FIRST year teaching FOURTH grade

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by rgn0002, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. rgn0002

    rgn0002 Rookie

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    Apr 30, 2012

    I will be teaching 4th grade beginning in August. I graduate in 10 days and I am already trying to get my master to-do list rolling. I need some help in the following areas:

    Behavior Management System- I did my internship in the 2nd grade and I have a feeling that system isn't going to work with my 4th grade class.

    Holding students accountable for HW- a definate issue in my internship but I'd like to find some way OTHER THAN keeping students in at special to do it in the classroom.

    Any resources that cover DAILY 5 in extreme detail. I've done this before, incorporating learning centers, but I'd like to come more familiar with it.

    If you have learning centers in your classroom, how do you hold students accountable for their work there?

    Any materials you never thought you'd never/hardly need but use everyday? Or something you use everday that I need to be sure I have plenty of?

    Thanks in advance for ANY help! I am soo nervous but soo excited!!!
     
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  3. stargirl

    stargirl Companion

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    Apr 30, 2012

    Just a few things off the top of my head:

    A behavior management system that's worked very well for me is to have a "table contest" (I have my students' desks arranged in tables) where the tables earn points for following directions, working together nicely, etc and at the end of the month the table with the most points earns prizes for all of those students (i.e. a fun eraser or cute pencil). What's great about this is it can cover any situation, and if some of the class starts to get distracted you can easily get their attention back by saying "I'm looking to see which table is doing the best job" etc.

    To keep track of homework, I have a clipboard with a spreadsheet and when we go over the homework or right before I have the kids hand it in, I glance around the room and mark off anybody missing theirs. I don't run after the kids to hand it in, but they know they can hand it in the next day and I will erase the 0 (I have magnetic folders on the board labeled "make-up" work--I think I bought them from either Lakeshore or Really Good Stuff--so this way they can hand it in and it stays put until I get a chance to go through it, so I don't have to worry about misplacing make-up work). As far as holding them accountable, the homework accounts for a certain percentage of their grade (the official policy as determined by the school district).

    Other materials? If you can, stock up on construction paper/colored pencils. Kids this age love making posters/illustrating their work, and if you're stuck for a lesson idea or have some extra time you can find a way to have them make a poster for just about any subject. For example, the other day in math, we finished our probability lesson early so I gave the students three lists of choices and had them create a tree diagram poster to show all possible combinations for ice cream flavors, toppings, and type of cone. The students ended up designing some really creative posters and it was a great review.
     
  4. rgn0002

    rgn0002 Rookie

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    Apr 30, 2012

    I really love the idea of the table contest. I'm going to try it!!!!

    I'm going to look for those folders to purchase. Sounds like it would work!!!

    It's soo much easier to get advice from teachers who have BEEN teaching and already know what is successful and unsuccessful. Thanks for taking the time to reply! I appreciate the help!
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 1, 2012

    Congrats!

    I use a system where students start at a center place and move up for good behavior and down for not so good behavior. Each level has a privilege or consequence that are spelled out. We also have a weekly drawing to earn rewards.

    As for homework, having something for a parent to sign and a weekly reward for completing homework helps. I also hold kids at lunch to get help on homework that they didn't do...because if they didn't complete it, they must need some help.

    Supplies---post-its, folders, binders, special colored pens, mechanical pencils, post-it flags, note cards
     
  6. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    May 1, 2012

    Forgive my copy and paste, but here's my advice:

    The best thing you can do is prepare yourself. Learn the material you have to teach. Then look at the third grade standards, and the fifth grade (and even sixth) standards. Know more than what is necessary.

    Ask your school if you can have a copy of the teacher's edition, and student book in every subject you have to teach. Read them. Then read them again. They're only fourth grade, it won't take you too long. You don't have to read thoroughly, but know what the students are going to be doing, before you teach it. If you feel that something isn't covered well, start looking for supplementary materials (if that is allowed at your school). Speaking of...

    Go to Staples or Office Max or Walmart and get a few large binders-3 inches work pretty good. Get one for each subject. Also, make sure you have a hole-puncher. Get dividers and make sections for every unit you will teach, in every subject. When you find a lesson, or some kind of material, hole-punch it and put it in the proper place in your binder. I wish someone would have told me this my first year-it would have saved a lot of headache 3 years down the road when I had papers taking over my life. Alternatively, if you are not one for papers (I'm not, and have almost eliminated paper from my life), do the same thing with folders on your computer. Save each lesson to the proper folder. There was a time when I NEEDED to see the copied paper to know what I wanted to do with it, which is why I suggest the binder trick for starting out. Eventually, you'll figure out what works best for you.

