By Beverley Shannon. 4th Grade Math. Published at Sunday, November 15th, 2020 - 19:09:08 PM.
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.
English Language Arts Common Core Standards The common education standards adopted by over 45 states this year includes a robust English Language Arts component. It emphasizes utilitarian writing and reading. For example, in 4th grade, students are asked to read 50% literary texts and 50% informational texts. This changes in secondary school to 30% literary and 70% informational. The writing emphasizes expository writing, persuasive writing and narrative writing. The percentage breakdowns in 4th grade are 30% persuasion, 35% explaining, and 35% to share experiences. That changes in twelfth grade to 49% persuasion, 40% explaining and 20% to share experiences.
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.
Sometimes I really hate my ego. Ive studied spiritual teachings enough to know that what drives us to control is the ego: that over-analytic, judging and critical left brain which is always on guard, eager to squash our enthusiasm, and which doesnt give spontaneity and creativity much of a chance to blossom. Sometimes I really hate my left brain, too. Even though we need it for survival, it can sabotage our most earnest efforts to be open, spontaneous, flexible and honest. The ego is very wary of honesty. It sees it as a weakness, and would rather we respond in safer, pre-programmed sorts of ways. Honesty is risky business for the ego, because we might look foolish, stupid or weak, so the ego avoids situations that could create discomfort. The ego is what causes us to reduce, to shrink, ask for less, and to settle. It reasons: at least if I settle Im not out of my comfort zone. If the ego had its way it would tuck us into bed and keep us there forever, everyday nearly the same, nothing allowed in that would rock our boats. Sterile, yet safe. Though youve probably realized by now that playing it too safe is a recipe for failure.
This was one of the Ah-ha! moments of my life. If these children could not take apart and put together concrete objects as basic as simple inset puzzles, how on earth could they take apart and put together abstractions, such as letters and sounds. Our classroom changed. I kept those opened puzzles in the classroom, and I bought more simple inset puzzles for my students, as well as easy interlocking puzzles with only a few pieces. The students became adept at taking these puzzles apart, then putting them together again to create a predetermined whole. I bought blocks for the classroom, which they put together, then took apart, then put together again in different ways, creating a wide range of things, similar to what we do with letters when sounding out words.
We tend not to think about how we can prevent learning problems with our children. An effective prevention is a form of intervention. Prevention makes it appear there were no problems in the first place. "Good" parenting is effective prevention. When parents are involved with the childs learning and developmental and academic progress, they focus on what the child needs to learn and support the schools efforts by working with the child at home. A major contributing factor that parents can do for their children is to help them develop articulate, complex language skills with an extensive vocabulary. Those skills alone will greatly impact the childs ability to achieve at school. These are the hallmarks of homes with educated and highly skilled parents who often choose to live where their children attend highly rated schools. They are also the hallmarks of parents, concerned about their childrens future, who are involved in all aspects of their childrens lives on a daily basis. They take time out of their busy schedules to attend to their children first. Schools in crisis try to support parents but often fall short. One reason is that many adults believe it is the schools job to educate their children. Another is that the adults, struggling to afford the basics of shelter, food and clothing, are simply physically too tired to attend to their childrens needs. Although there are many more reasons, most simply come down to the fact that many parents themselves do not have the skills to develop preventative levels of school-readiness skills in their children.
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