By Marva Cooley. 4th Grade Math. Published at Thursday, November 19th, 2020 - 18:30:05 PM.
I was an inner-city classroom teacher in a new, open-space school, part of a 4th grade team consisting of 4 teachers and 100 students. Sixteen of our students could not read even at the 1st grade level. They were all boys, and of course, these students were the behavior problems. Within the first two weeks of school, many of them were spending more time in the office for behavioral referrals than in their classrooms. The instruction was not differentiated according to reading levels, so these students were learning very little in materials geared toward a 4th grade reading level. My background was Alternative Education, and my passion was working with students who were slipping through the cracks. I suggested to the other three teachers on the team, that if they were willing to increase their class sizes, I would take the 16 non-readers. The other teachers jumped at the opportunity, and the administrator approved. By the third week of school, I had been relocated to a small, self-contained room with the 16 non-readers.
Consider the recent Occupy Protest movements that sprung up in New York and major cities across America and the globe. Basically these protests came down to jobs and the ability for folks to provide for their families, it came down to hope for the future. The fact is the majority of people around the world want jobs. This is a change from the past century, where the number one thing citizens expected from their leadership was food, shelter and security. Today that number one desire is simply good jobs. These protest movements, which were for the most part peaceful, are just a sliver of what is to come for countries and cities whose leadership fails to understand this new economic reality and this new global war for jobs. Folks around the world want and expect their leadership to make the right decisions, which allow for economic growth, job creation and stability in their countries, cities and communities. Take that away to a high degree and the recent "Occupy" protest movements will seem like a walk in the park and instead government leaders may experience widespread havoc, violent protests and even attempts at overthrowing their entire government leadership. Similar to what we have witnessed recently in many of the Arab countries, like Egypt, Syria, Libya, where entire government leadership was forcibly thrown out. Or Spain, where youth unemployment is also rampant.
4th Grade Science Fair Projects Science fair projects need to be tickle the imagination of the student. The project can be relatively simple but the concept needs to challenge the intellect. If parents are doing a search on the web, they need to know that they will probably end up completely annoyed. Many sites will give part of an experiment and make you pay for the rest. Or, some sites will make you subscribe, paid of course, to the site to see the selection of experiments. Many of the sites will simply direct you to unrelated websites. For these reasons, we really encourage both students and parents to invest in a couple of excellent books on science fair projects. These projects can be used not just this year, but for all future schooling years. This will stop the hurried search at the last minute for science projects on the web. We will say it again - Dont keep searching for science projects on the internet. Buy some good books or e books on the subject so you have the necessary ideas and materials ahead of time.
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!
Whatever the case may be, Im sad in a way that Ive checked that one off my list. Not because I didnt want to fix things with Elizabeth, but because I feel slightly older and like Im at the end of a magnificent book with only a few chapters left. I know that is not really true and that fifty is the new thirty, whatever that means. But maybe what it means is its time to make a new list, a more fun list. Maybe there are two life lists. The first part of your life and the first list you are cleaning up old issues and the second part of your life and second list are meant to have unencumbered fun. That thought makes me smile.
Damien Riley from Dynamite Lesson Plan offers classroom tested tips and advice on how to engage students more successfully. Dorit: Thank you Damien for this interview. First off, I just love the name of your blog. How did you first come to name your blog? Damien: You are welcome Dorit, it is great to share among colleagues and others interested in Education. I named my blog after something my master teacher in teacher college told me back in 1997. As many new teachers do, I was struggling with behavior problems in my class. He told me something I will never forget: "The best way to control kids is through a dynamite lesson plan." I believe it so much, I named my teaching blog after it: "Dynamite Lesson Plan."
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