Friday, December 21, 2012

Ready for the New Year of Teaching

Today is our final day of school before the holiday break.  I want to spend the break with family and friends, hence I'm prepping the materials and plans for the new year so I return prepared.

By January in fourth grade, students are ready for a leap forward in stamina and expectation.  They've developed greater focus and understanding of their role in the learning day.  The January-March period presents gray days and plenty of time to settle in and learn.  I'll take advantage of the winter weather, and facilitate a vigorous, vibrant learning environment.

We'll focus on skill building and project base learning.  Our main areas of learning will include the following:

Writing, writing and more writing:  We'll write stories, opinion pieces and responses to text.  Each time, we'll identify the audience and intent.  Then, we'll use a myriad of tech tools including Google docs, KidPix, YouTube and others to share our thoughts, responses and stories.

Multiplication, Problem Solving and Facts:  We'll continue our in depth study of numbers as students learn to multiply, solidify facts and solve lots and lots of great math problems.  We'll also play games online and off to strengthen skills in this area.  Later we'll move to division, fractions, area/perimeter and geometry.

Geography, Culture and History: We'll embark on the United States immigration unit and learn about our country's history with regard to immigration.  Then we'll celebrate cultures--our own and the cultures of others by researching facts, writing paragraphs, utilizing informational text structure and presenting projects and special cultural foods at our culture celebration.

Science Rotations: Students will move from classroom to classroom as they explore topics related to adaptation, magnetism, land forms and weather utilizing multimodal learning venues.

Reading Comprehension and Fluency: Utilizing small book groups, independent reading and whole class interactive read aloud students will utilize many comprehension strategies including determining importance and inferencing to analyze, learn and engage with text.

Skill and Stamina Building: Students will utilize periods of independent focus and study to build skill and stamina with regard to phonics, spelling, reading comprehension, math facts and keyboarding.

The key to achieving this level of rigor and study is a steady, predictable schedule of learning and response.

But for now, it's time for family and friends, a reprieve from the busy academic schedule. Happy Holidays!