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Sage advice for first year teaching?

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Sage advice for first year teaching?
Old 07-26-2009, 06:23 AM
 
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Hello,

Just got my Teaching Certification and my first job! In this tight job market, I feel lucky, but, at the same time, I am confident I possess the skills to be a great teacher and I realize just because i have the skills, doesn't mean I will do great in my first year! GULP!

I am 37, a videographer by trade, used to be a Chef and have worked in the family roofing business when I was young and in much better shape! I am no stranger to hard work, imaginative ideas and implimenting technology into my work.

I live in the city and chose to work in the low income type elementary schools- because that is where quality teaching is needed most.

I realize Im going not only into a tough situation, but also a tough grade...after I tell people what grade Im teaching, they always say " Good luck! ", but with this devilish grin...I dont know...It kinda creeps me out.

Anyway, my question is this..."Is 5th grade exceptionally challenging( especially inner city) ?" and "Is that devilish grin going to haunt me all year?"

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

Thats all for now...Ill keep you posted in my up and comming Blog.


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Old 07-26-2009, 06:42 AM
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I agree
Old 07-26-2009, 07:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Establish simple and regular routines and be consistent. You are going to have some really difficult/street-wise kids most likely. You need to come up with a system of simple rules and consequences and make sure you really discuss this in depth with the kids (why good behavior from everyone is important). Discuss realistic goals with the kids.. have them think of a goal for themselves and discuss what it will take to reach that goal.
In fact in the beginning, be tougher than you should be. I always find myself wanting to give warnings, but don't! Give them the approiate consequence the first time especially in the beginning of the year so they know you're serious!
Also, I would think with this population they are looking for structure and really like a structured/disciplined classroom. They also need to know you care and you're not there for a paycheck!
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:41 AM
 
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The joke in my school is that we're one exit away from inner city (literally).

I think the big thing with inner city 5th grade (and my school too) is that some of your students will be over age. Some by as many as 2-3 years.

This makes the elementary classroom sometimes seem more like a middle school, and that is where the challenges come in!!

I think if you stick to a good classroom management plan from the beginning, then you shouldn't have any problems.

Sometimes the problem in 5th grade is the over age kids think the rest of the class is babyish. This is sometimes hard to manage!!
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Congratulations
Old 07-26-2009, 08:49 AM
 
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I couldn't agree more with all the great advice given.
For me, classroom management and expections are the keys to establishing a solid foundaion for a great year.
Even the greatest lesson plan will be worthless unless the class is under control and students understand what is expected of them and how to meet those expectations.
Another "must do" is visit Preteacher every day to give help and to get help.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:09 AM
 
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Wow, great advice...thank you people!

Ok, so Classroom Mgmt. seems to be the name of the game. I need to research some good strategies for low income/inner-city students.

Any good strategies come to mind that are 5th grade appropriate?


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Old 07-26-2009, 09:34 AM
 
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I've used Positive Discipline in the Classroom with good results

I've also used Setting Limits in the Classroom by MacKenzie

This year I'm going to try whole brain teaching.

I tend to be a little silly and strict at the same time, so I think this will be right up my alley.

Whatever you do, be consistent!!
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:56 AM
 
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You did get some great advice, although I disagree that inner city children have no background knowledge. It's just not what the "average" student would experience.

As for advice-Be real, because they'll know when you're not. Also, have a positive attitude!

Here are 2 books I read this summer that may help:

A Framework for Understanding Poverty gives some insight into the lives of students who live in poverty
http://www.amazon.com/Framework-Understanding-Poverty-Ruby-Payne/dp/1929229488/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid= 1248630191&sr=1-1

Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them proposes an alternative approach to ticket systems and other punitive classroom management systems. It's more along the lines of Teaching with Love and Logic.
http://www.amazon.com/Lost-School-Behavioral-Challenges-Falling/dp/1416572260/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid= 1248630164&sr=1-6
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:18 AM
 
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Yes, consistant. I get it, hope I can do it!

Ill check those books out!
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I love fifth.
Old 07-26-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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...and couldn't imagine any other grade. Remember, even on your worst days, that you don't know what happens after the dismissal bell rings. It is easy to want to hold your kids accountable (and by all means do!), but sometimes things are out of their hands and spelling homework just isn't a priority!!

As far as classroom management, I also am going to try Whole Brain Teaching (Formerly Power Teaching). Check out their youtube videos and websites. Everything you need is free!

Good luck! Teach from the heart and you will be great!
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:51 PM
 
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*Enforce rules from day 1

*Practice good organizational skills (I had an organized mess my first year...lol)

*Be yourself. Everyone has different teaching styles, and no matter what advice you get, just be true to you.


And...what everyone else said...lol. They have given great advice.


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fifth grade
Old 07-26-2009, 10:13 PM
 
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This will be my 9th year teaching 5th grade, and I love it!

Everyone here has given such great classroom management advice! I just wanted to add one thing: If you will be teaching reading, read, read, read, and read some more trade books for kids. Get to know at level, below level, and upper level literature to get your kids interested. There is no better way to create avid readers than to have a teacher or librarian who gets to know the kids as readers and can talk about and suggest books to them.
When I started teaching I made a binder with notes about books. You might want to start with recent Newbery winners and finalists. You can really bond with kids over books, if you know the right ones to recommend and will keep up on what is current.

