7th Grade Math teacher turned Kindergarten... HELP!

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by mrssmithinaz, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. mrssmithinaz

    mrssmithinaz Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2009

    I have been teaching 7th & 8th grade math for all of my teaching career (7 years) & was recently laid off in our district. I had only been in this district 2 years, and was in the same boat as 4 of our 6 math teachers at our school!
    Just yesterday, I was recalled to teach either Kindergarten or 1st grade, as I am also elementary certified. Although right out of college, I wanted to teach in elementary, I am very nervous about this change. I have zero resources for Kind. or 1st.
    Anyone go through a similar situation or have advice, wisdom, etc? I 'd greatly appreciate any thoughts!
    THANKS!
     
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  3. starbucks

    starbucks Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2009

    Wow! That will be a huge difference for you. I have spent my entire career in Kindergarten so I can't explain how the jump will be for you, but I encourage you to keep reading these message boards. You will learn so much. Make sure you contact the other K teachers that you will be working with. Hopefully they can guide you in the right direction. Most kindergarten teachers are willing to share ideas and resources. I wish you the very best in K. You will love the enthusiasm of kindergareten kids. They even like homework! I am sureyou are nervous, but the nice part of teaching K is that the kids don't know that you are unsure of yourself. They'll just love and idolize you. If you have any specific questions just post them and I am sure someone on the board can help you out. Good luck.
     
  4. alilisa

    alilisa Habitué

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    Jul 17, 2009

    You will love Kindergarten! WOW it is a big change for you but there are some great resources out there for K teachers and tons of ideas here on A to Z, so don't be afraid to ask questions! Good luck with getting ready!
     
  5. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Jul 18, 2009

    I am happy for you that you are still employed, although it's a different grade level, in this economy employment of any sort is a big bonus :) I have a webpage on my site just for teachers who are new to teaching kinder or pre-k, there are many useful ideas and tips there for preparing to teach this age group.
     
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Jul 18, 2009

    With seventh graders you probably go really mad at them once a day. Right?

    Well, with kindergarteners, you'll be mildly annoyed every 30 seconds.

    That's the main difference.
     
  7. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2009

    welcome to Kindergarten!~ I bet you will love it! It will be overwhelming at first, but the are the most adorable at this age!
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Jul 18, 2009

    I taught middle school for four years, a year of HS, and two years of grades 5-6. Then I moved to first grade where I've happily resided for the last 8 years.

    I've found many aspects of teaching the little ones to be counterintuitive to how one teaches middle school.

    The best part of early primary is that you have very little attitude or apathy that you get teaching older kids. Imagine the response you get, for example, handing out brand new math workbooks to seventh graders. Well, whenever I give out new math books to first graders, it's like Christmas. They are thrilled. First graders beg for more homework. They fight over who gets to do more worksheets.

    But...

    As soon as they don't know how to do it, they will often give up. At that point they will start to play, wander the room, ask to go to the bathroom, or fall out of their chairs. That's the hard part of teaching primary. There is no autopilot where you give out the worksheet/writing assignment/reading assignment/art project and expect the kids to do it independently. There is very little they can do independently.

    When it comes to behavior, you're biggest issues are going to be talking, wiggling, not keeping hands to oneself, bringing toys to school, and playing in class. And tattling. They will actually tattle on each other for tattling.

    As you go down grade levels, extrinsic rewards/consequences work less and less. If you say to a first grader "do _____ and you get a prize/extra recess/to not be in trouble for once, chances are that the effect will not be that great.

    Intrinsic rewards/consequences work much better. You get a lot of mileage out of the kids just knowing that you are pleased/displeased with their behavior/academic performance.

    5-6 year olds lives center around finding, breaking , losing and eating things. Especially pencils. If something disappears from view, it often vanishes from their reality. I have actually seen accidentally drop their pencil on the floor or accidentally cover it with a book and raise their hand to tell me that they didn't have a pencil.

    First graders can be blatant cheaters. They will get up, walk over to another kids desk, and when you ask them what they are doing they will say "I need to look at Erin's paper to get the answer." I've actually had students tattle on other kids for not letting them peek at their paper during a test.

    They totally do not get the whole misbehave at school> teacher gets mad> teacher calls mom> mom punishes kid sequence of events. More than once I've told a student I was going to call their mom and tell them that they were being bad at school and watch a smile come to his face along with asking me if he could talk to her.

    And when they do figure it out, it can play out in very unexpected ways as well. Once I sent a little boy to the office for pushing another child in line (repeat offense). When he came back, he had a referral form for his mom to sign. A while later, he comes up to me with the form and asks me how to spell Erica. Erica was his mom's name. I asked him why he wanted me to spell it and he showed me the spot on the paper where his mom was to sign it and said "I have to write my mom's name right here." And I said "No, your mom has to write her name right there." He said "No, I have to write it. I don't want my mom to see it. So how do you spell Erica?" I took the paper and made sure I handed it directly to the mom that afternoon. BTW, the same boy had been sent to the office earlier in the year, and had actually fallen asleep in the vice principals office.

    Finally, first graders and kinders are creatures of repetition. They learn best when they can repeat activities over and over again. The more they get to do something, the better they get at it and the more they like doing it. This is in direct contrast to middle schoolers who will grow bored with something they have mastered or think they have mastered and not want to do it anymore.
     
  9. mrssmithinaz

    mrssmithinaz Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2009

    Wow... all excellent thoughts, stories, and suggestions. Sarge, thanks especially for the insight into the differences between middle & K-1. You have given me a lot of "food for thought!"
    I should get to talk to the new principal & the other teachers Monday... wish me luck!
     
  10. map

    map Companion

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    Jul 19, 2009

    You will love Kindergarten around the end of October. Teach routines in little steps over and over again until they get it. This will pay off throughout the year. I suggest going to Dr. Jean's site and kidscount1234 (sharri sloane's website) She has some wonderful links to other K sites that will be helpful. Purchase or see if other K teachers in your school have Dr. Jean's cd's, Jack Hartman and Sherri Sloane's. Music will save your butt on many occasions. If I start singing or playing a song they usually calm down and are ready to continue (by the way my voice is not pretty). Also, check into Heidi Songs (Sight word cd's and dvd's). These are great and the kids love them! Hit those garage sales for some bargains this summer. I find puzzles, games, books and items I use for counting.

    Goodluck!
     
  11. mrssmithinaz

    mrssmithinaz Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2009

    Thanks again to everyone for the help... it now looks like I'll be teaching 5th grade. Still not a definite... we start school in 2 weeks & I still am not sure - yikes! But for now I am leaving the Kinder forums... maybe see y'all on here again someday!
     

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