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read2lead read2lead is offline
 
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Departmentalizing Survey
Old 03-19-2011, 07:44 PM
 
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We have been having a discussion the past few weeks about whether our team of three should switch classes next year.

1. Do you currently or have you departmentalize(d)?

2. How many teachers are on your team?

3. What subjects do you (or each teacher on the team) teach?

4. What are the pros of departmentalizing?

5. What are the cons?

6. What is key to making it work?

Your feedback will help me bring ideas to the table when we have to sit down and make a decision for next year.


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Old 03-20-2011, 04:15 AM
 
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. Do you currently or have you departmentalize(d)? yes, currently

2. How many teachers are on your team? 10

3. What subjects do you (or each teacher on the team) teach?
2 teachers math and science
2 teachers math and social studies
4 teachers language arts
2 teachers are co-teaching part time and part time learning support

4. What are the pros of departmentalizing?
focus on one or two aspects of the curriculum
larger block of time to concentrate on one or two areas
I have small math classes..each has 16.
fewer materials to keep track of and store
great for interdisciplinary units
if you clash with a student you do not have them all day long

5. What are the cons?
I see about 90 students per day. We have social studies and science every day for 90 days and then switch so I switch about 50 kids and start over
There really are no others...ours really works great!

6. What is key to making it work?
Commitment
a team that works well together
consistent team tules and procedures
flexibility on the part of all
support by administration
have the total plan in mind...explain to parents/students...go with it and fine tune it as you go. We really did that last year as it was our first year together in a new building with a new configuration and it really did go very well. We changes a few things for this year, but not much
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we are....
Old 03-20-2011, 04:23 AM
 
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We've been departmentalized for 2 years as an "experiment"...second grade.
there are 7 second grade classrooms and 4 of us departmentalized.
We each have a partner teacher. I teach language arts and he teaches math/science/social studies.

Personally, I LOVE it. I feel like I can focus 100% on one subject. I can spend my "free" time finding extras for daily five, all of my time on planning for ONE subject other than spreading myself thin with a bunch of subjects. My room is 100% literacy! Our classrooms are directly across the hall from one another and we change classes at 11 after recess and then change back at 1 for lunch. Then we have our own kids in the afternoons for activity/grammar and PE.

The only "con" is that you need to make sure you work closely with your partner teacher. In our case, it works well. The other is sometimes when there is a school program for kids to attend, you can't get to "all classes" that day and your schedule can get thrown off. The other is that sometimes when you want to "keep going" with a class on a project, you can't "rob a little math time" to complete it...but that's not a huge problem.
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Departmentalizing
Old 03-20-2011, 04:29 AM
 
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1. Do you currently or have you departmentalize(d)? yes, currently

2. How many teachers are on your team? Currently 3 but we at one time had 4

3. What subjects do you (or each teacher on the team) teach?

As a team of 3 - I do ELA, 1 does math, the other Science/SS
As a team of 4 - We did 2 teams of 2 - 1 Math/Science the other ELA/SS

4. What are the pros of departmentalizing?
Focus more on one content area to become a better teacher for that area, the team sees the same behaviors in all rooms which helps for parent conferences, someone to be a sounding board for ideas or problems

5. What are the cons?
I don't have any....I love it

6. What is key to making it work?
Each team must have the same discipline ~ if I thing is expected in 1 room it needs to be expected in all the rooms. Parent communication is important so the parents know you work as a team, talking and sharing with team members ~ it won't work if someone views the kids as "theirs" and not "ours".
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cms's point...
Old 03-20-2011, 05:11 AM
 
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I was going to add to my post when I saw cms already posted it....behavior.
A parent can never say you are "picking" on their child about behaviors that are observed by other teachers also. When we have a parent come in for a behavior conference, we can both tell the parent what we observe and usually it is the same thing. On the other hand, sometimes a student will be an angel in one class and just the opposite in the other...but that is very rare.


