Departmentalization Procedures?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by pwhatley, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 27, 2015

    Dear All,

    First, let me apologize for being away so long! It has been an absolutely insane year! I'm adoring teaching third grade - it's the administrators (from the district) who are driving me nuts!

    Anyway, here's why I am posting. Until this year, I have been self-contained, initially (5 years) in first, and the past 2 years in third. I have always done community supplies, daily conduct, etc. I have actually been lobbying for third grade to departmentalize (we are now a testing grade, in fact, the only one at our school, which runs prek-3), but now that my P is actually considering it, of course, I begin to think of the practicalities. Please advise as to how YOU or YOUR SCHOOL:

    1. handle transitions between classes
    2. deal with supplies, lockers, and desks
    3. deal with conduct

    Please, do not limit this to only third grade teachers - all suggestions are welcome AND appreciated!:dizzy:
     
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  3. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2015

    First off, welcome back! Secondly, I am a middle school teacher so this is no biggie for me, and I saw how it worked with 4th grade. I would suggest getting together with your team once this is finalized and discussing how you will run your grade level. For example, you need to have a classroom management plan that EVERYONE agrees with. We used dollars and the students could earn dollars in class for doing things, BUT they could also lose dollars. At the end of the nine weeks, we did an auction with prizes from sitting in a teacher's chair to lunch with a teacher.

    We didn't have lockers, but we gave them a homework folder at the beginning of the year that traveled with them all day. They were not to put ANYTHING in their desks, and we talked to them about the reasons why.

    P.S. I LOVE your quote by Dr. Seuss
     
  4. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I'm a third grade departmentalized teacher. Our discipline is our school discipline system. 3-6 have a different set of procedures. We have conduct reports we fill out for our class and on the third one from one teacher in a semester, an office referral is filled out. The reports do not follow the kids to another teacher. They get a fresh start in each teacher's room. At first I wasn't a fan of that but I had a teacher on my team who had horrible classroom management and would write up kids willy-nilly. I only had two kids get an office referral in my room the entire school year.

    Last year, the kids kept their supplies in a pencil pouch and a binder they brought to each class. We are going to go to community supplies next year as the kids didn't have markers or glue by October. They'd lose them or leave them at home. We are going to pick up notebook paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, and glue. Kids will keep their pencils and scissors. We put on the school supply list that these will be community so the parents know. I'm not really a fan of community supplies but I'm really not a fan of changing my lesson plans on the fly because only two kids have supplies.

    I have three groups of kids so I assign each group a color. They write their student number in the corner of their papers and circle it with their class color. Their workbooks, spirals, and other supplies are marked with colored duct tape to make finding them easier. If someone accidentally puts them in the wrong cubby, it's very noticeable.

    For transitions, we have the kids put their supplies by the next room they are going to and use the restroom and get a drink. This is really the only part of the day that drives me crazy. We don't have time to only have one class out at a time so it gets louder than I like, but the restroom breaks during class are significantly less since they all had a chance to go.

    I prefer self contained but the planning time is so much shorter that departmentalizing does have its perks.
     
  5. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 27, 2015

    Thank y'all so much for your replies! If I remain at my current school (and it is looking more and more like I will :huh:), there will be three of us: My (grade level chair), a new teacher, and the third is a veteran at our school (2 years now), but has no interest in working with anyone else. UGH. Part of me is very excited at the prospect of departmentalization, while part of me is still in the self-contained, protective of my kids, mode, lol. I guess they will ALL be my kids, lol. If you (or anyone) thinks of anything else, PLEASE do not hesitate to speak (type) up!
     
