Departmentalization scheduling question

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by shoreline02, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

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    Aug 4, 2018

    Our 5th grade is departmentalized into 3 homeroom classes (90min each). I'm supposed to teach science for 60minutes and social studies for 30min. Our focus is science since it is state tested in 5th grade.

    I try to do 60min of science and 30min of social studies each day but it never seems to work out. I usually run out of time for S.S. or try to do it for only 30minutes and run over into my science block.

    I was thinking this year to just have a certain day of the week where I do social studies. For example; every Thursday I teach social studies. I know the minutes will technically not be as much as we're supposed to give but I think it might work out better. Thoughts?
     
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  3. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Aug 4, 2018

    If you want the minutes to work out better, I would do one day a week and two days every other week. (i.e. every Thursday and every other Monday). This way you are giving it 3 out of 10 days, which is close to the 1/3 you are aiming for.

    The only other option I can think of would be to choose some days where you do social studies in the beginning of class so you ensure you have time for it.
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I would think that it would be better to do it by unit. For example, do a long, in-depth science unit that takes place over several weeks. Then, when that unit is finished, do a brief mini-unit on social studies. Then repeat. I think a day here and there of social studies is probably really disjointed and won't have the educational impact that you hope to see. If you do 3-4 weeks of science followed by 1-2 weeks of social studies, your students will likely better understand what you are trying to teach them in both content areas than if the instruction is scattered and disconnected.

    At my school, we used to have one teacher teach both science and social studies, and they did this by switching off on units. One wasn't necessarily longer than the other, but, if you are supposed to focus more on science, I don't see any reason why you can't just make your science units longer and more in-depth than your social studies units.
     
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  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Aug 4, 2018

    if it were me, I'd always put science first; I think science works better "untimed." Some days will naturally lend themselves to longer class, some days to shorter, depending on whether you're doing a lab or what else you might have going on. Whereas with social studies, you can do meaningful stuff in 15 minutes, you can do meaningful stuff in an hour and a half.
     
  6. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I would not teach SS just one day per week, because if a student is absent she will miss all of SS for the week.

    In Ohio?
     
  7. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

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    I can't switch off of science because we are state tested in 5th grade.
     
  8. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Aug 5, 2018

    Is it district/school mandated that you can't switch off science? I teach special ed in a grade that's state tested in science and our teachers switch off science and social studies pretty much as bella describes. Science definitely gets more time - social studies units are shorter and a lot of our grade's social studies gets tied into ELA - but it seems to work well. You'd spend fewer days on science but you'd use the full 90 minutes on it instead of only 60 so depending on how long your social studies units are, the total time spent might be similar at least. The first year I was at my current school the teachers tried something like you're suggesting, focusing on social studies 1-2 days, and it really didn't seem to work as well for the kids as the current system. I think the flipping back and forth hurt their retention/interest in both subjects because they never got into a good flow with anything. And as Missy said, absences (or days off, or pull out services, etc.) potentially throw a wrench into things. Focusing on just science and then just social studies also gives you a little bit of a break on the planning side.
     
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  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Is it mandated that you can't increase science time to 90 minutes for a 4 weeks and then take 1 week off to do social studies? It seems like, over time, your time spent on each subject would work out to your original goal; it would just be more effective for student learning. By teaching science every day and limiting social studies to once per week, both subjects would be choppy, especially social studies. You almost might as well not teach it at all at that point.

    As heatherberm said, I'm also in a state where science gets tested in fifth grade. All of our teachers in second through fifth taught science and social studies in this manner for years, up until we changed the way that we departmentalize last year. It was always effective for us, as far as student learning and test scores were concerned.
     
  10. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 14, 2018

    Will you get in trouble if an admin or supervisor finds out that you are not teaching the set number of minutes for each subject?

    Personally, I would look into scheduling my lessons to meet the time requirement and make sure I'm covering what I have to prepare my students for the test. If I know I'm going to need more science time because of an experiment/activity, I would swap it out for another day that week and have SS given.

    Just be careful - we have a bell schedule with set periods so I don't run into that issue but my P would be annoyed if it turns out they were getting more science than SS or the other way around.
     

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