Guest Blog Entry

IMG_7882My guest blogger today is Colleen Phillips. She has been my best friend since the first grade and I love how we both ended up in the teaching profession. We are also both moving up to older grades this year so we are having similar apprehensions. She is a kind and patient soul and does amazing work with her little kiddos. Enjoy her take on moving to the 4th grade!

Hello! My name is Colleen and I will be guest blog posting for Ryann this week! Ryann and I grew up together and have known each other since the impressionable age of six. We did everything together growing up; from playing Barbie dolls to playing soccer and graduating high school. I am honored to be able to share a little bit about myself and my teaching experience on her blog this week.

I am currently a teacher in an elementary school and have taught 2nd grade for the last two years. I also student taught in 2nd grade at the same school, so sliding into the same grade level when I was done with my program made the transition to being on my own go really smoothly. I loved teaching 2nd grade. However, my original sights were aimed on the intermediate grades. So, this year, I am moving to 4th grade. I am so excited to get the opportunity to teach slightly older kids while still staying at the same school. I will have another great team to work with like I did before, and I will already know some of the kids from when I had them two years ago. However, as excited as I am, I am also a little nervous because with a new grade level comes new content, standards, and procedures that I will need to teach my kids.

The math standards are what will change the most between 2nd and 4th grade. English language arts standards get more challenging and demanding, but the concepts are generally the same: story elements, author’s purpose, cause and effect, compare and contrast, expository writing, informational writing, etc. However, instead of teaching content such as adding, subtracting, and place value to my students, I will now be teaching them concepts such as division, decimals, and converting fractions to decimals. My hope is that I can still make these more challenging concepts engaging and fun to learn for my students through games, group work, exploration projects, and technology. My class will have their own set chrome books, so I would like to incorporate them into my math lessons as much as possible. I know I will definitely be asking Ryann for ideas about how to do this at multiple points throughout the year! All in all, I am very excited for this coming school year – it is going to be a great new challenge. Thank you for letting me guest post today and share a little bit about myself. Cheers!

3 thoughts on “Guest Blog Entry

  1. Kerri Patton says:

    Great post, Colleen! What a solid friendship to be besties with someone for so long! I hope you love the 4th grade as much as I did (oodles of years ago). It is still my most favorite level in school, because I had the best teacher on the planet – Mrs. Fitzgerald!

    Way back when we had SSR (sustained silent reading) and SSW (sustained silent writing) in schools, this was the grade that took it to new heights for me. I can’t recall how Mrs. Fitzgerald decided, but if we earned the privilege, a few lucky souls got to do SSR in our classroom tipi (it was alternately a tipi – made of poles and burlap cloth – or an igloo – made of empty milk jugs – depending on the year). And, we got to share our SSW works on Fridays, the reader sitting in the big wicker chair. We also read together as a whole class: she at the front on her stool, and we in our rows listening attentively to books like “Indian in the Cupboard” and “Bridge to Terabithia”. And watching “Slim Goodbody”, “Reading Rainbow”, and “321 Contact” was fantastic. I think we had a few classroom pets too (a hamster??), which made it an even friendlier place than it already was, and Mrs. Fitzgerald let us bring in cool stuff for “Show and Tell”, like the new chocolate lab my family got that year named Cocoa. What a blast!

    I don’t prize myself on a great memory, but my fourth-grade year was awesome! I hope yours is just as great, and you’re able to create lasting memories for yourself and your students.

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  2. kendalcramer says:

    Hi Colleen,

    Thanks for writing this post. I am a special education teacher and have 4th grade on my caseload. From my experience the best thing for teaching fractions and decimals is to first start with visuals, https://illuminations.nctm.org/ has same great visuals and games. There is even differentiating within each activity so you can use on any ability level.

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  3. wagnerang says:

    Good luck on transitioning to 4th grade. It can be overwhelming sometimes to switch when you have taught the same grade for a few years, but it’s another opportunity to get experience under your belt. It’s true the standards have gotten more intense, but having taught the grades below should help in seeing how that foundation was built. I hope you have a great year!

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