By Lacy Mack. 4th Grade Math. Published at Sunday, November 22nd, 2020 - 03:49:52 AM.
As our children grow, their school situation continues to change. In addition to moving and changing schools we are also faced with in town school changes. We have found that by visiting the schools before school starts a lot of stress can be alleviated. Prior to kindergarten we not only did the whole visit with the teachers that the school asks you to do, we also walked around on a few weekends so that the school, playground and even the parking lot were really comfortable to my daughters. A few times, after school hours, we played in the playground which helped make even the playground a bit more comfortable when school began.
It should also be noted that my school follows a time allocation chart in which each subject is assigned a specific number of minutes per week by grade level. Lunch, recess, special classes, computer lab time, math, reading, social studies, science, physical education, writing, and rest time are all charted down to the minute. My school has about 350 students, until the spring of each year when we get an additional 50 students who are the children of migrant workers in the local blueberry fields. I consider the school to be medium-size. One of the complications we face each year is that we share our music, physical education, and art teachers with three other elementary schools. Different teachers are at the school on different days. This makes a cookie-cutter daily schedule simply impossible.
I want my teachers to be able to retrace my steps and perhaps provide alternative schedules or make adjustments that I had not considered. All alternatives to the master schedule should be presented to the grade level committee using the same methodology and should be based on deliberate strategy. "I dont want to teach after lunch" is an example of a schedule request that is not well thought out. An example of a schedule request that is well thought out might be, "If teacher A and teacher B trade media center times on Tuesdays, the second grade could have additional common planning time."
When the Parents were Growing Up If parents recall their first real science fair project, the memory is probably not a particularly good on, unless their parents did the project for them. Science Projects can be unnerving for kids. Parents did not have the luxury of the Internet, nor any great books on the subject. If the library had one or two publications, these were probably already backlisted for months since all the other kids wanted the same material. So, either the science project turned out to be unexciting or the parents stepped in and did the project for junior. Today, 4th graders still need help, but the Web is a tremendous help in finding and completing a good science fair project. But parents also need to be doing a web search to make sure that the experiment chosen is both safe for the student and also exciting. This first experiment will determine how the student views science and experiments for years to come.
My daughters went to two different elementary schools due to a move. One of the schools was 1st-3rd grade on one side of the property and 4th and 5th grade on the other side of the property with two completely different playgrounds. Prior to 4th grade beginning we made a point of visiting the school and exploring the "other side." Junior high school and senior high school both offer larger campuses with the changing of classrooms every hour throughout the day. Thankfully, here in my town, both schools offer the kids their schedules at least a week before school starts. We can then walk their schedule many times to make sure they are comfortable and they can remember the order of their classes. Often, the kids who had not pre-visited were late to classes the first week, couldnt find classrooms, and were generally much more stressed than the kids who made those pre-visits and were comfortable with where they were going.
The predominance of reading and writing are of informational materials, evaluating the content, forming opinions and persuading. Never are students asked to read or write for entertainment; the pure joy of reading or writing is never mentioned. Forget about humor! A second emphasis within the Common Core ELA standards is college-and-career readiness. Because of this things are all geared toward businesses. Students are asked to work in teams, to manage technology, to negotiate opinions and try to persuade using reason. They have to work with independence, writing for several audiences, tasks, purposes and among various disciplines. They handle facts competently, both researching material and understanding facts; they quickly proceed to evaluation and critique of factual material. As soon as they give opinions, they back them with specific facts and strong evidence. All the while they work collaboratively and incorporate technology regularly. A balanced view is required for team work and they also should respect other perspectives and cultures.
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