As you prep for the upcoming year,

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Aliceacc, Jul 15, 2010.

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  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    please, oh please, OH PLEASE....


    Remember the CONTENT!!!

    Yes, the themes and the shopping and the stoplight systems and the classroom decor and all the rest are fun and so exciting.

    But, please, spend at least as much time concentrating on what you're going to teach and how you're going to explain it!!!

    Become an expert, or more of an expert, on the material. Be able to answer the question from the confused kid, or the kid who has watched a show on the Military Channel or the Discovery Channel or went to the Science museum.

    It's IMPORTANT. It's why we're there. It's what we're paid to do.

    I've read thread after thread after thread about the other stuff, and very little about what I consider to be the whole focus of the job.

    It's like seeing an engaged couple all wrapped up in the wedding, with no thought to the marriage.
     
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  3. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I didn't realize you were a content person Alice!

    I couldn't agree more. Of course, content is a little easier to deal with in second grade, but I still plan to immerse myself in it for the next few weeks.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    What a party-pooper! Teasing, of course. :p

    I agree. I put a lot of effort into my classroom learning environment, but so much more into the actual teaching and learning.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I spent the afternoon today organizing the writing expectations (standards) for grade 7 and grade 8 (('ll be teaching a split class) into a chart and beginning to fill in the mini-lessons and large assignments that I will use to cover each. Tomorrow, I'll be going through our writing continuum, 6 + 1 Traits, and my unit ideas to fill in more detail and making new charts for Reading, Oral Communication and Media Studies. I'm hoping that, by the middle of next week, I have my writing plans for the year roughed out, then the others by the end of the month. My eyes are burning from so much time reading on the computer screen, but it's what I need to do.

    Thanks for the reminder, Alice.
     
  6. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    I'm wrapping up summer school right now... I am thinking about fun stuff for the fall, before I start really focusing on content for September! I will get around to the content in about a week or so... but I still have a month and a half of summer vacation!
     
  7. flowerpower31

    flowerpower31 Comrade

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    :thumb:
     
  8. SunnyReader

    SunnyReader Companion

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    Nicely put, Alice. Content is very important-but not as fun. At this point, I am focusing on how I will set up my classroom, what procedures to use, etc. I have however started my binders with all content in it. I have 1st week lesson plans started, but it is not as much fun to talk about...
     
  9. teachgrade5

    teachgrade5 Comrade

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    I have been working on content all summer. I love trying to come up with interesting ways to teach all the content to keep all the kids involved. But I also know that I need to be thinking about classroom environment as I have the same kids for almost the entire day. When the classroom environment is ignored, content suffers.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, I realize that.

    But it seems as though not everyone realizes that when content is ignored, education suffers.

    There are WAAAYYYY too many teachers out there who don't know their stuff!!
     
  11. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I agree - but I also always take a few weeks over the summer to focus on the fun stuff - the decor, the theme, the letters I write to the kids before school starts - because that is the stuff I don't have time to do once I start real planning. I always start that the first week of August, and once I do, there's no going back!
     
  12. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    And my non-teaching friends wonder what I do all summer.....the organization and work we do now lays the foundation for the rest of the year and makes life easier. Themes and decorating are great but they are the window dressing - hopefully most teachers realize this.
     
  13. JTeach619

    JTeach619 Companion

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    Great point, Alice! The first thing I did this summer was read and print out my new district's curriculum pacing guide. My school was nice enough to lend me their teacher manuals for all of our textbooks and I have been doing a lot of studying! Our new math series looks amazing!!! So excited :woot:
     
  14. dogs&teaching

    dogs&teaching Comrade

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    Agreed!
    I've been working on redoing our curriculum since school has been out.
     
  15. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    :thumb: Aliceacc
    I'm recently found out that teaching a subject area I'm a little unfamiliar with this year. I've already ordered over 15 books from the local libraries and am researching online to get me started. :D I wish we had more music people on the forum here though b-c I didn't get any responses with subject related post. :(
     
  16. Southern JC

    Southern JC Companion

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    Agreed.
     
  17. LetsDoSomeMath

    LetsDoSomeMath Rookie

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    Well said Alice!!! I'm trying to get everything else done so that when I we go back to school---- I have time to sit with one of the other math teachers and plan out our plan of attack. I will also use that time to go over the curriculum, textbook, and other resources the school provides.
     
  18. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    That's where I always start. In fact, we did a couple of days of content work right after school was out. I have that part pretty much set for the year, and I've been to several content-specific workshops this summer, even though I've taught the same thing for years.

    It's harder to discuss content in places like this since standards vary so much from place to place.
     
  19. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I think that it's equally important to remember that we are just getting snapshots of each other on this site. We post topics about things in which we need advice or are on our minds at the time. I don't post a lot about classroom decorations because a) I teach high school and b) I have a super tiny classroom, but I LOVE reading the threads about them. I get so excited when I see what some of these elementary school teachers do because I know that the kids are going to love being in that room. (I get equally excited when I read about some new idea for teaching an English/history/math/science concept for the same reason.)

    I would imagine that most of us are really good teachers dedicated to our profession or we wouldn't spend so much time on a *teacher* website. LOL. :)
     
  20. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Alice... so right. Plus, if you don't know the answer be able to tell the students. I know I would say you know I'm not sure I'll check into it & let you know when I find out *which was later that day or the next day.*
     
  21. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    And for all you HS and MS teachers out there deciding on a masters or BA ...get it in your content area. Your coworkers and administration can help you with all those buzzwords and classroom management. You can read a quick book. Your boss, however cannot make up for course work you haven't taken.
     
