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    4th grade
    By Becky

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    I think teaching 4th grade is difficult in a lot of places. Here in Texas, it's the only elementary year in which writing is tested, in addition to math and reading. But while teaching 4th grade is difficult, 4th graders are wonderful little people!

    There are three things that happen in my classroom every day, without fail. 15 minutes of journaling, first thing, while I check homework. 15 minute read aloud. 4th graders are not too big to come sit around you on the carpet. They love it. 20 minutes of silent reading of the chapter book of their choice. Whatever else happens or doesn't happen in the day, these three are non-negotiable, and the students know it.

    Journals and silent reading can be done while you are meeting with groups. Make sure the students are held accountable for work done while you are meeting with groups. I created a rubric that I use to score the journals--no more 2 sentence entries. Make sure the journal topics are interesting and easy to understand. To make sure they're reading, set independent reading goals for the students (certain number of books or pages) and give them a list of projects to choose from after completing a book. This is also a good time for students to work on a spelling lesson, or to do some grammar work independently.

    Don't let your frustration rule your classroom. As teachers, we need to shelter our little ones from the pressure we get from admistrators about test scores and all that. If a teacher is putting on the students the kind of pressure the adminstrators are putting on her, the learning stops, and the desire to learn disappears. So no matter what kind of pressure the administrators are putting on you, and I know it can be pretty bad, keep it positive in the classroom.

    Good luck!

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