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Departmentalized or Self-Contained
Old 06-24-2016, 08:29 AM
 
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Hello everyone,

I have been teaching self-contained third grade for 3 years. I am going to a new school next year and they are exploring the possibility of departmentalizing our grade level, with me teaching ELA. Does anyone have any experience with this? Just want to hear the pros and cons of third graders switching classes.


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Ehh
Old 06-24-2016, 12:31 PM
 
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My school is departmentalized. It is tough. The students are young and when they switched between more than 2 teachers they get confused. I tell them specifically what to take with them every morning because they are not used to planning for their day. By November most have gotten the hang of it.
It is hard to coordinate with other teachers if they aren't "team players". Parent contact can be difficult because they usually call hr teachers and the issue may be in a different class and you have no idea about it.

The good part is you can really focus on your subject and know it very well. It is easier to do lesson planning. You don't have to spend all day with "that" student but you also don't get to keep the students you love.
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Old 06-24-2016, 01:27 PM
 
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I have done it in fourth grade. I am moving back to third and I want to departmentalize. In fourth grade we had the students take their backpacks with them to the other classes. They packed up in the morning and at lunch. The textbooks stayed in the desks and each class used the book in the desk so they didn't carry it. I like departmentalizing for several reasons. Planning, you don't have the same students all day, and you can really focus on one or two subjects to teach.
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I heartily disagree with switching
Old 06-25-2016, 03:54 AM
 
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teachers so young. Yes, it does make it easier to plan a subject. Yes, you will be very good at teaching that subject. BUT, in 3rd grade we aren't teaching subjects, we are teaching children. It is better for the children if one teacher knows them really well, realizes that they have strengths and weaknesses. They aren't just that low reading student, but also the very competent math student and the budding scientist.

Departmentalizing doesn't allow for flexibility. If you need to steal a little writing time because the kids have almost grasped that math concept, you can't do it. You probably won't use your guided reading time to double-up by reading a book about the water cycle, either. (After all, you don't teach science!)

I would hate it if my principal said we'd have to departmentalize.
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Old 06-25-2016, 09:14 PM
 
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Having taught 3rd grade for over 20 years, I agree with Private Eyes.


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Old 06-26-2016, 04:38 AM
 
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We tried just switching for Social Studies/Science last year and it was a fiasco!

Even when they were told exactly what to bring, they would have to come back to the class and get what they forgot.

Also, I don't think the communication was very good at all. They were given projects from both teachers and parents were complaining and I had no idea what the assignment was or the specifics.

I also did not like it because I use reading and writing to help teach the social studies/science topics and it did not work as well.

It just seemed to make the day disjointed and the kids stressed out about it so we stopped around January.
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1st year of changing
Old 06-27-2016, 07:41 PM
 
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We will begin changing this year in 3rd grade. I'm trying to figure out the logistics of my classroom. I will teach math and science and my own spelling. My other half will teach Language Arts and Social Studies and her own spelling. I have tables in my classroom. I'm trying to figure out where the children will keep their folders, books.... :
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3rd grade
Old 07-04-2016, 12:48 PM
 
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3rd grade is to young to departmentalize in my opinion. I've done it and truly didn't like it at all. If it is necessary, maybe switch for 1 subject only.
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NO NO NO NO NO. Did I mention NO!
Old 07-05-2016, 05:24 PM
 
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My building (a 3rd & 4th grade building) has been doing this for 2 years. The last 2 years I taught in the inclusion classroom, the 1st year there was an odd amount of us, so the inclusion room was self-contained; however, last year we had to switch. It was h*ll. The majority of the 3rd grade team doesn't like it either.

I felt like I barely knew my kids and didn't have as much time as when we were self-contained for remediation and extra help, during those odd times during the day. Our students had to take their pencil box with them to the other class for math & science, and the sound of pencil boxes and supplies scattering across the hallway was like our theme song. It was so frustrating. They just weren't mature enough to handle it, constantly forgetting things, and they felt like they weren't held accountable for the other class. For example, one of my kiddos didn't understand why he lost recess if he didn't do his homework for math (we were an ELA homeroom), because he did his reading homework. There was no connection for them between the two, no matter how much we tried to both be on the same page.

Definitely against switching in 3rd grade.
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:57 AM
 
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I am at a school that 1st-5th are departmentalized except the 5th class of each grade... I'm that 5th class and wouldn't teach there otherwise. I only hear teachers say they like it because "I only have to plan for 2 subjects" well if that is the only reason I feel that is a bad reason. You get no sense of community, behaviors fall through the cracks, most young students aren't very organized, the day gets chopped up, no time for cross curriculur connections because as much as you try to plan you aren't teaching all subjects. I am wholly against it, until at LEAST 5th grade. And then I would do just SS and Science for some practice in switching classes before middle school.


 

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