Week 1 – Fourth Grade

  • Drums by Ralph Talmont
  • My Dream Guitar

With two new books about music, this week’s AlphaSkills kit is helping set us off on a great start to a new school year! Despite a few first week jitters and complaints, my fourth grader loved these books and the accompanying activities. I attribute this mostly to the subject matter because Elijah absolutely loves music – making it, listening to it, and even cranking it up to annoy his parents. Of the two books, though, Drums was his absolute favorite. A few minutes after asking him to read the book silently, I heard him scream, “That is so cool! You can make drums from old paint buckets!” Then a few minutes later, “Did you know drums are some of the oldest instruments? Drums from all over the world! Japan!” and “You know how we have guitars? In India they have satars! Listen to this: The Native American water drum is partially filled with water!” He then proceeded to tell me all about the different drums described in the book, even before I asked him. I can’t remember the last time he was so excited about something that he didn’t choose for himself.

reading2The activity I want to highlight for this week is the writing activity on the last page of the Independent Assessment Booklet. Each IAB contains multiple sections with questions that build skills from comprehension and critical thinking to vocabulary and language arts. On the last page there are 5 writing questions, and each one builds a different critical thinking skill. For this week’s assessment I let Elijah choose which question to answer first, and he chose the one asking him to list 10 questions about one of the drums from a certain region of the world. I particularly like this question because it requires him to think about the content outside the parameters of the book, causing him to connect what he read with the world around him.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year holds for us as we use AlphaSkills. If my fourth grader gets even half this excited about the other books it’s going to be a great year! For more information about the AlphaSkills Read with Sarah curriculum and our family, see the AlphaSkills Blog Introduction.