How to Succeed in 4th Grade

Here’s a compilation of my favorite parts from letters of advice that my students wrote to next year’s fourth graders (see if you can tell what things I say most often):

Dear new fourth grader,

Congratulations, you have passed 3rd grade. But after 3rd grade comes an even bigger challenge: 4th grade.  Here are some friendly tips about 4th grade.

  • Never doodle on your papers or you will get in trouble.
  • 4th grade is very fun most of the time but at the end of the day your hand is sore.
  • You always want to sit up straight in writing position.
  • Don’t doodle on your paper.
  • One thing you have to look out for is diagramming sentences, it is hard!
  • Always keep your back on the back of the chair, keep your feet on the ground, and sit up straight.
  • Don’t complain.
  • Never take off your shoes during class when Mrs. Watson has told you not to.
  • Another thing is if you are sitting by a girl, Mrs. Watson will be paying attention to you, so don’t hurt them because they will tell and you will get in trouble. Trust me, I learned that the hard way.
  • NEVER, EVER walk out of the room without asking.
  • Don’t put off studying. Translating “docebimus” and spelling “bouquet” might be hard, but it is worth it to get a good grade!
  • Try to get it wright the first time.
  • You need to sit with your chair pulled in, with your back against the chair’s back.
  • Don’t make off topic comments, keep your “off topic” comments to yourself.
  • Address your teacher as “ma’am.” It’s for respect.
  • One thing you don’t want to do in 4th grade is draw on paper or on yourself.
  • Do not underestimate the power of not studying.
  • Do not take advantage of subs. Your teacher finds out and BAM! It sticks in her head all year that “I can’t let them have any fun when I’m gone.”
  • On the first day of school, always make a first impression on your teacher. That way next time you mess up she might say, “Hey, that kid was nice on the very first day of school, I think I’ll let her off the hook just this once.”
  • Never doodle, ok? Once I started I couldn’t stop. And I still haven’t stopped.
  • Never draw on your shoes.
  • Don’t doodle or draw on yourself.
  • Be prepared to write many challenging paragraphs. We have to write in cursive and use precise language.
  • Tuck in your shirt.
  • Do not have pneumonia for two weeks because you will have a lot of make-up work.
  • If you have a habit of sitting cross-legged on your chair, try to work that out on the weekends or over the summer.
  • Don’t roll your eyes and try not to argue with friends.
  • Wash your hands often, so you don’t get sick.
  • If you are shy, just ask somebody to be your friend.
  • Do your homework or you’ll have twice as much homework the next day, believe me!
  • Teachers don’t like you talking when they’re talking.
  • Do not draw during class. It gives the teachers the idea that you don’t care about them.

Heed my words of experienced wisdom, and you will do great.


This year’s fourth grade class

8 responses to “How to Succeed in 4th Grade

  1. Mrs. Watson, you obviously don’t tolerate doodling.

  2. I love it! Thanks for sharing!

  3. But…I like doodling…. I still doodle in meetings. I feel my creative spirit being squelched by the 4th grade rules!

    I love the “If you have a habit of sitting cross-legged on your chair, try to work that out on the weekends or over the summer.” Hilarious! Maybe I should work out my doodling on the weekends, but it’s just not as fun then.

  4. Carolyn Dickinson

    yes, I thought about my 2 wonderful children who would have had trouble in Ms. Watson’s class: one who doodles and one who sits like a pretzel in a chair. Ah, memories!

    I can tell Ms. Watson is extremely consistent in applying the rules, and she’s quite clear that everyone know and obey them. Well done!

    She is also concerned that her students become prolific writers (as she tends to be), expressing their ideas with clarity and precision. This is possible because they sit with their backs to the back of the chair and their feet firmly planted on the floor. Sloppy body, sloppy mind is obviously her mantra.

    Congratulations on a successful year. Hooray for summer break!

  5. Just to relieve any anxiety that you might feel for my artistic souls, I do give my doodlers plenty of opportunities for creative expression. I even bought my most chronic doodlers a special notepad for her drawings so that she wouldn’t draw on her homework papers.

    The problem is the doodling instead of paying attention…and, of course, the doodling on one’s self. 🙂

  6. Lars says : I absolutely agree with this !

  7. So…did you edit their writing for your blog or do they really all have that good of sentence writing skills. Because I am sure they do with you as their teacher, and by the fact that they learn latin. I bet your 4th graders can write better sentences than many of my 6th graders!

  8. So, Lindsey, when are you coming back?? There could never be a better Live Oak teacher!

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