  6. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    Jun 27, 2015

    I taught departmentalized 6th grade in an elementary building. We each taught out own reading and language arts. We were required to have 90 minute blocks. We departmentalized math, science, and social studies. We color coded to subjectst to help keep students organized. We also had lockers so we built in a designated time to get material. Students went to lockers first thing in the morning to get materials needed before lunch. In my class that was everything for reading and social studies. Before going to support class student went to lockers to swap morning materials for afternoon materials. They put those things on their desk to have ready for the other two classes after lunch. After lunch they kids just grabbed from their desk and lined up to move to the next class. These kids were older so they kept up with their own materials like pencils, pens and highlighters. We kept community supplies like markers and colored pencils for projects. To keep up with behavior each class had a clip board that traveled with them. It was a simple table for mat with the students names listed with boxes for wach day. We had a number code at the bottom for infractions. If a student was misbehaving we simply noted the number next to the students name.
     
  7. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2015

    That is the worst... when you have a teacher that will not cooperate with you or anyone. I would just try to give them a reason to. For example, let them have some control over some things and ask them questions about their opinion on policies, etc.
     
  8. TheGr8Catsby

    TheGr8Catsby Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2015

    A few ideas:

    1. You mentioned that you have three on your team, and one is less excited about departmentalizing than the others. What if (s)he remains self-contained while you and the other switch? A 2-way switch is about the most 3rd graders can successfully handle.

    2. You mentioned that you have lockers, so there you go. ALL personal possessions go in your locker in your homeroom. The only things to be in your desk are your textbooks for this class and supplies that you and your partner share (like interactive notebooks).

    3. Community supplies typically work best with departmentalized primary, including pencils, especially because this is their first time being departmentalized.

    All this being said, I don't really like being departmentalized before 4th grade. I find that it's not developmentally appropriate, causes a lot of loss-of-time, and hinders the ability to teach thematically.
     
  9. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jun 27, 2015

    Welcome back! The three of us at 4th departmentalize. For discipline we use a clipboard for each class and we mark behavior grades on a chart. (Marked with columns for each day and we use codes.) the clipboard travels with each class. We do have lockers, but I HATE using them with the kids, they're tiny. My two coworkers have their kids use them. There are specific times during the day they are allowed to go to them. My kids use their desks to store their materials. I have an open set of shelves at the end of each table to hold supplies. I keep crayons, scissors, glue. Index cards,,post it notes, 3 hole punch, stapler, rulers, hand held pencil/crayon sharpener on top. On the other two shelves I have test folders, dictionaries, atlas, loose-leaf paper, etc. I hang three folders on the side of the shelf, one for each class, for missing/not finished work. Each desk has has a job (commander, mission specialist, communication expert, payload specialist, and EVA expert). The payload specialist maintains the shelves and the communication expert keeps up with collecting work for absent teammates. I keep a pencil cup in the middle of the table with pencils, highlighters, and pens., and there is a large eraser for each desk. We practice the routine of making sure the table is ready for them to leave. The commander has to approve the table (shelves and basket neat, pencils back in cup, erasers in place, table and floor under table clear.) if there's a problem at the table when the next class comes in, the team that left it not clear gets "docked" a point. (No prize, just a matter of pride.)
    My best piece of advice is to sit down with your team and set some standards, such as respecting each other's time. (Making sure you don't leave them waiting to rotate.) agree on discipline, contacting parents, and how to get information to the kids on what they need to bring to class. Present a united front for the kids and try to keep things consistent, such as classroom rules and expectations.
     
  10. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jun 27, 2015

    1) Talk to the other teacher and set up a travel plan. Everyone lines up at the same time and rotates in the same direction works best, but you will need to consider how rooms and doors are aligned.
    2) My first that is kids that age should have an accordian file for their papers or color coded folders so they can quickly grab them. Perhaps it would be easiest to keep books in the rooms where they will be used unless the kids need to take them home for homework. Science, social studies, reading books all can get pretty heavy and if the kids don't need them outside of the class for anything there seems no reason why they should need to carry the books from room to room. I always kept loose leaf paper for community use, but the kids were responsible for any other regular supplies. As for desks, I have seen other teachers tell their homeroom kids to turn desks backwards when other classes come in so no one is tempted to mess with their stuff.
    3) Does your school have a general list of expectations? Start with those, but don't be afraid to teach your own expectations as you would with your homeroom class. The kids will figure it out.
     
