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The Excellent Reader Jr: 4th Grade Language Arts Course (Semester One)

In this Semester One fourth Grade English Language Arts course, Mrs. VZ provides your student with excellent language arts instruction. Using award-winning literature, students will improve in Reading, Grammar, and Creative Writing.
Evelyn VanZant: 4th and 5th Grade Language Arts
119 total reviews for this teacher
47 reviews for this class
Completed by 213 learners
50 minutes
per class
Twice per week
over 12 weeks
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does a "Multi-Day" course work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

How Outschool Works

Available Times


Tue, Jan 24, 2023

Jan 24 – Apr 20, 2023 (12 weeks)
Tu, Th
11:00 – 11:50 AM
Don't see a time that works for you?


Class Experience

In this 4th grade Language Arts, course students will improve their independent reading, comprehension, and writing skills by means of the five literature books, the two-week poetry unit, weekly vocabulary, grammar, and writing lessons.  
Specifically, by the end of this course, students will have improved both their oral and written communication skills. 
Using knowledge gained in my 23 years of teaching, I will guide your students and the class discussions to focus on the positive and character-developing attributes found in the stories we read.  Additionally, using common childhood scenarios, we will brainstorm ways to show kindness and be inclusive as demonstrated by the characters in our stories. 
Homework is not required for this course, however, completing the homework assignments will result in more academic growth.
Homework assignments will be uploaded before a unit begins and should take anywhere from 2-4 hours outside of class to complete depending on how fast your learner reads. (Readings may be completed using an audiobook or read aloud by a parent).
Below is a sample of homework assignments for the first 2 weeks of class, each homework packet will be accompanied by an assignment sheet with explanations for each assignment. 

No Pre-Class homework is needed. 
Week 1: My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Class 1 homework assignment: Complete before class 2.
o	Using your Thesaurus, find one-word definitions for your vocabulary on page 2.
o	Review Subjects and Predicates using the practice sheet on page 3.
o	Read Chapters 1 - 4 of My Father’s Dragon
o	Answer 4 of the 6 questions found on page 4. 
o	Color your Dragon : )
Class 2 homework assignments: Complete before class 3
o	Review the types of sentences using the practice sheets on pages 2 and 3.
o	Read Chapters 5-7 of My Father’s Dragon
o	Answer 4 of the 6 questions and the thinker question found on page 4.

Week 2: My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Class 1 homework assignments: Complete before class 4
o	Review subjects and predicates on pages 2 and 3 
o	Read Chapters 8-10 of My Father’s Dragon
o	Answer 4 of the 6 questions and the thinker question found on page 4
Class 2 homework assignments: Complete before class 5
o	If you had a secret animal hidden on an island, what would it be and how would you take care of it? 
o	See page 2 for further instructions.
o	Be prepared to share about your animal in our next class. 
 2 files available upon enrollment
Student Supplies include: My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop The 21 Balloons by William Pene du Bois James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl The Borrowers by Mary Norton The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms, Newest Edition, Mass-Market Paperback All of these may be purchased on Amazon or another book retailer. A Class 3 ring binder with loose-leaf paper (There will also be weekly printables associated with this class) Pencils or pens. There are some supplies that students will need to complete special projects. Parents will be given at least one week's notice to gather these special supplies.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
Reading and Grammar assignments will be given a completion grade.
Writing assignments will be uploaded and graded for accuracy.
Special projects will be graded for accuracy and completion.
Comprehension will be graded through class discussion participation and homework answers.
At the completion of the class, each student will be given a teacher evaluation in which I use class time and written examples to clearly communicate how much the student has advanced in their skills.  
If requested a letter or numerical grade will be provided to the parent.   

4th Grade grading rubric
1/5 Homework Completion
1/5 Class Participation
1/5 Research Project (class 12 and following)
1/5 Process Paragraph (class 16 and following)
1/5 Imagine If Story (class 23)
1 hour 40 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 2 - 4 hours per week outside of class.
We are reading five age-appropriate novels in this course and comprehension and book discussion are a large part of the in-class activities, so I wanted to summarize the plot and the discussion focus of each book.  
My Father's Dragon is the imaginary story of a boy who rescues a baby dragon from a group of unkind animals.  Instead of reflecting the animal's unkind choices, our hero helps each animal in turn, and through this process rescues the baby dragon. 
Discussion Focus: We will enjoy discussing the imaginary factors in the story such as talking animals, unique solutions to their problems, as well as the bravery of Elmer, our hero.  Additionally, we will focus on the kind and helpful choices of our hero. 

