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

A Normal Day

Today was a normal day for my class and I have to say, after two months of four- or three-day weeks, ISAT test preparations, and actual ISAT testing, it was really nice to have a day that was just normal.

Of course, normal is a fairly difficult thing to pin down, especially when talking about fourth graders. But I will maintain that, even with all of the regular weirdness that happens, this day really was just a normal day!

The day started as every day does: the students entered the room, made their lunch choices, got their chairs, sharpened pencils, and wrote in their journals about the independent research project they are doing on one of the thirteen colonies. We had a school-wide moment of silence, recited the school promise and the Pledge of Allegiance, and listened to the morning announcements.

When the announcements were done, the students worked quietly and independently for the next few minutes, finishing their journal entries and doing math or cursive practice. We had our morning meeting, where we talked about the plans for the day and then reviewed our school-wide hallway expectations booster. (The students are working to earn points towards having a whole-class iPad celebration during which each student will have 20 minutes of free choice on iPads. We will be borrowing iPads from across the building to accomplish this. All of the students are really excited about it!)

As this was a Tuesday, we went to the computer lab where the students took our weekly one-minute multiplication quiz and then had the next half hour to do research on their colony. This was the last time they would be able to research this topic in the lab as the projects are due this Friday (March 14). Students found informational sites, watched videos, and found supporting images to reference.

The next part of our normal Tuesday was to return to the classroom for our literacy centers. I met with each of my four groups and read a passage about George Washington’s life and role in the Revolutionary War and some of the major battles the Continental Army won against the British. Other groups did independent work when not meeting with me or used our tablets to read today’s Wonder from Wonderopolis or read more about their colonies. There were some redirections and reminders needed, but that, too, is typical of a room full of 9- and 10-year-old children!

After our morning recess we reviewed how to solve division problems, starting with the traditional algorithm of dividing, multiplying, subtracting, bringing down, and repeating until you get to zero or find a remainder. (Once students are confident with the standard algorithm we will explore alternative methods, such as partial-quotients.)

Lunch came around as it always does, and then our classes broke up for our Mix-Up Math groups. I am working with my group on reviewing geometry concepts and creating a flip book to share what they have learned. Then the fourth graders returned to their regular classrooms and my students went to the library. After library we read more of Bridge to Terabithia before doing our Today’s Topics and ending the day with SOAR and XtraMath.

Like I said, it really was just a normal, run-of-the-mill Tuesday. And even though the day was normal, it certainly wasn’t boring! From aha! moments to uh oh moments, my students always keep me on my toes! But that, too, is part of a normal day in the life of a fourth grade teacher!


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