Moving to 4th grade--need some help!

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by Rainbowbird, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Aug 1, 2011

    I have been reading all of the new 4th grade teacher threads. I am going to be teaching 4th grade this year. All of my exp. is in 2nd and 3rd. I loved third grade! I'm guessing that at the beginning of the year, 4th graders are a lot like the 3rd graders at the end of the year...

    I'm wondering if the experienced teachers here could leave classroom management tips here, and other ideas for interesting activities and lessons?

    I know I just need to get in there and get to know the age. Right now I'm feeling a little nervous b/c I am so used to 3rd graders!

    Thanks for any tips!
     
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  3. IEDUK8

    IEDUK8 Rookie

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    Aug 1, 2011

    Hi Rainbowbird,

    First off, I taught 3rd grade and moved up to 4th grade a couple of years ago, so I'm mirroring your trend. :)

    Let me say, I moved up from 20 students to 34 students and I have NOT ONE REGRET.

    I LOVE the 4th grade age. Some people believe that they're just "3rd graders a bit older", but there must be something special that happens in the summer between 3rd and 4th, because they're quite a bit more mature. Even more (in my opinion) than from 2nd to 3rd.

    I think you will have a blast! They're older and "get" your jokes more. They are still young enough to be sweet and respectful... they haven't developed the hormonal attitudes of 6th grade (I've taught that as well. :) )

    You can expect more from them and they will deliver! They don't want to be treated like babies. They want to show the world they can do more mature things. They want to learn how to debate properly. They want to learn how the world works and, how it impacts them. They're just adorable little sponges (like all grades) but with the starting drive to really think about their community. They're starting to get out of their "me me me" stage and look at the "us us us" stage... briefly until they go back to 6th grade of "me me me". ;)

    I think re: management - when you create the class rules, ask for their buy-in, always knowing that you have the final say. You can steer the conversations the way you want, but can still ask them to give advice on what they think a good classroom looks like.

    Think about teaching them debating skills ("attack the argument, not the person") and that may carry over with any inter-personal conflicts they may have.

    Please share back your thoughts on this wonderful age group. I truly think you'll enjoy it. :)

    Of course, entering with a "I'm going to love this!" attitude helps.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  4. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Aug 5, 2011

    Thank you for that encouraging post! It sounds like a great age. I think part of my trepidation is that I am filling a maternity leave until Dec. (although there is a chance I will be with this class til the end of the year, I am told). So I feel like I am in "someone else's" room...and that I need to try to do things her way. If it were my class, I would be barging ahead with plans. It inhibits my creativity a bit...but I'm happy to have a job!
     
  5. MissAinCA

    MissAinCA Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2011

    I'm in almost exactly the same boat. I have taught K and 1st in the past. I recently moved to another state and I am lucky right now at the moment to have a half-year gig as a 4th grade teacher. I'm very excited about it as well! I also understand feeling a bit inhibited in what you can do with and in the room. I feel the same. One of my favorite parts is getting ready for a new year of possibilities and letting my excitement show through in my room design. Anyway, I emailed the teacher to get her feedback on things and that way I could also open up communication between us and maybe that will help my feelings ease a bit. Maybe you could do the same. I try to imagine what a role reversal would feel like and know that I would appreciate the sub reaching out to me. I will keep my eyes on this thread as I could use any and all advise and ideas on how to approach fourth grade!
     
  6. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Aug 12, 2011

    Hi!

    Pm'd you!
     
