Calling all departmentalized 5th grade teachers!

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by Pisces_Fish, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 3, 2009

    I'm curious how many 5th grade departmentalized teachers we have on this board. Just for fun, post:
    • What you teach
    • How many classes you have
    • One thing you love about being departmentalized
    • One thing you dislike about being departmentalized
    • A tip for teachers like us that have to manage more than one class

    Ok, of course I'll start first,
    • Language Arts
    • 2 classes
    • I think everyone loves the shortened planning time, but I'll add that I like new faces after lunch :)
    • The paperwork and trying to manage 2 classes of centers. I try to keep the classes together as much as possible, or else I end up with one class finished with centers and the other class still has days to go. I hate that.
    • Forget about trying to manage 2 classes of jobs. Next year I plan to have a weekly assistant and allow my assistant to choose a helper if I need more than one job done. That's how I ended up towards the end of the year - so much easier than 2 job charts with 45 kids! :dizzy:

    I'm excited to hear what others have to say!
     
  2.  
  3. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,468
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 3, 2009

    L.A. homeroom and
    S.S. one 4th grade, one 5th grade, one split 4/5th grades.

    I prep for Reading and Writing and also for 4th S.S. and 5th S.S. and for a 4/5th split. So really, even though we are departmentalized, I have 5 different lessons to teach each day.

    I like that I don't have to teach math or science.

    I wish I didn't have two grades of S.S. to teach. I love 5th U.S. History but 4th Regions is BORING to me!! I try to spice it up though for the kids.
     
  4. Mr D

    Mr D Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 3, 2009

    I'm not departmentalized now, but one year I taught 5th grade math and science to two homerooms.

    I liked having a partner teacher who had the same students. It was nice being able to collaborate about student needs with another teacher who had the student as well. It was also nice when meeting with parents, because both of us would meet the parent together.

    One thing that was difficult about it was it did not allow as much flexibility in adjusting lesson and schedule times when needed as being self-contained does. And even though it was nice to only have to plan two subjects, I got where I missed teaching LA and SS!
     
  5. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,396
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jul 3, 2009

    I am not departmentalized now-no time, and impossible to fit in with the literacy block schedule, but in my former school,I was. I taught 4th grade at the time, and I taught Social Studies 3 periods one year, and Reading 3 periods the following year. I went back to self contained the last year I taught 4th, because dealing 3 classrooms of parents took its toll on me. I have been self contained ever since.
    I was willing to try to departmentalize next fall, however, as I stated above, there is not enough time in the day to team, and teach our own 90 minute literacy block.
     
  6. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 3, 2009

    Our Language Arts blocks are also 90 mins long, so fitting everything in is tricky, but we make it work.
     
  7. cwp873

    cwp873 Comrade

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 4, 2009

    We will each be teaching our homerooms for a 90 min Literacy block, then I will teach science to one 5th, one 6th, and a 5/6 split.
    I love not having to teach math or SS- neither favorites
    I don't like not having time flexibility, plus I don't feel I get to know the kids as well.
    I'm still struggling to stay super organized with paperwork!
     
  8. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 4, 2009

    I think the reason it "works" for me (and I use that term lightly :lol:) is that blocking is all I've ever known. I've never had my own self-contained class. I have a feeling that down the road one day when I have my very own class I will struggle just as much as those teachers who have had to be used to the opposite!
     
  9. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 4, 2009

    5th grade Math
    4 classes
    I am the only 5th grade math teacher. So all the state scores for 5th grade math falls onto me. (had 99% pass so not griping)
    I like being the only 5th grade math teacher because I can have a lot of freedom to change if I think it is needed.
    Only complaint is not having enough time. I only have 70 minutes. Sounds like a lot but not when I have to do basic facts, vocabulary, problem solving, skills, and the concept unit.
    I love my situation and where I am at. I wouldn't give it up for anything!
     
  10. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 4, 2009

    I forgot to mention one thing. It is harder to build a relationshiop with every student when you have 80+ kids. However, I am always determined to make it happen. I go to the cafteria in the mornings, talk to the kids after school, etc. to try to build those relationships.
     
  11. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 4, 2009

    How do you get to know your kids at the beginning of the year? I'm not talking about their hobbies, or what they're interested in - of course I'd like to know that - but last year I found myself struggling at the first conferences because I didn't yet know my kids academically!

    Besides writing samples, what do you do?
     
