Teaching Grade 4: Landing on the Earth with Both Feet

With Wendy Kelly

Fourth grade children have grown from being tender youngsters to arriving at the threshold of a new era as able elementary school pupils. They are the youngest of the older students in our schools. These children tend to be powerfully curious, thoughtful, active and bold yet still tender hearted and young. They are like young saplings, flexible and sturdy, reaching for the sun. The new skills and emerging cognitive powers of these children ask us to provide meaningful content and challenges in every aspect of school life. Their friendships become more and more important as they form deep friendships. They need support and guidance to navigate the fast waters of life into which they are eager to venture. They need our warmth and focused interest.

The rich curriculum of fourth grade offers many opportunities to excite and stimulate the growing hearts and minds of these students. It is a wonderful year of exploration for the teacher as well. A healthy sense of humor and enthusiasm for the wide world are the best allies of any class teacher, but particularly at this age and for the duration of the elementary school years.

We will explore the often humorous, conflict-filled world of the Norse gods through story and artistic renderings. The animal kingdom is a favorite among children of this age, and we will explore our human attributes alongside the abilities and habits of the wide world of animals. Local geography gives us an opportunity to explore the physical and historical landscapes of our own neighborhood. Here we include the importance of First Nation people and how we can share their stories and life ways as part of geography. Fractions, reading comprehension, and English grammar are the building blocks needed for advancing academic skills; we will discuss resources and lesson plans on these topics as well. Artistic inspirations and projects will be shared to support all of the fourth grade topics.

We will also discuss our relationships with parents, parent meetings, and student connections with us and their peers. We will cover block rotations, projects, working with a wide range of intellectual needs and abilities, and how to manage the enormous task of being a teacher with an economic use of precious time.

 Wendy KellyWendy Kelly, a native of South Jersey with family roots in Estonia, earned a BA in both Dance and Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park, an MFA in Dance from Temple University, and an MSEd in Waldorf Education from Sunbridge College. She performed professionally with two different modern dance companies in Philadelphia before starting a family and beginning training to become a Waldorf teacher. Ms. Kelly was a class teacher for ten years at the Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, NY, where her three children also attended. She has been a class teacher at the Rudolf Steiner School since 2011 and has taught a number of teacher training and grades preparation workshops at Sunbridge Institute in Chestnut Ridge, NY. Outside of school Ms. Kelly is active with the Manhattan Taiko and Kizuna Taiko performance groups as well as the Filiae Patriae Estonian academic and cultural women’s group and the New York Estonian Mixed Choir. Currently, she is the 6th grade class teacher at the Rudolf Steiner School.

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Teaching fourth grade

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