I am going to be teaching 4th grade and I need some tips for class management for the beginning of the year: seating, passes to lav, etc. discipline and anything else you may think that a new teacher must/should know.
Check out the book The First Six Weeks of School by Denton and Kriete. I've been teaching 4th grade for 6 years and always start off using this. I don't follow it exactly, but pick and choose what works for me. Good Luck. Amy
This was my first year in 4th grade after spending 2 years in middle school. I agree that Harry Wong's book is helpful, but here are some other tips that I picked up along the way:
- Have a procedure for everything (turning in papers, passing in papers, coming in each day, etc.)
- Have students use signals for when they want to use the bathroom, get water, or get a tissue. That way you're not constantly calling on people just to hear "Can I sharpen my pencil?" Instead, you can just nod or shake your head.
- Seating makes a huge difference. Put them individually at the beginning, and you can move them around later after you find out how they interact with each other.
- Set up a system for students to keep their papers and a way for you to send graded papers home.
I agree with have a plan for everything! As you start each new activity that first week, explain, demonstate, and practice what you expect. My fourth grade class runs on hand signals frequently. The less I talk the more they listen. The best advice I will give is "Be consistent".
I would also suggest that you have a VERY ORGANIZED system. It seems that 4th graders don't do well with any down time, so think through everything. If nothing else, have your bookshelf ready and let them get a book early in the day, just in case you have a moment where you might lose them. Then, they can take out a book and read. I like starting in groups of 4, but this past year I satrted in pairs. It was nice, but we quickly moved to groups in order to do group work. No passes to the restroom - they just get handled by grubby hands and get very nasty. My children lost points as my discipline plan. I gave them aweek of "practice" where I'd tell them that they would have lost points for suchandsuch, and then the following week I followed through. Be consistent and firm in the beginning. Best of luck...
Here are some tips off the top of my head:
1. Assign each student a number. Very useful for filing papers, etc.
2. Assign classroom jobs so you don't have to do all the work. I even have a student whose job is to take everyone's homework each day and put it in number order so that grading and recording is much easier for me. Plus I can see whose is missing right away.
3. Communicate well and often with parents.
4. Make all your copies weekly. Then file them by day. I have a shelf with 5 sections, one for each day of the week. I stay late on THursday and make all my copies until next Thursday.
6. Recruit parents help: for laminating, grading (easy things like spelling), etc.
7. Hand signals for water fountain, bathroom: in my class, while I was teaching a lesson students were encouraged not to use the bathroom or water fountain. They were only allowed to go during independent work time, break time, recess or lunch. But if they HAD to, they could hold up 1 finger for water fountain and 2 fingers for bathroom. That way I could just nod or shake my head and go on with what I was teaching without having to interrupt the lesson.
In addition to Kiwi's list I suggest you get a 5 inch binder and a hole punch. When you write your plans make an additional copy and an extra copy of each hand out for each week. The following year you will have your complete curriculm for each week. and more time for yourself.
Hi - was wondering what state you are in... I am trying to find someone who knows 4th grade and is in Florida. I am going to be a brand new teacher (alternatively certified) this year and need some ideas and guidance. Anything that anyone has to offer would be greatly appreciated like from starting the first day to decorating the walls to teaching the FCAT writing....
A great website created by a Florida teacher is www.mspowell.com However, she teaches third, not fourth. You might be able to get some good ideas from her. Her site is wonderful and has TONS of good stuff!
This is my 5th (can it be five!) year teaching in GA. Fourth graders are WONDEFUL! They are like little kids in big bodies! One of the things I most difficult things is that fourth graders want everything to be "fair." They haven't quite figured out what is equal isn't always fair.
Some of the tips I may have her may be repeated, so please forgive me. 1. Make friends with the school secretary, janitor/ custodian, and librarian. Your life will be MUCH easier. Learn the culture of your school.
2. Figure out a plan for EVERYTHING. You must have a procedure in place for everything from asking to go to the bathroom to turning in work to sharpening pencils. Ms Powell has a list on her site and I have a list on mine as well if you have trouble getting started.
3, Decorations are secondary. Plans are everything. Generally, my walls are relatively bare in the beginning of the school year. Almost everything on the walls are charts and posters I have created with the kids.
4. It might be easy to want to make all the cutesy stuff like door decorations and all that stuff, but DON"T get caught up in it yet. Figure out all your lessons for the first week of school and write them all out. THEN gather all the materials and keep them organized by day. Fourth graders DO NOT like to wait while the teacher finds stuff. This can lead to trouble. After you do all this, then move on the cutesy stuff.
5. Find out if your grade level has made a curriculum map or long range plans for the grade level. This could make your life much easier.
6. Get familiar with the text books AND your standards. Remember, no one expects you to be superwoman. It is ok to use the text book instead of creating all the wonderful creative units yourself the first year. Pace yourself and learn your curriculum.
I have website for fourth grade with A LOT of stuff on it, from behavior management to teaching reading. Feel free to check it out. www.mandygregory.com
I've taught fourth for five years. You need to anticipate that they love to question. Your procedures and organization will help elimate some of the questions as you move through the year. During the first few weeks of school I include many opportunities where I explain my procedures, etc. and welcome their questions. I schedule times in the day when I explain and the welcome questions. Before long they've learned that I welcome questions but only when I invite them--"Does anyone have any questions?" This structure frees me from their questions at times when I'm in the middle of a lesson or transition.
The advice given here is great. I would add that you need to decide what you want and what you can live with in the classroom. You will never make all of the students and parents happy. So you have to decide what you think is right and will work for your students the best and go with that. Even though it is a pain, document ALL parent contact and keep all of the notes that parents send you in a binder with your contact information. I have even printed off emails from parents to keep. This might sound a little extreme. But if you have any problems, it could save you later.
Last year I had several students that needed to go to the restroom more than necessary. I placed a binder in the front of the room and when a student left for any reason, they had to sign the binder with their name, date, time left, reason, and return time. Then I could easily see who was where.