Are you looking for a new way to help your fourth grader celebrate New Year's Day? She'll love getting the whole family in on the fun to create a "Flashback Book." And although she may not realize it, she'll be building critical thinking skills that will carry through her fourth grade curriculum and beyond.
What You Do:
- Your child should start by interviewing each family member using these questions:
- What was the most exciting event in your life in the last year?
- What was the funniest thing you remember from last year?
- What was a goal you accomplished that you're most proud of?
- What was the least enjoyable event of your life last year?
- Is there anything you wish you could change?
- Describe the best trip you went on last year.
- What are you looking forward to most about next year?
- At the end of his notes, ask your child to write 1-2 summarizing sentences to describe overall responses. For example, "Most of the family said the best trip was our vacation to the beach."
Have your child write another notebook page titled "Life in the U.S. in the year 2008." Have him use a copy of a current newspaper to find answers to the following questions to record on this page:
- A gallon of unleaded gasoline costs $____________.
- The United States President was______________.
- Our family car was a____________.
- We saw the movie____________________.
- The number one hit song on the radio was____________.
- A loaf of bread costs $____________.
- A new technology was the______________.
- Have your child create one page for each family member's interview by writing their responses in sentences. For example, the first page could be titled "Mom remembers 2008." The first sentence could say "The most exciting thing that happened to Mom last year was getting a new car!"
- Your child should create a book cover with the title "Life in the (insert last name) Family 2008" Use an extra piece of construction paper for the back cover. Punch three holes down the left side of each family member's page. Then place holes in the "Life in the U.S. in 2008" page, and the front and back cover. Using scissors have your child cut 3 six-inch pieces of ribbon (or yarn). Now, place the book pages in order, and use ribbon to tie the book together.
This activity will help your child gain valuable practice in sorting through events over time, categorizing, connecting, and evaluating them. But perhaps your kid will really appreciate its value in several years' time, when he can look back and say, indeed, how far he's traveled, and how much that road has influenced where he wants to go next.
Mary Anne Edwards is a freelance writer with teaching experience in Preschool, First, and Fourth Grades. She has also taught Second Grade Title One reading groups.