    Making a year-long plan will greatly calm your nerves. Get a calendar, or a spreadsheet, or a Word document, whatever your preference, and sketch out the year. Don't make solid plans, but know that by the end of September, you want to be at a certain place in your math curriculum-and so on. It probably won't work out that way, especially that first year, but at least you'll have a rough outline. It's also good for not forgetting anything, and making sure you have a good sequence. Then, during the year, keep a blank one handy to jot down where you actually got to at certain times of the year. Next summer, you'll know a lot more about what needs to be taught and when.

    Spend about a week or two this summer on the fun stuff-bulletin boards, cute displays, maybe a newsletter, etc. Don't let that consume your time. So often, new teachers think the most important tasks are making the room look good-a beautiful room will be useless if you don't have a good grasp of the material, and a plan to teach it.

    Spend another week or so on designing your day in the classroom. What will you do if a student doesn't have HW done? What will you do if a student has to be absent? What will you do if a student asks to go to the bathroom? Anticipate every need you can think of-and understand that you won't cover everything, but you'll have a good basic start.

    Learn your school's policies on everything from dress code to lunch room rules to truancy to teacher parking. If anything jumps out at you as strange, ask now-find another teacher, or someone who can explain to you the rationale. You don't want to find yourself in a battle with a mom over spaghetti straps on the first day of school. Again, anticipate what might happen before it actually does.

    I am a firm believer that if you are organized, ready to go, and mean business, then behavior management systems don't have to be so elaborate. I'm not trying to take a pie in the sky attitude, but seriously, kids can smell fear, and unpreparedness. This leads to behavior issues. My first summer, I spent way too much time thinking about what I was going to do in REACTION to misbehavior, rather than curbing the misbehavior BEFORE it occurred.
     
  7. Alisha

    Alisha Cohort

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    May 18, 2012

    Have you read The Daily Five book???

    This is my first year teaching fourth grade, too! I have taught other grades, but each grade level is a world of it's own. Congrats!

    I know there's more I could say and maybe I will come back to this later and add some, but right I'm in a rush ;).
     
  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

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    May 18, 2012

    Congrats! Fourth grade is a wonderful year. I agree with a previous poster who said go over your standards, and get a copy of the teachers' editions if you can.

    Good luck!!! It will be a great year.
     
  9. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    May 19, 2012

    I will also be following your suggestions
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    May 19, 2012

    Fourth grade isn't that much different than second grade. I used done of my same lessons with just a little tweaking.
     
  11. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    May 19, 2012

    I've never taught fourth grade, or even elementary school! However, I know a lot about what goes on by browsing the web. :) I would suggest searching teacher blogs for ideas... if you go to a site called teachingblogaddict they have a number of blogs by grade level. I've learned soooo much just from reading what real teachers have done in their classrooms.

    Also, read a lot! You could go to Amazon and browse their section on teaching books. Great way to get started.
     
  12. dannyboy

    dannyboy Companion

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    Jun 2, 2012

  13. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Jun 2, 2012

    Mopar, would you mind sharing the privileges and consequences you use for each level? I am planning on doing something similar for behavior but am not sure what each level should entail. And I am looking for ideas.

    OP congrats on the new job! My biggest piece of advice as a new teacher ( just finished my first year) is know your content. Also, be flexible because there will be some things that come up that you can't plan on until it happens, you just have to modify and adjust! Good luck!
     
  14. traveler

    traveler Comrade

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    Jun 3, 2012

    I also use group/table points in my room. It is easy to say "hmm, I see table 3 is ready I'll give them a point" and the rest jump to get in line. I also give each child a square chart. I like this option too so I can give and take away points form individuals. With the group points when a table gets to 10 points, they all get a piece of licorice. For the square charts, they get something form the prize box (pencils, erasers, small notepads, sometimes little toys, all inexpensive things). These have worked well for me. Big for me was follow through. Don't give too many warnings for repeat offenders. If you warn and never punish, they learn you won't do anything. If you give a warning that something will happen if they repeat their behavior, follow through with the consequence. Be careful of what the consequence is when you warn them, though. Make it doable. I made the mistake of taking away recess from a student. That meant I had to miss my chance to use the bathroom too. :blush:
    I love 4th grade. It is a lot of fun. I would also suggest getting to know your co-workers. Do you have a fourth grade team? They may be a lot of help and provide guidance for you.
     

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