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Keri's Message:

Hi, This is also my first year teaching and I'm starting in 4th grade. Do you have any grade specific tips for 4th grade? What kind of rewards/discipline plans have you found that works best for this age? Thank you so much for your input!

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Keri 07-05-2007 07:18 AM

Hi, This is also my first year teaching and I'm starting in 4th grade. Do you have any grade specific tips for 4th grade? What kind of rewards/discipline plans have you found that works best for this age? Thank you so much for your input!

nervsteacher 07-02-2007 07:27 PM

Thank You for all your kind words. I am definately going to use this site as an excellent resource. I have a wonderful school and a very supportive staff, that I can truly rely on for anything I might need in terms of advice. My grade level team is awesome, so I know I can go to them for any concerns I may have. I think its simply that I know that I only have a little time left for "me" and then its all about the students and me doing all that is in my power to help them succeed in anything and everything they do. Again, I can't think of more to say to all your kind words other than I am truly grateful for everything you offered!!! Thank You!!!!

krichau 07-02-2007 03:14 PM

I guess my best advice is to plan, plan, plan and then plan just a bit more. Look at your state standards, go through your texts and align them---don't try and teach every chapter. Find a couple of read alouds and have the students talk about them after each chapter. I like to use colored sticks from the Dollar Tree for talking sticks. Give each kid 2-3 and that's how many times they can talk. This gets them used to working in a group and you can listen in to see how they interact. I do this on the first day; it helps me assess where the kids are and who are the leaders of the group.
A lot of how the kids act will depend on how you are the first few days of school. Be assertive, but be kind and considerate. A smile that shows that they are welcome and loved goes a long way. Just be sure and be consistent with your discipline. I use a token system; each child gets 10 plain chips with their number on each one. They have a small box on their desk that holds them. I believe in rewarding GOOD behavior and I'm not much on punishing the whole class. I pick up a token from a child's desk when I see them doing the right thing; getting their books out, helping out, following directions, lining up, quieting down right away--you get the picture. These tokens go into a bag and at the end of the week I let the kids who have the most tokens in the bag pick the center, or whatever you want, could be store, candy, computer game, etc, go first. The more you have in the bag the luckier you are. If you have none you have to stay in your desk and read or work on homework. It usually only takes one week of this for them to shape up. The kids LOVE it and really work to be good.. I do make sure that they are not allowed to tell me that they've been good and that they won't be rewarded for everything they do.
I hope you have a wonderful year. I love 4th grade, I'm sure you will too.

TTT 07-02-2007 10:30 AM

It's so much better to spend the summer knowing you have a job in September than interviewing through July and August hoping you'll have a position in September!

The other posts offer excellent advice. I would also concentrate on making your classroom your space and an inviting place for students on that first day of school. Make a plan for bulletin boards and students' desk arrangements. That way, if parents come in before school officially starts, your room looks welcomings. Think about sending postcards or notes to your students before school starts.

The first week of school, we try and set up a routine and do some getting acquainted activities. There are tons of ideas on this site.

Go to some yard sales and purchase books for your classroom and also indoor recess board games.

Try and relax and enjoy July. I usually start to set up my classroom during the middle of August.

Take care!

EMO109 07-02-2007 07:28 AM

All of the above messages provide great advice. I would especially recommend contacting your mentor (if you have an official one) or your grade level colleagues. For me, my mentor and the other teachers were my best source of advice and stress relief.

Another suggestion is to focus on one thing at a time. As you already noted, there is a lot to think about, but you'll make yourself crazy if you try to worry about it all at once. For me, I worked on getting my classroom set-up and organized first, which left me better able to focus on the other things. Make a list of things that you want to accomplish and pick 1 or 2 to do first, then cross them off and work on something else.

