Friday, May 4, 2012


The last couple of days have been busy busy!!  We've been passionate about reviewing our reading skills within the context of our novel.  I love that several of my quarters made connections between vocabulary we have reviewed in Texas History and things that have happened within our text.  Fun! Fun! Fun!

We reviewed the vocabulary barter, diverse, discrimination, and Reconstruction.  In our flipbook shown below, quarters wrote the definition and drew a picture to represent their understanding.  One of my quarters drew a picture of a girl with arrows, holding a squirrel, and a man with bread for the term "barter".  It was a direct link to The Hunger Games.  I was thrilled, to say the least!!  And she wasn't the only one.  We also talked about the lack of diversity amongst the people of The Capitol as well as the discrimination that is evident against the Districts.  Fantastic!!

We also covered producers and consumers.  This was an easy connection, for me at least, because this is the first year that I have grown a vegetable garden.  I told my quarters all about growing vegetables and how much I enjoy it.  I told them about some of the problems I am having with my plants and a couple of funny stories about what has happened (crazy dog peeing on plants...EWWW...gross bugs...squirrels...).  You get the picture!!  I really believe that when we, as teachers, let our students know a little about our "real life", they feel more invested in us and in their learning.  We become real people who have successes and failures, just like them.
We also reviewed our great state!! One of many things that make Texas unique is that we are the only state bordered by four states, a country, and a large body of water that connects to the ocean.  I love having the quarters use colors to help them categorize things and items that are important.

I love our longitude/latitude foldables!!  I really think they were able to remember the "long" in longitude.  Here is what they looked like:

It's hard to see the parts written in pencil in these pictures!  Sorry about that! But our longitude foldable opened left/right.  Our latitude foldable opened top/bottom!  Pretty cool, hunh?

Finally, as part of our grammar/writing activities, we talked about antonyms.  While I disagree with our scope and sequence that has fourth graders learning this skill at the end of the year, I must say that my quarters caught on very quickly.  That tells me that they had a good foundation from third grade!  I must give my buddies a high five for that.  Fourth grade really should teach this skill earlier in the year.  It would greatly improve their writing because they would have an easier time thinking of good vocabulary instead of using the same words over and over.  Even though they may have learned it in third, a lesson to remind them might be prudent next year before state testing. 

They put this into their writing journals.  Ignore the paper...there is no educational reason I used was extra paper that I've had for YEARS and I decided now was the time to use it!!  (We've all been there, right??)

My principal asked me what I was going to do this summer with my blog!  She stumped me because I really don't know!!  We had a good laugh about it and I told her "Oh, I'll think of something!" What?!?!  Since we won't be in school, I won't have ideas to teach "on the fly" and I won't have quarter examples to show you how my ideas work in the classroom!!   I have some things I plan to work on in preparation for next year, but definitely not enough to post about every day!!  I'm sure many of my fellow bloggers feel the same.  What do you plan to plan to post about during summer break?  I may just reflect on things, especially since, by then, I will have an idea about how my quarters did on the STAAR.  (Scary, scary thought, by the have NO idea my fears about their results.)

My first year as a fourth grade ESL teacher has been very challenging!!  Last year was my first year in fourth grade, period, and I didn't teach ESL. I did not feel as worried about their scores as I do about this year's class!  While being a former primary (1st grade) teacher was definitely a great prep for ESL, I  did not expect the struggles my quarters would face.  Nothing is more heartbreaking than having a hard-working, committed, ideal student complete a test with a smile and I have to tell them that they didn't pass it.  This has happened on weekly assessments.  While I firmly believe the student I'm thinking of has a dyslexia issue, I don't think she is the only one.  AND she is not the only hard-worker that isn't always successful.  ::tear::

Off to stalk some Teacher Appreciation freebies at Teachers Pay Teachers!!  Adios, mis amigos!! (See...I learned something this year!)

I love this quote...and it fits the end of my post, I think...

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.”--JK Rowling

You thought I was done with Harry Potter/JK Rowling quotes didn't you????? Well...SURPRISE!!!!



  1. Those flip books were awesome!

    Did you do a unit with your students on The Hunger Games? Or were you relating to the movie that I'm sure most of your students already have seen in theaters?

  2. I looovvveee thanks!!!

    I'm not doing a "unit" in the way that we teachers think of units. We are just reading, talking, and reviewing using The Hunger Games. I wrote this April post about my reasons for doing so with 4th graders on Testing Strategies...ppbbtt!"

    Yes, MANY of them have seen it in theaters (which I disagree with, but...) and their focus was on the "gore". As a book reader, I felt I had to do something to get them off the gross and onto the message.