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

The End of the First Quarter

Today was the last day of the first quarter. It is amazing that so much time has passed already! While it doesn’t always seem like it, my class has accomplished a great deal over the past several weeks.

We have established classroom routines and procedures that more than 80% of the class follow every day. (This is actually to be expected, incidentally.) The students have mastered making lunch choices, turning in homework, lining up, sharpening pencils at the appropriate time, working independently when class assignments are completed, taking assessments without talking to other students, stacking chairs, and using C.O.Y.O.T.E. binders each day.

The class has made a lot of progress in math. They have learned place value to the hundred millions and beyond, developed strategies for rounding to a variety of different places, mastered the different models of multiplication, such as arrays, area, equal groups, and comparisons, and have begun working on identifying factors, multiples, prime factors, and properties of arithmetic.

Our science work has focused on independent research, during which the boys and girls learned about ecosystems, habitats, characteristics of animals, scientific names, food webs, the roles of living things in the ecosystem, predator-prey relationships, adaptations, and life cycles.

We have done an average of 30 minutes of independent reading every day, for a total of at least 34,830 minutes of reading in the classroom. We have read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing as a class and have begun reading A Wrinkle in Time. We have also read several short stories about journeys, including AkiakGrandfather’s Journey, Finding the Titanic, an excerpt from By the Shores of Silver Lake, an excerpt from Chester Cricket’s Pigeon Ride, and The Parcel Post Kid. We’ve started reading a variety of American stories, such as Tomas and the Library Lady, Tanya’s Reunion, and Boss of the Plains. In the process, the boys and girls have written dozens of well-formed, well-thought extended responses that helped them think about what they read and make connections to their own lives.

As part of our health and fitness curriculum, the class has learned social skills such as empathy, tolerance, and crisis resolution. They have learned strategies for control their impulses. They have begun developing an understanding of kinesiology and human development. They have learned how to play fair and be honest. The students have discovered a talent for working with younger children while reading with them and setting a positive example for the students in the primary hallway.

All of this, and that doesn’t even cover what they’ve done in art, dance, drama, and library! And we are only eight weeks into the year! There is still much to be done, of course, and we have a lot of time to accomplish it, but I am amazed at how much they have already done! I can’t wait to see what the second quarter brings!

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