Week 9 - In Which I Go to 4th Grade

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This was my first week in 4th grade and I gotta say, it's so much calmer than the high school. The day just drags compared to what I went through at the high school!

But it's a really nice change of pace, and I have tons to learn here. My supervising teacher and I have a lot in common. We both hate worksheets and believe strongly in project-based learning. We believe in being facilitators more than teachers. She even already has the kids blogging on kidblog.org.

There are two students that I'm working intensively with who have IEPs. I am frustrated for one of them because I know there's a disability someone hasn't identified yet. I know there's got to be more going on than just a learning disability. Something just isn't adding up and I'm suspecting something like autism. But I'm not a doctor and I'm not qualified to diagnose anyone, so I have to keep my mouth shut. I do think I'm going to try and find out when she was last evaluated to see if she qualifies for a new evaluation.


As a class we are reading the book, Frindle by Clements. The students will attend  a play on Monday based upon this book. I'm curious to see how they manage to act it out. 

I'm reading BFG by Dahl aloud. The kids love it and I am having a blast making the giant voice and speaking in the protaganist's English accent.


Other teacher-type things I was able to do this week included grading papers and helping students as needed. I do like the attitude and team-spirit of the 4th grade teachers. It seems that everyone gets along and just want to do their jobs well. I didn't sense any of the drama that I sensed at the high school. But it's only my first week, so we'll see.


All in all, I think I'd like having a 4th grade classroom someday. Not that we ever get to choose. But 4th graders are clever enough to do a lot of neat projects with but they haven't yet slid into puberty so the drama is much less. It's a much calmer atmosphere than the high school, for sure. 


I did get some attitude from a couple of students because I asked them to do something they didn't want to (such as stopping sharpening colored pencils in order to get to their next class on time). But, I think that's just the way kids are now. Not many kids have respect for teachers or parents or anyone in authority. And it starts way younger than it used to. 


In the meantime, I'm just trying to build relationships and get to know the kids. There are 25? in the class, and it's not easy remembering all those little faces! And I'm looking forward to learning how the two students with IEPs learn best. After next week I'll be taking over more. I'm a little nervous about doing things the way the supervising teacher wants me to do them. She's the strong silent type, but she has her ways of doing things and I hope I can tow her line correctly.



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