NEW 6th grade classroom teacher - HELP!! - ProTeacher Community





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NEW 6th grade classroom teacher - HELP!!
Old 08-03-2009, 06:51 PM
 
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I have been teaching for the past 2 years in a middle school setting -- math. Now, I have just accepted a new job as a classroom 6th grade teacher, teaching ALL subjects to the SAME group of students. I know how to cater to 6th graders for math, but how do I do so for all subjects?
I am absolutely overwhelmed because I have no idea where to even begin preparing for this job - how do I set up my classroom? Because it's still in the "elementary setting", would it be similar to a typical, say, k-5 classroom? How should I organize each subject? Should I require a folder for each subject for the students to keep at their desk, so that all of their handouts/etc are organized in the correct place? Is it OK to teach (esp math) having the students take notes? Or does it need to be more interactive? How can I make sure that students actually retain the information, if they're taking a more "hands on" learning approach? Is it just easiest to just treat my day as though I was teaching middle school, and split the time for each subject evenly, even though students are not moving from class to class?
I would really appreciate it if I could get some insight especially for teaching ELA. Coming from a Math background, I especially have NO idea how to incorporate the other areas of ELA (ex- spelling) into my classroom.
Since I am completely in the dark about being an all-inclusive classroom teacher, I readily welcome ANY insight/ideas (no matter how menial or insignificant) on any realm of this topic (decorating your classroom, how to set up routines, organization from subject to subject for students, how to teach ELA!!, etc). Thank you!!


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You will love it
Old 08-03-2009, 08:28 PM
 
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I started with an all inclusive 6th grade then went to another school and now only teach 6th Math and science. I loved my 6th graders. Its good because you can really hone in the classroom environment. You will see the same kiddos all day (both good and bad). The one thing I remember about my 6th grade class is they loved being read to. It seemed a bit youngish but my mentor teacher did it so I incorporated it into my classroom. It was the quietest half hour of my day. They missed being read to and I really believe it helped with vocabulary and language rhythm. Have fun!!
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:12 AM
 
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Congrats on your new job! You are going to love sixth grade.

I just came from sixth grade where I taught Reading, Writing, and Social Studies. A few tips I found worked for me:

I like your idea of splitting your day as if you were in middle school...then the topics and activities will change every hour or so, so the kiddos won't get bored and act up. I would think of something you could do with them to show that it's time to transition from one subject to another, as well..we used to use a bathroom break for that

I required students to have one giant zippered binder, and the separated that binder out into all then subjects they had, each subject with it's own folder. That way, there was never a "I forgot that binder in my locker.." conversation, they always had the right notebook.

A good rule of thumb is that kids need to move or change activities about every 1/2 hour. I would advise NOT having them sit and take notes for endless stretched of time..try to incorporate some centers (we called them stations) or games to get them moving around and talking to each other.

I used to spend the first 3 days of school introducing EVERY routine: how do I walk to the pencil sharpener, what does silent reading look like, how do I take out a class library book, how do I move my chair away from my desk, etc....a few days of prep work makes a big difference throughout the year.

As far as decorating, that's totally personal choice...I've seen 6th grade rooms that carry themes, and ones that are just organized and colorful. I tend not to go with a theme becuase I think it's too elementary, but some teachers love the idea. Whatever works for you.

That's what comes to mind at the moment. 6th graders are awesome, they crave independence and responsibility but are just learning what to do with it when they get it, and they love to move and talk....organize your days around those basic concepts and you'll be great!
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Some ideas
Old 08-07-2009, 10:10 AM
 
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You will love 6th grade if you love variety, love to laugh, are open to interactive teaching. I agree that about 1/2 hour is just about right for this age group. I teach science and math, and find that you must mix it up or you lose them. One thing that helps is to put a list of what you plan to do today on the board. (I do change groups but have each for 1/5 to 2 hours at a time.) I start with any whole-class activities, then move to small group or individual work, where the faster ones can move on to the next listed thing. This allows me to navigate around the room as needed.

The only time they are silent for any long period of time is during a test or a movie. HAHA. If you try to have them take in a lecture for an hour...you'll soon find little pockets of trouble that rapidly expand.

I also mix the seating up about every 6 weeks or so, to help them learn to get along, to break up cliques, etc. It helps to control the discipline issues that can come up.
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