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Can a teacher inspire learning, develop a sense of classroom community, hold the interests of a changing assortment of nine- and ten-year-olds, and continue to spark her own enthusiasm in the process? Joan Servis has been doing that for twenty-five years, and in Celebrating the Fourth, she shares the experience she has gained over a quarter of a century as a fourth-grade teacher in Ohio's progressive Shaker Heights school district.
Beginning as a "skill-and-drill teacher," Servis reached a turning point more than ten years ago when a classroom experiment using authentic literature texts yielded dramatic results. Questioning her old practices, she began to consult more freely with colleagues and students. Now, Servis champions a collaborative approach to learning, and shows how your classroom can be invigorated with techniques like daily self-reflection, giving students choices and responsibility, creating a risk-taking environment, and applauding students' success.
Celebrating the Fourth is unique not just in its grade-specific focus, but in its comprehensiveness. All subject areas from language arts to math and science are explored, as well as issues like parent outreach and building a sense of classroom community. Along with recommendations for resources and materials, Servis provides sample assessment forms. Especially timely are her ideas for satisfying parents' and administrators' requirements, without diminishing student input.
Introduction: There Is No Ceiling in Our Room
What Do I Know About Fourth Graders?
Writing Our Stories
Becoming Proficient Readers
Success in Mathematics
Implementing Science and Social Studies
Together We Can...