New to 5th, barely staying afloat...

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by 5leafclover, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. 5leafclover

    5leafclover Companion

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    Oct 20, 2011

    So here's the dilemma, after over a decade of teaching primary aged kids I have been moved to 5th grade. I have found that I enjoy working with the kids, so that isn't a problem, but I am having a lot of issues.

    First, I am on a team that is made up of individualists. They don't share their ideas, lesson plans, materials, etc. I am basically on my own. We don't even have grade level meetings.

    Second, the materials provided by my district or horrible. We have no textbooks, writing program, etc. I've got reading, writing, grammar, spelling and math under control for the most part...but I am really struggling with US History, Geography and science. We have no SS textbook. We're told to teach US History up to the Civil War and have been given a binder put together in 2001 that includes some of the most boring and incomplete lesson plans I've ever seen. We're given "Daily Geography" xeroxed workbooks that have the kids answer two Geoaphy questions a day. Surely that is not meant to cover the subject though. We have similar binders for our science units, but I feel more comfortable dealing with that.

    Third, I don't particularly enjoy US History or Geography. I do understand the importance of these subjects however.

    Fourth, when I mention this to other teachers in the school, I get "Don't worry social studies isn't on the standardized test anyway," which just serves to infuriate me.

    I have found the SS binder severely lacking in content and usefulness. There is no info on early explorers, Roanoke, etc. It spends a week on Jamestown, a week on Pilgrims, and then a week on New England, Middle and Southern colonies each. After that it jumps to the Revolutionary War.

    I have found myself needing to spend hours scouring the Internet each night just to come up with a decent plan for the next week. I need help. I would like to teach Geography more consistently, but I have no clue about the sequence to teach it. I can't find anything like that online.

    I'm not a huge fan of History, and have so far been basing my teaching on the ridiculous binder I have and I know I must be skipping over entire chunks of important information, events, people, etc. We are set to begin the week on Pilgrims next week.

    I'm already struggling learning a new curriculum, adjusting to a new age group, finding new favorite books for this age, coming up with decent writing and reading lessons, keeping up with grading, etc. With hard work I feel like I am being successful at those things. But even with hard work, I feel like a failure as a social studies teacher!

    Any online resources, resource book recommendations, a scope and sequence for 5th grade geography, etc. would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 20, 2011

    Stop basing your lessons on a binder...more than likely your state curriculum has been updated since it was put together. ( in NJ we rewrite curriculum on five year cycles, so if you were looking at a 2001 binder in my state, the curriculum has been updated twice since ten:eek:) Instead, look up your state standards and based your lessons on those. Map out the next few weeks. It's ok if you are only a day or two ahead of your kids in terms of your copies and resources....just know what your objectives ate and where you're going...even seasoned teachers at a new grade level find themselves scrambling for a while.
     
  4. 5leafclover

    5leafclover Companion

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    Oct 20, 2011

    The thing is...my school district tells me to teach US History through the Civil War, all the other 5th grade teachers in my district teach it, my principal expects me to be teaching it. My state, PA, doesn't have very specific standards for SS in 5th. We have a set of generic standards for 3-5 in SS, and the local school district sets the units. I have found that is commonly US History.

    I don't WANT to be basing my teaching on a 10 year old binder...that's what the call for help is for.

    Please understand though that I have no control over the fact that I have to teach US History and Geography.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  6. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Oct 26, 2011

    Actually not having a history textbook might be a blessing. Most 5th grade history books are SOOOOOO boring.

    Even though you aren't too much into teaching history, it can be a lot of fun for you and the students. Here are some ideas and resources. Most I've gotten from other teachers although a couple are "homemade".


    1. I look at the main time that I am teaching and look at the standards. I see which people are in that time period and then we go back in history. My students go back to pre-historic times as I write a simple skit that we do in 5 minutes of the major things that happened in early history. I use songs that relate from youtube to create the mood.

    We are going to go back in history and reenact the Boston tea Party. Scholastic has awesome plays that include the Boston Tea Party and many more. The scripts are about a 4th grade reading level so they are fine. They are easy to follow and my students are upset when we don't do Social Studies. The cost of a set of plays is about $12. I'd be happy to give you the link.

    2. Also, the History channel has a great mini series on EVERY president. Each one is about 7-10 minutes and the students enjoy these and get a good background of the presidents. The videos are free on youtube or you can buy all the DVDs for $12 on amazon.com

    3. In economics, we have a token economy which they love as they get a job, get paid, pay taxes (they don't enjoy that), and save for future items. There are great resources on how to do a simple token economy on the internet.

    4. Oh the wonderful library! I got lots of great books on Columbus, DeSoto, Cortez, and so many explorers. The students loved learning in partners about who these people really were, what they were like as children, and so many things the textbooks never tell them. Yes, all the books were in the children's section of the library.

    5. Government--divide the class into the House and the Senate and you can be president. Let them vote on issues and learn how to veto. It is so much fun and they learn so much about our system of government.

    History is so much fun as the students know so little about it. Whatever you try will probably help in some way. Have fun!

    Kevin
     
  7. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Oct 26, 2011

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