Fourth grade is a milestone for a Gordon student. The curriculum is full of high-profile assignments and responsibilities that younger students notice and anticipate eagerly. As the oldest members of the Lower School, they are starting to understand their own strengths as leaders. As soon-to-be Middle School students, they are refining skills and stockpiling knowledge that they'll be drawing on all the way through to eighth grade.
The entire school gets to know the fourth grade every morning and afternoon as these students raise and lower the flag in front of the school's entrance. Their peers recognize them as leaders as they facilitate the Lower School town meetings, and fourth grade students of color step up to help lead Tuesday Common Ground meetings. During the schoolwide assembly at the end of the year, fourth graders deliver moving, earnest tributes to Lower School teachers who impacted them over the years, and then the entire grade ceremoniously joins their future classmates in the Middle School seats.
The most visible parts of the fourth grade academic program include the Battle of the Books, a yearlong reading challenge with a boisterous theme song that is new every year. The June State Expo is another highlight, with students presenting ambitious dioramas alongside research papers to parents, faculty and classmates over the course of a busy morning.
Fourth grade is the last year for the inter-grade buddy program, and fourth graders work with their first grade buddies throughout the year. Students care for a different kind of buddy in science class when they are assigned a crayfish to observe during an extended lesson, documenting its habits and executing an experiment of their own design.