3rd grade newbie! - ProTeacher Community


Sallyjo
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3rd grade newbie!
Old 09-26-2009, 11:18 AM
 
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Hello!
I have just started my first year as a third grade teacher! I am so excited to have gotten this position - I have been waiting to be a teacher since I was a little girl. BUT, I have millions of questions about 3rd grade!!! I student taught in kindergarten and 2nd grade, but I have really never been in a 3rd grade classroom and I'm not sure exactly what the 3rd grade atmosphere is like!!!!! i know the kiddos have tons of worksheets to do each week, but I would like to give them some more hands on experiences and make school more enjoyable for them. i have been working at the school from 7 am until 8 in the evenings. I also go in on Saturdays....i feel like i am trying so hard to do a great job, but I feel like i can't do anything right!! I am just getting burnt out and feeling defeated. I am going to list a series of questions,,,if anybody could help me out with some answers i would really appreciate it! Thanks so much!

1.How much homework do you typically give students?
2. Do third graders have any "free time" in class?
3.what can i do to help extremely poor spellers? We have spelling each week, but I have some children who can't spell very basic words.
4. We have soo many reading/workbook pages that we have to get though each week...how do you add in writing activities?
5. Half of my class is very low....very low.....can i divide them into two separate groups to do lessons?
6 I have really no classroom teaching aids for science and social studies...does anybody know of any good websites that could help me out with worksheets or visual aids?

I am just exhausted and trying to be a great teacher....I just want to make sure I am doing things right! If anybody has any other feedback for me I would appreciate all of the help i can get. Thanks so much!!


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Old 09-26-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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First of all you need to relax!!!!!! I understand the pressure your under, but in order for you to do your best, you need to balance work and play. Leave school by 5:00 and skip the Saturday stuff. Right now the kids are more like end of the year second graders, so your expectations should be on that level. You have good, honest goals but you can't be the "best" teacher until you have some more experience under your belt. Now as far as 1)spelling, make 2 lists of words, one for the on level group, and an easier, and more basic list for the low group. 2) workbook pages - you do not have to complete every page. Use alternatives to worksheets sometimes. Do you have a smartboard? There are many interactive games that are available. 3) you can divide your class into two groups. Just make sure the independent learners have their work and understand the directions. 4) Google science and social studies activities for ideas. Therre are many great ideas right here in Proteacher. 5) during 10 minute snacktime the students may have a break. 6) I give math, reading and spelling for homework. I hope this helps. You don't want to burn out on a dream you have had since you were a kid. Keep me posted!
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Old 09-27-2009, 05:47 AM
 
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Sallyjo, I agree with Nanaof 4: Relax, relax, and relax!
First, designate only one day a week to leaving late (5pm). During your special or preparation period, take a 5-minute breather. Please stop going in on Saturdays!!! This is your time to recharge your mind, body, and spirit, and reflect on you. Start slowly and tackle one issue thoroughly at a time.

1. Focus on homework. First, does your school or district give specific guidelines? My district suggests 45 minutes for third graders. This includes study time and 15 minutes of reading for enjoyment. I usually print out a weekly assignment sheet that includes spelling, math, and science or social studies. Science and or Social studies are assigned once or twice per week. See how your format works for a while and change it if necessary. Once you have a workable format thoroughly tackle a new issue.
2. I have been reflecting on my free choice time. Usually the children who finish first benefit from this time. However, I try to give sometime to all students. Once the super fast group is finished an assignment, I allow them to have free choice time for 5-7 minutes. After the time is up they must complete something from the weekly to do list. While they are working on the To Do List, the next group of children should be finished. Their free choice time is 5 minutes. Finally, the slower workers, must have most of the assignment completed for 4 minutes to look at a book or start a drawing in the art book.
3. Devote morning or end of the day class time to modeling spelling strategies. Have students demonstrate spelling strategies. Create a folder center with spelling worksheets. Provide answer sheets for a group leader to check work. Drill them on spelling words to line up for lunch or while standing in line before exiting the classroom. Make it game like.
4. Select the assignments that best address the weekly standards.
5. Differentiate during whole class instruction by using visual aids, low level, then mid, then high level examples and questioning techniques. Get low-level students to do one or two of the objectives well. Give them many opportunities for practice. Try to provide additional support for low-level students during small group sessions.
Hope this helps!
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:03 AM
 
