Absolutely miserable!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by MissaG, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. MissaG

    MissaG Companion

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    Oct 23, 2006

    Last year, I took a job mid year teaching 5th grade after student teaching and had a rough year. The students had a hard time listening, couldn't keep their hands to themselves, basically wanted to mess around all day and do everything BUT learn! I chalked it up to me coming mid year and finally got them to follow my rules enough to get the things done that we needed to. I was pretty miserable all year long.

    Toward the end of the year, I decided that I really wanted to teach younger kids because the anger that the older kids displayed toward me along with the disrespect and irresponsibility was too much for me. My principal had reluctantly decided to let me move down to kindergarten if I wanted to, but would remind every day what a good "upper grades teacher" that I am. I decided that I must have just had a rough time because I came mid year and informed the principal that I would stick it out with the 5th grade for another year.

    The school system ended up deciding to keep 6th grade at the elementary school, so I now teach 5 and 6 LA and SS instead of self-contained 5th. I worried about getting the same students again, but worked my butt off all summer long, making sure I had things in place and was prepared. I was VERY excited for the school year to start. I spent 3 weeks before school going in and getting things ready.

    Here we are now and I am beyond miserable. I get a migraine every single day. And it isn't my 6th graders....they are suprisingly angels! My fifth graders are making me crazy. I have tried many different approaches to discipline, transitions, procedures, etc... I just don't know what to do, but the time that is spent with them is absolute chaos and little to nothing gets truly TAUGHT. It is to the point that I resent them so much that I don't even want to deal with them. Their behaviors are unacceptable, and they use the excuse every single time that their class should be separated (there are 21 of them in there and from 3rd grade until now, they were separated into 2 different classes, but now there are less students than before leaving no need for the extra class). The students at this school have always been given in to when they have a problem with someone, by beiing separated rather than taught how to deal with the problem.

    Not only are the behaviors attrocious, I truly feel like I don't know what I am doing. I am the ONLY teacher in the school that teaches the grades/subjects that I do and being a "first year teacher" it is tough to figure out on my own. I have only 90 minutes to teach the LA block (all areas of literacy) and I don't feel like I have enough time.

    The migraines start on my drive to school and don't go away until I lay down for an hour after school. I cannot live like this! My family is suffering because of it and it just isn't fair.

    I know this was long, but I really needed to vent and get some advice/strategies/anything that anyone can provide!

    Thanks!
     
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  3. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2006

    This is my first year teaching and I have 5th grade. I swear they want shut up. They are always misbehaving, talking in class, talking in the hall, etc. I've tried everything and nothing seems to work. It's driving me crazy. At first, I thought it was me, but they have also misbehaved in other classes as well. I don't know what to do next. Any advice?
     
  4. AChancetoTeach

    AChancetoTeach Comrade

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    Oct 23, 2006

    I also am a first-year 5th grade teacher and here in Texas, they act the same!

    They talk constantly and cannot work independently. They have to be kept busy constantly to keep control in the classroom. I agree that they should always be learning in a "hands on" way; however, sometimes, there are just things that need to be done on their own.

    Our main problem is that they are so very social and yet not in a good way. It's all about "who's going out with who" and fighting over who is whose boyfriend! Good GRIEF! We also have several who have been held back and they are already so mature and their hormones are raging! The girls will not leave the boys alone and we're constantly having to send them home to get "appropriate" clothes to wear. Gosh, I don't remember having that much cleavage in 5th grade. :eek:

    The bottom line for us is that they are not worried about learning anything other than what they can write in their next note to each other. If only I could get them to write that much in my ELA class!:(
     
  5. Room505Alive

    Room505Alive Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2006

    I'm in the same boat with you girls, but I'm a third year teacher. I had been teaching 6-8 grades LA and jumped at the chance to have a self-contained fifth grade classroom.

    I sometimes see very little difference between the junior high kids and the fifth grade kids I'm teaching now, although I don't tolerate much crap from them. If they start to get too loud or talkative first thing in the morning, I nip it in the bud. Sometimes you have to be mean for things to actually happen in your classroom. If you can, I highly suggest you read Ron Clark's Essential 55 for Educators. It gave me the basis I needed for a good discipline and CR management plan.

