1st Year Middle School SS

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by mrshistory, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. mrshistory

    mrshistory Rookie

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    Jul 16, 2010

    So, I am a newbie! This will be my first year teaching full-time in middle school history. I would greatly appreciate any advice on textbook reading. In my idealistic mind I would love to see my 8th grade class work like this:

    --Students read about a section worth of the textbook while completing a notes study guide or guided reading assignment (20 minutes) PRIOR TO CLASS
    --Students come to class and begin with a bellringer related to their reading (while textbook reading work is stamped for accountability and then collected at the end of the chapter for points)
    --The class period is used to re-enforce what they have learned through group and classroom activities, discussion, active learning, technology/media, etc.
    --Repeat!

    Nightly textbook reading in this scenario is simply an opportunity to gain some context or a jumping board for classroom discussions or activities.

    What I have been reading though, from the perspective of many educators, is that homework should all be review or review of the day's classroom material, NOT introduction of material that has not yet been covered in class.

    Thoughts? Opinions? Is my ideal textbook/homework set-up unrealistic or not as effective as I may think it would be?
     
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  3. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Jul 16, 2010

    Have you seen the textbook yet? And what percent of your students will be English learners? I teach middle school science, and our textbook is too hard for many of them to read unfamiliar material on their own. The textbook has long sentences and is very vocabulary-dense. The students can just barely handle reading the textbook after we learn the content in class, and some of the EL students still can't do much with it. In addition, in middle school, you have to teach the students how to read informational text, especially if they haven't had much science or social studies in elementary school. They just aren't ready at the beginning of the year to read independently at home, especially if their parents can't help them.

    Another thought: is this going to be your plan for every day, or only a few times a week? Depending on how long your book is, you might run out of sections halfway through the year. My textbook has 18 chapters, each with 3 sections. I usually spend 1-2 weeks on each chapter.

    Hope this helps!
     
  4. teacher304

    teacher304 Companion

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    Jul 16, 2010

    Not to go off topic, but Mrshistory where are you located. It's amazing you got a Social Studies job with no experience. Where in the US so I can look there!
     
  5. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jul 17, 2010

    I think you also need to be prepared for the fact that some of your student flat-out will not do nightly reading.

    Will you have enough textbooks for every child to have their own copy? Will you have a class set and a copy at home or will they be required to carry the book to class every day?

    20 minutes per night in one subject in 8th grade seems a tad high. If they have 7 classes, that's over 2 hours of HW every night. Remember, many of your students will be involved in extracurriculars (which shouldn't take precedence over school work, but they are a vital part of their lives), help take care of younger siblings, etc.

    I would try to aim for 10 minutes of HW each night... and stick to reinforcing rather than introducing.
     
  6. futureiowateach

    futureiowateach Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2010

    I thought the rule of thumb was that students shouldn't be given anything that they can't do in class. While I would understand a small intro assignment, I would think 20 minutes of reading and a study guide is a lot for 8th graders to tackle.
     
  7. mrshistory

    mrshistory Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2010

    I am going to be teaching in a private school in So Cal...there is definitely no way I could have landed one in a public school right now! :)

    I was not planning this to be a nightly assignment, but rather paced with how we go over the chapter/unit. Maybe 2-3 nights a week is my guesstimate right now based on how I have paced out the first semester.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 17, 2010

    Future, I don't understand that rule of thumb at all. So in other words, no homework...ever? Or am I misunderstanding?

    And mrshistory, congratulations!
     
  9. futureiowateach

    futureiowateach Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2010

    No, sorry. I wasn't clear. Meaning you should never send something home that they can't accomplish in class. Meaning, if they can't do it indep in class it should not be sent home as homework. If they need extensive assistance from the teacher then it shouldn't be sent home where they would become frustrated trying to complete it. Maybe I am totally off and misunderstood... I also thought that generally, homework shouldn't be used to introduce a new unit.
     
  10. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I understand where "futureiowateach" is coming from, but I think history is a slightly different animal. I teach 9th graders, only a year older than middle school, and I always assign reading on a topic BEFORE we cover it. They read "the story" the night before, then we discuss it in class, supplement with additional materials, etc.

    I think the hesitation to introduce new stuff via homework more often refers to new concepts and tasks that students have to "do"... ie, how to complete a new type of math problem. Aside from new vocabulary, which I will often help with in advance, the reading is always "do-able".
     
  11. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Jul 19, 2010

    My textbook had one page summaries of each section. I would make copies and have my students read them and write at least 8 comments/questions on the handout. They next day, I would read through the section with them and call on students to share there responses. It really helped with comprehension and metacognition. (Even in my gifted social studies class, at least 20% would not read the textbook section if assigned for homework. But, almost every student would read the summary. However, I don't know about the demographic of your school. )
     

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