class structure

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by cheeryteacher, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    In sixth grade do your kids switch classes or do they stay with the same teacher throughout the day? In my school both 5th and 6th switch and we are trying to determine which is better. What do you think?
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Our kids start rotating in the 3rd grade. They rotate for 3 teachers (not including specials). Personally most of us feel that is too young. Our students have a lot discipline issues that seem to really crop up the most during transition times.

    My child is now rotating in the 6th grade. He's barely mature enough to handle the amount of organization it requires. It takes a lot of effort on my part and a cohesive effort on the teachers parts to get them used to that. It isn't something that magically happens. I did the switch in 6th grade as well and i remember it literally being my toughest year.
     
  4. MrsLilHen

    MrsLilHen Comrade

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    My kids switch for math, but otherwise, they are with me for all their core classes. I really like this (and would even love to try keeping them for math...)

    I think I might make people uncomfortable or mad when I say this... but it is often a topic of discussion at so I have thought about it a lot...

    I actually think that we shouldn't switch classes as much as we do even in 7th and 8th grade. I think that kids can benefit a lot from the community sense of having a home base. I definitely think 5th and 6th grade is too young (and 3rd grade is too!) It is hard for me to believe that departmentalizing any earlier than 7th grade has any benefit to children. I think that is when you stop teaching children... you are too busy teaching a subject.

    Obviously there are teachers and teams of teachers who put their all into the kids' well being -- and sometimes it can work, but, as a whole, I think a home base community kind of learning.. where you can get to know the kids better... that's where I'd want my child to be.

    An exception might be a small school... where the whole grade is like a community... I can see that working in 6th grade or so.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Ours is a very small school but in the 3-5th grade the kids take advantage of the lack of structure between classes and they aren't mature enough for this. They struggle without a consistent figure to provide the amount of stability they still need at this age. They are talking about doing away with it and I hope they do.
     
  6. MrsLilHen

    MrsLilHen Comrade

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    I also think of all that transition time... lost time in a day....
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    The district I STed in started rotating in 3rd grade: one teacher for ELA/Reading, one teacher for Math/Sciene/SS. However, they were with the same group all day. They started rotating between 3 teachers 4th-6th, and then 4-5 teachers in 7th grade.

    The district I'm in currently has some 3rd grade rotating in some schools and some not in the others. In 4th grade, they go between two teachers with the same group of kids. In 6th grade they start rotating with different kids.
     
  8. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    As a parent, I HATED when my kids started changing classes in third grade. I felt it was too much too soon. My daughter obsessed about forgetting to bring the right things to each class. The transition time also bother both of them a lot - too much comotion in the hallways, when did class actually start, could they go back to get other materials, etc.... Speaking as a parent, I really wish my kids could have just stayed with one teacher until they got to junior high. After second grade, neither one of them ever seemed to feel connected to their teachers.
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    One of the private schools around here rotates starting in the fourth grade, but the teachers rotate, not the kids, until 7th. I kinda like that idea.
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    That's a concept I hadn't considered. Of course, I don't think I would like to upheave my stuff from classroom to classroom.
     
  11. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    But it does give kids the opportunity to learn to deal with different teachers without the stress of THEM having to lug everything around. My friend who works there says class change time looks like a wierd version of hospital meal time with all the carts going everywhere.
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I see the benefit of it, but would think it would take some time to adjust to.
     
  13. DOBY

    DOBY Rookie

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    I like the idea of teachers switching instead of the kids. Departmentalization lead to the kids having a lot of behavior problems that we{6th grade teachers}agreed to teach all subjects and keep the students in home base. It solved a lot of behavior problems but, six grade standards is a lot for one teacher to cover.
     
  14. kidsandpups

    kidsandpups Companion

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    In our school the kids switch starting in 6th grade. It does take time out of the day to transition, but there are upsides. The students have the same teacher for three years in science, social studies, literature, etc. At teachers we can see more growth and adjust to the students over time. We also have the benefit of focusing on teaching something that we love, instead of everyone trying to be an expert at every subject/course. We have a small school, so the entire grade stays together all day and moves from class to class.
     
