By Joan Brock. 4th Grade Math. Published at Thursday, November 12th, 2020 - 14:14:25 PM.
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.
There are more people searching for 4th Grade Science Fair Projects than all other grades put together. There are good reasons for this. Science projects done in the earlier grades are usually done by the teacher or Mom/Dad since their youngster is simply to young to understand science experiments and how to construct them. This all changes with science fair projects for 4th grade. This is the class level in which the student must think up and complete his or her own science experiment. Also, since 4th grade is the level when nationwide assessments tests begin, the parents pay particular attention to the science project outcome.
The day proceeded normally. It was a rainy day, with an indoor recess, and an educational assistant came to my room to monitor the class while I took my 15-minute break. When I came back at the end of my break, the educational assistant was nowhere to be seen. The boys were all clustered near my desk, sitting on the floor, actively engaged with something. I quickly realized they had torn open the bag from the toy store, opened each of the puzzles, and had the pieces scattered all over the floor. I was upset... at the assistant who was supposed to be monitoring my class, and at the students, for getting into my personal items and opening puzzles intended for my as-yet-unborn child. I sternly demanded that the boys put the puzzles back together! And then I watched in utter amazement, as I realized that not one of these 4th grade boys was able to put the pieces of a simple inset puzzle back in place!
Letting Go Letting go means standing aside and allowing life to happen without my trying to control it. This has been (and some days still is) a completely foreign concept to me, because I was raised by a single-parent who was an abuse survivor. She taught us to stand up for ourselves and never be walked on. She taught us to speak up for ourselves. She also taught us to have a really good "BS meter." All important things if you want to feel in control and not be taken advantage of. What I didnt learn is how to flow with life: how to stand back, detach and be the observer, allowing others to do whatever they are going to do, and not attempt to control, manipulate or change the outcome. In short, I was programmed since childhood to defend myself really, really well. So while I have been described as a strong person, an intelligent person, and a capable person, nobody has ever described me as a particularly agreeable person, a gentle person, or a "go with the flow" kind of gal. Quite the contrary, Ive been described as a "take charge" kind of gal. This was brought to my attention again recently in a radio interview I did. I wanted so much to say what Id planned to say that the poor host literally couldnt get a word in edgewise. I battle with letting go and letting life spontaneously happen more than most folks, because I was abused as a child by one parent, and then taught to fight back by the other. There was no balance between the two extremes. When you think about it, letting go is all about trust. Its trusting that we live in an abundant and benevolent Universe. Its trusting another person to be there for us and catch us when we fall. Its trusting that I am in fact "good enough," regardless of what seems like evidence to the contrary. Its trusting that its okay to make mistakes because Im human. Its trusting that most of the time Im safe and not in danger, contrary to what my alarmist brain would have me believe. Letting go is the polar opposite of control, and its whats required if were going to reclaim our life. I am certain of this, because it wasnt until I let go of my idea of who I was (a mental health counselor) that I could finally see myself for who Id become (a suicide survivor). Seeing myself for who I really am has not been easy or comfortable, but ultimately its made my life healthier and happier. We are who weve become, not who we think we are.
Dorit: In your blog, you focus on various ways teachers can engage students. What do you feel by far is the most critical and challenging area(s) for new teachers to acquire? How do you feel about the task of engaging students? Damien: Great question on engaging students. People are attracted to energy. When a teacher is involved and enthusiastic in what she/he is teaching, kids are drawn there. That place is where learning occurs. The way to get there as a teacher is highly up to the individual. If I see a new teacher talking about the objective assigned to her as if she is walking barefoot on broken glass, I will ask her later: "What part of that boring lesson COULD you enjoy teaching?" Usually I get some wild answers after a while. The conclusion we come to is that you have to be interested of the kids wont buy in. New teachers should start finding the ways to be comfortable with the material, the delivery, the "tech toys" like projectors etc, and all the stuff they use to teach. As that comfort is developed, kids will want to come to class and they will learn. Kids are like sponges but if theres no water. Dorit: How has the internet affected teachers ability to think in more dynamic terms of engaging their learners? Your students writing? Damien: I enjoy keeping a blog but that may not be everyones cup of tea. The internet makes it possible to instantly gather photos and information on a variety of topics each day for your kids. I try to do my planning on Thu and Fri after school. At that time I assemble all the stuff I can from the internet. Its also a way to connect with teachers across the globe and escape "the box" of your school site or district thinking patterns.
Once you have that information, work backwards. Assume that the skills and knowledge levels will be in place by the end of the year, and then determine when you will need to build each skill into the academic year. Depending on the subject you teach, this will take different forms, but dont feel "married" to the scope and sequence of the textbooks suggested order. Select the points that certain skills need to be mastered, and then work backwards to build in the lessons and topics that will build those skills in or that knowledge base at the right time. You may be surprised to find that in some cases, the suggested order of the textbook can be adjusted to make your lesson plans flow more smoothly in your school for your specific classroom and for the strengths and weaknesses of the specific class you teach.
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