    My problem does lie, however, in the quality of their work. I cannot begin to tell you how irate I am when I'm checking their math, science, or reading tests, and know for a fact that they didn't take their time, they've made completely stupid mistakes and just failed the darn thing because they screwed around and wanted to be first in the race to finish. I wouldn't be so mad if I didn't get those blaring emails or notes from parents that somehow the grade that their child earned was somehow my fault. But as usual, their child couldn't be wrong and somehow, I've forced them to turn in their tests with silly mistakes that have caused them to get a D or an F.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to fix that? I've tried making a test checklist that they have to complete before turning in their test, but that didn't help. They just check off the items on the list without using it to go over their work. I've put time parameters on turning in their test and instead of going over their work before time is up, they sit and stare at the clock. I'm at a loss and any light anyone can shed on this situation would be helpful!
     
  6. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2006

    I'll definitely read that book. Like I said, I'm about at my wits end about their behavior and not being able to shut their mouths, etc. I know exactly what you mean about them runhing through their assignments and making stupid mistakes or just forgetting to answer questions, etc. because they want to hurry up and finish. And yes, my fifth graders want take the time to go back and check their papers either before they turn them in - and then I feel like that I have to waste my precious time grading junk. I don't have a problem with someone failing if I feel like they gave me a 100% but it really ticks me off when they fail because of stupidity. It's going to be interesting because our grading period ends this Friday and report cards go out on Nov. 7th - I'm sure that I'm going to have some upset parents but I've told every parent during my parent/teacher conferences that their kid needs to slow down and stop making careless mistakes, etc.
     
  7. MissaG

    MissaG Companion

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    Oct 24, 2006

    Room505-

    We had a dispute resolution service come in yesterday to talk about conflict resolution and they told the kids that the root of most conflicts comes directly from each child. They gave them examples of how they don't always try their best, etc...

    The man taped a piece of paper on the wall kind of high up. He gave three students markers and had the rest of the students gather round. He instructed each child with a marker one at a time to draw a horizontal line from left to right AS HIGH AS THEY CAN. He gave verbatim directions to each child before he let them draw their line. He said nothing more, but when each of the three finished their line, he gave the EXACT same directions to each student one at a time. They went up and miraculously...their line was higher! He did it a third time, and you would be amazed at how high the lines these kids drew got!

    It was a great visual exercise for the entire group to see that they are not trying their hardest in the first shot...why not give 100% from the get go...his directions did not change, how were they able to reach so much higher after a couple of tries!? I am hoping that it opened some of their eyes to try a little harder on their work.

    Good luck!
     
  8. mrs a

    mrs a Companion

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    Oct 24, 2006

    Wow! What a great exercise for the kids! Thanks for posting it!
     
  9. musicbean

    musicbean Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2006

    Sounds like you have a group that can have absolutely no down time. I had a class like this a few years back. You must have an assignment ready for them as soon as they finish working. Also, you mentioned that you have tried various procedures. Find a set that you like and practice, practice, practice. Let them know that this is the way it is, no questions asked. Get tough. You might feel like a big meanie, and it will be hard for a while, but it will get better. Stick to your guns.
     
  10. zplok

    zplok Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2006

    I know exactly how you feel. I would suggest inviting someone in administration to observe your class for behavior problems, so they know what you're dealing with. Make sure that when a child is sent to the office there are consequences.

    Another possibility is to call in the parents, and have behavior contracts signed by both students and parents. When the students are successful for a given period of time, offer rewards such as "no homework" passes, or some free time, maybe on computers or playing board games.
     
  11. To Teach

    To Teach Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2006

    Do you have a mentor? You need to talk with them. Also have you called their parents? Have you taken away things from them, like time at recess, or had after school detention (if allowed). The important part is TO CALL THE PARENTS. Have you reada any of the following books: The "First Days of School" by the Wongs and "The Essential 55" by Ron Clark? I would suggest that you get a hold of each and read. They have some great ideas.
    Charlie
     
  12. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    Oct 25, 2006

    I hope you are feeling better about your class, but if you are like me...that's just not happening! There was a time (was it just 10 weeks ago), when I thought I was going to love 5th grade...boy was I wrong! I still love my kids, for the most part...today, I don't like them very much...but 5th grade is tough! I have another teacher that can never say anything good about anything that I do. We have team meetings and all I hear is that we will do this or that...the same way we did it last year. Well, I wasn't teaching last year, so I don't know what they did. I try to wait and ask a different teacher, but sometimes I just have to speak up and ask because I need to know. Or if I do something "wrong" I have her saying, well we talked about this at lunch, or at recess, or at the team meeting...you really should know it. But how am I to know the specifics if everything is ...just like last year? I can't say anything to administration, because our principal doesn't want to get involved with teacher stuff...only student related, and the assistant principal is good friends with this teacher.

