The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

…And We’re Back!

Today was very much a “getting back into the swing of things” for both me and my students. Having spent the previous four days in Chicago, Seattle, and then Seattle again (dang… my weekend sounds like an MTV Real World/Road Rules featurette), it was time to get back to work!

We spent the morning in the computer lab working on European explorer presentations, with all but one of the groups making PowerPoint presentations. I am definitely going to try to fit in a minilesson on using PowerPoint if I get the time this week but, honestly, most of the class seems to know what they are doing already, or are figuring it out as they go, which is how I learned to use most computer software.

After getting back from the library, we did some light writing after discussing the difference between when to use formal language and when to use informal language. I used the example of wearing a tuxedo to the beach (which I got from my friend Anjanette, who is a linguistics person of sorts–I think she studied English and Political Science, but I’m not super sure on this one…), which, of course, led me to reference the following video that, sadly, I am unable to share with my class due to YouTube being blocked:

However, I suppose I could just pull up the blog post from Improv Everywhere and show them the pictures. But, really, the video is just much, much better. There is also a Black Tie Beach 2011 video, but I kind of like the first one more.

After discussing the differences between formal and informal language, I asked the students to write two quick letters: one to a friend and the other to the substitute teacher they had on Friday. This allowed me to do several things at once: first, I could see if they got the idea of being informal with friends and formal (or at least more formal) with authorities; second, I could find out what they thought of the substitute. The most interesting letters were from those who had gotten in trouble for talking too much. To the sub, they were polite and appreciative of what she taught them; to their friends, though, they were complaining about how mean she was. These students definitely got the idea! Also, I was able to see what kind of instruction I need to provide for spelling conventions, which is quite useful information.

The rest of the day was spent on math, lunch, math, and then some social studies before we wrapped up and packed up. All in all, it was a good day, and I was glad to hear that the sub had a good day with my class. I will quite possibly request her for my room again, since everyone (even those who were not happy with her being strict) had responded well to her and what she expected of them.

Tomorrow begins the amazing Top Secret Collaborative Project that my grade-level partner and I have been planning for a couple of weeks now. It is going to be AWE-SOME!

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