  15. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    In a 4 & 5 building we have 4 different things happening. Each group of teachers decides their own thing (weird huh?).
    Anyway I think self contained or one switch is OK. It gives them the chance to experience another teacher, but also allows for that extra connection with the teacher. The less students a teacher has the more they can get to know them. 60 is better than 120! We have a fourth grade team that switches, but the teachers trade rooms so the kids don't have to. :) Anyway we have the most issues with the 3 and 4 team teachers. Their schedule is super tight & transitions are NOT GOOD in the halls. Lots of yelling, lots of shut your mouths. :( I think our kids could really use good connections with teachers and I wish our school would make a change.
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Our school 3-5 kids actually stay together as a group. The lack of structure I referred to is from switching to the next classroom/teacher.
     
  17. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Our 5th graders are in the Elementary school some teachers switch for Science and Social Studies, but most DO NOT.

    Our 6th graders used to have 2 teachers for academics not including ones for specials (one who taught english/reading and the other who taught sci/ss, both taught soc. studies to their homeroom.)But decided to go to 4 academic teacher system, not including ones for specials (one teacher for social studies, one for science, one for English, and one for math). I might want to add that this was the way we did things back in the good ol' days when I started teaching in the district.

    The pros of this was that my subject Social Studies go more highly qualifed and thefore better teachers who just wanted to teach Social Studies. Social Studies, Science, and Math also went from having 45 to 60 minute periods. The bad thing was that the English teachers went from having 90 minutes (2; 45 minute blocks) for Language Arts/Reading to an hour and still having to cover the same material. Our 7th and 8th grader was always on this schedule but decided at this time to teach Spanish/French off team so that all the kids who take French won't be alienated to one team.
     
  18. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Seems to me some criteria would be needed to determine which is better - maybe:

    time on task
    rules and routines
    seating
    supplies
    maturity level
    team cooperation
    teaching strengths/weaknesses
    parent support
     
  19. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I think most of the schools around here have kids switching in 6th grade (middle school.) There are two districts next to each other and one has a Jr. High system and one is middle school. In the Junior High system the kids stay in the same class until 7th grade.

    There is one school in the other district that is a K-12 and has a sixth grade classroom instead of a middle school rotating system... It has a waiting list a mile long. Parents really do see the benefit in waiting, so shouldn't we?

    I love having my kiddos all day and wouldn't want to switch them with other teachers, even if it reduced my planning. Right now I can integrate math into other subjects, science into reading, etc. You can't do that in you are departmentalized unless everyone plans together-- and does that actually happen?
     
  20. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I teach in a building with only 5th and 6th graders. We were thinking of having 5th grade go self-contained. That way the teachers could block their schedule as they see fit (more than 45 minutes for math with transitions). 6th grade will probably stay with 3 teacher teams with students switching and 45 minute periods. We were already have a 2 period (90 min.) block for ELA, and now we need more time for math. My school won't go to 4 teacher teams. They would have to hire someone to make the teams even.
     
  21. BASAM

    BASAM Comrade

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    We switch off the basis of instructionally grouping so our kids start switching for math and literacy in the first grade. Students can go up or down a grade level for math and literacy. Our middle school kids have six different teachers that they see throughout the day.
     
  22. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    We don't switch until 7th grade (K-12 school), but my school is considering even at 7th and 8th grade to have teachers rotate in to the students, instead of having the kids move. It's just too much distraction.
     
  23. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Our students do switch classes and organization can be a problem. It works here because the 6th grade teachers all have elementary backgrounds and we are flexible. We definitely allow the students to transition over time. By mid year, we have very high expectations as far as organization and they achieve it!
    Last year, each teacher taught a language arts block with our homeroom plus another subject so we really got to know the students better (especially the homeroom). I loved that schedule but it was more planning.
     
  24. Commartsy

    Commartsy Companion

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    On our teaching team, half of us think 6th grade is too young to switch classes. When we have especially immature groups, getting work where it is supposed to be on time is nearly impossible!
     
  25. Writer02

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    It worked well in 6th grade for my team when we worked in teams of two teachers. The homeroom teacher taught three subjects, and the kids switched rooms to go for one subject in the other teacher's room. It was enough for the kids to get used to; and we still felt like an elementary grade. It was difficult for some kids to organize at first, but they definitely grew a lot in that area throughout the year.

