Thinking Teaching Creating

Thoughts, Tips, Ideas, and Projects from a Creative Teacher Mama

Big Changes Ahead

I’ve been a teacher for 10 years.

For 9 of those years, I’ve taught 1st or 2nd grade.

The last 6 of those years have been in the same school.

Next month, I will do something I haven’t done for quite some time.  I’ll start teaching at a new school, in a grade I’ve never before taught.  I’ll be teaching gifted fourth graders.  For the most part, I’m super excited!  But I’m also a little bit terrified.  Some of the content is unfamiliar, I don’t know anyone there (I’m super shy, especially when I’m in a group), nearly my entire classroom library is going to be way too easy and immature for them, and I’m pretty sure some of them will be taller than me (something I never worried about teaching 1st and 2nd grade).

However, this is an excellent opportunity to broaden my experiences.  One of the reasons for this move is that I’ve been in a charter school for a long while, and I eventually want to be an academic facilitator/instructional coach…but that isn’t a job that there’s usually funding for outside of your typical public school districts.  I also think that most school systems are going to be more likely to hire someone for that type of job from within the system; someone who has proven themselves in the district (one of the principals I interviewed with recently agreed on that point, by the way).  Keeping in mind the goal of being an instructional coach, it’s going to be helpful to have taught a range of grade levels and become familiar with what real kids are like at different grade/age levels.  

One of the things that makes me really excited about fourth grade is that the kids are old enough to be a lot more independent that I’ve grown accustomed to, and they’ll already have a lot of basic knowledge that we can work with.  For the past two years, I’ve done National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) with my first graders.  While it was amazingly rewarding and fun with them, I can’t wait to see how that pans out with older kids.  Last year I did Quadblogging with first graders. (Don’t know what Quadblogging is? Check out my post here!)  Again, a stellar experience that I’m interested to see in action with older students.  

I’m in the midst of researching interactive notebooks, which I had planned on attempting this year regardless of the grade level placement, but I think it’ll be more effective (not to mention easier) with fourth graders than it would be with firsties.  I also just heard about Genius Hour on Twitter, and want to learn more about ideas for structuring that.  

Needless to say, this year will be anything but boring!

If you use interactive notebooks or do Genius Hour with your class, I’d love to pick your brain or get links to sites you’ve found helpful!