Help! I'm moving from 5th to 3rd!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by Jake's Mom, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. Jake's Mom

    Jake's Mom Rookie

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    Jun 2, 2006

    I really need some ideas...I've taught for 10 years, two in 4th grade and eight in 5th grade. I LOVE teaching 5th, but due to enrollment, I'm moving to 3rd. PLEASE give me some ideas and advice for this change. We're also a Reading First school, where K-3 is the primary focus. In 5th all these years, I could pretty much shut my door and do my thing. I'd love to hear from everyone who does or has taught 3rd. Thanks!
     
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  3. camcdade

    camcdade Comrade

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    Jun 3, 2006

    Hi! I can relate to your situation. I began my teaching career in fifth grade, where I stayed for 4 years. Then I moved to 3rd grade, where I have been for 4 years. I was very apprehensive about this change because I, too, loved 5th grade. I loved having students who could work independently and who could actually have intelligent conversations about topics we were learning in class. I just didn't know what to expect from 3rd graders.

    4 years later... I can tell you that I also love 3rd grade. This age group is remarkably different from 5th graders, considering it's only a 2 year difference. However, I have learned that they are truly capable of a lot and I didn't really have to lower any of my expectations. My school is not a Reading First school. We follow the balanced literacy approach and I do Guided Reading and ability grouping for learning centers. I enjoy doing this. I share students with another teacher. She teaches Math, Science and Social Studies. I teach Reading/Language Arts/Writing. We switch classes halfway through the day.

    One resource I have used A LOT in third grade is Fountas and Pinnell's book, Guiding Readers and Writers, Grades 3-6. They outline how to group students for small group instructions and how to organize learning centers for all subjects. It really is worth the price!

    I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have about 3rd grade. Just ask!
    :)
     
  4. Sarah5483

    Sarah5483 Companion

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    Jun 28, 2006

    Hi Camcdade, if you're around and you get this at some point tonight (6/28), I would love anything you can offer me about 3rd grade. I have an interview tmr. (it's actually the second one for this position-- during the first one, they didn't ask me anything related to 3rd grade). So, anything you can share that you think I should know (be prepared for) or anything that I should talk about to WOW them regarding 3rd grade would make me feel so much better :) I appreciate it!
     
  5. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jun 28, 2006

    I taught 4th , then my 2nd year I taught 3rd, then 4th for the last 2 years. Next year, my 5th year, I'll be teaching 7th. Anyway, 3rd graders are still much more innocent than the 4th graders. Don't be surprised if your 3rd graders sit RIGHT next to you when you read a story. My 4th graders never did that. Its been 2 years since teaching 3rd and I'm drawing a blank on other specifics, but feel free to ask.
     
  6. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jun 28, 2006

    Happy for you. Good Luck and Best Wishes. You will love third grade. Petunia
     
  7. teach12

    teach12 Companion

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    Jun 28, 2006

    Hi! Well, welcome to the world of teaching with Reading First! It can definitely get very hectic, with the 90 minute daily reading block and the 30-60 minutes of daily reading interventions. I have found it very hard to get to my science and social studies while focusing SO MUCH on reading with RF. I would suggest using a lot of non-fiction reading for your workshop times. Anything you can use to incorporate your other subject areas into reading will really help you alot. Once you spend all of the required time each day on reading, then getting you math and writing in, the other stuff may seem to get put off to the side....as bad as that is! I would also think about what the above post says about the book to organize you learning centers. That was one thing I had problems with this year was finding different independent things for my second graders to do during the workshop time while I am working with the intensive readers. Third graders will be more independent than 2nd graders, but you will need a large variety of workshop/station activities since at least 30 minutes each day have to be dedicated to your workshop time. If they can't do the work independently or they are bored with it, then you are never going to be able to get anything done with your group because you will have to deal with discipline. I taught third grade for one year a couple of years ago, and I LOVED IT!!! I am getting ready to go to fifth grade this year and I am pretty nervous! Good luck to you....if you have any questions about RF please ask! :)
     