    Now, I'm in a different county where sixth grade is middle school. We each teach one subject, and it's so much less planning for me. It's departmentalized, and I do think it would probably benefit the kids to have two core teachers in teams of LA/SS and Math/Sci instead of four core teachers like we're doing it. But, I am loving :love: my one preparation. I just miss getting to know the kids better. They are in and out every hour, and it gets tiring to get them started so many times.

    Personally, I think 3rd and 4th is too young to switch classes. Fifth, maybe, if it's only for one subject area. In this county fifth is the top of the elementary grades, so they do switch in a lot of the schools at that level but no more than switching between two teachers. Interesting topic!
     
  26. emmyblemmy

    emmyblemmy Companion

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    We do the same thing! We do "Teacher Switch" twice a week with our kiddos.
     
  27. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Does anyone teach in teams of 3 where one teacher teaches science/ss, one teaches math, and one teaches reading/english? How does that setup work out?
     
  28. Charger

    Charger Companion

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    We have a 3 teacher team. I teach math/science, one teaches religion/ss, and the other teaches lang arts. It works pretty well, except specials and an added algebra class makes our scheduling a mess. We have one class of 6, one of 7th, and one of 8th who rotate. I miss teaching reading and social studies. We never really plan together, so there is no integration of other subjects into our classes.
     
  29. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    This is a very interesting thread. I will be teaching 6th grade next year and am lucky enough to have my options open. I can either teach my 30 students self contained, or I can teach Language Arts and Social Studies, and the other teacher will teach Math and Science. The other two 6th grade teachers switch this way, but the third 6th grade teacher left the option open to me and said to do whatever I feel comfortable with. Being new to 6th next year, I am still open to suggestions. My first instinct is to do it self contained. Thanks for all your input everyone!
     
  30. MrsLilHen

    MrsLilHen Comrade

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    FWIW, I love my self-contained 6th grade class.
     
  31. Writer02

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    If the other team is doing it that way, there will be a lot of parent questions as to why the grade level is not all doing it the same if you go with self-contained classes. IMHO, I would try it the way the other team does it for the first year and see how I liked it. I've taught 6th grade for seven years, and LA/SS and Math/Sci. would be my first choice of an arrangement. It will be so much less planning time you have to spend getting to know every subject at a sixth grade level. Teaching middle schoolers every subject is a huge load of preparation. They can get so much done in a day! :2cents:
     
  32. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    We are compartmentalized also and yes, there are organization issues but I am much more prepared as a teacher. I have the luxury of researching my subject area so that I become an expert. My team works very closely together so that we are united for our students.
     
  33. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    You make a couple of very good points, Writer02! It's funny but Math and Language are my strong points, but since they are the main focus of our curriculum, it's not fair for one teacher to carry that load. So it's split like you stated. I suppose I would go with Language/SS, since my main interest is in language arts and reading. I just like the idea of teaching a variety of subjects. But, in Kindergarten now we only teach English and Math. NCLB narrowed our curriculum so much that is all we have time for. Thanks again!
     
  34. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    katrinkakat, you can certainly also incorporate math and science vocabulary building in your teaching.
     
  35. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    TG: are you meaning now in my K class, or next year in 6th? Probably both! :) Do you think self contained or team teaching works better in 6th grade? It seems to me their are pros and cons of both.
     
  36. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Oops, make that "there are".
     
  37. DOBY

    DOBY Rookie

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    Yes there are pros and cons of everything in life, the issue is to have the ability to adjust and make the best out of life. At the end of the school year I must say I really enjoyed self contained 6th grade in an elementary and look forward to it again next school year. Are there things I would do differently sure, but just like everything in life experiences makes us better. Make the best out of whatever situation you find yourself in.:whistle:
     
  38. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    I'm one of those people who adjusts easily to different situations.
    But I am the one who gets to choose here. I'm still thinking...
     
  39. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Of course I meant either, katrinkakat, as appropriate. I have faith in you. (Though "both" might be a bit beyond even the best of us...)
     
  40. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Thanks!
     
  41. okjoan

    okjoan Rookie

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    We will stop rotating this year since not all of our teachers are highly-qualified in seperate subject areas. I teamed last year with a teacher who taugh Math to my kids while I taught English. It was fine but I have also taught self-contained too and there is more freedom in your schedule.
     

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