  11. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Thanks for the continuing replies! I've been told I have the most organized classroom at my (current) school, and that it's hard to beat my classroom management. :eek: I don't know about that, I just have high expectations for my students (you will behave appropriately, even when we are on the breezeway, lol). In other words, I'm "equal opportunity mean," lol. In previous years (self-contained), I have kept glue, scissors, rulers, color pencils, markers and such for "as-needed" use (to prevent problems). Crayons have been given out 1 box at a time, to be kept in the students' numbered pencil pouch (in the desk). Textbooks, because we don't always use them, are kept in bookcases and retrieved as necessary. Students begin each day with 2 sharpened pencils, which they trade out as necessary (again, community supplies, and I'm the only (control freak) person who touches my electric sharpener, lol. I assign T.I.G.E.R. Binders (Today I've Got Everything Ready) for homework, notes home, calendars, newsletters, etc., and they go home and come back (conduct signed) daily (at least in previous years). Interactive notebooks are assigned (1 per subject per student), with the spines color coded with duct tape... I'm thinking I'll have to color code them by classes (i.e., groups of kids) rather than courses, as I have in the past. I like the idea of the clipboard behavior chart for each class - I guess the line leader for that week would transport it each day. My kids have full-length lockers, which is good, because they often have BIG backpacks & coats! I'm considering, if we are departmentalized, that my P will insist that it be 3-ways - the decisions are not up to me. Also, we don't have hallways (we're on our own "wing" - each wing is pretty much 1 grade level). Please excuse my rambling... I'm "typing out loud," so to speak, as I think. In the past, my students have been noted for being the best behaved (in our grade level) at our small school. They know not to run on the breezeways, to be quiet unless on the recess field (the next breezeway has Pre-K sped, who often nap), not to yell and act out in the bathrooms (next to my class), because these are things I think are important and drill into my students (they get SOOO mad at each other when we have to walk to the cafeteria 5 times before getting to go in, lol). Not knowing our new teacher at all, and not being very familiar with what goes on in my co-teachers classroom, it's a little unsettling to be trying to think up the routines & procedures I need to teach my kiddos. I also don't have the final word about departmentalization, so I'm still up in the air. Thanks again for all the ideas - I'm keeping my eyes to the 'puter!
     
  12. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    It's harder to get control of your kids when one of your fellow teachers let things that you never would allow slide, but it is possible. Been there, done that.
     
  13. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jun 28, 2015

    Our issue is that our classroom rules are the same, and we've "agreed" that the only behaviors that we'll take a behavior grade for is one that breaks school or classroom rules. The problem is that one of my coworkers will take no grades u till she blows, and then she'll take 4 or 5 from multiple kids in one class period. When you ask her why she says sometng like, "they were getting on my nerves and wouldn't sit still." We had agreed that if we take 3 or more behavior grade from a kid in one day we would call the parents. She refuses to do that, too. That leads to a lot of frustration. So definitely try to work those things out ahead of time and make sure everyone is on the same page.
     
  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jun 28, 2015

    Two of our three 6th grade teachers will be departmentalized this year. The other teacher will be self-contained.

    We'll see how it goes. I'm keeping an open mind.

    Our students in grades K-5 switch teachers/classes for RtI and ELD.

    When I taught 2nd grade, I worked with a teacher who'd grill her students when they returned to class from ELD and RtI. She would go to each student and ask what they learned during ELD and RtI (and she saw no problem with this practice). Then, during our weekly PLC meeting, she'd ask us why we were/weren't doing xyz. It made for a very uncomfortable work environment. I really didn't enjoy working with her.
     
  15. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    For several years, I have been excited about the idea of departmentalizing, but it is beginning to lose it's appeal, lol, at least at the 3rd grade level.
     
  16. TheGr8Catsby

    TheGr8Catsby Rookie

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    Sometimes people move from our heavily departmentalized district into self-contained districts. They usually say nothing but great things about being self-contained after being departmentalized. The biggest complaint about being departmentalized is that you don't know your students well.
     

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