HERE I AM!
The fourth grader has arrived. With the nine year change behind him, he is ready to embrace the world around him beginning with his place in the world. Local geography is brought in such a way that the student’s awareness is heightened to what lies about him. Beginning with the immediate surroundings of their home, they will make maps of their bedroom, home and classroom. They will then look out further to where their home is in relation to where they go to school, the city or town they live in, to the state and bordering neighbors. This work helps the child have a sense of being grounded here on the earth and in this life. The geography lessons come alive through great descriptions of the land. This is carried through the grades with the first introductions coming in the fourth year. Steiner (1997) discusses the importance of the teacher’s depiction of beautiful images in the geography lessons and the significance of this influence on the child:
When you make your geography lessons truly graphic, when you describe the countries clearly and show the distribution of vegetation, and describe the products of the earth on the different countries, making your lessons thoroughly alive in this way, you are not likely to find your students dull in this subject. And when you further enliven the geography lessons by first describing a country, then drawing it - allowing the children to draw it on the board and sketch in the rivers, mountains, distribution of vegetation, forest, and meadow land, and then read travel books with your pupils - when you do all this you find that you usually have very few dull scholars; and what’s more, you can use your geography lessons to arouse the enthusiasm of your pupils and to stir up new capacities within them. If you can make geography itself interesting you will indeed notice that other capacities are aroused also in your pupils. (p. 107)
Local Geography - State Map
State History - State Seal of Tennessee
Also new to the fourth grader is another creation story. This is the time for the Norse Myths. Unlike in the previous year, when the god of the Old Testament stories was immortal and omnipotent, the gods of the Norse Myths are not quite immortal and make many human-like mistakes. They are fallible, jealous, mischievous, hurtful and short tempered. Yet, they must right any wrong they inflict as is customary to uphold their honor. The fourth grader is intrigued by these gods and lives deeply into the stories as they recognize their own folly in the characters. These stories are colorful and rich and can easily be portrayed pictorially in both story and drawing.