Week 4 Fourth Grade
Feelings (Non-fiction, Level 12, Stage 3) by Cheryl Semple
The Crystals (Fiction, Level 12, Stage 3) by Jacqueline Crompton Ottoway
I love it when we have both a fiction book and a non-fiction book in one week for my fourth grader because I know the AlphaSkills Guided Lesson is going to help him process the difference in the two genres and draw some conclusions about how they are alike and difference, and that is exactly what happened with the books this week. Feelings is an impressive non-fiction book about several children, some of which have special needs, and how they cope with various feelings like happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and embarrassment. Not only is it written on-level for my fourth grader, but the content was so on-target for both of my boys ages 9 and 6, and we were able to use the content to talk about their feelings as well. The Crystals is a story about a young girl who is struggling to cope with her feelings, and it was wonderful to see how Elijah made the connection between content in the two books.
The activity I want to highlight this week is the Prediction Chart that comes from the Guided Lesson for The Crystals. This activity is meant to help students pause when reading to decide what they think will happen next in the story, record their predictions, and then record what actually happened and whether or not their predictions were correct. Admittedly, the practice of predicting is something that my fourth grader finds pretty abstract from time to time, but I’ve noticed that when I encourage him to at least try to make predictions he actually comes up with some pretty creative ideas. I believe this is why the AlphaSkills curriculum calls for predictions from time to time. This week was exactly the same, and although Elijah didn’t like being wrong, he did find out that sometimes his ideas were pretty amazing regardless of whether or not it is actually what happened in the story. What I really liked about the prediction chart for this book is that it went beyond asking him to just predict and record the outcome; it also encouraged him to think about what he learned that will help him make a better prediction next time.
I honestly have no idea how the folks at AlphaSkills know how to design curriculum that helps my fourth grader grow in new ways every week, but they do. For that I am beyond grateful. For more information about the AlphaSkills Read with Sarah curriculum and our family, see the AlphaSkills Blog Introduction.