Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

I am so excited and absolutely thrilled to be a part of this awesome blog hop! There are so many amazing bloggers with great ideas that will definitely make life in the classroom much smoother!

I taught in the primary grades for many years and have made the big jump to fourth grade this year. Like with anything new, there has been a HUGE learning curve for me! A different age group, a new curriculum, a new team and state testing are all but a few of the changes that have occurred this year! So I decided early on that there had to be away for me to use some on my best practices that I used in the primary grades and develop that in fourth grade.

Here is what this little primary teacher brought with her to the big kid side of the hall:

1. Music and movement
I realized pretty quickly that the big kids were Incorporating music whenever possible makes class fun, helps to review the concept in a new and appealing way and lets them get some energy out (in a positive way)! My students are so talented that they will write their own songs (parodies of popular hits) and share them with the class! Talk about higher level and critical thinking!

2. Stations 
As I came over to intermediate side of the school, I really wondered what this would look like and how it would work. I had all my stations assigned using Daily 5 in the primary grades and I really wasn't sure if it would translate when moving to an upper grade. Not to mention, I was departmentalized and only taught reading (and now teach all subjects to my kiddos). But, I am happy to report that with a few tweaks and changes, it is working! Whatever system you chose, do what works for you....but make sure you do it! Small group instruction time is critical and will definitely be worth every minute of effort that you but into your stations....and more importantly into your students.

3. Conversation is a must. 
One thing that I learned really early in fourth grade was that they love to talk. Love, love, love it. So, why not use that to my advantage? I was a primary ELL and GT teacher for years and in my classroom used the art of conversation to build language, listening and speaking skills with my little ones. With my older students, I am able to continue to work on those skills and so much more. Through their conversations, they create meaning and understanding. They are able to reason, explain and justify their responses. It is absolutely amazing the conversations they will have when they are given the liberate to make connections, speak freely and represent their view of the concept. It is amazing.

4. Read Aloud
Yes, I have a big carpet in my big kid room and yes, we all sit on it and I read to them. They are not to old to be read to and really do enjoy a good read aloud. So much modeling, thinking and conversation comes from read alouds in the primary grades and I am happy to report that it is alive and well in this fourth grade classroom! I have always loved the connection between reading and writing. It is essential and using mentor texts to model great thinking and amazing writing are a prefect place to start. 

There are so many more things that I will continue to share as I navigate the world of intermediate elementary! This has been such a wonderful experience and as I go into the spring and experience state testing and other benchmarks along the way, I know that this little blog is where I will be sharing my thoughts.

For all my new friends, thank you so much for stopping by on this AWESOME hop and for all my sweet friends that have joined me on this ride...thank you!

Next on the the Bright Ideas Blog Hop is Jennifer of Luckey Frog's Lilly Pad! She has a great post about getting students moving while they learn....don't miss it! 

You can also check out our Big Ideas Pinterest board full of tons of great ideas! Happy blogging!

More Bright Ideas for Lower Grades:

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