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Old 03-20-2011, 06:33 AM
 
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1. Do you currently or have you departmentalize(d)? yes

2. How many teachers are on your team? 3 this year but we are going down to just two next year so departmentalizing might not be an option.

3. What subjects do you (or each teacher on the team) teach? 1 teaches math, 1 teaches social studies, and 1 teaches science. We all teach reading/language arts.

4. What are the pros of departmentalizing? It gives the students a taste of middle school life in a smaller dose. It helps them to get organized because they have three teachers/classes. We do not have as much planning and we can focus on our areas.

5. What are the cons? Everyone has to be on the same page. We have one this year that does not have the high expectations that the other two have and it is quite noticable in student behavior and performance. Personally I love being departmentalized and I hope we get to keep it for next year.

6. What is key to making it work? I kind of answered this in the question above. Each teacher can have their own teaching style but you have to have common beliefs in many things in order for it to work.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:11 AM
 
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1. Do you currently or have you departmentalize(d)? yes, for 2 years now

2. How many teachers are on your team? last year, 2...this year, 3

3. What subjects do you (or each teacher on the team) teach? I am in a unique situation in that we departmentalized our 4th and 5th together. We each teach our grade level math and ELA. We only departmentalize for SS/Science. I teach 5th SS (even though I'm a 4th grade teacher), the 5th grade teacher teaches both 4th and 5th Science, and the 4/5 teacher teaches 4th SS.

4. What are the pros of departmentalizing? The students get a chance to have different teachers and get out of their home classroom. The teachers get to focus on putting their planning efforts to teach their subjects the best they can.

Also, the teachers can teach the subjects they feel they are best at. I love history and so I teach 5th SS. The 4/5 teacher loves Geography, so she teaches 4th SS. The 5th teacher loves Science, so he took both 4th and 5th Science.

5. What are the cons? I like to include a lot of my SS curriculum into my reading groups, but I don't have any of my homeroom class for SS.

It is also important to take into account the amount of grading and planning that each subject requires. We did not departmentalize ELA because grading takes so much more time with Reader's Notebooks and writing pieces. We do, however, move the students around if they fit into a different class' reading group or math group better than any in our own class.

6. What is key to making it work? Common expectations!!! We all use Interactive notebooks in our classes, so we developed a rubric together. Any other cross-subject tools (i.e. accountable talk rubrics, center expectations, etc.) are developed together so that the students know what every teacher expects. This does not inhibit individual teaching style at all with us.
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Team Team Teaching 4th
Old 03-20-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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1. Do you currently or have you departmentalize(d)?
For the last two years, Fourth grade has been departmentalized. There are only 2 classes.

2. How many teachers are on your team?
2, we team teach fourth grade and there are only 2 fourth grade classes

3. What subjects do you (or each teacher on the team) teach?
I teach Language Arts and Social Studies, and my partner teaches Math and Science

4. What are the pros of departmentalizing?
Everything is collaborated on, behavior, SST's, report cards, lesson planning, field trips, homework, I always feel like I have someone who can help, listen, and relate to.

The students love it. The "switching" of classes helps teach them responsibility, but also they are moving throughout the day.

I feel like I can really focus in on the standards, but also on the content and bring more, extension activities to my students. We also have an intervention time where we pull students from either class to do an extra small group instruction to reteach skills.

5. What are the cons?
If one teacher is out, my partner is out on leave, you have to "help" the substitute more than you would if you were contained. It has been extra work, but the kids have responded well.

6. What is key to making it work?
True collaboration. We constantly are being open and honest and supportive. Compromise. Communication.
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i agree
Old 03-20-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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with acdconforth if you don't have collaboration or if your partner teacher/s has a different philosophy it can definitely become a con.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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1. Do you currently or have you departmentalize(d)?

Yes I teach reading/writing and my teach teacher teaches math/science/social studies

2. How many teachers are on your team?

2 general ed and 2 billingual

3. What subjects do you (or each teacher on the team) teach?

See question #1

4. What are the pros of departmentalizing?

I only have to focus on one content area versus all areas.

