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From 5th to 1st in 6 seconds
Old 09-08-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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I was just informed today that (five weeks into the school year) I am being moved to first grade from fifth within the next couple of days. I love my fifth graders, my team and the subjects I teach. (My other choice was to transfer to another school. I've been at this one for seven years!)

Anyways... my question is how can I make this an easy transition for my fifth graders who'll now be split among the remaining three teachers? And... how can I make this easy for the first graders that are losing their teacher to kindergarten and gaining me in their class?

I feel like I'm starting the year all over again! I know I'll probably love it once the shock wears off. HELP!!! I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions and advice for first grade. I'm sure you'll hear a lot from me on this board.


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First Grade
Old 09-08-2006, 04:23 PM
 
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I went from fifth grade to first also, but I did teach first grade about 8 years ago. It was my choice to go back down. As much as I loved fifth graders, I missed first grade too!

This is going to be a big transition for you. You will go from kids that know what they are doing and can do it by themselves to kids that can't. My biggest advise would be to go very slow. I made the mistake of thinking that since I had taught 1st grade many years ago that my routine would come back quickly. Was I mistaken!!!! Make sure that you think about what routines you will be doing and practice them daily. Remember practice makes perfect!! Ask questions of your new co-workers, first grade teachers love to share with each other. They will be a wealth of knowledge for you.

The first graders will adapt to you easily. I would spend the first day, reading them stories and just talking and spending time with them. They will ask where Ms. So and So went and just tell them the truth. They will love you just as much in a very short time, probably by the end of the day! I would send an introduction letter to the parents and maybe have a mini open house after school, so that they can meet you. They are the ones that won't understand what is going on. But just be open to any communication with them.

First graders are very talkative. Centers and any seatwork will not be done quietly, like fifth graders. I am still having a hard time with that, even with my 1st grade experience. I also had trouble with coming down to their level with my teaching. But I am beginning to get better.

Above all be prepared! You can sometimes kind of wing it with fifth graders, but you MUST be prepared with lessons with first graders or they will go into chaos within seconds.

Will you have an assistant? I love mine. She has been so helpful in helping me to get it right.

Remember, take it slow, decide on your routines, and practice (even the most simpliest things, like lining up) and you will love this age group especially when you are getting all those wonderful hugs!!!

I am at a year round school, so we just finished our first quarter. It was a quarter of work, work, and work and feeling like my head was spinning. But I am actually looking forward to the second quarter and feeling so much more confident and love for what I am doing.

Good luck, remember, we are here for you!!
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Old 09-08-2006, 06:45 PM
 
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Thanks so much for your response. Just reading it has eased some of the anxiety. I started working on my letter to both my fifth and first grade parents. I have to admit I'm getting a little excited. I just wish I didn't have to pack again! Unfortunately, we don't have aides but there are several teachers whose brains I will definitely be picking!

I'll have to keep reminding myself... "slow and steady wins the race." Thanks again!
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Captains Chair a must
Old 09-08-2006, 07:10 PM
 
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Wear flat comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet lots. You will need lots of projects, first graders finish projects fast. Get a Captain's Chair (it has a back and is up higher). Sit in it to read and whenever possible to give your back and feet a rest.

Have a supply of band aids for the paper cuts and ouchees you might not even be able to see. And a damp paper towel works wonders.

Have some boxes of animal cookies, crackers for a snack.

You miss your fifth grade science kiddos, but you will love the little first graders.

Last edited by hescollin; 09-09-2006 at 05:57 AM..
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Old 09-08-2006, 09:11 PM
 
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Four years ago, I was moved from a 4th grade class to a 1st grade two weeks before school started.

Just remember that when you are working with your first graders, that they are only 6 and 7. My expectations were sooooo high when I started and had to remember that I needed to lower them. Don't lower them too much as they need to meed some expectations.

You also need simplify your vocabulary. Teaching higher grades, you have a higher vocabulary. So if you see that your students are looking at you as if you were speaking a foreign language, just simplify it.


Hope this helps.

Good Luck.


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Old 09-09-2006, 03:36 AM
 
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Thanks so much for all of the advice! I LOVE the Captain's Chair! I will have to go out and get one this weekend. And shoe shopping!!! My DH is soooo excited about that. Just when he thought I was done furnishing my room! (He was so funny when I told him I was moving. The first thing he said was "Good thing I cleaned out the garage." The second thing he said was "I'll turn the computer on for you." He knew I was headed to this site! )

I started thinking about it last night and really noticed that even the way I talk to the younger kids in passing is completely different than the way I talk to the older ones. I'm going to ask my principal on Monday if she'll give me some time out of the classroom to observe my new kids so I can learn them and their routine.

Thanks a million!
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Stressful Isn't it?
Old 09-10-2006, 06:51 AM
 
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I know it doesn't help at all...but the same thing has happened in my school. The poor kids! It's tough because they are so anxious at the beginning of the year to meet the teacher and once they feel comfortable, their teacher is yanked away and it's time to get to know another one! I would suggest getting a classroom stuffed animal that the kids can each take home or talk/write to about how they feel......this sometimes relieves frustration and provides a classroom comfort and a connection to you. Good luck!
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Smiles...
Old 09-10-2006, 11:55 PM
 
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Apparently it's happening quite a bit around here. And to think that they're losing a fifth grade class because the class size is 22-24! Once they split my children amongst the three remaining teachers, they'll each have 30-32 children. Someone obviously found a loophole in the class size reduction!

What makes it even worse is that the teacher I am replacing looped up with her class from kindergarten! I will have to find a little "traveling buddy" for my new class. My daughter did something like that in first grade and it was fun for the whole family. Maybe I'll use him to help introduce me!

Thanks again for all of the ideas. I'm sure you'll be seeing more posts from me once I get back to work (three hours and counting.)

Who knows what might happen today??? I could come home teaching fourth!!!
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