Thursdays* 10:15-2:30  

Teacher: Dr. Dan Durkin

Fee: $75/week, payable per semester (Fall & Spring)

*The day starts at 9:30 w/ the option of Spanish (see below).

NB: AFTERCARE at The Planet is available directly following: ​​​.

4th & 5th Grade Core Academics    (The following is only the 4th grade specifics.  5th grade to be listed soon.  If you have any questions, please use the contact page.)

The math program at Harbor MicroSchool will be exciting as the numbers get bigger, we break them, combine them, divided them, make geometric shapes, learn about lines and angle measurements, use cool tools like protractors and compasses, and discover the beauty of symmetry.

Students will be able to understand place value to 1,000,000, and understand the size of numbers in each place. We will work with the properties of operations, in particular the distributive property and they will multiply multi-digit whole numbers. Students will apply their understanding of models of division using appropriate methods to estimate and mentally calculate quotients and interpret remainders based on the context of the problem. We will also continue to work on applying addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to story problems.

In grade 4, we will be seeing a lot more fractions. We will continue to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions with like and unlike denominators. We will also learn what equivalent fractions are and begin to investigate decimals and percents.

This year will also be the introduction of geometry. Last year we used a compass and created precise constructions of triangles, rectangles, and a pentagon. This year we will begin to measure angles using a protractor and constructing more complex polygons.

Language Arts:
Students in grade four build on their foundational reading skills by improving their reading fluency and decoding longer and more difficult words. Learning also focuses on three new emphases: (1) more exposure to content-rich informational texts; (2) developing and writing opinions using evidence from books and other text resources; and (3) engaging in group and individual reading and research activities centered on more complex texts with new vocabulary.  Students will also continue to develop grammatical and spelling skills to accompany reading and writing.

Students will compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations. explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture), in context.

Students in fourth grade use all stages of the writing process—prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing—to produce clear, coherent writing suited to the purpose and audience. Students develop proficiency in each form of writing by having opportunities to practice their writing and by receiving prompt feedback. They learn about the links between reading different types of text structures and writing using those same structures, drawing on what they have read as examples of how to write. This year will also include some written assignments. The goal here is to experience the process of putting together a comprehensible essay and research report that has an introduction, body and conclusion. 

Social Studies:
During the fourth grade, social studies will focus on California history. Students will use maps, charts, and pictures to describe how California communities used the land and adapted to it in different ways. California has long been home to American Indian peoples, who lived along the coast, in the river valleys, Students learn about the major language groups of the American Indians and their distribution, social organization, legends and beliefs, and economic activities. and in the desert areas. Students study the extent to which early people of California depended on, adapted to, and modified the physical environment by cultivation and the use of sea resources. Contemporary cities and densely settled areas frequently are located in the same areas as these early American Indian settlements, especially on the coasts where rivers meet the sea. In analyzing how geographic factors have influenced the location of settlements, then and now, students have an opportunity to observe how the past and the present may be linked by similar dynamics.

Students will learn about the Spanish exploration of the New World and the colonization of New Spain. They review the motives for colonization, including rivalries with other imperial powers such as Britain and Russia, which brought Spanish soldiers and missionaries northward from Mexico City to Alta California.

The stories of Junipero Serra, Juan Crespi, Juan Bautista de Anza, and Gaspar de Portola are told as part of this narrative. Students learn about the presence of African and Filipino explorers and soldiers in the earliest Spanish sea and land expeditions. The participation of Spaniards, Mexicans, Indians from northern Mexico, and Africans in the founding of the Alta California settlements is also noted. In mapping these routes and settlements, students observe that access to California was difficult because of the physical barriers of mountains, deserts, and ocean currents and also because of the closing of land routes by Indians who were hostile to foreigners.

Students consider how the Gold Rush changed California by bringing sudden wealth to the state; affecting its population, culture, and politics; and instantly transforming San Francisco from a small village in 1847 to a bustling city in 1849. On the negative side, the Gold Rush robbed many of California’s earlier Mexican and Indian residents of their land grants and property rights and caused irreparable environmental destruction through the system of hydraulic mining that was introduced in the 1850s. Students learn about women who helped to build California during these years, such as Bernarda Ruiz, María Angustias de la Guerra, Louise Clapp, Sarah Royce, and Biddy Mason.

During fourth grade, students learn to formulate and justify predictions based on cause-and- effect relationships, differentiate observation from inference, and conduct multiple trials to test their predictions. In collecting data during investigative activities, they learn to follow a written set of instructions and continue to build their skills in expressing measurements in metric system units. Students develop their own questions, conduct scientific investigations, and communicate their findings in writing.

In physical science, students in grade four enhance their understandings of electricity and magnetism and consider the practical applications of these effects, building simple circuits, compasses and electromagnets.

In their study of life sciences, students extend their knowledge of ecology by learning about food chains
and webs and exploring the relationships between producers, consumers, and decomposers. They consider all components of an ecosystem, living and nonliving, and are introduced to microorganisms. In earth science, fourth-graders learn about rocks, minerals, and the rock cycle. They learn how to differentiate rocks on the basis of their properties and how to identify common minerals. Students also study the processes of erosion and weathering and learn about the role of water in shaping the surface of Earth. In addition, students learn about rapid processes that change Earth’s land surface: landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. ​​

Wednesday & Thursday. 9:30-10:15
8-12 years
Teacher:  Maritza Soto

Fee: $45/week
Description: Spanish 1/teaching more advanced Spanish to those w/ previous knowledge

Thursday 12:30-1:30
8-12 years

Teacher: Marge Gibbs

Fee $15/week
Description:  I will plan a variety of craft projects each week, often including fun nature themes. Some of our recent projects: we made felted acorns and added caps, felted wool squares adding things like fish, trees and sunsets; created imaginary animals showing their adaptations for survival; and decorated oranges with ribbons and cloves.

Fridays - 3 Field Trips paired w/ 3 In-depth study days- 6 week sessions -

for 4th-6th grade.
Fridays 9a-12p  

Ages: 9-12 years*

Description:  ​New this year, we offer 6-week sessions with a specific focus.  

First session is: Water and Your Environment: science unit.

Topics include: how water reshapes land (weathering, transport, and deposition); fresh water, salt water, your own local water; different states of water in our environment; water's roll in shaping California's landscape - including the dynamic system of rivers, streams, and waves.

While classwork is indeed important, the Harbor MicroSchool also values real life experiences. We are incredibly fortunate to have the entire Bay Area at our disposal.  Every other week we venture out to either further enrich what we learned in the classroom or as a stand alone opportunity to learn more about a specific area.  There are days when we are out in the natural world learning about local flora and fauna and other days at museums, local businesses, or street art exhibits.  Past trips have included guided visits to Marin Museum of the American Indian, Chinese Historical Society of America, Guide Dogs for the Blind,  KQED, and Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Tide Pools.

*younger siblings/parents may come along on the field trip days

**may be possible to join mid-way, please contact us thru the website

All classes held at The Planet except for field trips.