Grade 4: Year Block Plan & Human/Animal Study (#242)


A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 242

For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.”

And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times. Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful.

Today’s post will feature a block lesson plan for the Grade 4 entire year.  The advantages to teaching in blocks are many. Yearly planning is easier, and because the lessons are taught in 1 – 2 hour blocks in the morning, teacher / student focus is greater. Afternoons are freed up for art, handwork, games, field trips, family time, etc.  Here is a suggested block plan from the Math By Hand Grade 4 binder:

September . . . Cultural Mythology / Grammar & Composition
October . . . Math / 4 Processes Review / Factors
November . . . Local Geography & History
December . . . Zoology / The Human & Animal
January . . . Math / Fractions
February . . . Cultural Mythology / Grammar & Composition 
March . . . Local Geography & History
April . . . Math / Fractions Review / Decimals
May . . . Cultural Mythology / Zoology / Grammar & Composition 
June . . . Math / The Number Line & Algebra / Class Play

From Catie Johnson’s wonderful page, Chalkboard Drawing in the Waldorf Classroom, an excellent overview of the Grade 4 human and animal study:
“In the fourth grade year, a new connection to nature is established. The first of several connections to be made in the upcoming elementary years, the animal kingdom is studied. The study of animals is brought to the students through imaginative pictures and descriptions of how the animal is seen in relation to the human being. The children learn all the various ways animals have adapted to their environment and how they have become specialized in one or a few particular areas. Below the Great Blue Heron is depicted with its sharp eyes, long fishing bill and lengthy legs for wading in water in search of its next meal. This was an animal chosen as well for its presence in this particular geographic location, easily relating to local studies.”


A couple more chalkboard drawings from the same page: the lion and the Carolina chickadee.



Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow for more Grade 4 wonders!

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