How do you effectively switch groups?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TamiJ, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Aug 27, 2011

    This is the first year the other 1st grade teacher and I are switching our classes. We switch 3 days a week, and she teaches science to my kids, while I teach math to hers. The only problem is we have about 50 minutes at a time, which is not enough time. I have her doing calendar and spiral review with her kids, but even with that I am not getting through the material quickly enough. She suggested I could send home their practice pages as homework to clear up time. This is what I have been doing:

    math warm up
    Mini lesson
    hands-on
    practice pages

    They don't get through their practice pages, so I do end up sending it home for homework. The thing is that I will be starting math centers soon, and I don't know how to successfully do that with her class in 50 minutes.

    For those of you who do switch, how do you do it successfully? So far I hate switching. :(
     
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  3. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Aug 27, 2011

    It took my partner and I a long time to master switching. However, we're 3rd grade. I think it's a lot to expect of first graders. Here are some tricks we found to be very helpful:

    -After years of literally switching classes (which I hated) we instead split our group and merged them into 2 classes. She taught science and I taught writing. It was so great to have 1/2 the class know the procedures and routines of the room and also where to find things. It was also nice to be able to split some personalities for a portion of the day while also creating some dynamic pairings that might not otherwise have a chance to work together.

    Are your rooms connected? We found it helpful to have an "in door" and an "out door." Her class entered my room through our connecting door. My class would go into the hall and enter her room through the main door. The kids would immediately go to assigned seats in the group area. We insisted the transition be a silent time. This helped to speed things along.

    Also, we didn't have them travel with anything. I had a pencil and writing supplies in my room. This eliminated having to go back for forgotten materials.

    The other thing we started doing was waiting until the 2nd trimester (around November) to start switching. This gave us a chance to really get to know the kids and to establish a community. I think you might be jumping in early and that might be adding to the problem.

    Is it possible to take a step back, analyze and make some changes?
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Aug 27, 2011


    Thanks so much for your response. Our rooms are not connected but are right next to each other. The rooms are also so tiny that I don't think we can have both classes in at once. Yes, I think we are starting too early, and I can talk to the other teacher, but she really wanted to start this last week (when we started), so I have a feeling she might not want to step back. It's a really frustrating situation and I dread the days we switch. I don't know the kids, their names, personalities, it's so rushed that I don't feel I am doing an effective job, so I feel worse about it.

    Do you think that 50 minutes will be enough to do centers with her group?
     
  5. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Aug 27, 2011

    I think trying to get through 4 stations with transitions in 50 minutes is ambitious. We dedicate a minimum of an hour to math without switching classes. I would just be honest with her and let her know it isn't working for you. Because if it isn't working for you then it won't work for the kids.

    If you aren't able to change it I would suggest doing 2 rotations a day and spending more time on each.
     
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Aug 27, 2011

    I am thinking of doing just that. I can't get through it all, and the kids are going to suffer. I had a great year last year when I started math centers, and I do have two periods for math centers with my own kids this year which I am happy about...But, I am worried about getting through the math with her kids.

    Thanks for "listening" and commenting! :)
     
  7. mrs100

    mrs100 Comrade

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    Aug 27, 2011

    Oh, yes, that will be a tricky conversation. Sounds like your teammate has her mind made up, but you definitely need to do what's best. We switched in 2nd, and we needed an entire hour in the classroom to get through a lesson. Maybe approach it as if you are requesting more time before you put the cabosh on the whole thing. And in the end, if it doesn't work - it doesn't work! Like you said, you'd be accountable for these kids' progress and so you'll have to put your foot down. But I feel for you - conversations like this can be soooo hard to do without the other person getting upset. Good luck!
     

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