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January 5, 2022

National Fourth Graders Day

 Celebrate National Fourth Graders Day on January 10th because 4th Graders rock!

1. Let the kids decorate their desks! 

Students could pick a theme such as winter, stars, turtles, the color pink, sports, etc. They can bring in items to decorate from home. You could also provide some craft supplies and ask colleagues if they have any craft supplies they no longer need.

2. Dress alike.

Ask the kids to wear jeans and a black (or whatever color you want) shirt. Just for fun add cheap sunglasses or bead necklaces. If you have time and resources, you could buy 4th Grade Rocks T-shirts. Remember to take pictures!

3. Create a hallway display.

This rock star theme bulletin board would work well. The banner reads 4th Grade Rocks. Print the Meet the Star information sheets for students to complete. Hang them up in the hall under the banner. Take and print photos of each student to add to the display.

4. Conduct surveys and create graphs of Fourth Grade Favorites.

Have the 4th graders in your school complete a survey about favorites. Survey favorite ice cream flavor, sport, food, beverage, color, animal, TV show, movie, season, etc. Pairs of students could then graph results. Display the completed projects! 

5. Read or start to read a 4th Grade novel.

Try Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume.

6. Make a rock garden.

Purchase some large rocks. You could ask for a donation of enough rocks for your class or ask for a teacher discount. Have students trace around their rock on paper and use the tracing to plan their design. Then break out the paints and let the creativity flow. Allow the paint to dry, and then have students place their rocks outside in the area you have designated. Complete this activity year after year with your students, and watch the rock garden grow!

7. Write a poem.

A cinquain-type poem about 4th Grade would be fun! Cinquain goes like this:

Line 1 - One noun

Line 2 - Two adjectives

Line 3 - Three ing words

Line 4 - Four feeling words (or a 4-word feeling phrase)

Line 5 - Another word for the noun

Here's an example:


Funny, smart

Laughing, thinking, creating

Happy to be here


8. Interview a 4th grader.

Don't teach 4th grade? No problem! Have your students prepare questions and arrange to meet with a 4th Grade class. Pair students up and let the interviews begin! Afterward, students can share in a newsroom-type report. 

Have fun celebrating amazing 4th Graders! 

November 12, 2021

Teaching Drawing Conclusions

Students may benefit from a concrete to abstract approach when learning how to draw conclusions. 

You could start by playing a guessing game with real items.

Some ideas are:

  • Beach bag with towel and sunblock
  • Baseball or soccer bag with equipment 
  • Birthday present
  • Dog leash and tennis ball
  • Canvas and paints
  • Suitcase
  • Book and library card
  • Flashlight and sleeping bag

Display the items and have students guess where you are going.

Explain to the students that they used the items as clues + what they already knew to draw conclusions without you actually telling them where you were going.

Explain that when we read, we use clues in the story + what we already know to draw conclusions.

This drawing conclusions worksheet can be used with any text. It works well in guided reading groups to help students develop the skill.

You can reinforce the drawing conclusions skill with worksheets throughout the school year.

November 4, 2021

Open Ended Questions For Kids

 Teach students to answer open-ended questions in just 4 steps...

1. Demonstrate how you would answer an open-ended question.

Display this question or one of your own: What are your favorite art materials to work with?

Explain to students that you will answer the question in a complete sentence which is easy because you can steal words from the question. Underline favorite art materials in the question to show the words you will steal. 

Form the answer: My favorite art materials to work with are watercolors.

Explain that you can add a bit more detail by telling why.

Form the answer: My favorite art materials to work with are watercolors because they are unpredictable.

2. Answer an open-ended question as a class.

Display a question such as: Where do you feel most happy?

Guide students in identifying which words to steal from the question. Underline feel most happy in the question. 

Form an answer such as: I feel most happy when I am at the lake.

Guide students in adding more detail.

Form an answer such as: I feel most happy when I am at the lake with my cousins, Ana and Brenda.

3. Have students answer a question independently.

Display a question such as: How do you help the environment?

Students underline words that can be stolen and answer the question independently.

Allow students time to share their answers.

4. Provide daily practice during morning work or as a station activity.

Need to save time? These open-ended question cards include both blank response sheets and guided response sheets. The guided response sheets are perfect for students who need a little more support! 

October 12, 2021

Veterans Day Activities

 There are many ways for students to acknowledge our veterans!