    Today was my 1st real observation. The principal and vice principal are in and out of our rooms all the time, so I really wasn't worried about it. About an hour before she was coming in to observe, the VP came in to tell me that she had had an anonymous call from a parent with negative comments about how I ran my classroom. Conference week was last week, and all but one of my parents had good things to say about me afterward, so I'm pretty sure I know who called, but who knows. Anyway, when the VP came in to observe, my students were awful...worse than the 2nd week of school. And instead of stopping and gaining control, I just kept trying to teach around and over them. What a fiasco!!! I was so scared about what had been said about me from a parent who wouldn't even leave her name, that I let the kids have control and it was the worst lesson I've ever taught. Afterwards, I took them to lunch and came back to my room and cried!! They knew I was upset and started apologizing after lunch, which just started me crying again...this time in front of them. I told them that I was human too, and sometimes I get upset but that I knew they would try harder next time and just took them out for recess.

    My head is pounding and I'm wondering why I ever thought going back to teaching was a good idea. I have to change my attitude, and fast, or this is going to be a VERY long year.

    Sorry this was so long, once I got started, I just couldn't stop...Thanks for listening!!!
     
  13. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

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    Oct 25, 2006

    Hi, yes I very much feel your pain. Yesterday, my principal showed up in my room for an informal observation while I was teaching Math. As a matter of fact, I didn't even realize that she was in the room until after the fact. Anyway, I like you was trying to teach over them (as they were being "rowdy" and then I realized that she was there!! I could have just died when I realized that she was in the room. Anyway, on her informal observation sheet she wrote that they were a little rowdy and that a few of the students were reading their letters from our pen pals during math (which I hadn't realized or I would have nipped that in the bud immediately). Anyway, she wrote a couple of positive things down but I was so embarrassed as to how my class had acted. I mean I unfortunately have a kind of rowdy class anyway that does enjoy to talk. I can give them silent lunch, make them walk laps at recess, take away their recess, you name it and it doesn't affect them the least. I was so mad at them yesterday that I told my class just how unhappy I was with them and that they had embarrassed me once again by not knowing how to behave. I told them that obviously they had no respect for me.

    Today too was my formal observation, I was very nervous I guess because of what had happened yesterday. Everything seemed to have went well but I have my post conference with my principal on Friday so I guess I'll see. They actually behaved for an hour but as soon as she was gone they wanted to talk again. I once again told them that this just proved that they had absolutely no respect for me what so ever because they had been good when she was in our classroom.

    I am so frustrated because I just don't know what else to do. These are the most immature 5th graders I have ever seen. I never get anything done at my "so called planning time" due to meetings being called. I am constantly bringing work home to do night after night and can never seem to get ahead. I worked Sunday afternoon on school work from about 4 p.m. until midnight and still needed to do stuff and felt guilty about going to bed but I just couldn't hardly hold my eyes open.

    And to top it off they've got me in AIG certification every week so I have to go to that once a week also and do the work for that class. I really just feel like screaming.

    I mean I love the kids but I've got to find something to get their attention and respect. I've also got to find some happy medium and not have all this school work to bring home night after night. I feel like I am constantly planning but I never get ahead. Do you ever feel this way or is it just me? There's so many things that I need to do or want to do to my classroom but I just don't have the time due to just keeping my nose above water.

    If you have any ideas or suggestions please send them my way. Or if you just need someone to listen remember I'm here for you. Thanks for listening to my babble on and on!!!
     
  14. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    Oct 25, 2006

    I could just copy and paste your letter under my name. Planning time, HA! There is always something else I have to do during that 45 minutes. I was out at a class yesterday, I had a blogging class after school today, and I have a class on Nov. 6th. And they keep having assemblies, and pulling kids out of my class...speech, target, guidance, counseling sessions. Today we spent an hour making a scarecrow for a contest and had a 30 minute Red Ribbon Week assembly.

