Grade me tips

Use “absent folders” to help students catch up when they return to school.

Source: Teaching with Terhune Partner students at the beginning of the year. When one student is absent, have their partner put work in the Absent Folder for them. When the student returns to school, send the folder home. Total time-saver!

Make space-saving seats for your centers.

Source: DIY for Life These adorable seats can double as buckets for easy materials storage.

Create classroom mailboxes for students.

Source: The Teaching Thief Use mailboxes to return work and have students write and deliver letters to each other! Personalize them to match your classroom decor.

Make art.

These 45 art projects are just right for first graders.

Make a class time capsule.

At the beginning of the year, have the students write down their thoughts, expectations, goals, feelings, and predictions. Put them all in a decorated jar, seal it up, and then read them all in the last week of school!

Keep your students linked into the big picture of the lesson

We love this kid-friendly version of a teacher’s lesson plans. Put day-specific “Today I am…” “So that I can…” and “I’ll know I’ve got it if…” posters on your board.

Out with boring worksheets! Engage your fourth graders with

  • “Thinking maps that students create.” —Aimee V.
  • “Brain-based activities and games.” —Joy W.
  • “Foldables. Check out Dinah Zikes for ideas!” —Dianne K.
  • “Interactive notebooks!” —Shanna J.

STOP in the name of class.

We love this method of letting a student know his behavior is off-task—without interrupting the flow of the lesson. Hand one of these to a student who needs a reminder to focus and you’ll be in the clear. Click here for free printables from Rock and Teach to make your own!

Set up interactive, exciting centers in your classroom.

Having centers, or workstations, in your fourth grade classroom allows students to work independently. “When introducing a new independent activity, I usually do it in small groups first, so when put in the independent stations, they are able to do it without my help.” —Carol V. “I have center folders that students keep their work in, and at the end of the cycle of centers, I grade the work as 100, 80, or 60 based upon what’s done and the quality. I give one center grade for each cycle.” —Gary F.

Check homework, three ways

  1. “Pick what’s most important about the lesson, not the small details, and grade that way. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. The important thing is, did they understand the content?” —Megan P.
  2. “For my gradebook, students receive credit for returning homework completed. I go around and mark them off, then I put the answers up and students correct it themselves. I then go over any problems that the students request for me to explain.” —Montoya M.
  3. “I have a box of clothespins with each kid’s name on them. They clip their pin to their homework and drop it into the homework file up front. It’s easy to tell who didn’t hand in homework because you just take a glance at the remaining clothespins! I set a two-minute timer for them to complete this so it doesn’t take too long, and my fourth graders do it in no time! You just have to practice and train them. Make a game out of ‘beating the timer’ without pushing or shoving.” —Jamie S.