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Iím moving from third to first next year. Keep the ideas coming!

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
PrimaryTeach8 07-12-2019 07:20 PM

You are so lucky! First graders are wonderful!

I had two student teaching placements, one in first grade which I LOVED and one in fourth grade which I hated. I'm going to be teaching second grade this year which will still be fun!

You will LOVE first grade! It's my favorite grade to teach! Like someone said, they want to please you at that age. You can get by with rewards that cost little to no money like bubbles, pajama party, stuffed animal day, they love all that! In the older grades, you can't do those things. They're "too old" for those. I would recommend ClassDojo for first grade with class prizes like those as far as management.

As far as literacy, I recommend having a classroom library with a variety of different topics and reading levels. What I will most likely be doing this year is dividing books by topics like animal fiction for example and all the books for that topic will be in a book bin. Each book will have a sticker on it that matches the bin (so books don't get misplaced) and also says the reading level on it. Some people disagree with reading levels, but I think they're pretty important with the little ones.

They LOVE read-alouds! So be sure to include a read-aloud each day. I have a ton of book title suggestions if you would like them. Coming from 6th, you might not be familiar with the popular first grade books so I'd be happy to help.

At the beginning of writing, I always include a quickwrite about a topic. They love this! I usually include a prompt like "Write a story about a snowman that goes sledding" (for a winter writing prompt). And then have them find 2 people to go share with and then pick a couple to share with the class.

Brain break that they love - go to YouTube and type in "getting in shape with the 2D shapes" They're learning the 2D shapes and getting exercise at the same time. They love this video so much!

Remember, first graders have a lot of energy so it's important to keep them up and moving. In 6th grade, students probably sat at their desks most of the day. In first grade, they should spend more time on the floor than in their desks. They should be on the floor spread out across the room for independent and partner reading time. Also, community circle, read-alouds, stations, reading, writing, and math mini lessons should all be on the floor. I have them come to the floor for a mini lesson, math for example. I'll have them gather in a circle. I'll do the mini lesson, then do guided practice together on dry erase boards, I'll send those who are understanding the material back to their seat for an independent math activity while I work with the others. Just remember to keep them active and moving. First graders can't sit at their desk all day.

Talking about all this is making me really excited to start the school year!!

imcrazedw4 07-11-2019 09:19 PM

Two books helped me immensely when I moved from 5th to 1st:

The Daily Five by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser
The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson

Good luck! You'll love those firsties!

Teach-in-1st 07-10-2019 08:31 PM

Hi! Congratulations! I have so much respect for those who can teach older students! This year will be my sixth year teaching 1st. I love it, but it is definitely a challenge! They are talkers, let me tell ya and have an attention span of about 1 minute. However, first thing of advice is decide what type of behavior management you will implement. Clip Chart? Class Dojo? No system? If you need any resource, this is one to read: Michael Linsin, he is a behavior management guru, if you will, and I have learned so much! I am concentrating more on character education this year and doing away with the clip chart and going back to Dojo, but all the positives will be character education related... Good citizen, team player, hard worker, honest, etc.
Like the previous post, Guided Reading is the key point of 1st grade. We use Dolch sight word list and I will be implementing Sight Word 60 this year (compliments of Kindergarten Smorgasbord). If students can recognize their sight words, the fluency and reading level will increase.
Centers is another major necessity in the lower elementary grades. Research how you want to organize the center rotations, so your guided reading will run smoothly. It's not easy, but after 6th graders, I'm sure you'll have this in the bag!
Lastly, always plan too much and just know that the best laid plans are always subject to change, especially when you have so many interruptions!

Good luck!

jov 07-08-2019 06:52 PM

I always put a tiny tub of the Dollar Tree generic playdoh (8/$1) on each kid's desk on the first day. Everyone knows exactly what to do with it and it helps the nervous nellies focus on something. It also gives you time to read notes from parents, figure out lunches and buses, and soothe the poor kiddo having a missing mommy meltdown.

Make sure you prepare a clipboard in the morning with how everyone is getting home. Don't wait til later. Dismissal time can be quite chaotic those first few days. Someone mentioned in another thread... don't trust the kids about where they go at dismissal. They have been known to get it wrong!

You are going to love first grade! The kids are so sweet and want to please you more than anything!

mommy9298 07-08-2019 11:03 AM

Iím moving from third to first next year. Keep the ideas coming!

linda2671 07-08-2019 07:11 AM

It will be a bit of a shock when you first start teaching first grade. You have to explain everything very thoroughly, including definitions of many words. Never assume they know anything. Also, don't put anything on or in their desks the first day of school that you don't want them to take home.
You will be amazed at the everyday progress that you see in first graders. It's so exciting to see them come in as babies, and leave with so many new skills.
The first week of school, I do lots of brain breaks and read alouds. Then I gradually decrease those as their attention spans get longer. You will need to practice routines a lot to make sure they understand them. Bathroom routines, recess rules and routines, rules for sitting on the carpet listening to a lesson.
First graders will love you and think you're beautiful no matter what. They love to hear your personal stories.
My favorite thing to teach in first grade is writing. I think that if first graders see your excitement about reading their stories and about teaching them how to write stories, they will love it. If they sense that you don't like it, they will hate it. They need a chance to write down their thoughts without fear of judgement or criticism.
You will love first graders. I hope you enjoy it.

Marcimcg 07-08-2019 02:42 AM

Wow! Thatís quite a change.

Try to connect with other first grade teachers in your school if possible.

Check out the first grade standards for your state.

Find out about curriculum and resources being used. Our school has very different math/ELA curric for first and sixth.

Brush up on guided reading, phonics. Teaching reading is most important instruction in first grade.

You might want to look at first grade classrooms on YouTube.

Kids! They are 5, 6, 7 years old. Very sweet, affectionate, literal, some canít tie shoes, worry about bathroom, snack, play dates, miss mommies, will tell you whatever comes to mind at any time, tattle, bossy, kind, generous, love the way you sing!

You are so lucky to get to teach these kiddos!

BRN1990 07-07-2019 02:38 PM

I previously taught 6th grade departmentalized (ELA and social studies), but my principal called me last week and informed me I would be moving to 1st self contained. I am excited about this change, but also nervous. I feel like I have so many ideas running through my brain. Any suggestions on making this transition? Any "must have/must do" advice? Thank you all!

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