    My kids are VERY immature, so it takes twice as long to settle them down after transitions than it should, besides having to settle them down numerous times during every lesson. We've been in school 51 days, and we are still having to do a LOT of review work. Every time I try to teach a new concept, I find something that they don't remember from 4th grade.

    I know what you mean about bringing work home. I always seem to have tons to do at night. I spent most of the weekend sick in bed, then finally got up and spent the rest of the weekend working on school stuff.

    I keep telling myself that it will be better next year, but I don't know if I can survive that long. At least my hubby is supportive. When I was crying on his shoulder tonight, he told me that he knew teaching was my calling, that I was great at it, and that my only problem is that I care too much. Then he said that the caring was what made me a great teacher, and to just keep on doing what I was doing...not to worry about what anyone said or did, and only worry about what I thought of my kids, not what anyone else did. He really made me feel a lot better...I'm still frustrated and exhausted, but with him behind me, I know I can make it through this 1st year!
     
  15. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

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    Oct 25, 2006

    Yes, I too keep telling myself that I'm going to make it through this
    1st year!! My husband came home last night and had run into one of my student's grandmothers and the grandmother was telling my husband how much her granddaughter was enjoying me for a teacher.

    I do think that education is my calling also. I just feel like that my head is spinning most of the time. Do you ever feel like that? Yes, we too had red ribbon week this week and we had a 45 minute parade yesterday and then today we had school pictures. I know exactly what you mean about it taking twice as long to settle them down as it should. That to me can be so frustrating!!! Like I said, I never get anything done during my so called "planning time". I have the AIG class once a week, I had a meeting today after school and I have another 2 hour meeting at another school tomorrow afternoon to go too. Today, after my meeting I had to go and do homebound services for one of my students so that was another 2 hours and I go back there on Friday afternoon as well. I'd just love for one afternoon or two to get home around 4:15 and then not have more school work to do - do you ever feel that way?

    I am glad to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way.
     
  16. AChancetoTeach

    AChancetoTeach Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2006

    Wow, I'm going to jump back in here because the two of you sound EXACTLY like me! What is it with 5th grade? They know the ropes of school, yet they just want to see how far they can push everyone. It's not just me that they act up with, it's specials teachers, and others. I feel like I'm such a mean teacher trying to get them to stay in a routine (class procedures, etc.) and yet they say they love me. All I can say is I have to keep trying. We did have parent conferences tonight and a lot of them learned the cold hard truth about how their little darlings are behaving at school! Maybe the kids will be different tomorrow? (I can only pray!)
     
  17. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Oct 25, 2006

    I've only read the first post here, so sorry if I'm repeating anything, but it's one thing to have a difficult job, but when it gets to the point where it's affecting your health on a daily basis & you're in physical pain, well, life is way too short for that. The salary (or the lack thereof) isn't everything. If someone's having that hard a time, I'd suggest that if the person still even wants to be in the teaching field, that he/she look for a position that they will truly want. I was picky. I only wanted one type of teaching position & I got it. I may have waited longer to get it as opposed to other people, but I'm not living in misery either. Good luck to all who are having a rough time.
     
  18. Crazy4Kids

    Crazy4Kids Rookie

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    Oct 26, 2006

    I walked into the same 5th grade situation 4 years ago. I was placed into a Title 1 school with 85% ELLs in my classroom. Getting my students to do anything was a real battle. I really struggled the first two years with students, parents, and even administrators until I figured out what worked for me. I have a million things that I did to make it work and a million that didn't. The best advice that I can give you all is to keep trying because those types of kids need you the most.

    One thing I can recommend is about conferences.
    A great way to diffuse upset parents and remind students and parents about their responsibilities is to require that the 5th grader attend conferences with their parent.

    Begin the conference by having the student, parent, and teacher sign a triangluar agreement stating what each is responsible for in educating the student.

    Set it up so the student leads the parent/teacher conference (have the student choose work samples to show their parent and talk about the work they are doing in class). Make sure to focus on the positives before heading into the negatives. Then bring up the student's work habits, behaviors, etc. that are keeping him/her from reaching his/her highest potential.

