Whether you’re just starting out in your teaching career or are an experienced teacher, having the right resources makes a massive difference. All teachers know the importance of being prepared – having lesson plans and anything needed to support children is vital.
Starting with the basics, having enough stationery for your class is crucial. If they bring their own pencil cases you might not need enough for the whole class, but it is good practice to have enough spare pencils, pens and rulers for everyone. These can be placed at the front of the room for children to access when needed or for you to hand out. Equipment that is used less frequently such as sharpeners and erasers can be shared.
Access to books has many benefits and children who read have a wider vocabulary and increased attention span. Have a range of books for children to access in your classroom – include fiction and non-fiction, graphic novels and chapter books, and age-appropriate comics and magazines. If children finish their work, direct them to choose a book and help them discover a whole new world!
Tactile Resources/Fidget Toys
For children with additional needs or who find it difficult to focus, tactile resources are a must. Fidget toys such as stress balls and pop-its can help children who find it hard to be still to remain in their seat during class, giving them a better chance of learning. Other tactile resources such as playdough and clay are important too – they’re not just for younger kids!
A Wide Range of Art and Craft Materials
Nurture a love of art by providing your class with a wide range of art and craft materials. Think outside the box – you don’t always need to spend lots of money on fancy things. Cut up old catalogues and greetings cards to make collage pieces and use boxes for junk modelling. These all help children develop creative skills and use their imaginations.
Worksheets are a staple of any fourth-grade classroom. Whether they are part of a directed lesson or an extension activity, having a range of worksheets your class can access is extremely useful. Make your own or find free 4th grade writing worksheets online.
A Variety of Sports Equipment
We are all aware of the importance of keeping active and helping students discover a love of sport is key to creating the next generation of healthy adults. Give your class access to a range of sports equipment during physical education lessons and recess to get them moving and help them burn off any excess energy. Balls, skipping ropes and hula hoops are cheap and can be used in many different ways.
Every classroom should be an inspiring space so be sure to spend time creating a classroom that the children will respond to and learn from. Look online for ideas from other teachers – sites such as Pinterest are great for sharing ideas. Don’t forget the importance of displaying students’ work, this helps to instill a sense of pride.
A Quiet Corner
When things get overwhelming, having a quiet area can be a haven in the classroom (for children and for you!) Section off a cozy area with furniture and have large cushions and beanbags to sit on. This can be comforting for a child who is upset or over-stimulated and is a worthwhile addition to classrooms of all ages.
The Covid-19 pandemic made us all aware of the importance of hygiene and with germs rife in school environments, providing your class with sanitizer and tissues is a must. Decide on an appropriate place (or places) for them – this might be near the entrance to your classroom or at the front of the room on your desk.
Access to Music
Whether you have an interactive whiteboard or a computer or even just a CD player, giving your students access to music is important. Consider having a song of the day that you play at the start of the day as they enter the classroom that links into what you are teaching – this is a great way to show that music is valued and to introduce them to a range of styles of music from all over the world.
Being a fourth-grade teacher has its challenges but if you have a well-prepared classroom and you take time to learn what the kids in your class respond to, it can be very rewarding and lots of fun.