How old are 4th graders? Typically 9 and 10.
Congrats! You’re on your way to becoming an expert 4th grade teacher.
Of course, there’s more to it, right? Like anything, you start with one step. And now that you know the answer to “How old are 4th graders” you’re ready for your next step.
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After you know how old 4th graders are …
1 | Party
Yep! Time to celebrate in your success, sweetpea! This is vital. It took you a long time to get here, right? So unless school starts next week, put your feet up and enjoy this lovely moment. Your student teaching’s behind you. Your new life lies ahead (with its steady paycheck. Cheers to THAT!)
If celebrating means throwing an “I did it!”online-bash with your besties, go for it! Or maybe you’re more of a splurge-on-fancy-bubblebath type, in which case, make that snugglefest happen. Can’t wait to get some new teacher pens? Treat yourself!
But take that moment in the sun. You deserve it.
2 | Gather information
Now that you know how old 4th graders are, you’ve got to get cracking on a bigger information quest. (Click here to get a ready-for-you PDF checklist. As one teacher noted, “I am a first year teacher & have been in desperate need for THIS LIST. Such a game changer on my stress levels! I can not wait to put these lists into action the rest of the summer!”)
You can’t start planning for your new space in school if you don’t know what you’re planning for.
Get into your room. Take measurements. Take lots of pictures.
3 | Decide: Do you need a teacher desk?
Most new educators assume, yes, you do need a teacher desk. I was one of them for years.
But when I ditched my heavy dinosaur for a rainbow table, the room instantly grew in size. What a difference!
Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t have a desk. (Cause this one’s awfully cute.) That might work great for you. And many teachers I know use their desk to great effect.
Just see it as an option, and not a must-have. (And if you want something lighter but attractive and useful, this model is quite the looker.)
4 | Investigate the best buys for your classroom
Back-to-school season comes up fast. Grab some of those must-have items now. (But check your school supply closet first, so you don’t buy things you don’t need. Again, grab this free downloadable checklist to take to school so you don’t waste money on unneeded things.)
Here are some things I bought for my classroom that I would buy again in a heartbeat: (But don’t need to, because they’ve lasted!)
This sharpener’s the best. In my years of teaching, I’ve gone through about 5 electric sharpeners. This one, though, has lasted for 8 years and still sharpens to a fine point. (Just don’t put colored pencils in electric sharpeners. The lead gunks them up.)
This same sharpener appears on all teacher websites. Why? Because it’s made for rough handling. Cheap sharpeners are worthless. Just get it now — you’ll thank yourself many times over.
3-Hole Paper Punch
Best 20 bucks you’ll spend. I’ve owned a couple of 3-hole punchers and this baby far outshines the competition. Your papers won’t get stuck like they will with other models. The most amazing part? How cheap it is for the high quality.
The laminator I bought and love is no longer sold. But I found this similar model (with over 1,700 rave reviews) that has a separate paper cutter and corner rounder (the corners are dangerously sharp otherwise):
True, your school may have a laminator, and by all means use that if your happy with the quality. School bought laminators, though, can be fickle. Half the time they need repair. It’s awfully nice to have your own and not depend on the whims of your school laminator.
You’ll be making lots of anchor charts. And having bold colors that don’t dry out will make it easier and WAY more fun! This gorgeous set is worth its weight in gold. (That lime green? Swoonworthy.)
5 | Choose your classroom decor
This is the part you’re most excited about, right? And if you’ve got all the important stuff done and decorating makes you happy, have at it.
But you don’t need to go all out. In fact, simpler is easier for you and for the kids.
I’ve used the same watercolor theme in my room for years and never felt any desire to change it. It works. It’s simple. Each subject has its own color.
Want to read about my favorite things for 4th grade? Hop over here!
6 | Pick a classroom calendar
You must have some sort of classroom calendar. One that lets your kids see the date, but also important dates coming up. (When they ask you, “When’s vacation?” have them count the days themselves!)
Plus? They need to learn how to actually use a calendar. Most of them won’t know. And they’ll need the daily practice. (Plus it’s an easy and fun way to sneak extra math in.)
This version is fully editable. It comes with the typical holidays you expect, but has editable versions so you can add your own fun classroom days. Plus there are editable birthday tags.
Plus, that one calendar comes it all colors, so you can switch it up. I use grey for no-school days and blue for school days. But you might choose to pair red and orange. or pink and green. Or change it from year to year.
You can grab those cute magnet leaf borders here. I use them for everything on my whiteboards!
Need your own teacher calendar for planning? Grab this editable version and you’ve got a calendar for life. (It’s updated every summer.)
7 | Invest in teacher-created resources
Oh this. It took me SO LONG to learn that I didn’t need to do everything myself. It doesn’t make you less creative. Or less of an educator.
What does buying resources from other teachers do? Well, it can make your job a heck of a lot more fun. And a few bucks will save you HOURS of time prepping. Make your coffee at home — this coffee maker’s the bomb — and spend the saved cash on resources to buy your time and energy back.
I promise, sweet one, it’s worth every penny. Read over the reviews. Over time, you’ll find sellers you trust and depend on. They’ll become your favorite people.
And your students will love you for making their lessons fun and memorable! (These United States games I made were my first foray into using games to get kids learning faster. What a wake-up call!)
Figure out what makes sense for you for homework. Do you want to give it daily? Weekly? In packets? Online?
Make it fun. Go to your favorite cafe. Or pick your favorite outside spot. And brainstorm all your thoughts about what purpose you want your homework to serve.
Check in with your colleagues. Are there school expectations? Grade expectations? Start reviewing the choices and figure out what you’re comfortable with.
9 | Find a fast assessment style
You’ll know all about formative and summative assessment from school. Basically, formative assessment is finding out in the moment what your kids know so far. It’s fast. Something you can do on the spot. And it helps you adjust your teaching.
Summative assessment is what most of us grew up with — things like end-of-unit tests, spelling quizzes, etc
Start learning about Google Classroom (or whatever platform your school or grade uses) and find online assessments that grade themselves. It takes a little while to learn, but you’ll be thankful you did it.
10 | Get your parent communication ready
For many new teachers, this is the scariest part of being a new teacher: dealing with parents.
But I promise you — you’ve got this. Click here to become a confident expert at winning over parents. It easier than you think! And it’s a blast when you have a great relationship with them.
11 | Save Time with Classroom Jobs
Developing classroom jobs takes some time to do. You’ll likely revisit it throughout the year. And it’s one of the best uses of your time.
We’re not talking Line Leader either. Instead, this is about useful jobs that not only do students love doing but that will save you time.
BONUS: Decide on your Read Alouds for 4th grade
Maybe the funnest part of teaching.
I asked 4th grade teachers what their favorite read alouds the results will make you want to rush out to your closest bookstore, cash in hand.
And? You can cut two carrots with one knife (less violent than killing 2 birds) by teaching them vocabulary while you do it. Look at you go!
Now It’s Your Turn!
Tell us in the comments below:
- What advice would you give a new 4th grade teacher?
- OR … What’s the best advice you received when you began teaching? (or the worst advice?)
- OR — if you’re a new teacher, what questions do you still have?
Want more good stuff?
Click here and get “8 Ways to Create Lifelong Readers.” Want your kids to love reading? In 8 easy steps, you’ll have a well-loved book haven in your classroom.
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