As teens respond en masse to the Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why, the story of a girl who chooses suicide, Mary Tarashuk considers how difficult topics can be part of learning for her 4th graders and how their read-alouds and personal writing can build empathy.
Category: Kids on the Cusp
As she receives the Educators’ Choice Award for her blog post “Teaching By Doing Something Meaningful” at her first national conference, Mary Tarashuk remembers Madeline Hunter’s simple wisdom and considers the teaching power that comes from writing with students.
Positive and constructive self-assessments are what Mary Tarashuk wants for her fourth graders. Recently they used reflective writing to consider their own progress (and the progress of their class) more realistically, and to learn to set personal goals for growth.
Mary Tarashuk’s perceptive 4th graders take note of the world around them, in fiction and in the news. As they follow and study the US election, they also learn about the power of people helping one another during their Global Read Aloud of Sara Pennypacker’s Pax.
Always on the lookout for opportunities to enrich her 4th graders’ learning, Mary Tarashuk made a test run with the Global Read Aloud’s 2016 choice, “Pax,” and is ready with added resources for October/November’s worldwide immersion in Sara Pennypacker’s book.
This year, with an historic Presidential election in the making, civics studies take on a bit more relevance for Mary Tarashuk’s 4th graders. As she worked on her lesson plans this summer, she uncovered fresh resources to help her met five key teaching goals.
Fourth graders draw surprising conclusions when they get the chance to look back at a whole school year. Mary Tarashuk reviews the year with them and makes plans to tweak the experience next year, creating a new graphic organizer she’ll use with her next class.
As her fourth graders study the lead-up to the American Revolution, Mary Tarashuk finds echoes in today’s confrontation over free speech pitting test makers against teachers and students who question the validity of test elements. Free history resources included.
PARCC testing is finally over for Mary Tarashuk’s fourth graders. Freed from weeks of test prep and days of administering them, she looks for a spark to ignite end-of-year learning and finds courage and “kindling” in the words of inspirational educator Chip Wood.
How to fit it all in? For Mary Tarashuk, switching classes with a 4th grade team teacher is helpful. He takes science; she takes history. One downside: her homeroom kids get extra history instruction through their ELA studies. Might “platooning” be better?