  12. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 4, 2009

    We have this really cool program called Eduphoria. It lists all their state tests from the year before. That tells me alot of information because it is broken down by objectives. If a kid failed the test it is a pretty good indication that they are going to be one that I need to immediately put into tutoring. I also have the cummalitive folders that shares information from their past teachers. That is helpful as well. If there are kids that I see may struggle the next year then I go ask their previous teachers. I also just ask parents during the conference what they notice their child's struggles have been in the past. That gives me a huge insight.
     
  13. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 4, 2009

    Oh, one more thing. We are required to write down every child's weekly test and what their score was. I will get my 5th graders weekly test from 4th grade and I will be able to see how a child scored on the Place value test in 4th grade. That will tell me who to focus in on. That is a very valuable resource as well.
     
  14. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 4, 2009

    This year should go more smoothly for me as far as figuring out my students' strengths and weaknesses. I now know what to look for. I actually think I'll make a spreadsheet so I can jot down some scores, who has been retained, who has an IEP, that type of thing. Besides, at a school that's so data-driven like mine, that sheet will come in handy all year.
     
  15. iheart5thgrade

    iheart5thgrade Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    409
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 4, 2009

    I'm departmentalized!

    I teach math.

    5 classes of math, the last class of the day is called "ACT" class for everyone.

    Thing I like: having ALL the kids in the grade, and getting to teach my favorite subject all day....being the only math teacher gives me freedom and I'm not "compared" to anyone else

    One thing I dislike: there are SO MANY more parent conferences when you are departmentalized than self-contained
     
  16. stevesgirl

    stevesgirl Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 5, 2009

    We each teach math (90 mins) and reading (45 mins.) to our homeroom. The kids switch for science, ELA and social studies, which are 45 minutes long, so I teach three classes of science in a row. I love that I only have to plan three lessons a day, but I dislike setting up labs three times in a row. It takes a lot of organization to have enough materials ready for 60 kids every day without wasting any class time. One tip that I use is to color code everything for each class (folders, baskets, notebooks, rulers, etc). It makes it easy for the kids to keep things where they belong.
     
  17. ParaPacker

    ParaPacker Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2009

    Hopefully Departmentalized next year

    I am going to go to my principal this year and request a more intermediate schedule. I have worked it out for the three teachers to take math , reading, and writing. In the morning we would have science, social studies, and small group work when we don't have specials. It is going to be difficult, but with 5th grade getting shafted with reading intervention groups (not getting them) we had to think of other ways to individualize our instruction. My class had 9 different reading groups and it was impossible to be effective to each group. This way we would have about 3 or 4 different levels and time to meet with each one.

    I am excited to read all of your posts and know that it works with a little elbow grease and flexibility. Wish me luck!
     
  18. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    631
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2009

    I don't currently departmentalize, but did Language Arts and Social Studies my first year and am open to doing it again but my teammate hated it (too much pressure from teaching 2 tested subjects). There are only two 5th grade classes, so it was easy to get to know the kids. I LOVED how much easier it was to plan for things, and it was so nice to switch when certain kids were having a rough day. I disliked my teammate's daily lack of punctuality and how difficult it was to coordinate extra class time for special projects. Keeping up with grades was difficult when I assigned things that couldn't be graded quickly and sometimes students' materials would get lost easily. Parents would also ask about behavior issues that happened in the other class that I didn't always know about, and some of them seemed frustrated by that.
     
  19. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2009

    I teach language arts. Reading for 3 blocks (1hr) and writing for 3 blocks (45 min).

    Likes: Getting to know all the students. Shorter planning, and getting to really know my subject matter. Working with two great teachers and having a helping hand when I need one.

    Dislikes: Hard to plan a project for 70+ students instead of a smaller group. I am the only 5th grade L.A. teacher so the test scores fall on me.
     
  20. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,233
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 18, 2009

    This year we'll departmentalize. One teacher is not in favor of it, but is willing. She says she'll get bored. So to give her a break, she's teaching one of my writing blocks, and I'm teaching a math block.

    I'm teaching advanced math first period, then two periods of writing. Lunch, recess, homeroom silent or teacher reading, then a period of writing. Specials, then wrap-up and home.

    I will like not having to plan so much.

    I won't like not getting to know my homeroom as well as I want to. I also will not enjoy reading and working on all those writing papers. I won't like being structured into a time frame. I won't like having most of the state writing scores falling on my shoulders.

    I really think I'd prefer my own homeroom all day, but I'll give it a try.
     