5. What are the cons?

You are switching students and may not know how they are doing in another subject relative to your class.

6. What is key to making it work?

Making sure you have a team that works well together.


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Old 03-20-2011, 08:10 PM
 
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1. Our fourth grade departmentalizes.

2. We have 3 teachers on our team.

3. We only departmentalize in math. We have a high group and the two other groups are middle/low.

4. The biggest pro is that you can focus on the needs of the group you teach. Also, i like getting to know the students in the other classes.

5. A con is you can not be as flexible. You have to stick to the times you have decided to switch. Also if you get a low group, it can be like pulling hair - it can be a frustrating group.

6. communication
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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1. Do you currently or have you departmentalize(d)? Yes. Our whole school is, from grades 1 on up. I teach 4th grade.

2. How many teachers are on your team? On our 4th grade team we have 6 teachers

3. What subjects do you (or each teacher on the team) teach? I teach Math/Science
We have an ELA teacher who does readers and writers workshop and social studies
We have 3 inclusion teachers, reading, writing, and math
We have 1 ELL teacher

4. What are the pros of departmentalizing? Specialization means great lesson plans. Being able to just focus all my energy on two subjects means I can do them both really well.

5. What are the cons? Lots of kids, we share 50. It means we shift kids back and forth a lot. We also don't get to work on community as much with so many adults working with all the kids.

6. What is key to making it work? You all have to be on the exact same page as far as behavior goes. We communicate really well as a team, so there is no room for error. We also meet once a week to discuss community issues beyond our normal planning meetings.


Your feedback will help me bring ideas to the table when we have to sit down and make a decision for next year.
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pros and cons
Old 03-22-2011, 03:43 AM
 
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I've taught both ways (5th grade...I did the LA block and a leveled math class with one other teacher) and for the most part, it went well. The times it didn't go well were when the other teacher wasn't pulling her weight (which happened in a maternity leave situation) and we just weren't on the same page. When I taught with a partner that was on the same page, it was great. From the kids' perspective, however, I'm not so sure. The kids that handle change well and are really on top of things anyway, loved it. Our lower kids, and the kids that had some issues with change (we had one student with some undiagnosed autistic tendencies one year) really struggled with changing classes...even though we only changed once. Also, I found I didn't get to know the kids as well...it's just harder getting to know that many kids in the same way that you do when they're yours.
IMO, the long and short of it is...there are pros and cons either way. I personally would avoid it unless I knew the people I was going to be swapping out with and we had a great relationship, very similar expectations, etc...when you don't...it can be a nightmare!
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Love it!
Old 03-23-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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This is our first year of departmentalizing with 3 of us. One teaches SSH (Social, Science, Health), one teaches writing, and I teach math. We each teach our own reading. We LOVE it and have only heard positive comments from parents and students.

I agree with the pros already listed from others and the only con for us is that our schedule is really tight so we don't have a lot of flexibility.

I think the key to making it work is consistent discipline from all of us and good communication.

This is how we've been handling discipline and keeping up with daily communicating about behaviors in each class. We numbered and listed each of the behaviors that are on our report card and attached it to a clipboard. There's also a class list on the clipboard and it's brought to each class. If someone doesn't have their homework done, for example, that is number 2 on our list so we write 2 next to their name and our initials. At the end of the day, if students have any number next to their name, they fill out a think sheet. It requires them to write what they did, what they'll do next time, and who did if affect. Their name and date is on it too. (They are also required to go apologize to the teacher or other student for whatever they did.)

Each teacher keeps a box of pocket folders, one for each homeroom student. In this folder is a chart that lists the same behaviors as on the clipboard and report card. We put the date next to the behavior and put the slip in the pocket. It takes about 5 minutes each day, but it's worth it because everything is documented and at conference time or report card time, we have the information we need to make decisions about grades and setting goals.