The key really is building relationships with kids, so that they know you care about them and want them to succeed. They don't need a friend, but they need someone who will not hestiate to show they care about their students as people. Be genuine, work hard to get their attention, be consistent and show a real interest in what you are teaching and you will win them over.
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:47 AM
 
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I agree on books!
Do reccomend any that are 5th grade appropriate? with emphasis on inner city students?

I like "The Giver" and "The Phantom Tollbooth" but they are high level for 5th grade-no?

Also what are your thoughts on "The Hobbit" being read in the 5th grade? Should it be a read aloud-teacher lead or an independant read?
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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Some books we've done in 5th Grade that you might want to consider:

*Roald Dahl books-The Witches, Twits, Matilda, etc. (though it's getting harder to do, since some teachers from previous grades do these before they get to us).

*Holes by Louis Sachar (movie version of the book was excellent in my opinion)

*Maniac Magee

This year, I am going to try to read Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. I have read his other book, Watsons go to Birmingham (takes place during the Civil Rights Movement). The kids liked it very much, although it did have inappropriate language. I just discussed this with them beforehand and skipped the swear words.
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Sign of the Beaver
Old 07-28-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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Check with the other grade levels. I remember my first year, I enthusiastically did Number the Stars only to have the sixth grade teacher march down to my room in anger....turns out, even though it is a fifth grade reading level (according to AR), it is part of our sixth grade curriculum. yikes!

My number one choice is The Sign of the Beaver. Touching Spirit Bear, Maniac Magee, Caddie Woodlawn, 39 Clues Series, The Enormous Egg, etc. are all good.

You can search the board for length previous posts.

My husband teaches high school. At the three schools (jr/sr high combos) he has taught at, the Hobbit is covered in Jr. High.

Good Luck!
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:36 PM
 
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Read The Cornerstone. This book is awesome and has everything you need to know about classroom management etc. I teach 6th grade and love it! Don't worry about others telling you "good luck" .....I hear that all the time, too, when I tell someone I teach in a middle school.

Good Luck!
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some titles
Old 07-28-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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I don't teach inner city, but the community has an urban demgraphic. I really like Walter Dean Myers books (some are more appropriate for middle and high school, you'll have to preview) and I love to incorporate poetry from Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou. Gary Soto has some really great books with short stories.

I really like Genifer Cholcheko (sp?) Al Capone Does My Shirts, and Notes from a Liar and Her Dog (low readability, but not a super short book). Walk Two Moons is a favorite from Sharon Creech.

But...Jerry Spinelli is my favorite. Wringer, The Library Card, and Maniac Magee are some of his best. My "Spinelli" collection is quite large, and my kids really love his books.

Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and Louis Sachar are good for your lower level readers.

Good Luck!
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Not quite "sage" but..
Old 07-28-2009, 06:35 PM
 
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Here are my suggestions for whatever it is worth:
1st - While I agree that you need to "show them who is boss" you really should NOT come in as a dictator. Students respect strength and direction but will eat someone alive who is rude and unfair. Let them know that you expect that everyone shows respect. I even tell them that I will show respect and that you expect for them to do the same to you and each other.
2nd - Make sure that you teach them something new the first day. Too often, people spend so much time talking about rules and procedures or reviewing 4th grade materials that they never teach anything new or interesting. They go home thinking the year will be boring.
3rd - Make sure that the work is at the right level. If the work is too easy or too hard, kids will act up. Open ended assignments or extensions are good because people can work at their level and receive praise for their successes.

Good luck! I enjoy teaching 5th grade. The kids have personality and interests to build off of.
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Old 07-31-2009, 05:20 AM
 
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Don't worry about people giving you a devlilsh grin. I'm in awe of kinder teachers and probably give them the same look. No way would I, or could I, teach the primary grades. I love 5th graders because they get my humor, can be way more independent, and you can still build a tight sense of community.

My advice: It sounds like you already have a high standard for yourself. Give yourself permission to make mistakes- they are needed to learn from and improve. This also holds true for the kids. Hold them accountable for everything you expect from them because it gives them an opportunity to learn. It's exhausting, but rewarding in the end. Build a sense of community. It will be something they remember forever.

On a random note...
I don't teach at an inner city school, but our school is definitely low SES. Two years ago I went to watch an inner city school teacher in action as part of a national conference. I thought her morning meeting with the kids was really well thought out. She had the kids do their morning routine (sharpen pencils, turn in homework, etc.) then come and sit on the carpet (her meeting area) in a circle. They all sat with legs crossed, eyes closed, palms on their knees like they were meditating. As it got time for the start of school she told them something like, "You are now at school, you are safe to be who you are. It is your time to grow. Try to let all of the things you can't change outside of school lift from your shoulders, you are safe." I'm not sure that something like that is your style, but I thought it was a good way to acknowledge that there are serious things that may affect their learning that is beyond their control, but they can control what happens at school. I'm going to do something like this year.
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Old 07-31-2009, 07:15 AM
 
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WOW!
Yes, during my Student Teaching my CT had the students do something similar...called a morning POW WOW...they would all share ideas and such...I like the 'safe' speech, it sets the tone for the day!

Excellent advice!
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WOW! A year and a half later ...
Old 12-17-2010, 04:00 AM
 
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Looking back on this I see so much GREAT advice! I seemed to ignore it all! SO MANY TEXTBOOK MISTAKES!

I now see why I got the devilsih grin!

Oh well off to another grade level and school!

4th grade here I come!!!
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