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First subject in morning?
Old 06-12-2015, 08:35 PM
 
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What subject do you teach first and why? If your district or school requires you to teach a certain subject first what is the reason behind it?

I currently teach math first because my former principal felt like students were too sleepy after lunch to do math and thought they were most alert in the morning.

I've since just gotten used to doing it that way. An added benefit for me is that if I'm running late for any reason or I'm just having an off morning, I can just pick up pretty much from where I left off in math. However, for reading, I feel like there is so much more to prepare and I need to be more on point.

What are your thoughts?



Last edited by msj5ny; 06-12-2015 at 08:36 PM.. Reason: Added something
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Schedule
Old 06-13-2015, 03:39 AM
 
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We have the flexibility to make our schedule work.
Last year due to our plan time math just worked best in morning and reading block after lunch.
I liked it and so did my 2nd grade students
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Math in a.m.
Old 06-13-2015, 03:42 AM
 
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With over 37 years of experience in elementary and middles school grades, I've learned that if I'm given a choice, I will always choose to teach math first.

There was a school of thought decades ago, at least where I taught, that language arts/reading should be taught first. I noticed that students often fell asleep, were hard to engage, couldn't focus well, etc. I switched to teaching math first and found the students to be more focused, more engaged, not falling asleep, etc. There is just something about math first thing that wakes students up and gets their brains working.

Over the years, I've experimented and also found that teaching science first keeps more students engaged first thing in the morning than social studies or language arts. Perhaps it has something to do with the heavier reading requirements of language arts and social studies. Students seemed to do better with heavier reading requirements later in the day.

I've mentored many teachers and often advised other teachers to also switch to teaching math first when they were having trouble keeping students engaged. Some take that advice, some don't; but the ones that do often come back to me, thank me and report a large increase in student engagement and much less "sluggishness".

My preferred schedule is math, language arts, social studies (after lunch), science.
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specials block :/
Old 06-13-2015, 03:51 AM
 
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Unfortunately, for the past 5 years my grade (4th) has had specials during the first or second block (30-75 min depending on day), and will again next year. Ugh!!! We HATE giving up their "fresh brains" every morning to something other than core instruction. Next year we were told we would get an afternoon specials block, but due to other circumstances, it will be first thing again. Not happy.
And yes, I like to teach math first. Now they have specials, math, writing, RTI, lunch/recess, reading, topics (ss/science). I like having reading right after recess b/c they just got a nice long break and got to run around so the focus is better than end of the morning.
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Teaching in the morning
Old 06-13-2015, 03:59 AM
 
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I have to teach ELA 1st and 2nd periods, and Math 5th. That's when I have my co-teacher. She's not with me as long as we would like. One year we had 2 Math periods together and that was heaven!


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Math in A.M.
Old 06-13-2015, 05:26 AM
 
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This past school year was my first year to teach self-contained in 7 years. I started off with Reading in the morning and Math in the afternoon. It was a terrible fit for my class so I switched it up after being in school a couple of weeks. It was a gamble because I know how important structure is, but something had to give. Sure enough, after I made the switch to do Math in the morning everything was so much smoother! The students were happier and I was happier. The overall classroom environment was just better! I hope my schedule will always allow for me to do Math first.
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Morning
Old 06-13-2015, 05:28 AM
 
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I've always preferred teaching reading first thing in the morning. I found it harder to keep the kids' attention with stories when they're sleepy after lunch. I did science and social studies in the afternoons because there was usually more hands-on with them.

Can you look over your lessons before you leave the day before? Then if you're having a busy morning you'll still be prepared. I have to do that anyway, just to make sure there aren't items I need to bring from home.
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Schedule
Old 06-13-2015, 07:00 AM
 
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We have Specials first (which is horrible ) then science/social studies, ELA (part of it), lunch, rest of ELA, math and end of day recess.

Last year we had Specials (yeah we got "lucky" 2 in a row), science/social studies, math, lunch, recess, reading. I liked this other than Specials, my preference would be specials next to last then science/social studies with reading and math followed by lunch/recess.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:11 AM
 
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I teach 3rd grade at a small Catholic school, so I have total freedom with my schedule. Unfortunately, we do not have specials blocks, so our schedule and specials times vary daily! I do try to keep it as closely aligned as possible each day though.

I start with math everyday for an hour, except Wednesdays because we go to mass. (In fact, Wednesday is an entity unto its own!) I follow that with either 30 minutes of writing (tue/thur) or phonics (Mon/Fri). Then we have reading rotations (20 min ea/3 rotations) for an hour which includes small group reading, pull out for LLI, spelling/vocabulary on Spelling City, and what the kids have named 'Comp Qs', which is written constructed responses to the reading selection! After lunch on Tues/Thur/Fri we have 30 minutes for grammar. Social Studies/Science, which are alternated quarterly, and religion are in the afternoon Mon/Tue/Thur/Fri. I do mainly activity based teaching for these subjects because I have 90-95% ELL students and those type of lessons produce much better results! Independent reading is sandwiched in to those odd amounts of time I end up with because of specials.

