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Is This Normal?
Old 05-25-2013, 08:41 AM
 
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Hello,

This is my first year teaching 4th grade. For most of the year, I have really enjoyed my students. They have been sweet, respectful, and hard workers. I have had a few behavior issues in my class this year, but nothing serious. However, throughout the past month or two, things have changed. As we approach summer, my students have started to really act up. Some of the girls have developed an attitude and there just seems to be this lack of respect for my authority. We only have two weeks left of school, and this is when I've really noticed it. The kids have started to question me, talk back, and just disregard classroom rules and expectations. Also, there's tons of girl drama, and almost every day, girls come up to me and say other students are being mean to them or I'm being mean to them.

It is so disappointing, especially since consequences don't seem to work and I've run out of incentives.

Is this pretty normal for end of the year 4th grade?

Thanks for any feedback.


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Typical
Old 05-25-2013, 08:48 AM
 
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I've taught 1st, 5th, and 6th.

I have had to come down hard at the end of the year, with earned incentives. Once they don't get to do something, they are better so they can do the other things.

I let them know of the planned activities for the week, and emphasize that they are GROUP activities, and the entire GROUP has to earn whatever it is. Sometimes it's been something like freeze pops on a hot day, other times it's doing our writing work outdoors.

Once I have followed through on a promise NOT to do an activity due to their behavior, they are generally at least tolerable.

If it's really only one or two, try to do more individual accountability.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:21 AM
 
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I am on my first year of teaching 4th as well and my students have been quite the handful for the entire year. I find that changing their behavior system or challenging them in a different way to keep their interest has really helped. When something stopped working such as the ticket system, I changed to a whole brain teaching method. It's more work on my part, but it's kept the students interested and they rise up to the challenge!
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typical
Old 05-25-2013, 10:12 AM
 
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I have found this to be typical end of 4th grade behavior. They turn into nasty, back-stabbing 5th graders and remind me why I don't teach 5th grade. It is unfortunate, but I have had to resort to class meetings in which I let them know exactly what is not ok about their behaviors. It helps me finish out the year at least.
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Give Up
Old 05-25-2013, 10:39 AM
 
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Sort of anyway... It's a really hard time of year. I told my kids last week that I'm not going to call them out on their misbehavior now because it's their choice if they want to have good citizenship of not. You might plan some really fun things for the kids now. ART! Extra PE. and/or stuff that is old school and not done anymore. Do class meetings and show ed videos. Try to make it easy and fun for you. Bring them cookies. Oh heck, cook something with them. And it is true, girls are mean.


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saying goodbye
Old 05-25-2013, 10:54 AM
 
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is hard for a lot of students this time of the year. I work in an area with a fairly high poverty rate, kids being raised by grandma or single mom or dad, on in a horrible home situation. The thing to remember is that for many of your kids - you are the safety zone. You are there everyday, you care for them, they depend on you to be a stable fixture in their daily world. This time of the year I always have a few who start to act up and change behaviors. I have discovered that for the most part it's because they are facing three months of uncertiany. Will I get fed? Where will I be sleeping tonight? Is mom/dad bringing home a "new friend", and the list goes on. For some of those kids it is too painful to say goodbye so they start to act out to make the break easier. It's just the way it is for some of these kids. Do what you can to make the rest of the year a positive experience that they can carry into the summer. I use class dojo and they love earning points for their teams. Maybe have a contest - if the whole class does x, they get y. Do brain breaks - get up and do jumping jacks, hallway walk, stretches, etc.
Enjoy the last little bit of school!
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:32 PM
 
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I find that I have to plan differently for the time of the year. When I started teaching I did on call work for a few years and that gave me the opportunity to see into many teacher's classrooms and I always remember this one class I had to cover for the week before Christmas and she had all Math with Pizzaz worksheets for a decimal or fraction unit, with a title page and how many marks the unit was worth. The students worked wonderfully.

I contrast that to my attempts to do regular lesson plans and it falls apart and students are difficult to manage. So, I think it is time to put a few more educational games into the activities and things that are just different.

We are making soap next week. I am doing this for a high school chemistry class, but I've done it at grade 8 and just brought the learning down to a measurement unit instead of chemical reactions. This is time for smarties math, graphing, probability, how it changes as you remove one item. Can you do a lesson on the green house effect and make a solar cooked and see if you can't fry and egg in the sun?
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:38 PM
 
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Welcome to 4th grade in the spring. I've taught 5th for 6 years and they act the same way. It's only two weeks, you will make it.
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Old 05-25-2013, 04:43 PM
 
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It may be too late for this year, but think about what you could do for next year. I like the post about special activities the week before Christmas. Treat it like that. It's a great time to change the routine. You could have students write and perform their own plays. Poetry is also fun to do at the end of the year. Have a Math game day every Friday for the last month of school. Do "How well do you know _______________?" trivia games. Have them write to next year's students. Use technology, which is always motivating to students.
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end of year behavior changes
Old 05-26-2013, 08:43 AM
 
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You have gotten some great info/advice! It is absolutely true that our wonderful 4th graders are beginning the early adolescent "meanies". So it is time to change it up for them. It keeps us all on our toes for the last days of the year.

This week we will play extra games on the Smartboard, go the gym, typical whole class games : 7-Up, Four corners, etc.at the end of the day, as well as watch some short films, hit the computer lab, write memories books and even make Father's Day cards!


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Yep!
Old 05-26-2013, 04:11 PM
 
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21 years in the 4th grade for me! The kids have always been antsy the last 4-6 weeks of school since I can remember but they have gotten worse in the the last 10 years or so. My kids thought once we finished state testing a few weeks ago that school was over! They got a rude awakening last week. I packed on the work so they had to work their butts off! The girls are the ones with the crummy attitudes. I imagine puberty is right around the corner!

Enjoy them the first 7 months of school. You can pretty much kiss April and May goodbye!
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Fourth Grade Spring Fever
Old 05-26-2013, 05:21 PM
 
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After 19 years of teaching, I already knew this was normal, but it's still reassuring to hear it echoed by other teachers. My normally adorable little lovelies (particularly my girls) have become chatty, silly, rude, and snarky all wrapped into one. I know that I'll survive it, but it does have me counting down the days.

Good luck to all of you!

Last edited by TraddStLovely; 05-27-2013 at 08:32 AM.. Reason: typo
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Aren't hormones wonderful?
Old 05-27-2013, 03:23 PM
 
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I've been in 3rd most of my years and only had a few problems. Fourth is a whole new ballgame the last few weeks. Come down hard but have a sense of humor (yes it can be done). Read some Roald Dahl that shows how mean people can be in a humorous way. Give each whiner a fellow whiner as an escape buddy. They can whine to each other all day.
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always happens
Old 05-27-2013, 05:47 PM
 
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I use tickets last couple of weeks of school. My mom and I clean out closets and come up with all kinds of prizes. I give out tickets left and right for good behavir all day long. At the end of every day, I draw 3 different tickets and those kids pick from prize box. I put in anything...pens,books,fancy soaps, jewelry,candy, water fountain pass coupons, anything. Good luck.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:17 AM
 
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This is very normal of a 4th. grader. Usully by May I am ready to send them off lol!
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