Help me to prep for 3 classes in fall!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by wldywall, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Well I am going from a 9th grade US history position to one in the middle school, teaching 6th and 7th grade social stuides and 8th grade US History. I have my stuff to plan for next year, but I have yet to do anything about it. To top it off there are 4 textbooks for each 6 and 7th grades.....they are small....but man that is a lot of material for me to become familar with. I am at a loss as to how to prepare (this will be my first year teaching a class from the first day...last time I jumped into the middle of the year, no materials but it was only one prep)
    Do I read all the textbooks?
    Do I just go over them a little?
    I am expected to make the classes about 45% reading classes, so I am at a loss as to how to do that, I am a SS teacher not a reading teacher! All of the materials that come with the 6/7th grade texts are dull boring quizes, KWL charts, and other reading things.....no interesting extension activities nothing. IF it wasn't for the extras that came with the last textbook I wouldn't have gotten through last year. It was my jumping off point. I don't have that here. I am so lost and running out of time.

    Some one help me!
     
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  3. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I do not like that they are forcing you to teaching reading about half of the time, that is not your job! I would focus on the cuase and effect of things when teaching reading. Also teach them to read and take notes on their readings. Also, fit would be a good idea to show them how to understand words out of context. Start looking for readings on the subjects you are going to teach now online, that way you do not have to rely on the textbook completely. Also it owuld not hurt to make some of your own readings. This year will be hard, but think about next year, you'll be all set. What are the three areas that you are teaching? We can probably give you some ideas for hands own activites. Have you looked into Interactice Notebooks?
     
  4. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    I will be teaching 6th grade social studies, which covers western hemisphere, 7th grade social studies that covers teh rest of the world, and 8th grade US History to 1877

    Nope on interactive notebooks, not sure what they are never heard of them before
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Maybe I've misunderstood your post, but it seems like there are two different issues going on here. 1. You're worried about not having enough time to prep for three classes. 2. You're worried about content and lesson planning.

    Let's address the time factor first, since I think it's the easier one. I also have three classes to prep for next year, which is one more than I had last year. I'm going to make things easier for myself by getting organized. My plan is to have a biweekly rotating cycle. On the first meeting of the week, we will do such-and-such particular activities. On the second meeting of the week, we will do these other particular activities. And so on, through the 5th meeting, after which we will start the cycle over repeating the same sorts of activities for a new unit. I think that by getting organized like this, with the big picture in mind, I will avoid the 'fly by the seat of one's pants' feeling that I had most of last year. Also, I can do a lot of cutting and pasting on my lesson plans, which leads me to...

    The lesson planning stuff. This stuff can be hard because, at least for me, it's not easy to be creative when I know that there is SO MUCH technical stuff that needs to be taught and learned. I feel like I just want to plow right through it and get it over with, but I have to remind myself that the process is what counts. I hate to say it, but you're not going to be able to rely on your textbook materials to provide fun lesson plans. You're going to have to get creative, look online, talk to other teachers, and steal any good ideas you hear.

    I think it's probably easier than you think to incorporate a significant reading aspect into your course. You can do a lot of reading comprehension exercises, journaling, and research activities. You'll obviously have to spice them up because a lot of kids aren't going to want to read for 45 minutes. Maybe you could allot a particular amount of time, say 15-20 minutes, to reading in class and then spend 25-30 minutes on a fun reading comprehension/reading detective activity where you ask kids to track down particular information from the passage. Maybe you could locate some authentic materials for kids to peruse--I know my kids LOVE looking at "real" Latin because it's so bizarre looking and because they can pick out a few words they know. (Students of Latin don't often see authentic Latin until well into their 3rd year, and that's only after the text has been cleaned up and typed to match our own fonts. Actual authentic Latin is very, very weird-looking and exceedingly difficult to read, and most people never see it until they enter a post-graduate program.)

    Anyway. I think you should also consider looking into Interactive Notebooks. Your students would probably enjoy them if you use them correctly. Do a search on here for the topic--it's discussed with some frequency.

    And my final thought: When looking for fun activities, don't be afraid to take a peek at elementary school materials. Teenagers love to act silly and run around in the classroom whenever they can, so you might as well incorporate activities which allow them to do this. In my room we play the Flyswatter game which is exactly how it sounds. Who knew that 29-cent flyswatters could evoke such excitement! The kids love it and we get a chance to reinforce old and new vocabulary for a few minutes.
     
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Do a search for Interactive Notebooks on this board you will come up with alot.
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Great advice, Cassie! Shes right to find intresting lessons/actvities you cannot rely on the textbook ht up google and other teachers for ideas, you just have to be a little bit creative. I too do the flyswatter game. Another good teachers site is teachers.net you can look there for more advice.

    Ok, take a look at history alive, the website for them is www.teachtci.com. Some other good websites are:
    http://www.geocities.com/mrsgamhist/
    http://members.aol.com/MrDonnHistory/World.html
    http://www.pppst.com
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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  9. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Yes it is. Take a look at her grading though, If I graded that way most my kids would have 100s.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I can't address the content issues, but I'm good at planning.

    Start now. Start with what appears to be the easiest to work with-- I'm guessing it's th 8th grade since there's only one text. Look at your syllabus, and break down the info into smaller chunks-- one lesson each.

    Get 3 binders in different colors-- one for each course. Plan each lesson- maybe not a formal lesson plan, but enough of a guide that you could teach with it in front of you. Even just an outline might do. Do up until the 1st long vacation (Christmas??) and then start the 6th and 7th grades.
     
  11. wig

    wig Devotee

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    I also teach in MI and among other things I teach grades 5-8 SS. Once you get into a routine you will do fine. I love interactive notebooks (http://interactive-notebooks.wikispaces.com/ ) but you may want to wait a year before doing them or start with only one class. It may put you on overload. You have gotten a lot of good advice. In addition I would caution you not to have major projects due at the same time in every class.

