Getting out of the rut

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by Beth2004, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Sep 20, 2006

    This is my first year teaching. I worked as a long-term sub for most of the school year last year so I do have a decent amount of classroom experience, but this is my first year in my own classroom. I'm teaching 3rd grade at a private school and prior to this had no experience with the curriculum we use (Beka-for those of you familiar with it).

    In the past (as a student teacher and long-term sub) I planned A LOT of my own lessons. It was always based on the curriculum, but I used the pages in the book more as reinforcement for the activities that we did when I would introduce the topics. I've found myself really getting into a rut this year since school started, though. I think it's because I was so stressed out over setting up my classroom, getting things ready for the first day of school and learning the curriculum that when school finally started and I was teaching with the books it was like I could finally take a breather! All of the lessons are planned for you and it's really easy...plus since all of the parents buy the books I have no photocopying to do; we just rip the pages out!

    I've had a tough week so far with my class (see my 'tough day' thread ;) ) and it was a real wake up call for me. I have not been teaching like myself and I think we're all pretty bored! Sooo....today I went out and bought some file folders and a new ink cartridge for my printer so that I can print out some file folder games to use to reinforce topics that we're discussing and so the students have something to do when they're done working other than reading. I also stopped by the library (for the first time since school started :eek: ) and picked up some books that are related to the social studies topics we're discussing (Christopher Columbus, Pocahontas, Miles Standish, etc). This was something I did regularly in the past and am pretty upset with myself for waiting almost a month to do it this year.

    Anyway, I once again have typed way more than I planned to, but I just wanted to post because I'm in a pretty good mood now thinking about how excited my class is going to be tomorrow with all of these new things.
     
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  3. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2006

    That will be great for them and for you too! Just keep adding little things in like that hear and there and hopefully by the end of the year you'll be feeling like you're back to your old self!
     
  4. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Sounds like you are getting out of the rut. I bet the kids are going to be so excited tomorrow. I have fallen into the same rut. But I don't have time to plan fun extra stuff.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    File folder games are great. Consider some physical games like standing in a relay line and having students rush to the board to give speed answers. Try crafts (maybe one a week) that goes with the lesson.
     
  6. Erin Elizabeth

    Erin Elizabeth Groupie

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    Sep 20, 2006

    Beth, I am going through the exact same thing! I was so completely overwhelmed at the beginning of the year that I was sticking to my curriculum because it meant that I had time to rest. After trying to physically set up my room, iron out my routines/procedures and discipline plan, get my centers up and running, plan back-to-school night, etc, etc, I was just too sapped to even attempt some creativity. But like you said, when the teacher is bored, the kids get bored, so I'm also trying to supplement my curriculum with my own lessons. I've tried a couple of them this week and things are going well. It sounds like things will be looking up soon for your class, too! I'm sure your students will enjoy the change as well! :)
     
  7. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I'm glad I'm not the only one!
     
  8. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Things went very well. The students LOVED the new file folder games (I've only got 3 for now, but with only 11 kids it works out ok) and all rushed to the books from the library during DEAR time. I couldn't believe how excited one of the boys was about the book on Christopher Columbus! haha
    I'm looking forward to keeping up with the books from the library and adding more file folder games to our collection. I'm really starting to feel enthusiastic and excited about my classroom again. :)
     
  9. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Sep 21, 2006

    What is a file folder game?
    Glad the kids loved them and the books!
     
  10. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Games made out of file folders...duh! haha Just kidding! :D

    They're basically like portable centers. Rather than having centers set up in the classroom I have a few large envelopes with memory games and things like that that relate to topics we're working on in class or things that they may need to review.

    Right now I've got one where the students need to decide if the groups of words on cards are sentences and put it on the correct side of the manila folder labeled "This is a sentence" or "This is not a sentence." The other two are a multiplication memory game and a few math worksheets on review topics that are inside of page protectors where they can use dry erase markers to complete the problems and then erase with a paper towel.
     
  11. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Well I knew that (I would say something else but Amanda would get rather upset with me. :D

    Anyway I like some of those ideas. Geez how come I can't think of anything this year. I had all kinds of fun ideas last year when I really didn't need them. I should have wrote them down.
     
  12. PurpleTweety

    PurpleTweety Companion

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    Sep 21, 2006

    A-Beka tends to be that way - easy to get into a rut. Just concentrate on improving the interest level in one subject at a time. With A-Beka, I find you generally need to take the concept and teach it how you want, then use the workbook pages for independent seatwork, homework. Don't be too hard on yourself though, you have to get students used to routines and your expectations. I usually don't start the "fun" stuff until at least the thrid week of school.
     
  13. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Yeah, that's usually how I do it, but I just need to get myself into doing it that way with this curriculum.
     
  14. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    Sep 22, 2006

    Hey! Don't be too hard on yourself! It's just a month into school! It usually takes everyone (teachers and students) at least a month to get settled and into the groove! Good for you for realizing you needed a change of pace! I'm sure you'll feel better about your teaching and so will the children!
     
  15. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 22, 2006

    That's what I was thinking. You weren't in a rut, you were just saving your energy for the good stuff to come! I like to have fun, easy games ready for the times when we need to spice up the lesson. For a math lesson the other day, I set up 3 plastic cups and we used a small ball and rolled it in. If the student got a math question correct, he would get 2 chances to roll into the cups. Each cup had a different point value and I kept a tally. They thought this was great and it was good practice for our topic.
     

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