HELP NOW!!! I don't know what I'm doing.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by jpablot, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. jpablot

    jpablot Rookie

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    Aug 6, 2015

    So this will be my 3rd year teaching. My first year I taught 5th grade, last year I taught 6th grade advanced reading at a different school, and now the same school (6-12th grade) wants me to teach intensive high school reading. I'm an elementary ed major so all of my work in college was with students in the k-5th grade range. The oldest I've ever taught is 6th grade which is very similar to 5th grade. What are some helpful tips that you HS teachers can give me? What are the biggest differences? What do I need to know? What do I need to do differently with room decoration? School starts in about 3 weeks so I'm a little overwhelmed with what I need to do (especially since I wanna take the GRE before the school year starts but that's another story).
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Aug 6, 2015

    What grades will your students be in? There's a big difference between freshmen and seniors. Do you know how big your classes will be? Is there a program you'll be working with? Knowing a little more will help us give you better advice.
     
  4. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Aug 6, 2015

    Years ago, I moved from middle school up to high school.

    The big difference is in high school they are far less responsive to intrinsic motivation. What motivates them are grades - whether they want to just pass, have the C average needed to play football, the B's that their parents require for the use of the car, or the A's that will get them into college. And many of them will exactly what they need to get the grade needed to accomplish their goal, and nothing less or more.

    That can make classroom management either very easy or very difficult. I told my students they got 100 participation points and they were worth a total of 5 percent of their final grade. Then all I did was give and take points based on behavior. That worked for about 80% of my students.

    Room decoration? Unless your school has some policy that all teachers must decorate their rooms, I'd say the less the better. If it's not information pertaining to the class or necessary to cover a hole in the wall, then it doesn't need to go up.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Aug 6, 2015

    If you're teaching "intensive" high school reading, then you are probably working with students who will be very unmotivated by anything you do... They probably won't care too much about grades at all.

    I taught this kind of reading class for 9 years. You need to find out what the district and campus expectations are for the class. Most likely, these are kids at severe risk for dropping out, and they have probably repeated failed the FCAT. You will need to focus on getting them to pass that test. That does NOT mean doing test prep every day... they'll shut down completely... but that does mean every lesson needs to be very focused on the skills they are lacking for that exam. If they are in this situation, you'll find that you can use a lot of your materials from middle school with these kids, just modified a bit. I basically ran a modified reading/writing workshop with just a little less freedom of choice and a little more structure (because I had to keep that test in mind every single day).

    Get your hands on their past test scores ASAP so you can start figuring out what the key weaknesses are, and find out when they are retesting. If it's like Texas, re-testers take the test in December! That doesn't give you a lot of time.

    As for room decor, I'd just do a toned down version of your current room. Leave lots of space for anchor charts and such.
     
  6. jpablot

    jpablot Rookie

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    Aug 6, 2015

    It will be 9th and 10th.
     
  7. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Aug 15, 2015

    I taught 10th right from day one (13 years ago) and got moved to 9th specifically because they wanted test scores for that group to go up. I'm now being moved back to tenth because the test has moved from 9th to 10th grade.
    I don't BS them. I tell them that my job is to help them get a good score on that test. Luckily, I feel like the switch to Common Core and the changes that has made in the test are both a step in the right direction. If they score well on that test, they have good reading skills, IMO. And it's not just literary texts. 60% of the test is now informational texts. I think high school students buy into the real world benefits of reading informational texts. Traditionally, they've probably done more with fiction in their elementary reading classes, and younger kids typically enjoy fiction more. In fact, our test results at the high school level have shown that students still do better with the literary selections than the informational, and I would guess that's because much of their reading foundation has been in fiction.
    So, I'd say make sure they have a wide sample of text types, lean a bit toward informational to make those real world connections, and be straight up with them about preparing them to be successful on that test. Make sure the coursework is just as rigorous as the test they will have to take so that they aren't sitting on high averages at the end of the term and then blow the test off because they can fail it and still pass the class.

    As for room decor, decorate it for YOU, not them. Make sure it's fairly organized, functiinal, pleasant, and comfortable for you. Put up things YOU want to look at all day. It's your room and most of them will not care. Definitely avoid anything too juvenile.
     

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