I found that math first thing actually engaged the students better than if I began with any of the Language Arts subjects. I have math rotations which include small group instruction, independent work, computer time (XtraMath/FrontRow/SumDog) and math games.

As I said before, Wednesdays are totally different due to mass and a visit from our priest and a special all before lunch! I do a whole group math lesson in our math notebooks, and shortend reading rotations of 15 minutes as opposed to the normal 20. I only have the kids for 90 minutes on Wed morning. Unless mass runs long, then it can be less!!! In the afternoon, I have kids pulled for Title 1 and LLI at the same time, so the few left in class would use the chromebooks and either do a read/respond activity on Newsela or a writing activity on Storybird. If I tried to do the traditional reading activities, I would lose them.
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Math or Writing
Old 06-13-2015, 07:12 AM
 
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Typically, I teach whole group math or writing first block.
As PP have stated, students' brains are fresh and I find that these subjects are often weaknesses for many of my students.

I've always taught the big 3- reading, writing, and math before lunch and focused on Science and Social Studies or computer lab/ tech time in the afternoon.

Hope this helps!


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Old 06-13-2015, 07:24 AM
 
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Like Parker, I always schedule math first. I teach 5th now, but have always taught math first (1st-5th).

For me: I find math needs the most daily prep. I always need some kind of manipulative or special short video or something and I prefer to have that all ready before the kids come. I find it easy to have a math challenge problem ready for them as they come in so that they have something short to do while I take role. The next thing we do is correct the previous day's HW, then we launch into math.

For the students: They seem alert and engaged at this time. Another important factor is that this is the time we have the fewest pullouts.

I agree with shellea:
Quote:
I've always taught the big 3- reading, writing, and math before lunch and focused on Science and Social Studies or computer lab/ tech time in the afternoon.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:32 AM
 
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When I was self contained it was in 4th grade. In Texas 4th grade is all about the writing. So I started my day with DOL and an English mini lesson, moved into writing, then did reading before lunch. After lunch I did math and science and social studies.
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Math
Old 06-13-2015, 04:10 PM
 
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I attended a math workshop a few years ago and the presenter stated that math wakes the brain up faster....and I have found that to be true in my experience.
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Old 06-13-2015, 05:32 PM
 
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I teach in a Christian school, so we always do Bible first, but math is always the next thing I teach.
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I have
Old 06-13-2015, 06:16 PM
 
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A 30 minutes block of time then off to specials and recess 😞!! I hate having specialists in the morning,and am struggling what to teach for that 30 minutes....I am leaning toward a long calendar (I teach kinder) and introducing/reviewing basic reading and math concepts during the calendar time.

I don't know when I will have my title aide, but hopefully can Segway into math after recess, and reading block right after lunch, but I am not counting on that. I will probably have my reading block and title 1 pull out then lunch, rest, handwriting, math, and science/social studies time.
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Old 06-13-2015, 06:40 PM
 
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We are required to teach math first. this is because it works with the title 1 teacher schedule the best. Quite a few years ago we were able to make our own schedule and I had a reading first. I think I liked that better.
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Former Elementary Intern
Old 06-14-2015, 04:11 PM
 
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When I student taught (500 million years ago), I taught 5th grade and my schedule was;
Morning Show
Specials
Reading/Library time
Math
Lunch
Track time (walk around the "track" to burn off the lunch)
Writing
Science/Social Studies
Assignment catch up (all assignments were due at the end of the day, this is when they finished them if they needed.)
Dismissal
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First Subject
Old 06-14-2015, 05:31 PM
 
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When I taught all subjects I liked teaching math first. Then I taught LA. I ended the day with science and social studies if possible.

Math just seems to be a good wake up call for the brain.

Then I wanted to teach LA as it is a core subject.

I like having science and social studies in the afternoon as they could be shortened if I needed more time in the core subjects. Plus these subjects are often fun and that makes it easier on the kids to learn the core subjects before they are tired. JMHO
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We do Reading first.
Old 06-14-2015, 05:40 PM
 
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We believe that we need to do reading while they are fresh in the morning. Our schedule is not flexible, and the principal puts our reading block first thing in the morning.
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:23 PM
 
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We do our phonics program first thing then math. I wish it was the other way around but it works with our phonics intervention groups. No flexibility on our schedules.

In the past I've taught math first and I like it much better.
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