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

The Twelve-Hour Day

Today was the first day of parent-teacher conferences. The students had a full day of school before conferences, though, which means I had a delightful twelve-hour day. And you know what? The day really was delightful!

We started the morning with P.E. where we did another day of volleyball drills. The students have actually gotten better and controlling the ball and passing it to each other, which was great. After a quiet work time in the classroom, which allowed the students to cool down after P.E., the class went to art and I got the time to finally pop into the other fourth grade teacher’s room this week, where her class was doing some really great things with spelling and vocabulary work. I haven’t done anything with spelling since the Winter Break due to the huge number of days off that have just thrown our weekly schedule for a loop, but I am going to start next week (on Tuesday since there is no school on Monday) and see how it goes. While I’ll be writing more about it on Tuesday, the short version is the students will be picking their vocabulary words each week.

After art, my students took a math test covering the multiplication concepts we’ve been focusing on over the past several weeks. I haven’t had a chance to grade them yet, but if the results of the practice test they took yesterday were any indicator, they will have done very well! We are hopefully going to start on fractions next week, which I hope will be challenging without being overly difficult. I gave the students as much time as they needed to take the test, which had about a dozen problems. Most took between 30 and 45 minutes. When they finished, I allowed to to read silently at their seats but they were not permitted to get up and move around. I want them to get used to sitting quietly at their seats so when we do ISAT testing in a couple of weeks, they will have a feel for what it is to sit quietly still for long periods of time!

We spent the last part of the morning cleaning out desks. Before doing so, I had the class generate a list of things they should keep in their desks and emphasised that if something wasn’t on the list, it shouldn’t be in their desks. This helped them get rid of a lot of the clutter, especially the collections of paper that had somehow built up over the past month and half!

Our afternoon was fairly typical: I read another chapter of Anne of Green Gables, our music teacher came in to introduce the students to a writing competition being sponsored by the Champaign-Urbana Film Society and the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization, and then the students worked in pairs to read more of our temporary library of books on the American Revolutionary War period.

Back on Monday, I told the students that if at least 90% of them turned in their homework every day this week, they could earn an incentive on Thursday. It took a little bit of pulling to get some of them to complete the assignments, but they did it! So we ended our day with recess followed by cleaning up the room and then the students had some Read, Write, Think! time before the very end of the day. They also were given their free books that the PTA was able to purchase for them, so many chose to read instead of playing games. (This was totally fine by me!)

When all the students left, I cleaned up the rest of the room and then had parent-teacher conferences from 4:00-8:00 pm. Everyone came and nobody went over time! It was awesome! I have more conferences tomorrow morning and then the week will be over. Like I said, it was a delightful day! I’m looking forward to another round of productive conferences tomorrow!


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