Hello everyone! I am a recent college graduate and I just landed my first teaching job last week! I will be teaching 5th grade and I'm extremely excited and nervous. In college I was an Early Childhood Education major and I am certified PreK-3rd grade. I was hired in as a 5th grade teacher and I am going to be getting certified to teach grades 4/5 this year.
I was just wondering if anyone could give me some advice on where to start. I've never even set foot in a 5th grade classroom and I have absolutely no idea where to even begin! I have gotten the students' text books and have been looking them over, but I feel so lost as to how to start planning a whole year in subjects I haven't been officially "trained" in. How did you do it your first year of teaching? What's the best thing for me to do when it comes to planning the course of the year? Where do I begin?
Also, I feel at a loss for when it comes to decorating the room. Of course I will have the typical things up (calendar, classroom jobs, behavior management, rules, etc) -- but what sort of academic things do you see in a 5th grade room? I want to have up things that students will be able to use as resources. What do you use in your room?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! :-)
I have been teaching 5th grade a long time. It's a fun age!
Some things you might find in a 5th grade room:
beanbag chairs or big pillows
classroom library with everything ranging from picture books to novels
a word wall including content area words
math posters .. place value to start the year
story elements posters
mountain math and /or mountain language
student work examples
US map maybe postcard exchange
I'm kind of in the same situation Seoul. I just graduated and recently landed my first teaching job in 5th. Upon graduating I was certified EC-4, but my interview for a position in those grade levels lead me to an offer of a 5th grade position. I took the 4-8 exam and now I'll be a 5th grade math/science teacher this August.
Although I did my student teaching in 3rd, I did have a 5th grade science methods observation the semester before. So thankfully in my situation I have seen 5th graders in action and seen how it's run.
As for planning, I would go over the standards for your state. I don't officially have access to the district curriculum so I feel its hard to plan right now. If you have instructional specialists at your school try and get a hold of them. Ask them about planning and support.
Also, ask your principal if you can look at a 5th grade classroom in the school, if possible. Take pictures and get measurements.
I am planning my classroom decorations right now. I'm doing a space theme! As far as academic things...here are some things I can think of from a math/science perspective:
-scientific method outline
-place value outline (through the billions and also dealing with decimals)
-problem solving techniques (guess&check, create a table, draw it out)
Really look at your standards that will help you get an idea.
I really enjoyed my time working with 5th graders and I'm sure you will too!
You've found ProTeacher!! You'll find it's FULL of as much advice and resources as you'll find anywhere on the web. It'll take a while to go through everything, but use the "search" button FIRST. Also, peruse the different Groups, Boards, and Rooms and see what you can use most.
I'm also new to 5th, but I've taught for many years in all OTHER grade levels - up to 8th..
Some things you need to find out:
Curriculum: Your curriculum director or principal will provide you with a Scope and Sequence (plan of what is to be taught during the year) Make sure you're familiar with this before you try to plan your lessons.
State Accountability Test: This will come with the curriculum, and make sure you know the objectives and what the kids will be tested on. Make sure you know when the tests are administered including and pre-tests (benchmark exams) that the kids will be given.
Subjects: If you're self-contained, you'll be responsible for teaching each subject. If you're departmentalized, find out which subject(s) you'll be teaching, and get with other teachers in your district to find out how they plan their year. (This may already be in the works for you...you might try emailing your principal and see if you can get phone numbers/email addresses for other teachers who will be teaching your subject area.)
Team Members: Unless you're the ONLY 5th grade teacher on your campus, you'll be on a team with others. Hopefully, the Lead Teacher will be contacting you SOON, welcoming you to the school/campus. If you don't hear from them soon, call and see if you can get together with them (meet for lunch or meet at school) for a couple hours just to get to know each other and get some information.
You'll have all of your questions answered, it may just take a little while. It's normal to want questions answered NOW, but I'm sure you know that it'll ALL happen...
Make friends with the lead teacher, custodian, librarian, secretary and cafeteria manager! You will need their help in one way or another throughout the year...
If I think of something else, I'll write again...The kids are bugging me for supper right now...
i'm a second year teacher now, but i moved and had to apply for jobs all over again. i got a job last year, and again this year. bigger districts around military areas or inner city with higher turn over are better bets around here...
Thank you all SO MUCH for your kind replies and advice! I am printing everything off as soon as I finish typing this! Your responses will most definitely help me figure things out when it comes to planning, decorating, etc. THANK YOU!
teachinpitt - I am located in Ohio. I hope you find the job that is perfect for you really soon!! :-)
I also have another question. Bparsons mentionted having a "carpet" on the list of things to put in my room. Do fifth grade teachers use the carpet for lessons or read alouds sometimes? I did my student teaching in first grade and we did lots of things on the carpet and I always enjoyed it! I was just curious to see how your use your carpet area in your classroom!
I was new to 5th last year, so here are some places to start:
* Build a library. If you have the AR program at your school, get books from the 4.5-6.0 levels to accommodate different reading levels. Find out if there are books available to you from the last teacher, if your library can help you start a collection, or if you need to build it yourself. If you need to build it, start by checking ebay for "ar book lots", hit your local Goodwill and used book stores, and check out some garage sales. Once you get into class, you'll be able to use Scholastic to help you. Make sure you have books for boys and girls and get a few pillows for a reading corner.
* Get some wall decor that is also helpful - and resist the temptation to put something on every empty piece of wall space. Things like math operations posters, editing/proofreading skills, social studies timelines for your period of time etc. are perfect. I only teach reading, writing, and LA, so my posters are all focused on those subjects, along with a small wall dedicated to test taking strategies.
* Review that curriculum and do a rough draft of your first month or so. I tend to "backwards plan" by looking at the end of a unit/novel and pacing it backwards to see how long it will take. I'd start with reading and math, since those are the two heavy subject focus areas, and space those out.
* Do your lesson plans in pencil, as you'll modify along the way. Things come up in the daily schedule, you don't get as far as you thought you would one day etc. can throw your plans off a bit. Allow some flexibility built into your schedule for catch up!
* Don't freak if things don't go exactly as planned - some skills will be harder than you thought for the kids, some will go faster. Writing always takes longer than you think it will because it's not natural for most kids. Don't rush them through if you can help it - that's why I plan a DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) day once in awhile. If I'm where I hoped we'd be, we do it - if not, we use that day to catch up.
* Don't stress - the kids don't know what you've planned or that you aren't where you thought you'd be.
* If you need help, ask!! Be willing to share your ideas with others, and ask for help from them when you need it.
I usually use the carpet for morning circle and for a reading corner. Be careful when considering beanbag chairs. Unless they are from a school supply place the fire marshalls may make you get rid of them. I'm in Wisconsin anf the rules are quite strict. Only 20% of the walls can have paper on them and Nothing may hang from the ceiling in the classroom or the halls.