Changing grade levels is difficult. I still remember crying my eyes out the first time I had to change grade levels. It was devastating! It’s hard to sort through years worth of blog posts, resources, and articles to find just what you need to get started. I know how much of a challenge it can be when you’re new to teaching 4th grade, so I’ve written this post to help get you started. Even if you’ve been a fourth grade teacher for awhile, you’ll probably find something useful!
Classroom Set Up
If you’re a new(er) teacher, you can feel pressured to go out and create a designer classroom. That’s not necessary. At all.
The priority should be organizing, not decorating, your classroom. Of course, I’m not saying that having a cute or decorated classroom is a bad thing. I spend more awake time in my classroom than anywhere else, so I want an environment that makes me comfortable and happy.
But, you don’t need to go out and spend lots of money creating a Pinterest classroom. Make sure your room is clean, not too busy or distracting, and organized.
It’s important to begin the year with a plan. Of course it’s necessary to keep in mind that it’s just a guide, not rules that are set in stone. Below are my reading and math pacing guides for teachers new to teaching 4th grade. You can download example fourth grade pacing guides here.
COVID and distance learning has changed so many things for teachers. It’s incredibly hard to know how to get started when you don’t know what you’re planning for. To provide even more support, I’ve shared a First 30 Days for reading and math. What makes this plan special is that it can be used for in-class instruction, distance learning, or a combination of both. You can find that post here.
Fourth Grade Morning Work
A good morning work routine is one of the most important parts of the day. It sets your pace and allows students to feel organized and prepared. This post shares some of my favorite ideas for morning work. It also mentions how to incorporate a soft start to your day.
After years of blogging, there is simply no way to narrow down all of my reading and writing blog posts to just one! However, I was able to whittle it down to just a few. Keep in mind, all of these lessons are available as a print and digital resource.
Reading Workshop-In this post you can get a good overview of what should happen during reading workshop. The post also discuss the differences between reading workshop, guided reading, and literature circles.
Integrating Science and Social Studies-This post shares several ideas on ways to integrate your science and social studies standards with reading. Time is always a problem, so this is a big help.
Making Sense of Reading Assessments-Depending on where you’re coming from, reading assessments may look different. They may also be quite overwhelming! This post breaks down the how and why of various reading assessments.
Upper Elementary Guided Reading Groups – Reading groups in the upper elementary classroom are complex to say the least. This post is a great place to start.
Introducing Reading Workshop – This post shares procedural lessons to allow your students get started on the right foot.
Introducing Paragraphs – This is one of my all time favorite ways to begin teaching writing! If you’re new to teaching 4th grade, I highly recommend starting the year by teaching students how to write paragraphs through these back to school books!
Personal Narratives-Here is a blog post that shares how to teach students to write personal narratives. I do have blog posts for other writing genres, but this seems to be teachers’ favorite genre to start the year with.
Math Workshop/Guided Math-This post describes how math workshop can be used in a fourth grade classroom.
Upper Elementary Math Centers-You don’t have to incorporate math centers in fourth grade. If you do utilize centers, you don’t have to use them everyday. There is so much flexibility! This is a great post to show how to use math centers in an upper elementary classroom.
First Days of Math Workshop-I highly recommend this post! It’s SO important in order to have success during the year. There are step-by-step lessons to teach math workshop with routines and procedures.
Math Manipulatives-Math manipulatives aren’t just for the little ones. Big kids need them too! However, you don’t need to spend a fortune, and there are important things to remember when using manipulatives.
Multiplication Facts-There are few topics in math that cause more anxiety (for students and teachers) than math facts. This post helps take that away. There are TONS of fun ideas and freebies to make learning multiplication facts fun AND meaningful!
Social Studies & Science
Far too often social studies and science are neglected in third, fourth, and fifth grades. When you teach content heavy grade levels, it’s incredibly hard to find the time to squeeze it all into the day. This is one of the primary reasons I love integrating as often as possible. In this post I share a few ideas on how to integrate social studies and science into language arts and math.
Yes, fourth graders have to participate in state testing. I can say with 100% certainty that the best test prep is high quality instruction all year. It’s important to be extremely careful to approach testing with the right attitude with students. I don’t use it as a fear mechanism for motivation or over emphasize the importance of test scores.
While I can’t take away all of the stress relating to testing, you can make the year easier by integrating review into your instruction all year. You can see some of my favorite ideas here.
It’s definitely not possible to share all of my resources with you, but I would love to give you some ideas. The items below are my top 10 favorite resources for teachers who are new to teaching 4th Grade.
Top Ten Resources for Teachers New to Teaching 4th Grade
This Reading Workshop Bundle is probably my favorite product! It’s one of those that really does have everything! There are 180 reading comprehension lesson plans and printables to go with each lesson plan. I’ve also included fluency practice, vocabulary, and reading homework.
My Fourth Grade Math Units is a compilation of YEARS of work! This bundle includes 10 math units with hands-on lessons, skills practice, and task cards!
I honestly don’t know what I’d do without my Weekly Word Problems. I now use the updated version with the constructed response practice for my morning work. It’s one of my favorites!
Once again, I’d be lost without my Fluency Passages! I use these for weekly fluency and comprehension homework. The best part is that the entire pack is integrated with science and social studies!
My Language Arts Morning Work is an excellent spiral review. This will help keep tricky grammar and reading skills fresh all year. (I know the cover of this one says third, but I’ve linked the 4th grade version. My fourth grade cover is in the middle of being updated 🙂
Writing can certainly be tricky, which is why I love having the Writing Bundle ready to go! This contains three writing units aligned to the Common Core Standards: informational, opinion, and narrative!
I love these Multiplication Facts Booklets! Teaching multiplication facts is a year long process, so I incorporate these booklets all year long. The are a great way to teach conceptual understanding and memorization of multiplication facts.
I use the Prefix of the Week packet along with my Homophone of the Week for weekly vocabulary and word work. This makes a cute bulletin board and comes with different booklets!
I use this Math Constructed Response packet at least once a week. This is one of those concepts that requires practice all year long, rather than taught as an isolated test prep skill.
I’m cheating a little here! I actually have a few 4th grade assessment packs, and I love them all! I especially like the language arts assessments, because it’s often difficult to find reading assessments that include the passage and assess one standard at a time.
You are going to love fourth grade! One of the best things about fourth grade is that students are young enough to still love school and have a desire to please their teacher. Yet, they are independent enough to participate in really fun activities. Plus, the older students are awesome at catching my corny jokes! Like all students, they need love, consistency, and strong procedures for optimal success. Don’t sweat the test! Your preparation starts from Day 1 and with good instruction your students will be ready!
Don’t hesitate to ask any questions! I’m always happy to help.