Going from 1st to departmentalized 3rd!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by OhThePlaces, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    Jun 21, 2013

    I am transferring to my dream school in the fall. I was hired for 2nd grade, but my principal just informed me that she had to make some changes, and I'm one of them. I'll now be teaching 3rd grade ELA!! :eek:hmy:

    I love teaching reading, but I'm totally intimidated by the fact that I'll be departmentalized (teaching one class in the morning and one in the afternoon), and that it's a testing year. Not to mention the fact that I'll have twice as many Guided Reading groups, DRAs, writing conferences, etc.

    My teaching experience is with 1st and 2nd graders. I love that they still adore their teachers and want to please you. Can I be silly and goofy with my students, or are they reaching the point of "too cool" in 3rd?

    How do you deal with class jobs in a departmentalized setting? Do I have jobs assigned for each class? What about behavior management? I was planning to use a clip chart next year. Should I have one for each class? What about supply organization? I have desks in my room... How should I store their things? My room is small and the lack of storage is depressing... I'm thinking about picking up a Expedit shelf at Ikea (6 cubbies) to help.

    I'm kind of just putting it all out there to wrap my brain around it, but I would LOVE suggestions or advice if anyone would be willing to share what worked (or didn't) for them. :dizzy: :wow: :thanks:
     
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  3. MsB2012

    MsB2012 Companion

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    Jun 21, 2013

    I teach third grade ELA! I switch half way through the day and have two classes each day. It's not as intimidating as you think, promise! It's nice to be able to focus on one subject.

    I do have two behavior clip charts (one for each class). The desks hold my homeroom's books/binders and the second class brings their folder and books each day when we switch. I like my students in desk groups of 4-6 students. That way, the desks are set up for centers already and we don't have to move any major furniture to do guided reading.

    I had a job chart and under each job I had one student from each class listed. But my favorite part of selecting jobs for the students was the process. I had them "apply" for the job they wanted. Basically they had to write three sentences about why they'd be good for the job and turn it into me (I changed jobs every six-weeks). One of my jobs was "classroom artist"...they'd help me draw pictures on anchor charts occasionally or, any artsy stuff. The kids who wanted this job would always attach drawings to their "applications", which always made me giggle since they took it so seriously.

    For my two classes this past year, they were pretty awesome. Trust me, they still love their teacher and want to help with just about anything. They are pretty chatty compared to first, but that's because they're learning about all sorts of new things (like having a boyfriend or girlfriend...lol...well, what they call a bf/gf).

    The state testing is pretty stressful, but you just muscle through the hard parts and I think you'll love it!

    By the way, you can still be goofy with them! But I love teaching third grade, because while you can be goofy, you can also have a real conversation with them when you need to about serious things, and can even be sarcastic funny with the higher level ones who understand it!

    I had a shelf with buckets of community supplies (really mostly my homeroom's supplies combined), all labeled (scissors, crayons, glue, etc). It made it easier because then the second class didn't have to carry around these things from class to class. The best thing supply wise that I think I did this year though was hand each student a sharpened pencil when they came in the door each day, and on their way out to switch classes, I stood at the door with a pencil cup and they had to turn it in to leave my room. This cut down on loss of pencils...of which third graders seem to eat!

    Lol, sorry, had a lot to say I guess...:blush:
     
  4. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    Jun 21, 2013

    Are you only teaching reading/ELA and the other teacher is teaching everything else?

    In my experience, 3rd graders still love silly and goofy-- but not as much as the younger kids. They are growing up, but they are still very young and love stickers, etc.

    For class jobs, I actually assigned the routine ones to specific students. For example, one girl in my afternoon class knew she was in charge of changing the calendar every afternoon. Other jobs, I would just call on someone who was on task or done with work to do them as needed. I didn't have a job chart this year.

    I have one other teacher on my team, and she and I both use the clip chart. We have similar philosophies on discipline, so we actually trade clip charts when we trade students. It works great for us.

    We keep supplies in the homeroom teachers' class, but keep a stash of community supplies for emergencies. It is the students responsibility to have the pencil box stocked with the supplies they need for the day when they switch classes, and not having supplies results in a consequence.

    Students did store notebooks in their desk. One student used the left hand side and one used the right. Worked well since I only had 2 classes. We spent 3-5 minutes once a week to straighten up their desks, too. Students who were overly messy missed a few minutes of specials here and there as needed to clean their desk up/out.

    One thing that worked great for us is that we started them using a binder. Papers home to parents go in the front pocket. A 3 ring binder pouch holds flashcards and the leveled book I send home each week. There is a tab for the behavior log (from clip chart), a tab for homework from my class, and a tab for homework from my partner teacher. That way, everything is in one place!!
     
  5. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    Jun 21, 2013

    Also, I have a green folder and a red folder.

    The green folder (aka GO HOME or GRADED) folder, is where students put work the minute it's graded. They record the grade on a cover sheet in the folder, and then store it in their desk until Friday. That way I don't have to use up my storage space for their papers.

    The red folder (aka catch up or "ketchup" folder) is where I put any work that the student missed or anything they need to catch up on. So, if a student is absent, all I have to do is pull out that folder and collect their missed work in it throughout the day. Right before students switch classes, if there is anything they still have to do, they put it in their folder and I collect it OR have the student take it with them and return to my class to finish it during specials (which happens right after we switch) depending on how important it is. The key with the red folder is not to let them put it back in their desk if it has work in it, because we'll both forget about it. So I collect it if it has work to do in it and pass it back out the next day.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jun 21, 2013

    I teach 5th, but am departmentalized. My afternoon class has magazine racks that hold the materials they need for my class (math and science journals, daily math folder, and pencil bag) to eliminate the need to go back to their homeroom if they forgot something. As far as a clip chart, if you use clothespins you should be able to still just have one and put one class on each side. You might make the ready to learn section twice as big as the others to fit one whole class on a side.
     