1. Have small groups create giant cards for the local VFW.

2. Students could create thank you cards for a local VA hospital.

3. Have a veteran come out to speak to your class. 

Students can prepare questions in advance so that you can make sure they are appropriate. Young students can inquire about the differences in military branches, places stationed, type of food and shelter, uniforms, transportation, and other nonviolent topics. 

4. Organize or participate in a care package collection for troops.

5. Decorate the halls.

This craftivity is easy to make and includes writing organizers!

Click HERE to see more Veterans Day ideas!

September 22, 2021

Resources For Teaching Geography

Check out some ideas to add fun and engagement to your geography unit!

1. Explore maps and globes. 

Students may benefit from some hands-on experience with various maps and globes. Try looking for maps and globes at yard sales or ask friends, family, and your local library for donations. Give students time to casually explore.

Have students learn about different types of maps here:

2. Make paper mache globes. 

Form groups and have students cover a round balloon with paper mache. Use a whisk to mix 1 part flour with 2 parts water. Tear strips of newspaper or paper bags. Dip the strips one at a time into the mixture, smooth out, and wrap around balloon. Continue until balloon is covered. Allow to dry.

Once dry, have students draw and paint the continents. Dry again and have them paint the oceans. Once dry again, label the continents and oceans.

3. Play this Compass Rose Game.

4. Have students work on cardinal and ordinal directions.

5. Play pin the place on the map.

Draw a basic outline of your state on large bulletin board paper and hang it up. Write the name of important places in your state on index cards and place tape on the back. One at a time, have students close eyes, spin around, and try to get the place correctly on your state map. No peeking! Blindfolds could be used if you have enough fabric for students to have their own. Students love this game and it helps them form a mental mapping of their state!

6. Play secret longitude and latitude.

Each student uses an index card to secretly record the latitude and longitude of a favorite place or place they wish to visit. You can make this as general (as in a state or country)  or specific (such as Disney World or the Washington Monument) as desired. Students switch index cards and use a globe or world map to determine their classmate's secret location.

7. Help students learn key geography vocabulary.

7. Make pumpkin globes!

Students will love learning about geography!

August 19, 2021

Week of Respect Ideas

Many schools participate in Week of Respect. It's a week for accepting and celebrating differences while discovering common interests.  Check out some ways to incorporate a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T into your lessons!

1. Use morning announcements to make suggestions for showing respect.

These ideas could be separated into categories such as respect for family, respect for friends, respect for animals, respect in public places, respect for the environment, etc. 

2. Create kindness rocks.

Students paint rocks with inspirational messages and hide them around the community for others to find. You never know who you may inspire! 

3. Make a new friend.

Challenge students to play with someone new during recess.

4. Write messages about respect on the sidewalks.

Students could research quotes and use sidewalk chalk to motivate others.

5. Have a respect your elders day. 

Have students make cards or pictures for nursing home and assisted living residents.

6. Have a theme week. 

Examples to include:  

Have a Mismatch Clothes Day to remind us that we may be different but we can all get along.

Another day could be Team Jersey Day to show that we may belong to different teams but we all enjoy the game.

7.  Have students complete a choice board:

The benefits of Week of Respect activities just may continue throughout the school year!  

July 13, 2021

Teaching Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing is fun to teach!

1. Start with a concrete object such as chewing gum. 

Hold up a pack of gum and have students help you tell a little story about the pack of gum without using the word gum. Guide students in using their 5 senses for this task. Ask students what they see, hear, smell, feel, and taste. Together, you may come up with something like this:

I tore open the small pink pack and removed one of the pieces. The sweet smell got to my nose before it reached my mouth. After chewing for a minute, I blew a bubble as big as my face! Pop! I peeled the sticky mess off my face and began chewing again.

2. Play a guessing game!

Divide the class into small groups of about 4 students. Distribute bags with familiar objects such as sunglasses, umbrella, hair brush, baseball, football, mittens, etc. to each group. Each group keeps their object a secret and writes a descriptive paragraph about it.  Have each group read their paragraph while the rest of the class tries to determine what the hidden object is by the description. 

You may want to explain that non-food items won't have a taste or possibly not a smell, but parts of the story may contain taste or smell. For example, if a group had mittens, the story could include hot chocolate which could have a taste and smell. The umbrella story could include the smell of rain, and the baseball story could include the taste of a ballpark hotdog. 

3. Once students have this concrete experience, proceed with some prompts like these:

Students will love descriptive writing!