Finally, as hard as it is, try to relax and enjoy as much of your summer as you can! I remember how difficult it is (this is going to be my 4th year, so it wasn't that long ago), but your 1st year will be incredibly busy, so try and enjoy the break you have now, because you won't get another one for a while.

roo 07-02-2007 04:59 AM

First of all, congratulations on your new job...no matter how prepared you are, it will be an adventure! Now to get started...this is what I would do.
-Write down a list of your questions...all of them... no matter how big or small...about the school, the kids, the curriculum, the grade...whatever.
-Have you met the other teachers at your grade level (assuming there are some)? If not, get in touch with them. Or if you were assigned a mentor, get in touch with her. Schedule a face to face meeting. Get those questions out in the open and find out what they have to say. Every school is different, so their feedback will be helpful
-Have you read The First Day of School, by Harry Wong? If not, do. It addresses a lot of your concerns.
-If you haven't gotten into your classroom, see if you can. You need to find out what you have and reorganize it to make it yours. Knowing what goes where will help you identify your procedures and routines. Where will they turn in papers. Where do they check out books? Where do they find out what's for homework? That sort of thing. Getting some basics in place will help you feel calmer and more prepared.
-Get ahold of any materials you are expected to use, along with your state standards/curriculum. You need to map out a general plan for your year of what you'll be doing when. You don't have to get too specific yet. Just get an idea of your pacing. How long do you think you'll have to spend on your units so you can fit it all in. You don't want to spend 2 months on multiplication, and not have time for geometry later (I teach math, can you tell? )
-You need to make a master plan for your daily/weekly schedule. Determine when you will be teaching what. You'll probably have a set schedule of special classes (art, music, p.e.,) lunch, etc. Talk to your colleagues to see if there's anything else or if there's something else you need to work around. This will give you an example of your time frame and you can get a schedule in place.
-Find out if your school or grade level has a discipline plan in place. If so, you know what your discipline system will be. If not, it's time to determine your rules (usually no more than 3-4) and consequences.
-I really try to focus on rules, procedures, and routines during the first week. We do start teaching math, science, and social studies that week, but pretty much everything else is getting to know the classroom expectations. Once you know how your classroom is going to work, make a list of those things the kids will need to know. Prioritize it and print it out. This will be your checklist for things to cover during the first day/week.
That's a lot, and some of it is pretty vague. I'll be happy to help with more specifics, if you want. I've been teaching for 14 years, and this is my 12th in 4th grade, so I've got some experience at this. Good luck!

Risa 07-01-2007 09:23 PM

Okay, now... how does that saying go? 'The first step is admitting you have a problem.' ?? ! Just kidding, of course!

For me, when I have a ton of things on my mind, I have to start writing things down. Maybe that would help you sort out all those nervous jitters. Speaking of jitters... as a fourth grade teacher who has been teaching for EONS... I still get nervous before the school year starts. Last year, on the first day of school, I read First Day Jitters aloud to my students to let them know that I really was as nervous as they were! It was a fun way to talk about it. ALL OF US are nervous on the first day! Might as well talk about it.

As I was saying, before going off on that tangent, I find that writing things down as they occur to me helps me start to sort out all those ideas. I do this every year as I begin to think of all I want to add, change or think about for the next school year. There are lots of great posts here on ProTeacher where you can find advice and/or links to useful websites.

To do a search for those posts, look at the top left of this page where you'll see the words "Search Board" on the blue bar. I think I recall that many of those posts have the words "teacher" or "advice" or maybe "beginning". You can try those words in a search to look for posts that will lead you to resources you might find useful.

If you find you have questions that still aren't answered, just keep asking those questions! Good luck!

nervsteacher 07-01-2007 08:34 PM

Hello everyone! Well, as July is finally here, I have realized that it is NOW time to start freaking out about my new position. I gave myself the rest of June to relax (to the best of my ability) and to devote the rest of summer to thinking about all the things I will be doing come August-September. Well I am officially FREAKED OUT!!

I am a first year teacher with all of the worries that come along with that title. What do I need to know? How will I get through the first week? Who can I rely on? What will I need? How am I going to make it? How am I going to work one-on-one with students, knowing that I have a class of 25+ students? How will I develop my classroom management? How will I deal with behavior problems? How can I push students to try their best, ALL THE TIME?

Believe me, I have more worries, but I guess thats a good amount for now. So if there is one thing that I am grateful for, it is having this wonderful resource to fall back on, for you all have great ideas. So, if there is anything you can say that might make me less worried, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!

Erica




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