Fourth Grade: North Carolina Journals

Fourth grade’s social studies curriculum centers on the study of North Carolina. The Language Arts curriculum strives to prepare students for the March Writing Test, a statewide benchmark of student comprehension and skill. To this end, the fourth grade collaboration between Penland School and Mitchell County students and teachers combines writing exercises and research and reflection on North Carolina species, historic figures, businesses, foods, agriculture, etc. Students create paste paintings representative of favorite local landscapes and specific species, and turn these paintings into books. The project involves a lot of creative choice, inviting students to apply required understanding of a variety of writing forms (haiku, cinquain poems, limericks, descriptive writing, dialogue, personal narrative, etc.) The end product is an impressive abecedarian collection of writings and illustrations considering the beauty and unique qualities of this region.







Students paint favorite local scenes and species, in preparation for creating their “North Carolina Home” books. Paintings then become the pages and covers of their hand-made, hand-written, and hand-illustrated ABC books.
















This student is making the extra effort to collage the inside of her book cover with scraps from the rest of the book construction. A lot of work goes into these books and students are exceedingly proud of them.






















In 2009 Penland started hosting occasional Art Nights. Students have the option of coming to Penland to make art with their parents, grandparents, siblings, and teachers. The art created often finds its way into their books.
















One of the most popular parts of the project is learning to make a pop-up. Students create a three-dimensional self-portrait that shows them doing something they enjoy. These often become "About the Author" pages.
















Students learn how to paint realistically using complementery colors in a watercolor project. They use their new skills to paint local scenes and landmarks.























Students tour Penland's campus and observe art-making in our 15 professional studios, increasing their understanding of Penland, its place in North Carolina history, and their awareness of craft processes. Here students sketch the mosaic wall, a favorite part of the Penland campus.
















Students research North Carolina animals, plants, geography, history, people, landmarks - every aspect of their home state. This student clearly enjoyed his pop-up lesson. He used the technique again to great effect to make a pop-up black widow spider - a common North Carolina species.
















Some classes choose to organize their books into an ABC guide to the state. The Wright Brothers are a common entry for the letter W.