I have recently begun my eleventh year as an elementary school teacher. This year marks the shift - I had taught kindergarten for five years, and this begins my sixth year teaching fourth grade. The curriculum is entirely different, but the longer I’m teaching, the more I realize that kids are kids, and many similarities exist between the grade levels.
- All children need to be reminded that scissors are for cutting paper. And only paper.
- Children are still largely afraid of the dark. A recent hour-long power outage at school sent my fourth grade students into a bit of a panic worried about ghosts and other bad things.
- Children enjoy writing on the whiteboard - whether it’s the large class board or individual white boards.
- More children will participate during math if the lesson involves food. With kindergarteners, we sorted and graphed M & M’s. For the fourth graders, we estimated the number of Smarties in the jar.
- Any grade enjoys a “honeymoon period” - like the first few dates when you’re getting to know someone. Everyone’s on their best behavior and haven’t revealed their “true selves.” Yet.
- Children respond to hugs and stickers.
- Books in the library corner are even more enjoyable when read while snuggling with a stuffed animal.
- Children will tell you the truth, or at least their version of the truth. I’m mean. My shoes are cool. Math is boring. They’re more concerned about getting their point of view across than they are about protecting my feelings.
- Children are children. They need love. And the ones that are most difficult, are probably the ones needing the most love.