  7. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    Jun 21, 2013

    MsB2012, thanks for chiming in... It's reassuring to hear from someone who's BTDT! Like you, I will have two classes and switch halfway through the day. With the separate behavior charts, how does that work as far as communicating daily behavior with parents? I've always jotted down where students ended the day behavior wise in their agendas. With a departmentalized classroom, what happens if a kid struggles with behavior in what class, but does well in the other? I'm glad to hear they still like their teacher in 3rd. :)

    Thirdgradebuzz, yep! I'll teach reading and writing to two classes, having each for half the day. I would have never thought to trade clip charts! I haven't met my teammate yet, but if we're really on the same page with classroom management, that could work out great! I'm sure it cuts down on the confusion. Have you had any problems with students from one class stealing or using supplies in the desks that belong to the other class? I really like the binder idea. Thanks!

    Agdamity, I really like the idea of using magazine racks for journals and things. I'm going to check Ikea because it looks like they have cheap options! That would be an easy modification with the clip chart too.

    I'm feeling better already! :D
     
  8. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    Jun 21, 2013

    The trading charts does work well, and also the students record at the end of the day what color they are on. Also if behavior at specials is a problem, the chart can go with them there if needed.

    We only let them keep books and notebooks in their desk, for just the reason you mentioned. They travel from class to class with their backpack, pencil box, and any personal items. We make it clear from the first day that the desk is "classroom property" not their personal storage area, and it is up to them not to leave anything inside it when they leave the room except the textbooks and notebooks. There have been a few times that things disappeared (lead pencils, etc.) but I didn't really have any sympathy for the students because we tell them to keep that stuff in their pencil box, not the desk.

    I'm jealous that you teach Reading/ELA only! I switch at half day and teach reading, writing/handwriting, and science. My partner does teach grammar/spelling, math, and social studies. We divided the language arts so that we each have to teach two tested subjects.
     
  9. MsB2012

    MsB2012 Companion

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    Jun 21, 2013

    At first we switched charts. However, that actually turned out not so great for us. What was happening was, that we had a few kiddos in each class that ended up on yellow (some even to red) often in the morning before we switch at 11, and then when we'd switch classes, and they'd pretty much give up and continue to act awful for the other teacher. Pretty much that "I'm already on red/yellow, so who cares" mentality. So, after a few weeks of that, we each made two charts (one for each class) to put in our rooms, and decided that when they switched to the other class, they would have a "fresh start" on green. That doesn't erase the yellow/red they receive in the other class, but helped behavior a lot for the second half of the day. As for communicating with parents, the kids had a take-home folder for each of our classes that had a calendar stapled in it. Each of us would write in the folder for our subjects indicating green/yellow/red on each day of the calendar. It was a calendar with large boxes, so notes could also be jotted down on each day if need be.
    There are definitely some kids that would act better for one teacher or the other. Due to my tickets rewards (positive reinforcement) system and consequences in place, it was usually students who would act well in my class, and act like monkeys in hers. If you have an effective rewards/consequences system in place, it behavior really won't be a problem. I had to accept that I could talk to them until I was blue in the face about respecting and acting right in their other class, but if they did't have respect for the other teacher, then they wren't going to act well for them or really care.
     
  10. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Oh the Places, I got my bins at Dollar Tree!
     
  11. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    In my perfect world, we'd switch back for a few minutes before the end of the day, so students wouldn't need to take backpacks with them when they go next door for math, science and SS.

    I bought a bunch of books this weekend... a 28 book lot on Craigslist (Goosebumps, June B Jones, Boxcar Children, etc), then several Rould Dahl books at the used book store today, and tomorrow I'm picking up all 8 books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, also from CL. Collecting books is getting me excited! :D
     
  12. MsB2012

    MsB2012 Companion

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    That is exactly what we do at the end of the day. We switch back about 10 minutes before school gets out so our homerooms can get their stuff together!

    Don't forget to hit up the Goodwill and garage sales! I have nearly 4000 books...mostly from those places... :D
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    You can still be totally silly with third graders! :)
     
  14. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    MsB2012, glad to hear that works out for you! I'd love to store ALL of the needed ELA materials for both classes in my room and have my team-teacher do the same, so that all students would just have to worry about bringing themselves next door. ;) This is their first experience being departmentalized, so I'm hoping to make the transition as easy as possible.

    I think I'm actually going to have a lot of fun hunting down books. I'll definitely check out garage sales and consignment shops.

    JustMe, I'm glad to hear it!
     
  15. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    My 3rd graders definitely still aimed to please. They loved when we read silly books like 3rd Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli or Pippi Longstocking or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and if I "did the voices" when I read, they were hysterical.

    We did a computer program for math that had an animal mascot. All year we pretended as if this mascot was a real "person." They wrote letters to him, I wrote back as him. They got a pretend care package from him before the test. They were totally into it. Definitely not "too cool" for a little fun make believe.
     
  16. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 23, 2013

    I'm thrilled to be returning to third! You are going to love it! I, too, am going nuts buying books! After 5 years in first, I'm definitely in need of a higher level classroom library! So far, I have purchased 16 books on Amazon (used for 1 cent plus shipping, so they cost less than local used). I'm still checking out Goodwill,a nd the 2 local used book stores - I never seem to find the good yard sales, lol!
     

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