By Susana Patrick. 4th Grade Math. Published at Thursday, November 19th, 2020 - 20:39:15 PM.
The "rules" and "guidelines" for schools are complex and dictated to them by the prevailing winds of politics, either state, federal or both. How they approach instruction depends on many factors, the most telling being that they have been identified as a "school in crisis". Remediation Remediation has been used consistently in the past but generally is not approved for schools in crisis. The purpose was to work with students at their reading/math level until they mastered the skills allowing them to achieve at the level and pace of their peers. This approach may be appropriate for the child who is slightly behind his class, either because he had a long-term absence or other factors interfered with his learning at the time the skills were taught. The problem with remediation has always been that teachers taught the students the skills for which they assumed the students were now ready. They have not addressed the missing skills (possibly skills that should have been in place years before that teacher ever met the child) that caused the reading/math skills to be low in the first place.
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.
Moving to first grade meant moving away from the very secluded kindergarten classrooms and playgrounds. We spent a few different afternoons walking around the classrooms and visiting the new playground. When we discovered which classroom my child was in, we went there two or three times to make it comfortable to find and remember. Our school offers kindergartners the opportunity to buy hot lunch the very last two weeks of the school year so that the kids are comfortable with the cafeteria and lunch lines before they enter first grade. I made sure my daughters bought lunch several times in those two weeks so they could experience the new routine.
Dorit: Youre a veteran teacher-what do you teach and how long have you been teaching? Damien: Thank you for the moniker! I currently teach 4th grade public school in Southern California. Im credentialed to teach K-6 and Ive been teaching now for 9 years. Grades I have taught in the past include: 3,4,5,9, and I have taught college courses. So I like to think Ive seen a variety of ages so I can offer help and share about more than just 4th grade. Dorit: I hear also youre a writer - what do you also like to write and how long have you been writing? Damien: I got my Masters in English hoping to be a writer and college professor. The college professor thing wasnt for me, too much academia quicksand, but the writing has panned out well in one book publishing and a variety of popular posts out in the web. I book publishing came about when I answered a simple call for stories in my school newsletter. It ended up being published in a book. You can access my published and non published web writing at my online resume I call Riley Central.
I used some strategies that had proven successful in the past. This included going back to basics... checking to see what each child DID know, and what the specific gaps were for each student. All of the boys knew the letters of the alphabet and had some beginning knowledge of consonant sounds. Each could read just a few words. We started there, at their instructional level, with games and activities that I created as I tried to teach words with the CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) short vowel sound pattern. I was amazed at how difficult it was for these 10 and 11 years old boys to put letters and sounds together in this simple CVC pattern.
4th grade science experiments dont need to be overly involved and they can usually be done alone, with minimal help from teachers or parents. Children this age are very curious and full of energy so they should have no trouble coming up with a topic to experiment. One simple science experiment they may want to try is to see if draining water always spirals in the same direction. This is interesting and quite easy to test. It also involves a little foot work, which the kids will likely enjoy. All you really need to do is flush a toilet and see which way it drains, then fill a sink and see which way it drains, and then compare your results. Another fun one might be to see which material would protect an egg from a six- or eight-foot drop. Some materials you could use would be pillows, bubble wrap, blankets. Styrofoam chips, towels and more. Its pretty easy, just be sure to drop the egg from the same height each time and record your findings. One more idea for 4th grade science projects could be to see if the shape of an ice cube affects how long it takes to melt. You can test this by getting some ice cube trays in different sizes. These types of trays are usually sold at the dollar store. Then freeze water in the trays. Once theyre frozen you can take once ice cube of each shape and set it on a dry surface at the same time and see which ones melts the fastest.
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