
d. Explain the challenges people have faced and actions they have taken to address issues at different times and places.
Civic Participation
a. Act out of the rule of law and hold others to the same standard.
b. Assess options for individuals and groups to plan and conduct activities intended to advance views on matters of public policy.
c. Explain different strategies students and others could take to address problems and predict possible results.
d. Use democratic procedures to make decisions on civic issues in the school or classroom.
Curriculum Top Picks:

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General Geography:
5 Themes of Geography BUNDLE

U.S. Geography Focused Resources:
5 Themes of Geography BUNDLE
50 U.S. States | Interactive Social Studies
U.S. 50 States Quick Reference
Regions of the U.S. – Northeast Region | Informational Text and Worksheets
US Geography – Northeast Scrapbooking Pages
Regions of the U.S. – Midwest Region – Informational Text and Worksheets
US Geography – Midwest Scrapbooking Pages
Regions of the U.S. – South Region – Informational Text and Worksheets
US Geography – South Scrapbooking Pages
Regions of the U.S. – West Region – Informational Text and Worksheets
US Geography – West Scrapbooking Pages
State Quick Maps | Outline Maps
US State Capitals – Crossword Puzzles
Learning about the U.S.A. – State Maps (Outline – Capitals – Major Cities)
State Bird Notebooking Mega BUNDLE
Map Skills | Louisiana

Unit Based World Studies
Geography – Country Studies | Lapbooking
Lakes of the World | 5th Grade
Learning about the Maya, Aztec and Inca Civilizations | 5th Grade
Geography Notebooking | South American Bundle (for more advanced students)
Geography Notebooking | Western Europe Bundle (for more advanced students)

Civic Responsibility and U.S. Government
U.S. Elections: A Student-Centered Project-Based Unit for 4th-6th Grades
U.S. Elections – Classroom Poster Set
Candidate Analysis – Comparing Candidates Election Activity (For more advanced students)
U.S. Elections | 3 Informational Articles and Worksheets (For more advanced students)
Electoral College | Informational Text (For more advanced students)
Counting the Votes – An Electoral College Assignment (For more advanced students)
Declaration of Independence | American History | Copy Work
US Presidents Fact Cards
U.S. Landmarks | Washington Space Needle
U.S. State Flags Coloring Book

Suggested resources to use for research skills:

Research Notecards
* A Day in History Series *
Susan B Anthony – Biographical Research & Notebooking
10 Famous African Americans Notebooking Unit
Abraham Lincoln | History Project
Rosa Parks Notebooking pages
Dred Scott Notebooking pages
Margaret Brent Notebooking pages
Anne Bradstreet Notebooking pages
North American Birds of Prey Research / Report Pages

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