Help me, I'm lost . . .

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by RainbowsEnd, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. RainbowsEnd

    RainbowsEnd Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2007

    I'm starting my first year of teaching in 2 weeks, and while I'm extremely excited and have lots of ideas I don't know where to begin. I'll be teaching 8th grade language arts, and this is the first time I'll be STARTING a school year. My student teaching began during the winter semester.

    So, does anyone have any suggestions about where a good place to begin is? Or how to focus myself into figuring that out? :thanks:
     
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  3. teacherSMK

    teacherSMK Habitué

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    Aug 15, 2007

    Do you have contact with the other LA teachers at your school??? Last year was my first year, teaching a plethora of subjects, and I gleaned tons of info from the other teachers at my school, as well as resources, etc. You should definitely try to get some planning done, if possible. IF you can, write letters to your students introducing yourself, and get a supply list, discipline plan, and classroom guidelines written up. I hope this helps ~SK:)
     
  4. Exclaimation Po

    Exclaimation Po Habitué

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    Aug 16, 2007

    Sort of in a simiar position... but not really. I'm a second year teacher. I'm single subject social studies, but am teaching 8th LA. I taught it last year, but with a different text, and a full week of training to go with it. This year I was hired 3 days before the beginning of the school year and have had no training. I have absoutely no idea what I'm doing.
     
  5. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Aug 17, 2007

    I'm only a third year teacher, and I am learning from my mistakes. This is what I'd suggest . . .

    First, use the first day or two to go over your procedures and rules. Review what you need to cover this year - for example, I have 3 themes this year, so I spilt each for 1/3 of the year. In those themes are books - choose which books to read, and how you are going to cover them (literature circles, class set, individual reading plan, etc.) Then look to see what writing styles you need to teach. See if any of them lend themselves well to any of your themes, and plan accordingly. I'm using Write Traits this year to help with that, so I'm trying to juggle that too.

    This should give you a rough idea of what your whole year will look like, then you can fit in your individual plans.

    Like I said, I'm a fairly new teacher, so I'm still learning. But these ideas may help you a bit.

    Oh - and for the first day of school, I've decided to have them write a description of the class. This will be give me an idea of how well they write, without usng the "what I did for my summer vacation" theme.

    Good luck!
     
  6. RainbowsEnd

    RainbowsEnd Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2007

    THANKS!! Great great great ideas!!!
     
  7. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Aug 19, 2007

    No problem! I hope the year works out well for you. Maybe if we are teaching similar themes we can share some lessons. Good luck!
     
  8. jwhitg

    jwhitg Rookie

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    Aug 19, 2007

    The main thing about starting a year is to be flexible those first few weeks. In middle school, schedules are going to change. Student move in and out of class for several weeks before things settle down.
    I cannot count the number of times I have filled in a gradebook just to have to trash it when 10 or 11 more students switch classes.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  9. RainbowsEnd

    RainbowsEnd Rookie

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    Aug 19, 2007

    Definitely!
     
  10. Nick_A

    Nick_A Rookie

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    Aug 19, 2007

    I'm starting year 3 this September, and I am still learning as I go. My biggest piece of advice would be this...whatever you want to say on the first day, write it down in some form (it can be a list, an outline, or even a whole script).

    My first year I had it all "in my head," and because I was rather nervous at the time, I forgot a lot of what I wanted to say. Definitely write it down, especially if you want to do explain procedures, or you'll end up like me. We had a fire drill the first day, and I forgot to explain that procedure before the fire drill! Imagine the chaos!!! The alarm was going off and kids are getting to go out, and I'm shouting instructions as we're walking out the door.
     
  11. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Aug 19, 2007

    Wow! I had just posted pretty much the same question except about 8th grade social studies...I'll be sure to check back here for replies. I'm sure I'll get some ideas here as well.
     
  12. ELAteacher

    ELAteacher Rookie

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    Aug 28, 2007

    I recommend you read "The First Days of School" by Harry Wong. He has great ideas for classroom management and organization.

    First week activities I'm going to try: (7th grade ELA)

    - on a 5 by 8 index card, have students draw something memorable they did over the summer. On the other side, have them write about it in detail, then share and hang on a bulletin board.

    - Write 3 paragraphs on the following: your expectations and fears for 7th grade, a goal that you have for the year, and anything you want me to know about yourself.

    I agree with the person who said WRITE THINGS DOWN! Don't expect that you'll remember everything when you're standing in front of a roomfull of kids! You could even "rehearse" your first-day "speech" at home in front of a mirror, while driving in the car, etc. Know what you're going to say before the first day and be confident! Good luck!
     
  13. socaldisneygal

    socaldisneygal Rookie

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    Aug 28, 2007

    If your district has a tight curriculum, of course stick with it, but if your district lets you choose what to do with your textbooks, Chapter 1 is a good start becuase Language Arts textbooks build upon themselves and start with simple concepts like plot, and progress with the more challenging ones. Our District used to have us jump around, but now they are following what the publisher recomends, and so far it is working out well because we are reviewing the bascis of plot before we jump into analysis. (we use Holt)
     
  14. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Aug 28, 2007

    We have curriculum maps for each subject/grade, so you really wouldn't have a "what to do" issue if you're at a school that uses them. Call someone and find out before you plan something and find out that you're not supposed to be doing what you have planned!

    And do make that checklist and focus on procedures the first few days. I'm on year 15, and I always have a checklist for my first few days. There's just too much to remember.
     
  15. RainbowsEnd

    RainbowsEnd Rookie

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    Aug 29, 2007

    We started school yesterday, and I think that my kids think I'm nuts. I was really really specific about procedures for my classroom, and the rest of my team tends to be a bit more loose, but as a newbie I want things as simple as possible. I'm thinking for next year . . . I might loosen up a little :lol:


     
  16. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    Aug 29, 2007

    I am in my fourth year and teach 7&8 LA, too. I learned the hard way and now teach procedure, procedure, procedure for the first couple of weeks til they get it right. I would agree to script everything that you can. Introduce review of basic stuff (parts of speech, reading strategies, sentence structure, literary elements, etc.) along with procedure so that they have a basis for the procedures (i.e., how to pass papers to the front, how to turn in homework, how to respond to a question, how to ask a question, the list is endless...). Basically, if you don't get them under your authority and control right away, they will run away with the class and there's no chance of teaching anything meaningful for the rest of the year. They really need to review concepts learned in 7th grade anyway (since you're 8th grade). You might get with the 7th grade teacher if you can and see what he/she taught and what might need to be reviewed or re-taught.

    There are a lot of good suggestions already posted, too.
     

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