Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Thank you for all that you do for your students! Teaching can be so rewarding, yet I know we all face challenges and have so many responsibilities that it can be difficult at times too. It is nice to feel appreciated, so I want you to know that you are appreciated. You make a difference everyday. Thank you! If you will visit my TpT store, I have created a few borders for FREE just for you. Just click on the picture below and go pick them up.
If you have not purchased my first sets of borders, you might be interested in my Borders Super Bundle. This bundle not only contains almost 400 of my best selling borders, but it will also save you $$!
This month has been a whirlwind! I know that you are probably feeling the same way, too. This time of year is always so busy and hectic. We have had softball games almost every night during April (which have been a joy to watch my youngest play!). We have had testing (so glad that's over!), and this next week is not any less busy! We have a school-wide dance/music performance that has been taking place for over 50 years. In fact, I performed in these Spring Festivals when I attended this school in elementary. Each year is a different theme. Some themes I remember over the years include: the circus, holidays, Disney, music genres, fairy tales, and children's books. This year's theme is the Olympics, and each grade will perform a dance. It is a huge, school-wide event with all elementary students participating.
My crazy week ahead looks something like this: Monday we will be practicing all morning, and the program is Monday night. Tuesday is our only normal day this week. Wednesday we have our monthly 1/2 day. Students leave at 12:00 so that the teachers can have professional development, RTI meetings, etc. the rest of the day. (This day is super busy and like double-duty. I'm always exhausted after a 1/2 day.) Thursday is our field day, and Friday we have a field trip. Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about it, but I'll just take one day at a time, and one step at a time and find the enjoyment in the small moments!
With all of the busyness at school, I've had little time to blog. I have had some things, however, that I have wanted to share with you. During testing week, I always like to do at least one art activity. It seems that there is little to no time for any type of art during the school year, so I always try to take advantage of the time after testing to do a fun project. This year we created rainbow art collages.
The first step was to create an interesting and unusual rainbow. I gave each student a piece of white paper, and asked them to draw a creatively shaped rainbow as large as the paper. I showed them how to start with one wavy line. Then they skipped a space and drew another wavy line following the same shape as the previous line. They did this until they had 8 wavy lines drawn. (You can see some of the creative shapes above and below.) Next, they colored their rainbows in he appropriate rainbow colors (ROYGBIV). This art project would go great with the study of light. We talked about how a rainbow is formed and how a rainbow is actually a circle, but we only see part of this circle. Our science teacher had already done a fabulous job covering light, so this was a fun review for my kiddos. They enjoyed sharing with me what they had learned in science.
After this, the students cut out cloud shapes from white paper.
Then they cut out raindrops from blue construction paper.
Finally, they glued all of the pieces onto a large piece of black construction paper. I chose the black construction paper because I thought it made all of the bright colors of the rainbows pop.
Sometimes, it is so nice to be able to do art! I think I want to be an art teacher when I grow up! ;)
I have found that I just love creating borders. My mind is often spinning with ideas for new designs. It may sound strange, but I think my background in crochet and embroidery has helped to inspire many ideas for borders. I actually learned how to crochet when I was a little girl. My grandmother and my mother both helped to teach me. Over the years I have crocheted many blankets, doilies, pot holders, and angels. Although I haven't crocheted in several years, I'd love to find time to make something new.
One reason I no longer have time to crochet is because I enjoy spending my extra time now creating borders. (I have always enjoyed creating things with my hands, whether it is sewing, crocheting, or crafting.) I have been working on 5 new sets that will be a part of my new Border Hoarders Bundle #2! If you have not checked this out, you may want to visit my store, and grab this at the best deal! You will have a week to purchase this before the first set is uploaded and the price increases. Be sure to read the product description for some clues to this bundle.
I am so excited about a new product that I have been working on for quite some time: Reading Comprehension Bookmarks. I really found a need for these bookmarks after considering a question that was posed to me, "How are you holding your students accountable for independent reading and partner reading?" Out of this question came Reading Comprehension Bookmarks.
These bookmarks contain information about reading skills and strategies on one side. On the other side is a type of "mini graphic organizer" for students to complete about that skill. My students have loved these! They are wonderful for a quick assessment of students' comprehension and understanding! Also, they are aligned with the Common Core Standards for grades 3-5.