  8. camcdade

    camcdade Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2006

    Well... let me see. I would think that you definitely need to express that you have high expectations for your students. I live in Texas and our standardized test (TAKS) requires much of these little third graders, so I can't afford to be lax with my expectations or to set them too low. I don't know what state you are in, but it seems most of us are in the same position now a days. It would be a good idea to go to your state or district website and become familiar with the 3rd grade standards and state assessment. Have a plan for how you will address your students' needs in regards to the state's expectations of them. If you plan on grouping students for small group instruction, explain what your small group instruction format would be. Like I stated above, I do guided reading and that has a certain format. I don't know exactly what RF schools do as far as the structure of the instruction time, but be ready to discuss how it will look in your room. I know that one shock I got my first year in third was the wide range of reading levels my students had. I had some reading on grade level, some reading on 4th or 5th grade level, and some reading on 1st grade level. Let them know how you plan to meet the needs of each individual student so that they can be successful.

    Be ready to explain what your procedures for behavior management will be. I've had wonderfully behaved classes in third grade, but I've also had the class from he#@! I am a pretty structured teacher and I don't allow for much down time, which is instrumental I think in keeping misbehavior to a minimum. I think the previous post made a good point of the need to integrate other subjects (like science and social studies) into your reading time. This can be done in so many ways. It would be impressive if you could discuss how you plan to integrate subjects so that you can get it all in.

    Something good to remember is that most third graders will come to you being very dependent on the teacher. I see it as my goal to move them from dependence on me to independence pretty quickly. It is a gradual process, but usually by the 2nd or 3rd six weeks, I have them trained to handle problems and questions on their own instead of depending on me to do everything for them. If you don't begin this early, you are in for a struggle that will last the whole year. You are also not helping them get ready for 4th and 5th if you don't teach them this independence now.

    Third graders tend to be big tattlers. Set the stage early on for a no-tolerance stance with this. I do some lessons during the first week on the difference between a "tattle" and true reporting to the teacher on important issues. This will save you much frustration in the long run. Above all, as with any grade, be consistent with any rules and procedures you want in place. Probably the best classroom management advice I ever got was, "If you're not willing to teach and model it, then don't expect it from your students." Don't take for granted that they are going to automatically know things. For example, I now teach when it is appropriate to get up and sharpen a pencil and when it is not. It never occurred to me that a student would get up in the middle of a lesson while I'm teaching and walk over to the electronic pencil sharpener and start to sharpen a pencil, but that happens. (Just an example)

    Okay, I'm tapped for now. I hope my ramblings have helped you a little. If you have another question, just post it. I'll check the site again in an hour or so. Good luck tomorrow and let us know how it went!!!
     
  9. Sarah5483

    Sarah5483 Companion

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    Jun 28, 2006

    camcdade,
    You are absolutely wonderful and have helped ease my worries more than you know. I appreciate you taking the time to post and I appreciate even more that you're so willing to check back later to answer any more questions that I should have.
    I'm off to bed so I will definitely post tomorrow when I get back from the interview! Thank you for the luck :)
    -Sarah
     
  10. KiewiStyles

    KiewiStyles Rookie

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    Jun 30, 2006

    Camc~ I'm going to begin teaching 3rd grade as well. Do you have any tips on how to get them from dependent to independent and how to stop the tattling before it starts? What do you do with your kids? Thanks!
     