    I have found that this type of conferencing with my 5th graders to be highly effective. The student cannot give any lame excuses or wrongly place the blame of any failures on your shoulders while you are sitting there. I have nailed a few stinkers this way very effectively! It is really interesting to see the little show that some students put on for their parents. It also allows you to intervene as the teacher who is trying to solve the problem without claiming full responsibility for the student's successes and failures.

    I hope this small bit of advice helps you. If you would like the triangluar agreement, I can post it later.
     
  19. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Oct 26, 2006

    I teach 5th and have had classes like that in the past. This year my class is wonderful. Your first year is always stressful. You are feeling extra stress by not having someone else at your level and content to go to as well. You've got to find a way to ease that stress some, because the kids can tell when you are stressed. Things are always worse when they know that something is up with you. At the 5th grade level they are in that in-between stage. They still want to be young and have fun - at the same time they are hitting Jr. High-itis and the harmones kick in. Be consistent, firm, and fair. The year may not get any better, but also remember that if you survive these kids, you can survive anything! :) Good luck!
     
  20. 5thgraderocks

    5thgraderocks Companion

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    Oct 26, 2006

    Christy hit the nail on the head! I've taught 5th Grade for 20 years and I love it. Be fair. Be firm. Have fun. I live by these three rules. Not everyone wants to teach 10 and 11 year olds. I prefer to have the kids potty trained and able to dress themselves. Teaching is a rewarding profession, but you need to find your niche. It may take a few years ... but you'll find an age that melts your heart ... every time you walk into your classroom.
     
  21. AChancetoTeach

    AChancetoTeach Comrade

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    Oct 26, 2006

    Don't get me wrong...I LOVE the 5th graders. I do feel like this is the best grade for me because the majority of the time, MOST of the kids are trying very hard. It's just the percentage of those not trying that is hard to handle. I love that they CAN do things and they have their own personalities and qualities that bring those special dynamics to each class.

    Today I had a great day and it reminded me all over again why I wanted to teach. Those days make it all worthwhile. I'm also in a Title I school and I do see how needy these kids are. This first year for me has been stressful, and I'll keep searching for the things that work, but I'm still glad I'm doing it!
     
  22. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Oct 26, 2006

    abby: just a side note here....Please don't use "walking laps" (even at recess) as a punishment!! I've really taken a stand against using GOOD things in a negative way. We should be encouraging more physical activity for sure, but to associate it with punishment can have the opposite effect. Our PE specialists discourage teachers from doing things like that, as do those instructing in teacher ed programs. Don't mean to be rude, and sorry for going off on a tangent, but I thought maybe you hadn't considered that perspective.
     
  23. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

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    Oct 26, 2006

    Oh, believe me I've considered it. I'm a first year teacher and my school believes in the walking laps thing. I don't agree with it but I've been told to do it.
     
  24. Teach2Inspire

    Teach2Inspire Comrade

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    Oct 26, 2006

    I am so thankful for all you fifth grade teachers on this post. This is my second year teaching 5th grade and last year I had the class from you know where. I couldn't believe that I owed $53,000 in student loans to teach. But this year I love my class, they are responsive to discussions and tend to be good listeners, well most of the time anyways :p . I agree, 5th grade students are very talkative, but I have learned to be firm with my classroom rules and procedures. I am using the music box idea to get their attention/stop talking and it works. In fact, they can hear when the music slows down and they know that they do not have much music left in the box for Friday free time. I moved them out of table groups for a couple of weeks until they could show me that they could handle being in a table group setting. I am using the binder with worksheets that I have handed out in class. If someone is missing or has lost theirs, they have to copy word for word from that page in the binder, and if they just didn't do their homework, they have to sit out either one or two recesses until it is finished. Even if they finish before the recess is over they cannot go play. I hardly ever have any of my students without missing work. Sometimes I feel that I am too hard on them, but I can totally see the difference in behavior and expectations of my students in my room. Yes, I do have those crazy days, like today. The Santa Ana winds were blowing and for some reason every student at the school seemed to have extra energy. Hang in there, and stick to your rules and procedures. :)
     
  25. cmmottau

    cmmottau Rookie

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    Oct 27, 2006

    Hello everyone,

    As I read this post I couldn't help but smile. I was just talking about this to my friend today. I too jumped into a fifth grade class mid year and felt the same way as many of you do. I was tired and felt like I was working sooo hard.

