Today’ KISS – Keep It Simple Strategies – Classroom Management for 4th Grade Teachers
In my 3rd Grade blog for this series I said, “Let your curriculum be the framework for classroom management”. It was good advice for 3rd Grade, it is critical for 4th Grade. Manage classroom routines and structure firmly in the first week of school to make way for getting down to work. A teacher can establish a tone that speaks to students and says; “We’re going to get to work.”
Many teachers have elaborate reward systems for class behavior in general; stores, coupons, etc. I came across a super simple one that requires no money or tangible reward, and in the 4th Grade, this should be the norm anyway. You’ll want to devise a plan that works for your classroom. It’s a simple chalk mark chart on the board. When the class is on task, they get a tally mark. When students are loud or otherwise off target, the teacher gets a tally mark. At the end of the day, if the students have the most tally marks they get free time (five minutes) – this time can be saved up to use for a fun activity at the end of the week. Or use it as it is earned, at the end of that school day. Simple, cheap and effective. By the time children reach the 4th Grade, they should be used to classroom routines. Using peer pressure at this age is also very effective – check out this great video for an example.
As the grade levels ascend, curriculum should play a central role in how the day is managed, and how the students are managed. Each day, post CCSSI standards for the day at the front of the class. Students have read the standards, so they know what is expected of them. Students can develop rubrics with you to score performance for tasks like essays. Crossover standards for other subjects like Science and History can begin to emerge.
Rubrics help with classroom management also. Work with students at the beginning of the year or semester to create a new rubric to develop classroom behavior expectations. This works well for grading attitude and effort, especially around report card time when student behavior is evaluated. Rubrics still work, and so do graphic organizers. These simple tools can be so useful.
In the 4th Grade, your classroom library is a hallowed hall for guided reading and time management. It should be a quiet place in the classroom, with floor pillows, a rug, and beanbag chairs. Students’ legs are getting longer so placing a few hard chairs in the corner is a thoughtful addition. The best classroom library site on the web is “Mandy’s Tips for Teachers”; spend some time here for developing yours. She has a library for 2nd graders, but you can get creative for a more grown-up version. Work with your school’s Library Media Specialist to find a way to integrate the resources you have in your library with hers. An inter-library loan arrangement can be set up to maximize the resources you have in your school. There may be a formal inter-library loan process for your district; ask the librarian for instructions on how to use this valuable resource.
Other great resources for 4th Grade Classroom Management:
It bears repeating, love and being quick to smile will go a long way to making your classroom a wonderful place to be.
Add your tips and suggestions to our growing lists, teachers helping teachers is a great way to go. Check out the rest of our KISS Series here.
Neva Fenno, M.S.Ed., MLIS, has been a special education teacher, school library media specialist, curriculum specialist and grants manager for several urban school districts in New York and Massachusetts for 30 years. As grants manager for 7 years, she managed up to $28,000,000 a year in federal, state, foundation and corporate grants from application through fiscal administration. She has hundreds of stories to tell, not all successes, but from each story there is a lesson to be learned.