  21. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 18, 2009

    Three classes in fifth grade are the only classes that departmentalize at our school. One teaches math, another teaches science/writing, and the last teaches reading/social studies. They each have three sections of classes. It is interesting to hear about departmentalized classes, though I am in fourth grade and do not have one- I teach advanced fourth. Basically, that's all I know, but I believe it does help the students to be more independent before middle school.
     
  22. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 18, 2009

    That sounds neat. Are the other teachers aware of it and excited about your idea? That may help with interventions a little; I believe the departmentalized fifth grade levels their groups to an extent.
     
  23. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,233
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 18, 2009

    I just don't know about whether this is really a good idea for the kids. Sometimes I even think 6th should be taught more between just two teachers. Our middle schools all failed to meet AYP this year. Something has got to be done. They are all a mess.
     
  24. sciencet

    sciencet Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2009

    I will be teaching science and health to our three fifth grade classes. We each may teach our own social studies, but for now, math, ELA, and science/health are departmentalized. I love it!

    As far as it getting boring. . . the dynamics of each class keeps that from happening!
     
  25. ohyougirl

    ohyougirl Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 27, 2009

    I teach 5th grade Science only. This will be my 4th year in this type of position and it has its ups and downs.

    Ups: I love working with a variety of students. I love switching kids (hey, I can put up with anything for an hour). I love teaching a subject that my kids are excited about and I love doing it my way.

    Downs: I'm a little tired of teaching science (ready for a new challenge) but don't want to change grade levels. It is frustrating to work with some teachers that are not punctual (ever), handle discipline issues different, etc. To be honest, I find it irritating to share students with a teacher who has poor classroom management skills. Also, I'm the only 5th grade science teacher at my elementary school, so beyond being responsible for our grade level TAKS scores for Science, those scores don't combine with anything else (like reading and math get to do). In other words, if my students don't do well, I can ruin our school's rating.

    Some things have both a positive and a negative. On one hand, it's nice being able to always do it my way and not be compared to another teacher. On the other hand, it would be nice to have someone on campus to collaborate with, plan with, etc. I'm lucky in that I've made contacts with other 5th science teachers at other campuses in my district and we help each other out but it isn't the same.
     
  26. june27

    june27 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 29, 2009

    I teach five classes of 5th grade reading, with about 19-20 students per class. I love getting to know all of the students in the grade level. You never get bored because each class is so different. They seem to take on the personality of their homeroom teacher! One thing that might be a bit of a challenge is having to stick to your schedule diligently. You can not be flexible with your time when there are other classes waiting on you. In order to have success with departmentalization you have to have good planning, good organization and be able to get along with your team members. These sound pretty basic, but they really are important.
     
  27. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,233
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    I've gotten used to the idea of it and am ready to make it work. I've already noticed that it is very pleasant to not have to plan for reading, Social Studies, and Science. Just writing and math. I'm really liking that.
     
  28. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 30, 2009

    What you teach

    I teach 5th grade Math and LA (last year it was 5th grade Math & LA and 7th Grade LA)

    How many classes you have

    I have 3 math classes and one LA class. The math classes are 40 mins each and the LA is a double period. I also have an activity period.

    One thing you love about being departmentalized

    I love that I really only have to plan for two classes (LA & Math)

    One thing you dislike about being departmentalized

    I have to get to know a lot of different kids. It's great, but at the same time really difficult. Last year it was especially hard with the two different grade levels.

    A tip for teachers like us that have to manage more than one class

    I always found that my first period math class was getting the short end of the stick because I would learn what I did wrong and teach it better to the 2nd period class. It always went smoother, so hopefully this year I will be able to really refine the lessons so that all of the periods are getting it the best way possible. I guess that will take a lot of experience though.
     
  29. sciencet

    sciencet Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 2, 2009

    Earlier I said I would be teaching science and health to our three fifth grade sections. I just found out that now we are down to two sections, so my teammate and I will have to develop a new plan as to how we are going to switch off. On top of that, we have to figure out how to fit the extra students into our already too small rooms!
     
  30. veteran

    veteran New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 9, 2009

    I tried departmentalizing with my 2 colleagues last year. The advantages were one content prep time. I took the science curriculum. I had the opportunity to get to know all the fifth grade students and to perfect the lessons by the third go around.
    What I found troublesome was I was locked into a schedule. I could not be as spontaneous with my day as I had been in the past and had to really stay to the timeline or I would not get to all the "curriculum".
    I do not know if this departmentalizing benefits students at the elementary level or if it benefits the teacher more??
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. ecteach
Total: 295 (members: 2, guests: 272, robots: 21)
test