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Thank you both for such fantastic responses! You both have wonderful ideas! I truly appreciate all of your help!! I can't wait to put them to use. I think this website is full of truly remarkable teachers - in college my professor said that a lot of teaching is done through "begging, borrowing, and stealing" just a humorous way to say that will need to get a lot of advise from more experienced teachers. I am very thankful for the advise you gave me

Thanks again!
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Answers to Your Questions
Old 09-27-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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1. How much homework do you typically give students? My students do 15 minutes of reading, a Home Link assignment (from Everyday Math, about 10 minutes), and spelling word sorting/studying spelling words, about 5-10 minutes (Words Their Way) every night.
2. Do third graders have any "free time" in class? I have so much to teach that the free time my third graders get is called recess. We also have two nutritious snacks per day...during one I read aloud and during the other my students share or practice reader's theater poems and stories.
3. What can I do to help extremely poor spellers? We have spelling each week, but I have some children who can't spell very basic words. I am going to assume you have a weekly spelling list for all your students. If you do, your extremely poor spellers are struggling. I would cut their list in half, and give them a few of the very basic spelling words each week too. Make them feel successful. I am betting some or all of them are in your lower reading groups. When meeting with them, this would be a good time to teach a little spelling too. Otherwise, you can just pull a spelling skill group together and work with these student a little each day. Build the words they need to know based on patterns. (Example: The word is make. Have them write bake, fake, rake, etc. so they can see the pattern.) 4. We have soo many reading/workbook pages that we have to get though each week...how do you add in writing activities? Who says you have to do all the workbook pages? Choose the ones your students need. Supplement with writing activities...story maps, KWL's, etc. Be sure you have modeled these writing activities many times before you expect your students to complete them independently.
5. Half of my class is very low....very low.....can i divide them into two separate groups to do lessons? I teach whole group math, science, social studies, and writing with lots of practice and modeling. I then pull the struggling students together for more practice and monitoring of any task that was assigned. I have six reading groups, and meet with two or three per day. While I am meeting with these students, my other students are doing independent reading, responding to literature, doing word work...similar to The Daily Five.
6 I have really no classroom teaching aids for science and social studies...does anybody know of any good websites that could help me out with worksheets or visual aids? I am going to assume your district and state have certain things you need to teach in science and social studies. Find out what they are. You can google them...and/or come back to your friends at ProTeacher for advice, ideas, and materials.

How many students do you have? What read alouds are you enjoying with your students?

I can tell you care...and that you are doing a great job!!! Please be sure to ask more questions, and people on the third grade board will always be ready to help.


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Hope this helps...
Old 09-29-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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1. On average a good rule of thumb for homework is 10 minutes per grade level (so 30 min for 3rd grade)
2. I give my class free choice on Friday afternoons for 30 minutes if they have all their assignments done and reading log signed.
3. I also have poor spellers. I have a couple of kids with 6 words, a couple with 10 words and the rest with 15-20 words.
4. I teach with a reading basal and have all the workbooks too. You do not HAVE to get through all of them-pick and choose wisely. Look at the skills for the week and use those that pertain. I also use some pages for guided reading groups depending on what skills the kids need.
5. Yes, you definitely can split your class to teach to the smaller group. I have to do this for math since I have so many low students. My plan is to have 1/2 the class do practice problems or play math games while I teach the lesson to the other 1/2 and then switch the groups.
6. ???

Hope this helps you...good luck! p.s. try to leave the job at a reasonable hour-it'll still be there tomorrow
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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1. I give my students spelling homework and Math homework Monday - Thursday. In addition they are to read for 20 minutes.
2. When students have finished all their work, they get to read, I have educational games, or take an AR test.
3. I give my poor spellers the same words, but they take a multiple choice test.
4. When we have alot of worksheets, I choose the important skill to do, use them as guided practice, or let the students work with a partner.
5. I have 3 math and reading groups. Groups are wonderful, but challenging.
6. Check out other teacher websites, see if your library has Mailbox magazine it is full of great ideas.

You are doing great, and this too shall pass.
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