    It is funny how even though they are all different students there are so many similarities. The talking, laziness, and hormones and I hated being the meanie. I just didn't feel like the teacher I wanted to be.

    This year however everything has changed. I am second grade this and love it, but make no mistake these little darlings are not easy by any means. I have 16 boys and 8 girls; this class had 8 students on behavior contracts last year, two are being tested for ADHD; not to mention the title 1 students and the two sets of cousins. I am not complaining though, the difference is that I love my job, my grade, and my classroom. I have all the cute, fun, art projects that I love, the fun silly songs, and the story time. Most importantly I can hug them and they still like it.

    Sorry this post is so long but my point is, as someone else said earlier, when you find the grade you love it all comes together.

    In the mean time please find a way to relax, maybe play classical music in your class, light a candle, or better yet have some chocolate!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
  26. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Oct 27, 2006

    I realized that I had left off some advice I normally give. Make a corner of the room yours. Have pictures of friends and family, things that are special to you. Have a small radio set to your favorite station for your planning period. Have a stash of your favorite snacks that you save for special need times! :D I have a small plaque of the Serenity Prayer on my desk as well as an adorable Angel figurine that says "Life is fragile, handle with Prayer." Both remind me to take a moment and pray for strength to deal with the monsters....er....kids. Lastly, on the pull-out on my desk I have small poster from Argus that says "I've lost my mind - I think the kids took it!" It's not hidden from them (they think it's funny) but it's right there when I grade my papers. :)
     
  27. Crazy4Kids

    Crazy4Kids Rookie

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    Oct 27, 2006

    You are all so right!!!! Fifth graders really want to know that you will listen to them, respect them and their feelings, and be fair to them. Believe it or not, many are really yearning for someone to be firm and consistent in their expectations and discipline. Many kids these days do not get that at home.

    Above all, have fun with your kids. Kids at this age have the BEST sense of humor. They understand irony and sarcasm (be careful to not be too sarcastic! It can be a very damaging tool to kids trying to find their place in their world.). Play with them, tell jokes, learn to laugh with them, and you will discover the joy that sometimes gets lost in report cards, behavior problems, homework issues, state and district expectations, etc. etc.

    A book I recommend is called the Laughing Classroom. I read it one summer after an especially challenging year and reminded myself that it was MY attitude that drove the class instead of theirs. What a different year the next year was (with the same if not more challenges).

    Have you ever seen the Fish video, based on the Seattle Fish Market? It has 4 basic principles that can really change the way you look at things.
    FISH! Philosophy:
    Be There
    Play
    Make Their Day
    Choose Your Attitude

    Teaching fifth grade is the best!
     
  28. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Oct 28, 2006

    I didn't have a chance to read every response here. It sounds like many of you are dealing with the same stuff as me-chatty kids! This is a problem every year. I have decided it is the age. They are becoming much more social beings. Two things I use in exptreme situations that have helped are these-threat of silent lunch (no visiting or even talking for 20 minutes usually takes care of any problems), if the whole class is having problems I implement the HUSh system. Basically I write HUSH on the board and take away a letter when it gets too loud in the room. If all letters are erased by the end of the day they have earned a consequence (usually copying spelling words and definitions or something). You might also want to check out Jim Fay's Teacing with Love & Logic. He offers some suggestions on how to handle crowd control. Divide and conquer. Start with the biggest trouble makers. Talk to your principals, mentors, etc., get a massage, take time for yourself, and don't back down to angry parents. I've been where you are now. Hang in there!
     
  29. jeepNteach

    jeepNteach Rookie

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    Oct 28, 2006

    I'm in the PrePrac stage of my Elementary Education major. Every Friday I teach to two seperate 5th grade classes; one before lunch and one after. I tell yea, I raise my voice once and nothing but silence. I do demonstrations of simple machines (simple machines is the unit I am to teach this semester) and allow the children an oppurtunity to gather around and try the experiment themselves. My goal for every lesson is to allow the children to use their imagination and run with it. When giving examples of whatever it is I'm teaching, I relate it to their terms so they can say to themselves that they have experienced what it is I'm talking about.