Be sure to grab these up now. This is a growing bundle! Currently, the bookmarks for Standard 1 are uploaded. Bookmarks for each of the other Reading Literature Standards (2,3,4,5,6,7,9, and 10) will be uploaded over the next several weeks. Purchase now for the best savings, because as new sets are added, the price will increase.
My students has had a fabulous time learning about the Statue of Liberty. In fact, my friend who cuts my hair told me that some of my students came into her beauty shop telling her all about the information they had learned about the Statue of Liberty! Now that makes me want to turn a cartwheel to know that my students were so excited to share what they had learned, they had to share it with the beautician!
The week long lesson that I used was a part of Discovery Education. (Now, I am NOT being paid or even asked to endorse Discovery Ed, but I personally think this is worth sharing!) My school system had Discovery Ed about 10 years ago, but unfortunately, budget cuts forced us to drop it. This year, we have it again, and I have just learned about the Discovery Ed reading lessons that are aligned with Common Core Standards. These lessons are fabulous, and my students had a wonderful time learning! If your school has Discovery Ed, these reading lessons are worth checking out. Because of copyright, I cannot share the lessons from Discovery Ed., but I added my own wrap-up to the week long lesson that I can share with you.
To end our week-long study on the Statue of Liberty, I pulled a book off of my shelf to share with my students. Some of the facts in the book were new, while many of the facts reviewed the information that they had already learned.
Before I read the book, I simply had the students to draw a T chart in their reading journals and label the left side "Information I Already Learned" and "New Information." As I read the book and they wrote the information they heard in the correct column. I paused at the end of each page to give them time to write. (Sorry, I forgot to take a pic of someone's journal. Although, this was nothing fancy, but it served its purpose.)
Next, I instructed students that they would take the information they had written down to create a "One Pager." A One Pager is a great "After" reading strategy and is a great way to evaluate student learning. For this one pager I required:
Two questions about the Statue of Liberty with answers
One Opinion or Connection about the Statue of Liberty.
I was so impressed with the results, and the students loved sharing everything that they had learned.
A "One Pager" is a great "After" reading strategy that your students will enjoy, and can be used with just about any nonfiction lesson that you have been studying. One Pagers also make a wonderful final assessment.
Winter has finally arrived where I live. We have had a very mild winter with many days in the 60's. Well, today has been cold with highs only in the 30's. Now that cold weather is finally here, I thought it was finally time to share my winter themed reading bulletin board with you.
I cut out mittens from felt and added some white stitching to each mitten.
Although my blog name is "Teaching Fourth," I have not always taught fourth grade. I started my teaching career in sixth grade. The following year I had an opportunity to move down to fifth grade. I stayed in fifth grade eight or nine years (I believe...). I then moved down to fourth grade where I have been for more years than I can remember. I must admit that fourth grade is my favorite grade to teach. The children are at such a sweet age, and I enjoy them so much.
One thing that surprised me when I moved to fourth grade was the amount support that fourth graders need on sequence. Many fourth graders still struggle with remembering the sequence of events of a story or in nonfiction, but with support by the end of fourth grade, most students show tremendous improvement with this important skill. Here are a few activities that have helped my students and that you may find helpful as well.
One activity that my dear teaching friend shared with me is such a simple activity, but it is also very effective. After students read a picture book, leveled reader, etc., give each student 3 index cards, one long strip of construction paper (about 1 inch wide), and one smaller scrap rectangle of construction paper. Instruct the students to label one index card "Beginning", the next "Middle", and the last one "End." Students should think about what happened at the beginning of the story, draw a picture about it on the index card labeled "Beginning" , and write a short paragraph telling about the beginning of the story. They will then do the same thing for the middle and for the end of the story on the corresponding index cards. Next, write the name and author of the story on the construction paper rectangle. Finally, glue this rectangle at the top of the long construction paper strip, and glue down the "Beginning" index card, the "Middle", and the "End." Just take a look at some of these projects:
Another activity that my students love is on pbskids. They actually love anything we do on pbskids. This "Arthur Story Scramble" is not only a fun activity, but it is a good activity especially for those students still struggling with sequence.
Finally, a great resource for sequence can be found on TpT in Ruth S.'s store. Ruth has created a wonderful set of worksheets and activities. These activities are not only a great reinforcement for sequence, but they are also free! You've got to love that! Be sure to check those out here, and if you download them, please leave Ruth some feedback love!
I hope you find some of these activities helpful for your students! Have a blessed day!