back to school guide

As we count down the days to back to school, the Daily Buzz talks with moms and public school teachers about what you and your child can expect in the coming year.

Today 4th grade teacher Christaberk and post-4th grade mom Partygaltoys4u answer common questions about...

 

Academics

Christaberk: Math, Reading, Science, History, and Writing/Language Arts are the main subjects covered in 4th grade. Independence should really have been achieved by this point. We focus on taking what is read and processing it to make it meaningful for the student. We focus on comprehension and practice the ability to put thoughts, emotions, and actions into words, both written and spoken.

Partygaltoys4u: In the 4th grade, students are required to handle writing down their homework and knowing when their tests are going to be on a daily basis.

This was a very hard year. We have something called LEAP tests in our state. In the 4th and 8th grades, they must pass this test to move on the 5th and 9th grades. It does not matter if they are Honor Roll students are not, they must pass. So it has been a long year of tutoring, extra studying, and phewwww...so glad this year is over. I'm not saying that 4th grade is bad. It just depends on your state's requirements.

School Supplies

Partygaltoys4u: My son really didn't need much: notebooks, desk caddy, loose leaf paper, pencils, erasers, book sack, Ziploc bags, markers, pencil bag. I maybe spent $40 dollars.

Christaberk: Expect to spend $15-$20 on the basic supplies. Teachers can ALWAYS use copy paper, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and dry-erase markers, as many schools (mine included) do not provide any of these materials.

Homework

Partygaltoys4u: When my child was a 4th grader, he had tons of homework. Almost every day. Sometimes he had just a little bit, and sometimes it took hours.

Christaberk: We do give homework, but no more than 30 minutes per night. Nothing helps foster success in students better than active parent participation. An agenda (or planner of some kind) will also help both parents and students understand nightly materials. This can also serve as a communication tool between the parent and teacher.

Social Scene

Partygaltoys4u: I did notice some cliques this year. I think I've seen this mostly with girls. Girls seem to want to mature faster than boys, so they are into what girls do: gossiping, starting to want to wear makeup, and bringing their purses to school.

Christaberk: Good friends are important throughout each school year. They make great study partners. Many students tend to find one friend  and stick to him or her all year.

There is always one or two kids in the class that don't seem to "fit" with the rest of the students. At this age, though, I think most of the students are fairly oblivious to that fact, and I don't see much peer pressure at all.

Unfortunately, bullies exist in each grade, even as young as Kindergarten. We try to foster a feeling of "family" in the classroom, and that seems to curb the bullying. However, we can never see what happens in the bathroom and whatnot.

Behavioral Issues

Partygaltoys4u: I think the biggest behavioral issue is attitude. At this age kids think they know everything. Especially the boys, trying to be big and bad...LOL.

Christaberk: The most common behavior issue we see is being very "social"—talking too much. This is also the age where students begin to lie to teachers and/or parents about homework, grades, etc. Parent communication is KEY to curb these behaviors.

Discipline

Partygaltoys4u: We have time-out, and then we have an ISS room where students go after they have used their warnings and time-out. Students stay there for approx 20 minutes or so. For more severe offenses (fighting, throwing items, etc.), students are sent to the front office. Punishments at that point may be just a warning, a phone call to parents, ISS or OSS, depending on severity and frequency of the offense.

Transportation

Christaberk: School buses were relatively safe when we were growing up, and they still are. Bus drivers have the authority to suspend students from riding the bus if behavior gets out of line. Most bullying occurs at the bus stop, before the bus gets there. Many of my 9- and 10-year-olds walk to school, and most walk to the bus stop on their own.

Volunteering

Partygaltoys4u: Moms might be asked to stay with the class for a few hours here and there, help out during school trips, and help out during school functions. Fundraising, holiday parties, and other school activities always needs helpers. To find out what volunteer opportunities are available you can call the school, talk to your child's teacher, or join the PTO.

Christaberk: We always need parent involvement. Many classrooms will need a homeroom mom: a mom that serves as the main "contact" between the teacher and the rest of the parents. She will help the teacher in all aspects: chaperoning trips, making copies, cutting out laminated items, help organize the parties, etc.

What was the biggest challenge for your child?

Partygaltoys4u: My child's biggest challenge in the 4th grade was to pass the required LEAP tests (state required test). He passed and feels like he can do anything now.

Thanks so much to the 4th grade teachers and moms who helped us present this valuable Back to School information.

Since schools and activities vary depending on the district and where you live, tell us what the 4th grade experience like for you and your big kid!

Also find out What to Expect in ...

Day Care Centers

Home Care Settings

Pre-school

Kindergarten

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade