Hi there! Congrats on your first year teaching 4th grade. I've been teaching fourth grade for 5 years out of the 12 years I've been teaching and I absolutely love it! Here are some of the activities I have my students work on the first week of school:
As students arrive in the morning, they look for their desk, sit down, and find a planning sheet, an index card, and a template of a pair of shorts. Students are given instructions on the board on what they are to do for this activity. First, they brainstorm what they did during summer vacation. They develop their plan and come up with a short story to tell about their summer. Students write their short story on their index card (lined front side only). They then decorate their shorts template. After I take attendace, I have students read their short stories to a partners so they can quickly revise their writing. Then they glue their index card to the shorts template. Voila! Instant first day bulletin board.
Students pair up with a partner and complete a Venn Diagram about each other by asking a series of questions to learn more about each other. They then complete a framed compare/contrast paragraph and take turns presenting each other to the class.
This is an idea I learned at a workshop. Go to the Florida Center for Reading Research Site (www.fcrr.org) and look for the K-1 Student Center Activities. Even though it says K-1, you can use this activity for any grade level. Under Phonological Awareness, look for Part 1: Rhyme and Alliteration. To make it easier for you, here's the link to that document: http://www.fcrr.org/Curriculum/pdf/G...inal_Part1.pdf
Turn to page 81 in that document and you will see the instructions for the "Popular Pals" activity. Basically, you have students write an alliteration using their first name. The alliteration needs to say something about them. The example they include in the instructions says: Mikey likes milkshakes. Of course, this is a simple alliteration but you can have older students try to make a more elaborate alliteration. I also tell my students that the alliteration may or may not be true. Whatever the students write, they then use the template on page 82 to draw themselves doing whatever the alliteration says. When I created mine I came up with Mariely makes magical moments. I then drew myself as a fairy holding a magic wand.
The students can cut out their template and paste it on a sheet of construction paper where they can draw themselves doing what the alliteration says. They can then write the alliteration on the top and/or bottom of the construction paper.
Chrysanthemum (Our Names)
Every year I read to my students Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. I have a printout with Chrysanthemum on it and as I read the story I either crumple the paper or tear it at different parts whenever someone in the story is mean to her (Chrysanthemum gets picks on because of her name). This turn into a great lesson about respecting one another, bullying, and appreciating one another. After we discuss all these topics, I then have the students learn more about their names by interviewing their family members on how they got their names. Here's the form I give to the students: http://blogs.scholastic.com/files/pdf-of-name-research-interview-form-1.pdf
Students then use the information they gathered from their interview to write a paragraph or two describing their name, how the got it, etc before presenting it to the class.
As you already know I'm a first year teacher teaching 4th grade and I am trying to prepare for the beginning of the year. Do you have any suggestions as far as assessing students in reading? Where can I get a running record etc?
Thank you so much
If you don't mind paying, there's a really great site called Reading A-Z that has all sorts of running records you can use with your students. Also check the reading series used by your school because sometimes they have running records you can use.
As far as other assessments, you can give students a series of cold-read passages (about 3 or 4) to assess their reading comprehension skills at the beginning of the year. You can use it as your pre-test. In my district they give us a baseline for this but if your district doesn't do it, you can just do what I suggested. Best of luck to you!
This is my first year teaching 4th grade as well. I was wondering as soon as the students walk into the room, what do you have them do? Should they begin taking out their supplies? If I put bell work on the desks, should I provide the first pencil so they can immediately begin filling it out without having to dig in their bags for a pencil?
Let me start by saying congrats on your first year of teaching 4th. You are going to love it. Feel free to get in contact with me if you ever need someone to talk to or ask questions.
On to your questions, which are very good ones by the way. Here's what I do as soon as my students walk into the room:
On their desks I already have a goody bag filled with various items to welcome them to a new school year of learning in my classroom. I do include a pencil that's already sharpened just in case they need it. I tell them they can sit anywhere they'd like (this is my little personal experiment to see who they can or cannot sit with). On top of their desks, I include several worksheets for them to work on as I greet parents at the door and welcome other students. I'm attaching a photo of what my students' desks looked like on the first day of school last year to give you an idea.
As for the supplies, our school has a Parent Drop-In Day the Friday before school starts. On this day the parents get to meet the teachers and drop off their kids' supplies. Not every parent participates, so I still have students who bring their supplies in the first day of school. The way I handle this is I have several baskets or bins labeled and ready for students to drop off their supplies. I have students do this after I'm done greeting parents and students. At the end of the day, I just take the sorted baskets and put away the supplies where they belong.
I hope this has answered your questions. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Wishing you the best!
I've attached a picture of the note that I created for the goodie bags as seen in the picture I posted above. On the note you will notice the items I placed in the baggies. I hope this answers your questions.
I have taught 4th grade and 2nd grade. I found the McLeod reading assessment to be very easy to administer and accurate. The best part is you can give it to the whole class at once
It is great for grouping students of similar reading levels.
If you google McLeod Assessment of Reading, you get a link that looks like a photo copy
it includes all the directions and some back ground information on the assessment.