Well, our Native American unit is well under way. Parents will be blown away by how much students have learned in only six weeks, including: sample architecture, Canva creations from research, Venn diagrams together with Tellagami videos, music/drumming, artwork, a totem pole, short stories, reading about Sacagawea and Sitting Bull, math of perimeter and area...plus extra special boxes being finished. They even hung in there when I showed them a website of complicated cone designs. It's crazy how much they are learning about Plains, Desert Southwest and Pacific Northwest native people.
Check out a few photos from the unit.
A new school year is filled with fresh new faces and excitement. And a bit of nervousness. All teachers want the year to go well, so there's plenty of energy flowing through everyone's system. This year was no different.
I'm lucky, because I'm at a really good school, with great students and parents. But some of the things that are always hard for me, if you can believe it, are wearing long pants again and wearing work shoes! Yep, those are the two things I have to get used to because I wear shorts ALL summer, unless I have a wedding or something else to go to, which I didn't have to this year. And the work shoes?...I've learned they are a bit thinner than my tennis shoes, and boat shoes! The first week always bring blisters on my big toes, thus requiring band-aids.
Just thought I'd let you know how a year starts! ;) This year started out with a teacher gift the night before school even started, when a student brought me a hand-painted mug inspired by our Native American unit and totem pole.
Oh yeah, there's also lessons to teach, all the systems to get into place, long hours to get it all set up, meetings with staff and parents, and making sure we learn all about our students. The first week is a big week, and sets the tone for the rest of the year. My school had four days this past week, so we get things ready for the rest of the year. I like having those four days, because then the day after Labor Day, we hit the road running. There is no messing around from this point on...oh wait, yes there is, because fourth graders understand fun teasing, and of course if I hand it out, I deserve getting it back. And oh yeah, it's started already...I said "scissor," instead of "scissors." You'd think that might slide by, but no. Students have also learned my most important acronym of the year: NLA, which means No Lollygagging Allowed. If they hear it, the kids in the back of a line need to pick up their pace. A new one this year is PGN, which means Please Go Now. If kids happen to be waiting in line by a bathroom, gosh darn it, go, instead of asking five minutes later when we get back the classroom! Kids made that one up.
Fourth grade is perfect for me as teachers learn the perfect niche of kids they teach the best. Fourth graders are great because they are smart, sweet, and understand fun sarcasm (never mean). That's why a former student was nicknamed Pizza! Pizza! but we also threw him a party for his favorite team, the Seahawks, after they lost the Super Bowl. That is sweet and uplifting, full of heart. I love teaching all subjects, and math seems to be my specialty, but I also love teaching, or influencing, "heart." I want my students to feel good about themselves, have perseverance, and grit. And I was want them to learn the virtue of thinking of others and giving it all they have to learn as much as they can while in class.
So, although I started this blog about not being able to wear shorts anymore, and how the dress shoes make my feet a bit sore, teaching is a passion, a huge responsibility and the best decision of my life. Teachers have a unique job, covering a variety of lessons: the subjects and about life. It's supreme privilege to have the blessing to spend a school year with 9-10 year olds.
So this is written for all the teachers and students out there, and those who know them, giving them maximum acknowledgement for effort and blessings to them for a new school year filled with extreme teaching and learning. Have a great year everyone. XO
© 2015 Peter J. Wilson
Peter Wilson teaches fourth grade at University Lake School, in Hartland, WI.