    This link will help you with pacing and ideas. It is from Macomb, a district in Michigan. Everything is aligned with the benchmarks.
    http://www.misd.net/Socialstudies/sequenceofstudy.htm Use your textbook as a tool - not your curriculum. Last year I had a new textbook for each one of my SS classes so I understand how you feel. During the summer I aligned my text books with the benchmarks, noting the areas I could skip and areas I needed to supplement.

    I respectfully disagree with Brendan re: the teaching of reading. Reading instruction is a responsibility shared by all teachers, regardless of level or content. We want to teach our students to comprehend the material we are teaching. That is what they are referring to when they tell you that x% of what you do must be reading activities.

    All of the below are reading strategies. If you have to identify your reading skills in your planbook, the following key words will help you.

    Before Reading Strategies - brainstorm · predict · skim · assess prior knowledge · preview headings · learn crucial vocabulary

    During Reading Strategies - reread · infer · question · support predictions · summarize

    After Reading Strategies - reread · confirm predictions · summarize · synthesize · reflect · question

    Incorporating learning aids such as graphic organizers and reading anticipation guides into reading assignments can also help students visually organize content. I will often have fill in the blanks outlines, questions to answer WHILE they are reading, etc. Teaching vocabulary is crucial to understanding what they are being taught.

    I think most teachers do this anyway and do not realize they are teaching reading skills.

    The reading does not necessarily have to be from your book. Primary Sources, periodicals, etc. can also be used. Check out this link to give you more ideas:

    http://www.emints.org/ethemes/resources/S00001533.shtml
     
  12. wig

    wig Devotee

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    It is a good site, but I agree with you re: grading. it seems to be more on completion than accuracy. I do some of that but it seems as if most of her grading is that way.
     
  13. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    In addition to the suggestions here, pick up a copy of Do I Really Have To Teach Reading by Cris Tovani and Subjects Matter by Harvey Daniels. Both of these books are targeted to content-area teachers and include real-world examples and activities that content-area teachers can include in their lessons to teach kids to read IN THE CONTENT AREA. They are both quick reads and fairly easy to procure.

    Here are the Amazon links:
    http://www.amazon.com/Really-Have-T...8890450?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1183724126&sr=8-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Subjects-Matt...8890450?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1183724180&sr=1-1
     
  14. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Wow lots of info that will take me some time to go through. Do you guys suggest I read all those textbooks myself? Cover to cover?
     
  15. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I would at least skim them; take the time to see what's covered. Decide which readings you think you'll use from them and then seek out other readings to supplement (there are LOTS of great picture books to use that engage middle schoolers.) One book I recommend for US history is "We Were There, Too" which are accounts, many of them first hand, of teenagers who participated in various historical events. I'm curious, what are the texts?
     
  16. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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  17. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I agree that teaching reading is shared by ALL teachers. The skills needed to read non-fiction are different from skills needed to read fiction. Students are not going to understand the material in the text if they do not have non-fiction reading strategies. Skills like reading a map, reading a timeline, sequencing, cause and effect, main idea, are all reading skills, but very applicable to social studies.
     
  18. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Those are the books I used until last year when we switched to History Alive and Glencoe World and Its People. Spend time on the misd.net site. It will help you with your planning and you will know what you should read before school starts. I agree that if possible, read at least the first quarter material.
     
  19. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I use The American Nation for my seventh grade US History class (well, I won't anymore as I'll only be teaching LA this year). This past year, I barely worked from it at all. I found supplementary readings and used The History of Us by Joy Hakim more than any other source.
     
  20. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Wow - lot's of good advice here already! I'll third the interactive notebooks - if it were me I think I would tackle the American History class since you taught that last year, the other classes I would use a binder or something more traditional.

    If reading is such a big push at your school you might consider using some historical fiction. My LA teacher and I co-taught Crispin by Avi during the Middle Ages and great fun and learning were had by all. Also, I would seriously consider subscribing to cobblestoneonline.net - It has over twenty years of articles from Calliope, Cobblestone, and other publications that focus on American and World History. It was $35 last I checked - and your school may even have a subscription.

    A variety of readings is beneficial and conversation starting in any history class! :)
     
  21. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Trute Wig, to be honest my I do not do any textbook reading in class. We often read from other sources in class, but they do in groups or as in partners. In 6th grade the teachers are supposed to spend a good amount of time teaching reading, however this time should be limited as the students move on to 7th grade, 8th grade, etc. I am used to teaching High School and if I did those strategies with any of my students it would be a joke.By the time my kids get me in High School they should be able to read for understanding, so I do not use any of those strategies. My kids read and take notes on the readings and answer questions on them, and we discuss the material. That is the extent to which I teach reading. I have not taught 7th grade History in a while though, so maybe I will try to incorporate some of those activites with my 7th graders.
     
  22. Terrence

    Terrence Comrade

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    I may also teach world history next year (as many of you know). Luckily, my textbook comes with TONS and TONS of ideas in the margins of the T.E. It also comes with ancillary materials. A couple of them that I like are the Bring History Alive activities and the interdisciplinary activities. There are also small books that come with readings such as primary sources, graphic organizers, etc. It even comes with its own videos and PowerPoint presentations. I prefer to make my own presentations, because a lot of the slides are nothing but words on a black background. However, I there are short video clips somehow embeded on the slides that are cool, as well as interactive maps. I wish I could somehow take them off of the PPT to add them to my own.
    We aren't really supposed to read too much in class as far as the textbook goes, but I will have them read the book to do group activities as well as the internet and such. We will also read handouts as well.
     

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