I should also add that the think sheets are colored coded. If a child "breaks" one rule, he/she fills out a white one, the second offense is green and a privilege is taken away, and third one is blue and is sent home for parents to sign. Detention occurs if behaviors continue. This system has worked well for us!
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really good idea
Old 03-25-2011, 01:11 PM
 
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The PP's system is really good...I think that continuity is def. key when departmentalizing, esp. with the younger grades. The more you can keep expectations for behavior and discipline continuous among the classes, the easier time they have of it, I think. I'm going to have to remember this one, in case we departmentalize again!
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3 academic blocks per day and one is a split
Old 03-27-2011, 04:11 AM
 
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We have a team of 4 teachers that teach a group of students. 3 academic blocks per day and one block is split between science and social studies. This is one that will be confusing to read because it is unusual from what most schools have

Actually, the team consists of 6 classroom teachers.
2 reading/ELA
2 math
1 science
1 social studies
PE/ enrichment

So it works like this:
WE HAVE 4 90 Minute blocks and a lunch period. When students go to the block for Science/Social Studies they are in each class 45 minutes. Kids go to PE daily for a 45 min period and the other part of that block, they go to enrichment. Enrichment is on an A day or B day schedule. ENRICHMENT lasts for 9 weeks and they rotate to include computer 1 , computer 2, art, music. (computer 1 for 9 weeks, computer 2 for 9 weeks, art for 9 weeks, and music for 9 weeks. )
My HR goes to enrichment on B day and they stay in my HR on A days.

Advantage- you can focus on your subject.
Students have Science and Social Studies all year from a teacher that is focused on that subject. In our state, students will have a 5th grade state Science test.
Fewer classrooms need to have science lab equipment and it also cuts training costs for teachers.
If we have a conference, we have 4 teachers that are included.
I teach Social Studies and so I am paired with an ELA/reading teacher and a math teacher. The Science teacher is paired with the other ELA/reading teacher and math teacher.
Science and ss are considered to be on 2 teams.

We have bells and switch classes on time. Science and SS gives little homework to allow them to do their reading and math. This is something that we look at- who is assigning projects or homework. Science and SS rarely has the test on Friday because ELA has their tests then.


Areas we have to have an understanding on are:
The teachers communicate to see if we need a conf with parents and say what day we can or can't come to a conf. Then, usually the Homeroom teacher will contact the parent and email the team. We so communicate with email as needed.

consistency - on how we mark the assignment sheet, which includes behavior marks.
We have to work together to schedule kids to come to tutorials.
We had grade level meetings and would discuss what we would be doing. Now, we have done this so long that we can't imagine anything else.

In SS, I reinforce the language through the SS content.
I realize that the math or language teacher might say... they just teach SS, however, if I didn't teach that they couldn't concentrate on their subject. I did teach ELA before we went to this , so I know how to teach reading and language/writing.

I took some of their timelines and stories to the ELA teacher and she put them under the document camera for editing. They get the message that we work together. ELA also uses a TAKS (state Test) study guide that is for the Social Studies content. On my rubrics, I include indent, capitalization, usage, spelling, and title as well as run-on sentences and fragments. We write hisrorical fiction stories and have to show the writing process.

Our campus has 2 teams of 6 and we love it.
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:59 AM
 
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1. Do you currently or have you departmentalize(d)? yes

2. How many teachers are on your team? 3

3. What subjects do you (or each teacher on the team) teach? Math Reading Social/science health

4. What are the pros of departmentalizing?

5. What are the cons? absents, parent communication

6. What is key to making it work?

Your feedback will help me bring ideas to the table when we have to sit down and make a decision for next year.

This was the first year I departmentalized in 4th and we do not care for it. Fourth graders seem to just need the community of 1 room and 1 teacher. For us the schedule was so rigid that scheduling other things was more work than it was worth. One reason we tried it was to save on planning time but found each group was so unique that time was not saved in planning. we also found it was more difficult to provide extra help to those were struggling- This is all just my experience of doing it for 1 year. The kids did seem to like getting to see the teachers and appreciated the different styles and personalities, for the most part. Good luck!!
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