The book Twenty and Ten is based on the true story of twenty children and their teacher, who show kindness and compassion as they shelter and protect ten child refugees during World War II.  This book is set in France and has an excellent underlying theme of kindness and courage.
Discussion Focus: Following a simple age-appropriate introduction of World War II (focused mainly on Germany's invasion of other countries), we will move into how the twenty children and their teacher show sacrificial kindness and compassion to the ten refugee children.  Toward the end of this book, the students and I will discuss simple everyday scenarios in which we can show kindness to others.  These will include, providing food for someone who has none, helping neighbors and lost animals, and assisting our own families as we show kindness to others.

The book The 21 Balloons is a fictional tale crafted around the true 1883 Krakatoa volcanic eruption.  The story bears no resemblance to the actual event, but rather creates a fictional settlement on Krakatoa and focuses on the creativity with which it was settled.  The story begins with Professor Sherman being rescued by a passing freighter following his exciting departure from San Francisco in a balloon.  His adventures, or should I say, misadventures find him crash landing on the Island of Krakatoa and being rescued by its 80 eccentric citizens.  The story is told in retrospect as Professor Sherman recounts his adventures to the Western American Explorers' Club of San Francisco.
Discussion Focus: Following a simple recounting of the actual 1883 Krakatoa volcanic eruption, students will be guided through discussion surrounding the misadventures of Professor Sherman and the creative lifestyle in which the fictional eccentric Krakatoan citizens live.  They have grand homes with unusual inventions and lots and lots of diamonds found in the fictional volcano.  Through our discussion of this rollicking tale, we will focus on acceptance of one another no matter the circumstances.  The citizens of Krakatoa offer unlimited hospitality to Professor Sherman and we will focus strongly on this character development.

The book James and the Giant Peach is the fictional tale of a boy, a giant peach, and 6 oversized insects who embark on exciting adventures.  James, an orphan, living with his unkind aunts, finds himself climbing into a giant peach where he discovers the kind insects who live there.  James, as the hero of our story, shows kindness and consideration for the insects even though he has not received kindness from his aunts.   
Language Alert:  In chapter 27 of James and the Giant Peach, the centipede rather annoyingly begins calling the cloud men names including the word "asses."  If you are uncomfortable with this term, I suggest that you do a read-aloud of chapter 27 for the purpose of censoring the word.  
Discussion Focus: Following a brief scientific discussion of peaches, students will be comparing the unkind aunts with the kindness that James shows the insects in the giant peach.  Through the adventures and James' help, we will see the insects and James come to find a happier more accepting group of friends.  Throughout the entire discussion, we will focus on the kindness of James and the insects.

The Poetry Unit: Following a brief lesson on the definition of poetry, students will be introduced to famous poets through their poetry.  I will focus primarily on the following poets: Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Basho, and Shel Silverstein. 
During this unit, students will learn about rhyming and non-rhyming poetry, writing their own poetry, and dramatically reading poetry. 

The book The Borrowers is a fictional story featuring a family of tiny people who live secretly in the walls and floors of an English house and "borrow" from the big people in order to survive.  The story more closely follows the tiny Arrietty Clock and her friendship with the boy who lives in the house.  
Discussion Focus: This book discussion will focus on friendships and how to be a better friend.  What does a friend look like, how do they act, and how can we show kindness to our friends and others?  Additionally, we will discuss how to respect others' property and make wise choices when we borrow another's property. 
Updated March 16, 2022


Evelyn VanZant: 4th and 5th Grade Language ArtsPassionate about helping student's reading skills improve!
119 total reviews
73 completed classes

About Me

Saving my profile will allow you to receive 4th and 5th Grade Language Arts class listing updates.  I teach year-round with classes beginning mid-January, mid-May, and Mid-September. 

Having taught for many years, I have learned the key to being... 
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