  7. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Aug 12, 2011

    You will LOVE 4th grade. It's the best!! (In my humble opinion anyway! lol) They do come in still very much in that 3rd grade mode. I work hard with them all year to push them to the next level. I teach a lot of responsibility. At my school this is the grade they go from having a newsletter every week that lists homework, to them having to write it themselves daily. They move to all 6 subjects instead of a science/social studies split, they go from "learning to read" to "reading to learn", and it's the high stakes testing grade. That's a lot on their little shoulders, but the higher you set the expectations, the harder they work to reach them. My new co-worker came down from high school, so it's been very eye-opening for her, too! lol
    This age is still very young, they still want hugs, they still bring you flowers, and they still like fun things. They are much more independent and ready to work harder. Today was day 1 and I had several bring in colored pictures. :) They outgrow that during the year, but it's a nice start! I keep my room pretty structured, but we do lots of hands on and lots of "fun" things.
    I've realized I'm rambling, so I'll stop. Welcome to 4th grade! I think you will love it here! :D
     
  8. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Aug 12, 2011

    Thank you, Christy! That is very encouraging.

    Do you mind sharing a few ideas for the first week of school? I am going to have them make time capsules, and also maybe do an observation walk on the nature trail. We have a really nice one at the school. Of course, I will introduce them to things like their textbooks and we'll be doing some structured academic activities, but I want to do a few creative "get-to-know-you" types of things.

    I was in the room doing some set-up today, and it is beginning to feel more like home. I am actually returning to the classroom after being a SAHM. This is a LTS assignment until Dec. It feels a little weird in that respect. I have never been a LTS, have always had "my own" classroom, but I am hoping this will eventually turn into something permanent.

    Thanks for any ideas and all your nice words of encouragement!
     
  9. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Aug 14, 2011

    Those are all great ideas. I do an "All About Me" packet at the start of school and hold it until the end of the year. Then I have them fill out another one and give them back both. They are always amazed at how much they change throughout the year. I always try to start science with something fun - hands on if you can, but if not, at least a cool demonstration. We always start with the scientific method so I will sometimes start with baking soda and vingar. It's always good for some fun! Something like this (http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/balloon_blowup.html) but walking them through the scientific method. In social studies we start with continents and oceans, and we make a "Where am I" book. It's a shutterfold book We start with a map of the world on the cover (all maps are cut in half so you can open them) then you open the world and find a map of North America, that opens to a map of the US (with Alaska and Hawaii where they belong), and that to a map of Louisiana, then finally a map of Grant parish with our school marked on it. They tend to get some of those confused so it's a great way to help them really see what they are (continent vs state vs parish). Math starts with a practice timed test on multiplication facts and into subtracting and adding with regrouping, and our Reading starts with story one. In English it's always sentence vs fragment. Our writing is setting a baseline, so I know what they can do - they write me a letter about their summer, what they are excited about, and what they are nerous about.
    I think that's pretty much our first week. I try to get started on everything and get procedures set in place quickly. They like structure. Good luck! I think you'll love it! :)
     
  10. Matt633

    Matt633 Comrade

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    Aug 14, 2011

    I do the time capsule also. What are you including in yours? We trace our hands, write a letter to ourselves as to what we expect out of 4th grade. We measure them. Take a picture. Complete a "favorites" page. I forget what else, the plans are at school.

    Since the first day is hectic, I have a puzzle piece (with their name written in the center) on their desk and ask them to decorate it any way they want. Some start this first thing as I greet other children/parents. Sometime during the first day we take all of the pieces and glue them together. I have a couple of pieces that I have kept out where I have written "Mrs. M's class....a perfect fit!" or "...a place for everyone" or "we all fit together." I make the puzzle from a regular poster board and cut it up to the amount of pieces I need that year.

    I will have tadpoles in my class the first day. So I ask them to draw the stages of development (they learned them in third) as a sort of fun review.

    I do a Classroom Economy. We spend a lot of time figuring out jobs, pay scale, designing our money (last year was dolphin dollars) this year I am doing an extreme sports theme...so we will see.

    So much to talk about the first day!--Schedules, books we will read, etc. etc.

    After the first day, I start regular curriculum. I do introduce the spelling words of Unit #1 on the first day and we practice multiplication. Which sets up their goals to have their tables memorized.

    I think you will love it also! Good Luck and remember we are here if you need us!
     

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