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Taking Over 5th Grade Science with 50 days left!

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Taking Over 5th Grade Science with 50 days left!
Old 03-27-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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I've been a Kindergarten teacher for 13 years, Nationally Board Certified for 8, but I've been out of the classroom for 2 years due to circumstances out of my control (family emergency/move). Anyway, I've decided to take on a 5th Grade Science class at a VERY low performing rural school after their Teach For America teacher didn't return after Christmas break. I just feel so bad for them!
I'll be teaching 3 classes of science each day. Since they've finished all their 'units' of study and the Science EOG is looming, they want me to begin 'intensive test prep strategies'. I have asked for at least a few days to get to know the children, create OUR rules together, and set MY routines and procedures into place. However, I'm not even sure what my routines and procedures should be in 5th grade (and this late in the game)! I'm fully aware of the importance of getting to know the learner before I can teach him/her anything, but I'll definitely need to 'fast track' so we can get to business. Also, I've been told I'll need to be loving but firm to keep behaviors under control. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I definitely know I want to do some type of glyph as one of our getting to know you activities. Any ideas for that?
I'm sure I'll be back with Science EOG questions, but for now I just need to get ready for them.


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Well
Old 03-27-2011, 03:37 PM
 
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It's really late in the year. Get that classroom routine going immediately. Don't take more than 1-2 days to establish your routine. One get to know you activity will be enough. They know each other. You'll learn about them as you go along. If they have finished all their units already and their teacher left in December, I would say they haven't been taught in enough depth. Everybody will be better off if you keep them busy, busy, busy. Switch out activities often.

Look around, inquire, as to Coach workbooks for the science EOG. Lots of schools have them. They review all the concepts and test format for the science EOG.

See if the school subscribes to Study Island on the internet. Students can practice science EOG type activites here. They can also review information about each area.

Download the released science test from DPI, use it for a pre-test. Then use it for practice during class. A few questions a day. Here is the link.

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accou.../releasedforms

Review each of the 4 major standards. Pound, pound, pound on the vocabulary. They need to be able to read it. No matter what anyone else tells you the current science EOG is a reading test with science content.

Students need to be able to apply the content knowledge to many of the questions. They aren't all just factual.

Good Luck
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Thanks!
Old 03-27-2011, 07:01 PM
 
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Hey Parker,
Thanks for all the great tips! I've printed the tests that have been released by DPI and created several more to practice from ClassScape. I've found a vocabulary list from a fifth grade teacher online and pulled some more from the science basal and am looking for some games/activities we can use them to play. I'm going to check on the Coach workbooks and Study Island.

I am still a little cloudy on the 'ins and outs' of 5th grade in general. What type of behavior management system do you use? What motivates 5th graders? What method do you use to get their attention when they're chatty?

Btw, I found an idea for a 'boat glyph' that I'm going to modify and use as our getting to know you activity. I'm going to use it for us to make a 'Sailing to Success' bulletin board. That room could definitely use a little sparkle!

Another question . . . Should I offer a 'reward' to the children who make a 3 or above? I'm only hesitant, because the reading/math pass rate last year was VERY low (36%). I just worry that there would be too few children getting rewarded. I do want to instill high expectations, but considering the year they've had . . . I would reward for growth, but they haven't taken the science eog yet.
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I don't know the dynamics
Old 03-28-2011, 03:01 AM
 
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at your school, o a lot of your questions are hard for me to answer.

Please DON'T offer a reward to children who make a 3 or above. The students will do what they will do on the test, they will know what they know and they will not know what they don't know. It is very much a reading comprehension test as you will see when you get a chance to really study the sample questions. I personally don't think rewarding children for passing an EOG is appropriate.

My student population is different from yours, I'm a veteran teacher (old) and I don't use any particular behavior reward management systems in my class. No colors, no rewards,...I focus students on intrinsic motivation. But, my class doesn't have many behavior issues. You may need something in place, but at this time of year I would keep it very simple. You just don't have time to get into complicated systems. Check with the other teachers in your school or on your team. They may have something in place already.

To focus students, you talk 5-8 minutes, then have students pair share, or turn and talk or have them write a quick one sentence summary to process what you've said. Have a few tell you what their partner shared. Move on to another 5-8 minute segment. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I use some, not all by any means, of the Whole Brain Teaching techniques. It keeps kids actively learning, gives them "talk time", but it's on topic. You can visit the website and register for free. They have videos and free downloads.
http://www.##################.com/

So, the website didn't post, google up "whole brain teaching dot com" with no spaces.

Gotta go get ready for work. If I think of anything else, I'll post.

Last edited by parker; 03-28-2011 at 03:23 AM.. Reason: add info
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Passing the NC EOG American Book Company-KEY?
Old 03-28-2011, 07:21 AM
 
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OK, I have managed to find a copy of the booklet by American Book Company called Passing the North Carolina End of Grade Science Test at Grade 5, but we don't have an answer key. YIKES!! We're working on answering the questions (Holy Hard Questions! - lol), but a key would be phenominal! Anyone have a key you could send my way?
iteachk75 at yahoo dot com


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behavior
Old 03-29-2011, 01:18 PM
 
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I have a couple whole class systems in place to reward positive class behavior, but I really like my ticket system for individuals. Good behavior, following directions quickly, etc. is verbally recognized and students receive a ticket. It's nice for those little procedure things that kids forget, because when they're not followed, they have to pay a ticket. For example, when kids forget to push in their chair, they pay a ticket. The tickets they keep during the week can be used to purchase privledges, but I've also heard of people doing a raffle at the end of the week, which might work better if teaching multiple sections. (My kids also have class jobs, so they're paid tickets for that too, but that's probably not something you want to mess with: )

I've done team points as well, which has advantages, but the ticket thing has worked really well for me. I know others who use tallies instead of tickets, then there's nothing for the kids to hold on to... you could have the team with the highest number of tallies earn a reward/privledge.