    As for the chatter, my approach starts the first day I walk into that room. I allow the chlidren some flexibility in their behavior, but once out of hand the hammer comes down. They are aware of my status in the school and I have taken recess away, had them write a paragraph explaining what they did wrong and what they should do next time, and locked up certain toys so they can't use until the next week. With individual chatter during my lesson, I'll ask one of the students if he or she has a question. That usually puts them on the spot and they stop talking when I'm talking. The term my cooperating practitioner used was "firm, but approachable". Some of the best advice I've received in my elementary education career.
     
  30. Crazy4Kids

    Crazy4Kids Rookie

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    Oct 29, 2006

    Triangular Agreement

    Here is the Triangular Agreement that I mentioned that I would post. I hope that you find it useful in establishing clear expectations and reinforcing responsibilities. After all, we are all in this educating business together (teacher, parent, and student)!

    Parent-Teacher-Student Triangular Agreement

    Because we realize that <student's name>learns best when we all work together, we agree to carry out our responsibilities to the best of our abilities:

    As A Student, I Shall:

    Be responsible for my own behavior
    Put my best effort into my schoolwork
    Complete my homework on time
    Ask for help when I don’t understand something
    Be an active and responsible participant in my education
    Obey all school and classroom rules
    Come to school on time and prepared and ready to learn
    Be respectful to my classmates, teachers, and parents
    ____________________________
    Student Signature


    As A Teacher, I Shall:

    Strive to be aware of and meet your child’s individual needs
    Provide clear and concise expectations to students and parents
    Teach grade level skills and concepts
    Provide a variety of learning experiences in the classroom
    Establish a safe and positive learning environment
    Enforce school and classroom rules consistently and fairly
    Be open-minded and fair
    Strive to make learning an enjoyable experience
    ____________________________
    Teacher Signature


    As A Parent, I Shall:

    Encourage my child to always do his/ her best
    Provide a quiet place and time at home to support good study habits
    Ensure that my child reads for 30 minutes nightly
    Ensure that my child gets adequate rest, a healthy diet, and has good hygiene
    Support the school’s homework, discipline, uniform, and attendance policies
    Monitor that my child completes all required homework assignments
    Attend all conferences and scheduled school meetings
    ____________________________
    Parent Signature

    Good luck to you all!
     
  31. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Oct 29, 2006

    Thanks Crazy4kids! I made a copy for myself. I plan on filing it away for future use. I love that all parites must sign and agree to specific responsibilities.
     
  32. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

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    Oct 29, 2006

    We do that our school for what its worth!!! Students and parents are not held accountable.
     
  33. Crazy4Kids

    Crazy4Kids Rookie

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    Oct 29, 2006

    Dear Abby1966,
    I completely understand what you are saying. It was the same way at my school. No one, except the teacher, is truly held accountable anymore (Thank you, NCLB!). I used this agreement as a jump off point and then frequently reminded the students and parents to what they agreed at conferences.

    I know that this is not the perfect solution/answer, but we teachers have to start somewhere. No one else is reminding the parents that they are the primary educators of their child, it is up to us to remind, document, and be persistent. Some (parents and students) will get it and appreciate what you are trying to do and some will not. That is the nature of the beast.

    Here is a link for a game that I used to encourage better homework turn in. http://www.teachnet.com/homeworkopoly/
    I set it up to be played at the end of the week. I tracked all assignments for the day as 1 roll of the dice and on Friday, the students came in at lunch to play. If they had turned in all assignments for the week, they were able to roll 5 times. I had a kid keep track of where everyone landed at the end of the period so they could start from that point the next week. I even added to the game to make it more like the real monopoly (money, bonus quiz questions, extra prizes<no spelling contract, no homework in one subject, give the spelling test and get a 100%>, purchase spots on the board, etc) It became an ongoing game that everyone wanted to play to see who would be first to win. The best part was that everyone could do it, if they choose, because it was up to them. I saw my homework turn in dramatically increase that year!!
     
  34. audrey1722

    audrey1722 Rookie

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    Nov 2, 2006

    What do the students get to do when they finish their work? Are they rushing to do something fun? Could they possibly have another assignment waiting when they get the current one done? Do you have time to quickly look over their work as they finish it and decide if it were rushed or not? If so, send them back to work on it more.
     

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