A Repost from October Because I Love 4th-Grade ELA!
Sunday, October 30, 2016
#11 -- An Amazing Week in 4th Grade
If someone sentenced me to teach 4th grade for the rest of my life, I have to admit, I wouldn't hate it. I'm really enjoying this grade level. And it comes as a surprise to me, actually, because when I started out my degree, I didn't picture myself in a general education classroom, leave alone 4th grade. I mean, 4th grade is so, well, middle, and un-glamorous. But I love it here!
One of my favorite things we taught this past week was purple words. Students were taught to look for descriptive words in menus. After they collected a descriptive vocabulary, they either created their own imaginary food to describe or real food. They wrote great descriptors. And I thoroughly enjoy teaching language skills.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love history I.introduced the students to Woodland Indians. I'm surprised how little they know. I expected 4th graders to be more aware of history, but maybe that's because I'm a homeschooling parent and we talked history constantly in my house when my kids were growing up. (Plus, being an author of historical narratives makes me a little more, er, historic? than most folks...)
Project-based learning is important. Really important. It keeps the students much more engaged and helps them invest in their own learning. I'm a huge believer in student-centered learning.
As I've written before, the role of teachers is changing. We are more facilitators of students' learning than actual direct instructors. I love that. I have been teaching writing through student blogging. And the kids are much more engaged because they are writing for a purpose.
I read all the students' blogs and helping them with grammar. I made each student a checklist to follow to help them with the simple things: capitals, periods, etc. I'm not sure they even get that they are to refer to it to check over their work. And when I do comment on their blogs, some actually correct their blogs (I comment privately). Others ignore it. I'm still looking for a better way to help them and also to keep track of corrected blogs.
Probably my favorite time of the week was when I read the BFG chapter: "Frobscottle and Whizzpoppers." Oh mylanta. We all laughed so hard. I wish I'd written that chapter! (Read aloud time is my FAVORITE.)
Frobscottle is a drink the giant drinks that makes him pass gas. He calls these emissions Whizzpoppers. Here's my favorite quote from the main character, Sophie:
"Kings and Queens are whizzpopping. Presidents are whippzopping. Glamorous film stars are whizzpopping. Little babies are whizzpopping. Where I come from, it is not polite to talk about it. "
And what the giant says:
"Us giants making whizzpoppers all the time! Whizzpopping is a sign of happiness. It is music to our ears!"
Makes me wish I'd written the book. So clever, engaging and fun. I love it when school is fun.
Speaking of which, on Friday the students and teachers were allowed to dress up as book characters. I dressed as one of my own book characters. That is a character whose books I'm currently writing.
I dressed as Grandma Betty Biddle from my Airship Chronicles trilogy. Can you see me? I'm in the back on the left.