I'll also attach a rubric that my principal distributed for our state tests. It really focuses more on effort, which may be better than rewarding a score... especially if it's so challenging! Use if you'd like: ).
Attached Files
File Type: pdf rubric and effective strategies list.pdf (120.4 KB, 151 views)
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Awesome ideas!!
Old 03-29-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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LindyJo, thanks for the great ideas and resources! The ticket thing sounds similar to what the other two 5th grade teachers have been doing at my school. They award/charge 'scholar dollars' for similar things. The kids can cash them in for things from the prize box or even lunch with the teacher. I love that one!

I've used a lot of the concepts from Responsive Classroom, especially Morning Meeting, in the past to build community and mutual respect, but it just doesn't seem like I'll have the time for it, since we change classes and I'll have 3 different groups for science. So I want to find ways to encourage mutual respect quickly. I love the bucket fillers idea, but it also seems 'time intensive'. Another related question, in Kindergarten, we had several 'signals' for getting the class' attention after noisy activities, such as a clapping pattern, lights off, raised hand, etc. At my new school we're encouraged to use small groups/centers even for 5th grade, so I'm sure the noise level will rise. Do 5th graders respond to this type of thing or would it be totally lame?

I also love your eog effort rubric! What a great way to spin it!

One more work day and I'm taking over! Yikes!
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:03 PM
 
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I use the class/yes from Whole Brain Teaching.
Seems crazy but seriously works.
Check out my kids doing the water cycle song.
http://www.schooltube.com/video/558c...ter-Cycle-Song

The sound quality isn't great but you'll get the idea.
The video was taken one day and I spliced it together with other voice and video info for a day that I had a substitute. The substitute played the 40 min. video and class went on as if I was there teaching.
Principal stopped in and said that as students lined up to leave, they were waving by at me on the SmartBoard and saying goodbye to me.
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Study Jams
Old 03-29-2011, 07:11 PM
 
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Check out this website.
http://studyjams.scholastic.com/studyjams/index.htm
If you have a way of projecting it, there are some great slideshows and videos here. Most of the time there is a 7 question quiz that goes along with it.
Some I use are weathering & deposition, food chain, landforms, ecosystems, biomes, food webs, weather & climate, water cycle, clouds & precipitation, air masses & fronts, weather instruments, air pressure & wind, gravity & inertia, everything in the force and motion tab, natural resources, and photosynthesis.
They are short so they make a great snippet during a class period to reinforce learning.
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Vocabulary
Old 03-29-2011, 07:15 PM
 
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I agree with PP's who say the vocabulary is critical. I would assess them on their vocabulary early to find out how much they really understand. If they really know the vocab. they can decipher the test questions and apply what they know to choose the best answer. Case in point, my worst reader has the highest progress assessment (benchmark test) score on the most recent 59 question assessment that covered everything except ecosystems & biomes.

He can reason and prove the answers and has seen the vocab. in context so much this year that he doesn't struggle to read those words.

To help with this, I have created "I Have, Who Has" card games for each unit. I can tell you more about it if you send me an email.
ccsteacher001 at gmail.com


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Fabulous!
Old 03-30-2011, 05:24 PM
 
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Now there's a sub gig I'd love to have! lol

I couldn't play the video, but I googled Whole Brain Teaching and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Totally using it! Have you had a training or just read about it? Thanks for the tips!
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COACH Book
Old 04-03-2011, 07:11 PM
 
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Hey Parker,
I found a Coach book, but we don't have a key. . . Do you think you could send me a copy of the key?
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I'll look
Old 04-04-2011, 03:03 AM
 
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but I don't think I have a key either. I think I had to made my own key.

Honestly, if you have to read and answer the questions yourself, you'll have a much better understanding of the depth and background info the students need. And if you do have to do this, it's good modeling for the students about how to think through the questions.

I know that's not what you wanted to hear ...let me check today.
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Wow!
Old 04-21-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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Wow you guys, your posts have been so interesting! Good luck PinkToolbelt, I also got some great ideas from all of you! I LOOOVE the whole brain class/yes strategy, youtube has some awesome videos and variations of it and I also can't believe I've never found the study jams scholastic website!!

Thank you! You should post how things are going sometime!
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Erosion by Water
Old 05-26-2011, 06:51 AM
 
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In the book Passing the NC EOG Science book by American Book Comany, the diagnostic test question #63 on page 19, we can't decide if the correct answer should be A or B. We don't have a key, so we've made our own (the Teacher Coach at my school and myself). Does anyone have any advice on this one?

It shows a river flowing down a steep hill with 4 points noted, at the top of the steep hill, at the bottom of the steep hill, near the mouth and in the ocean. The question asks, "Where is erosion greatest in the following picture? We're undecided as to whether it would be at the top or at the bottom. Any ideas?
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:38 PM
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:29 AM
 
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I just wanted to thank everyone who shared ideas! I wish I could report that it was an amazing life changing experience, but it just wasn't! Taking on 5th grade that late in the year in such a struggling school was waaay more stressful than I could have ever imagined! That school has since been transformed into a Teach For America school, so everyone who wasn't TFA has been transferred. It turned out to be a good thing for me, because I'm now going to be much closer to home and back in Kindergarten!! Not sure if I think that's the best thing for the school, but that's a whole different topic!
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