  11. camcdade

    camcdade Comrade

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    Jul 1, 2006

    As far as the tattling, like I posted above, I do lessons during the first week that teaches the kids the difference between tattling and giving me important information that I need to know. We make a T-chart that says "Tattles" on the left and "Important Information To Tell Teacher" on the right. I start by giving an example of both. Ex: Tattle = "Alex is chewing on his eraser!"
    Important info. = "Tara's nose is bleeding!"
    Then I have students help me brainstorm other examples to add to the chart. We keep this chart posted in the room for a while.
    During the first few weeks, I am very consistent in explaining to kids that what they are telling me is a tattle and that soon they will be moving a clip for tattles. After I know I've given them sufficient time to get used to the idea of Tattle vs. Important, (about the 2nd or 3rd week), students have to start moving their clips for wasting class time with tattles. As far as moving them to independence, I recommend the following:
    Always write directions on the board and explain to students that you will explain them verbally once and then they will be able to find the directions on the board after that so you don't have to repeat them for those not listening or those who need frequent reminders. Then, stick with it. If they say, "I'm finished with my math assignment. Now what do I do?" Don't tell them. Point to the board or remind them to look there. If they know you are going to tell them anyway, they will never begin to solve these little problems on their own. I ask a lot of questions instead of giving easy answers. For example, if a student asks during the 3rd week of school, "Where do I turn in my paper?" I do not say, "Put it in the red tray that says Finished Papers." Rather, I would say, "How could you figure this out on your own? What do you see around the room that could help you answer your own question?"
    I know that seems like common sense, but you'd be surprised how much we as teachers just give the kids easy answers instead of taking the extra few seconds to help them think through the solution themselves. This is all part of helping them to become independent.
    Also, during my small group instruction when I am meeting with groups and other students are in learning centers, I have specific procedures set up to help them be independent. First of all, I never put any NEW work that students have never seem in one of my centers. It is always something that we have done as a class or that I have shown them how to do. I also always have directions posted in every center. The big rule during center time is "Ask 3, then me". This means that when a student encounters a problem in a center or can't remember what to do, before interupting me while I am teaching a small group, they are to ask up to 3 other students close to them for the answer. I have never had a student interupt me yet!
    Hope this gives you some ideas. Sorry this was so long!
     
  12. Sarah5483

    Sarah5483 Companion

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    Jul 1, 2006

    What do you do as far as guided reading instruction with your 3rd graders? I have to teach a small group guided reading instruction next week as my final round for a 3rd grade position, and I've only done guided reading with first graders. I don't even know where to begin as far as planning a model lesson for guided reading. I would love any help you could give me! Thanks :)
     
  13. camcdade

    camcdade Comrade

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    Jul 2, 2006

    The format for quided reading will be the same as with the younger grades. You will just change the level of the texts and the strategies you are working on. I could go on and on with this topic, but there are some wonderful websites that other great teachers have created to help with guided reading. You'll find an overview of guided reading in the upper grades as well as lots of lesson ideas. Hope you find them helpful!

    http://mspowell.com/otherwebpages/facilitatingreading.html
    http://www.mandygregory.com/Guided Reading2.htm

    http://home.att.net/~teaching/litlessons.htm
    http://www.juliethompson.com/Reading.htm
    http://www.mandygregory.com/Mini Lessons.htm#Skills Mini Lessons
     
  14. elem_teacher3

    elem_teacher3 Companion

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    Jul 2, 2006

    I just have to say thank you for the information on 3rd grade. I am moving from 1st to 3rd and reading this thread has helped me. I understand 8 year olds...I have one of my own...it is just having a classroom of them I was/am a bit concerned about.
     
  15. Sarah5483

    Sarah5483 Companion

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    Jul 2, 2006

    Thank you so much for the websites! They are very helpful :)
     
  16. teacherbecky

    teacherbecky Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2006

    We seem to be in the same boat. I have been teaching 3rd grade for the last 2 years and I am now moving to 5th grade and have no idea what to do or expect. I really enjoyed 3rd grade. There is a lot of focus on reading and phonix at that age. I am not sure where you are teaching. I teach in Missouri. My expierence last year with math was focused on multiplication, division, decimals, and word problems. Science was focused on the solar system, classification, states of matters, and simple machines. Our time in social studies was spent on how to be a good citizen and then the roles of the different branches of government. We spent lots of time going over different grammar skills and writing skills. I hope this helps. Hopefully you will have a great staff that will support you and help you get started. I would also appriciate any advice you can give me in return on teaching 5th grade. Again hope this helps.
     

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