Original Article: http://unhmagazine.unh.edu/w11/bookreviews.html
Fourth grade is an incredible year. Students are so alive. They race down the halls each day and burst through the door ready to cheer and groan at each new activity and part of the day. They are old enough to be able to do incredible work: read complex books, write in-depth and thoughtful stories and non-fiction texts, and complete multi-genre research projects. They are also still young enough to get lost in fun activities and not be caught up in the storm of adolescence which is just around the corner for many. Fourth graders can also be intense, competitive, moody, and anxious. I think it’s this variety of qualities that has always made teaching fourth grade so challenging and enjoyable.
My book, What Every 4th Grade Teacher Needs to Know about Setting Up and Running a Classroom (NEFC, 2010) is designed to delve into the complexities, challenges, and excitement of teaching fourth grade. For new teachers, teachers who are new to teaching fourth grade, or veteran fourth grade teachers, there is advice about how to arrange the physical space of the classroom, how to design lessons and units with the particular common characteristics of fourth graders in mind, how to communicate effectively with families, how to teach specific social and academic skills, and so much more.
I spent fifteen years as a classroom teacher and have also been a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher for more than ten years, and I have packed this book with practical strategies and advice from my own experience as well as from the vast resources of Responsive Classroom teaching practices. I hope that it serves as a great resource for many fourth grade teachers!