The first month of school has flown by. "Has flown by" is an idiom. The fourth graders are learning figures of speech: idioms, metaphors, similes, as well as, homophones and homographs, and onomatopoeia. That is a lot to work with when reading and writing on the fourth grade level. After learning about these techniques, the students are always surprised at how often these features appear in the books we read.

We have begun our first chapter book, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. It is our selection from the genre: realistic fiction. I like to use this book for the study of “setting”. Before beginning the book, we learn about a time frame, the late 1940’s. We learn about China, where the story starts, and then about America following W.W.II. 

We are also able to use the setting as an introduction to researching. Students choose a product from that time period and then try to rewrite what they learn from their research. We discuss plagiarism and the importance of using words that you can define, and not using someone else’s words.

We also learn some important vocabulary : integration, segregation, immigration, emigration, symbolism, heritage, and ancestry. 

1947 is a great starting point to introduce extended topics for the students who can go a little farther on their own. Not only did Jackie Robinson integrate baseball, it was the year the term “U.F.O.” was first used (coined) in Roswell, N.M., Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, India became independent, and the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. If you toss in Shirley Temple, you can even touch upon entertainment beyond the baseball field. 

So many new things to learn and play with, and so little time. I am hoping that this next month doesn’t go so quickly. We want to have time to enjoy what we learn.

savannah jarratt