Thursday, July 14, 2011

4thchat Topics

I'm in a thinking mood today.  One event I enjoy most weeks is 4thchat.  Thanks to the efforts of Jeanne McQueen and her faithful 4thchat crew, there's always a great topic to discuss every Monday at 7 (CDT).  It's my chance to connect worldwide with 4th grade teachers.  Fourth grade is a unique and wonderful age.  They're eager to learn; they question easily; they learn quickly; they're creative; and they're starting to see themselves in the context of the broader world.

I like the fourth grade curriculum too.  They're learning about world geography and history.  They read and write a myriad of genres.  They are whiz kids on the computer sharing with one another as they create multimedia compositions.  Their social media involvement is earnest, fresh and enthusiastic.  They ask great math questions and create math models with awe.  As young scientists they're eager to explore more than time affords.  I really wish every elementary school in the country had a science lab/lab teacher (tangent - perhaps that would be a good thing for those wealthy pharmaceutical companies to support).

So when it comes to topics for fourth grade teachers to discuss.  Here are some that interest me.


  • How do you rest and replenish for the school year ahead?
  • What do you do over the summer to prepare and plan for the next year?
  • What do you hope for with regard to school change in the coming year?
  • What are you thinking with regard to the infusion of the common core standards?
  • How do you involve yourself in the school community beyond the classroom?
  • Collegial relations - what do you think is important in terms of being a positive, helpful colleague in the elementary school environment?
  • How do you prioritize your tremendous task expectations during the school year?
  • How does your school work employ RTI? PLCs? Flipped Classrooms? Tech Models?
  • What free-time experiences best support your work as a teacher? Travel? Nature? Reading . . . .
Late Summer/Fall
  • What's essential with respect to creating a kind, cooperative learning community?
  • What do you do with your students during the first week of school?
  • How do you teach/create classroom rules?  What rules are most important?  
  • How do you support optimal classroom management practices?  What really works for you?
  • What systems do you set up at the start of the year that support optimal, streamlined classroom functioning?
  • What patterns of family communication do you set up and follow during the year?
  • Do you have a start of the year Open House?  If so, what does it look like?  What do you say?  What's important?
  • Do you have a classroom website?  If so, what do you add to it?  How often do you update it?
  • How do you start your classroom social network?  What are the protocols?  Guidelines? Projects?
That's a start.  I'm sure I'll think of more as the year rolls along.