Fifth grade teachers - interview help!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by snickydog, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    Jun 10, 2007

    Hello! I have an interview tomorrow for a middle school math position (I currently teaching 8th grade, so I feel prepared for that) and a fifth grade position. I haven't worked with fifth graders in a while... Can any fifth grade teachers out there give me some tips about what to expect in a fifth grade classroom? THANKS! :D
     
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  3. TeacherRW

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    Jun 10, 2007

    Sure... I will be back later tonight though to help you out-- probably not until 9:30ish CST though. Hope that's OK... I'm prepping my house for being put up for sale and need all the daylight that I can muster up. Right now I'm only because it's rootbeer float time. :) Will help you out later...
     
  4. MissMcCollum

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    Jun 10, 2007

    I just got hired in 5th grade...and haven't had a ton of experience...but I can give some advice about what happened at my interview. I was asked explicitly about what I will do to teach reading. I made sure to explain that I intended on grouping kids homogeneously, to reach the needs of all learners. I also discussed whole group reading strategies, how to keep students of all ability levels engaged, even when the text might be above their level. I was also asked about management, and how I intend on maintaining control of the classroom. My system is based on students making appropriate choices and them receiving both positive and negative consequences. Reinforcing good behavior, I hope to lead my students to becoming better citizens, inside and outside of the classroom. Also, I was asked specific questions about the math program used in our district and about how I plan on supplementing the math instruction. Again, I focused on differentiating instruction to meet everyone's needs.

    I hope this helps! Let me know if I can help you with anything else! :)
     
  5. snickydog

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    Jun 10, 2007

    Can you tell me a little more about your literacy approaches? That's where I feel I am weakest (student taught 1st, currently teach 8th - so 5th is kinda foreign to me!).
     
  6. MissMcCollum

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    Jun 10, 2007

    Sure...(just be fore-warned that this is NOT student tested...I don't start until August :) )

    In our district, we use a reading series that has the selection recorded on CD. I made sure to mention utilizing that tool, because not all of my kiddos will be reading at a 5th grade level, but their listening comprehension is much higher than their reading comp. Also, I talked about using graphic organizers to help students organize information and better understand text (high ESL population...also very good for SpEd kiddos.)

    Students are given a state-wide writing test in 5th, so I made sure to discuss how I will approach writing instruction. I plan on starting with the basics: How do we write a good sentence? Start with a very simple, boring, sentence and work together to make it interesting. Then, move to fitting it into an excellent paragraph...then into an essay or paper. I also plan on providing lots of opportunities to write and providing lots of feedback using specific and common language (the 6 + 1 traits are fabulous...and I highly recommend the book put out by Scholastic).

    In reading groups, I talked about how I will group my kids by level (they use AR at my school, so I should be able to get a pretty good assessment from that) and then select trade books that are accessible to all of my kiddos (even my really low guys) because I believe that the best way to reach those kids when they're older is to provide them "real" books...not just basic leveled texts.

    I also want to use literacy centers, where my kids can practice writing in a journal, practice their spelling words, do other word work (such as building words, creating sentences, etc), and response to their reading. My spelling will also be developmental. Using the Words Their Way (Templeton, Bear) Qualitative Spelling Inventory, I will get a thorough assessment of my students' spelling level: what features they understand and where to go next with instruction to reach their needs. Words Their Way also has companion books that match the developmental spelling levels, that provide word lists, word sorts, and instructional activities...making developmental spelling a breeze!

    I hope this helps!!
     
  7. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    Jun 10, 2007

    Excellent explanations! :) Sounds like it'll be fun to be in your class!
     
  8. MissMcCollum

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    Jun 10, 2007

    Maybe you can come and join my fifth graders and convince them of that! :D
     
  9. TeacherRW

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    Jun 11, 2007

    Fifth grade is awesome!! Students are still excited about school and typically still want to please their teacher. Even though they are "big kids" they still love to be silly, need "play time" and yet need to be pushed into thinking about their future. They are able to complete tasks independently while needing minimal support in many cases. Rarely do you have to deal with hormones... well, at least not until the end of the year. Oh, man, can you tell I love 5th graders??

    There are several "buzz words/terms" that you may want to become acquainted with... differentiation and balanced literacy. In order to meet the needs of your learners, you will need to differentiate your teaching and their learning. One way to do that is to group during reading. In Balanced Literacy, you are doing many types of reading. By finding your students' levels, you can best meet their individual needs--> differentiation. Once grouped, you can assign books to be read as literature circles while teaching mini-lessons that increase their skills. If you are utilizing a Balanced Literacy approach, writing can be individualized also. Mini-lessons can be taught to the whole class while still addressing individual students and their needs.

    When I was on an interview panel two years ago for a 5th grade position, we asked several questions such as:
    ~What do you have to offer _________ School?
    ~What is your approach to behavior management? Your discipline policy?
    ~Do you have experience with Guided Reading and/or Balanced Literacy?
    ~How do you feel about team teaching or collegial planning?

    Other things that you'll want to consider...
    For math, you will want to incorporate hands-on activities and opportunities that allow discovery of new skills and the practice of "old" nd/or newly acquired skills.

    Make sure that you try to find out as much information as you can about the district that you are applying and the school. Look at the mission or belief statements. What are the standards & benchmarks for your state for 5th grade? Think about how you can/will plan effect lessons to meet those standards.

    Good luck tomorrow...
     

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