  22. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Some of you have said you have spent a large chunk of the summer working on school items. Make sure you do take some time to not think about school at all. It is really the only time of the year where you can completely turn your brain off of school. New ideas and things are great, but you have to make sure you are fresh and ready to go for 10 months straight. That is why teachers get the summer off, its the only time they can truly turn their mind off from the job.
    Remember, you have to first take care of you, or everything else suffers.
     
  23. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    In the state where I live a BA in your content area is required for all MS/HS teachers.
     
  24. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    So many of my co-workers get masters degrees in administration, library science, or guidance just to be getting the degree, even when they have no intentions of actually using it.

    That seemed silly to me. Even though we have to have the degree to teach here, I wasn't going to waste my time on something I wasn't going to use. My first MA is in American & British literature. (I was teaching that at the time.) I started a second in creative writing. I teach lots of writing.
     
  25. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree. I did spend the better part of 2 weeks sleeping in (7:00am is sleeping in!), reading and playing on the computer. I do have a lot of planning that I want to do and summer is the best time for that for me. My assignment--a combination of Special Ed co-ordinator and English teacher--is very demanding and leaves me little time for planning once the school year begins. I do combine school work and relaxation as much as possible during the summer. I am doing 6 days of PD, all out of town so that I get a mini-vacation in a nice hotel in a tourist area at the same time. I read professional books while sitting on the deck and during my daughter's medical appointments. So much of what we do is about finding a healthy balance that works for us; I would be much more stressed if I did nothing for 7 weeks and then tried to cram all of my planning and prepping into 2 weeks.
     
  26. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Awww, Alice! I don't wanna review grammar!

    Actually, you're right - according to my county, kids don't need to know the different verb tenses anymore. I'm bringing them BACK.

    Now I just need to brainstorm a way to make conjugating verbs fun.
     
  27. teach1st

    teach1st Comrade

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    I do think you have to spend time on the functionality of your classroom to ensure your instruction goes as smooth as you can. Every year I can think of something in my room that didn't work for the daily grind. So, I make sure I try to fix that with the organization of my room. Once my room is put together, I then review my curriculum and do what I need to change or improve it. I normally have a long list of things by the end of the year that didn't work or needs fixed and that is what I spend some of my summer time trying to complete.

    I think that content and organization are both important to have a successful classroom.
     
  28. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I will admit that classroom setup is linked to instruction. I will be teaching in the classroom where I did my student teaching several years ago, and want to completely change it around... my teaching style is more developed now, and I also have less time to teach, and want to make the most of it. I found it hard to decide where to put things, or what I needed at the end of the school year, because I hadn't completely figured out how I was going to teach Language Arts and Math (incorporating a bit of Science, SS and Health) in a time period of 2.5 hours.

    That being said, that's a very minor focus for me right now!
     
  29. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    I've been reading Debbie Diller books and am working on how my centers will match the days content taught. I think we all work on this area, but those threads are more likely in the grade level forums.
     
  30. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    I have been spending at least a few days a week familiarizing myself with our new Math series. I know math and its my fav subject to teach, but I need to check out my new materials thoroughly.
     
  31. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    I've been reading books and articles about science inquiry and about using science notebooks to increase students' writing skills. I want to do a lot more inquiry this year (real inquiry, not just hands-on activities). If anyone wants to talk science, I'd be happy to start a thread. :)
     
  32. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Start her up. I would like to know what you mean by "do a lot more inquirey not just hands-on activities." Can you explain this and how you will go about it?
     
  33. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Last year was my first year in a new grade; I spent last summer trying to organize a new classroom and become familiar with a new curriculum. This summer I've really enjoyed being able to dig in deeper and improve how I can teach this material. I've been reading a lot of books on reading instruction--that area has been my main focus this summer. I've also lined up the standards with our new math curriculum (a pain to do knowing we will have new standards the following year, but it had to be done...) and charted out a rough plan for the year. I'm currently working on revamping my science and social studies units and better aligning them with our reading units.

    Thanks for the reminder, Alice!
     
  34. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    Sigh...

    I miss immersing myself in my subjects. Civil War, 2 point expository paragraphs, Roman Numerals, Ornithology....Great stuff! It's just not the same as a substitute....
     
  35. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Do any of you have suggestions on how to become an expert in the content of our grade level? I am new to my grade and my school, so am not exactly sure what is the best way to go about being an expert. Ideas appreciated.
     
  36. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    Start Googling, visit your library, read your text ahead - usually there is a list of additional resources. I was able to visit many historical sights in my area that I could somehow tie into my lessons. Check cable - History channel, discovery, etc.. A variety of resources work the best!
     
  37. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Begin by looking up your state standards and familiarize yourself with those. Be sure that you know what they all mean and that you can "do" all of the work--if you are teaching grade 6 math, you need to be able to do all of the work independently, without relying on the answers in the teacher edition.
     
  38. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    I agree 100%! Do the assignments that you are going to be having your students complete. You'll know the content and you will see where the pitfalls are. For example, in our math text the guided practice assignments are fairly straight forward, but there is always a zinger thrown in. When we first got the texts I did every single problem on every single page. By doing the problems myself, I can see where my kids are going to have difficulties. Knowing what all the parts of the lesson are is incredibly important. Also, doing the work will you a time frame on how long the assignment may take the kids. It isn't perfect, but my general rule is it should take me 25% of the time I am going to allow for them.
     
  39. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Don't limit this to math, either. Do every writing assignment that you are going to give them, sample reading responses, book reports, research assignments, etc. You'll discover the difficulties and have some exemplars to show them when they do the assignment. The students do appreciate that you have taken the time to really understand what you are asking them to do.
     
  40. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    I'm glad you said that...it is EVERY assignment, worksheet, project, book, etc.
     
  41. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Agreed, GoldenPoppy! I can't believe how many English teachers don't write! The kids love to watch you do the projects along side them, too. It gives validity to what you are doing.
     
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