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

Jumping Right In

Apologies for not writing anything last Friday. As soon as I got done working with students for the day I was asked to set up Chromebook carts for three teachers in our building. Then I had to leave for a wedding rehearsal and dinner (my wife’s best friend got married on Saturday). By the time we got home it was late and I was exhausted and I simply collapsed in my bed. I fully expected to get a post written on Saturday but the aforementioned wedding took up the whole day, then we went to Indianapolis on Sunday. So if you are an avid reader, my sincerest apologies. I promise I was doing things that were valuable and worthwhile!

Today was our first Monday, which means it was the start of the first full week of school. After three days of setting expectations, establishing norms, and rehearsing procedures, we were ready to just jump right into things! We started the day with our traditional journal writing, followed by a morning meeting in which students got to share with one another what they did over the weekend.

Then it was time for a Big Thing: our first Major Assessment of the Year. I am planning on using a workshop model for math this year with lots of small group instruction instead of the traditional whole-class lecture format. In order to organise my students into groups, however, I need to know what they know! So I used a useful assessment tool I found a couple of years ago. It is a fourth grade baseline assessment. It starts off with a review of third grade standards, such as basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts, and then transitions to more and more difficult concepts, including dividing with and without remainders and adding and subtracting money. It is not an assessment of all fourth grade learning standards, however. It is simply a tool to establish where students are at. My wonderful aide, Ms.K, helped me grade all of them so that I can look over the data this evening and create my first math groups.

I’m excited to try this new format for teaching math this year and I hope that my students find it worthwhile, too!


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