I must be lousy at teaching 5th grade...

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by Peachyness, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Today is a good example:
    We read a science lesson on compounds. We talked about, I gave tons of examples, we talked quite a bit about salt and water. Okay, lesson was over. We were ready to start our assignment. I quickly asked, "So, what does compound mean?" Hoping everyone would say, "it's when you combine two or more elements!"

    ...nope.... they just sat there, staring at me, as if I asked them a question in a foreign language.

    Then, we started the assignment, and OH BOY!!! Sob.

    I'm starting to think that fifth isn't for me. I need to go back to kinder.
     
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  3. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Don't say that- It usually takes mine a day or so for it to sink in. I usually do a quick review of the previous day each day.

    Try teaching asexual and sexual reproduction the second week of school. Awkward!!
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I'd say that is pretty typical. Unfortunately. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Even in 5th grade.
     
  5. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Yes, I suppose. But, that's just ONE example. It seems that nothing has really gone right since I started. Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. One thing that keeps happening to me is that I keep losing importnat papers right when I need them. One problem is that it's a new class and I haven't really figured where things will go. Sigh.... plus, I was just going through their grades, and there are so many kids who are missing assignments. I put the name of the assignment on the board and their numbers, but that hasn't quite work. Many don't seem to care. Okay, my stomache hurts. I'm going to shower and then to bed. Thank goodness it's Friday!
     
  6. Mrs.Rhinochunks

    Mrs.Rhinochunks Companion

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    Have you heard of Think, Ink, Pair, Share?

    Have your kids get out their slates or a piece of paper...
    ask them the question, then ask them to write their answer down, then compare their answer with a neighbor and then ask for volunteers to share their answers.

    This requires active participation.
     
  7. Deeena

    Deeena Cohort

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    Peachy,

    I'm right there with you as far as feeling like I'm not teaching the class well. To be honest, if I had to take a test on the content I'm supposed to teach them, I would probably not do too well myself! Sometimes I wonder how I'm supposed to teach my students when I have to re-study some of the curriculum myself! One thing that seems to go well with my class when I teach a lesson is doing lots of group activities, hands on things, group discussions, and visuals. I find that my kids learn a lot from each other. I'm sure you are being very hard on yourself though. You helped me out so much last year when I was doing kinder and I know from our conversations that you are a very hard worker. School hasn't been in session that long and I know that once things get going you will have a system and a style of teaching that will work well for you and your students.
     
  8. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Oh, I do lots of group work. Those are my favorite ones!

    Well, I've analyzed how my lesson went today, and what I plan to do is this group acitivty (can't remember the name!) where you give a group a passage to read. They become experts and must create a poster (or some sort of art project) and teach it to the class.

    So... I'm going to try that tomorrow with our next lesson. I'll give them a paragraph or two. Then, I'm thinking, later on, I'll give each group a whole lesson (they're not too long) and have them work together to come up with activities to teach to the class. Now, these are just ideas.



    I do use white boards during math. I don't have them share the answer though. They just hold it up. BUT, I will try think ink share pair. I do like that!

    Anymore ideas, send them my way! :D
     
  9. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    That's how I feel too. I am always joking how I never needed to teach compounds and elements in kinder, or what exactly sulfur is. "Good morning kindergartners. Today, we will learn what elements we need to make salt"

    Yes, so I also feel that way. What's annoying is that I am the one who will probably move next year (we have 3 5ths and next year, we only need 2 5ths). So, even after this year, I will have to relearn a whole new curriculum. Sigh....
     
  10. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Something that has worked for me this year...

    I collect hw at the start of every day. While the kids are unpacking & getting settled, I check through each assignment, and write down the missing kids on a post it and put it on the front of the assignment (takes about 1-2 min per assignment). I then call on each student to come & see me and either they go get the assignment- or they flip a card for not being prepared, and they fill out a slip saying why they flipped the card.

    That is going to save my tush when parent conference time comes. I already had a parent last night at open house who couldn't believe her child had missing assignments (usually wouldn't bring it up on open house, but haven't been able to get in touch with her). I brought out the slips the child filled out- and it sealed that he hasn't been doing his work.
     
  11. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Don't be too hard on yourself. My 5th graders are like this for the first 4-6 weeks of the year. It drives me nuts. I can give the same intructions 4 times and still have half of the class do the assignment incorrectly. It does get better though. It's not just you and it's not necessarily permanent.

    I have had trouble keeping track of late work in the past too. The system I have come up with is to 1) have kids record missing assignment and their name in a notebook on my desk) fill out a carbonless note that I sign. They keep the white copy, I put the yellow one in a file folder. 3) The next day I go through my file and look to see who has missing work, call them up to my desk, and take things from there. The notebook is backup in case parents call. I also post all assignments on the front board. Each night I copy down what I posted. If a student was absent I make a note of it on the copied assignments for the day so what I need from them.
     
  12. 4myclass

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    Peachy, I know that I am not smarter than a 5th grader.

    I can't seem to get them to understand the math. They just keep saying "I don't get it". Well sometimes, I don't either. I hate the way our book explains things. It's horrid.
    None of my students even seem to try. I spend my whole day running around helping out all 27 students.

    I would love to have groups, but the times I tried, it was kaos (excuse my spelling). I have those old desks that are one piece and open on one side. No way to move them into groups. My room is also wall to wall desks. There is no room on the floor for them to sit together. Let me tell you, indoor recess was a nightmare.

    I feel your pain. I have cried so many tears. I miss my Pre-k class so much. I miss fingerpainting and singing cute songs.
    I already am planning on looking for another early childhood position for next year.
     
  13. 123456

    123456 Rookie

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    5th grade Science and some of the math seems to be above the students comprehension level! I have to relate it to simpler thinks, when I teach compounds in science, I tell them to remember compound words, so they know its 2. For elements, they write it like this e1ement (the l is a #1 so they know it's one) Then they can remember the definitions easier.
    Does anyone have ideas that have worked for 5th grade math to help kids score better on the FCAT? The text book is too much to fit in by the time we have the test in early March. Sue
     
  14. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Well, today went a bit better. One main problem is that our school is undergoing modernization and things are just crazy! We don't have clocks that work, we don't have whiteboards, we don't have a bell system, my phone doesn't work, my intercome doesn't work, my overhead projector light went out, and now, our water is contaminated and all water has been turned off! We are all sick from the water, ugh!!!!!


    Okay, but, I'm feeling better. We will get through this!! :D
     
  15. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Oh that is great for those quiet classes! I'll have to save it for if I ever get another job.
     
  16. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    OH YUCK YUCK AND DOUBLE YUCK!!!!!!
     
  17. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    NO wonder! Jeeze, sounds likes more of this is issues with the school, not your teaching. Stick with it, keep working with the kids, and give them lots of hands on time. You will catch on!:)
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I know what you mean, Peachyness, about them not caring and just not getting it. My class last year didn't even seem able to recognize when I was giving a lesson. They were focusing everywhere else. Then, when it was time for them to work independently, they gave me the "I don't get it..." I had to be very explicit - "This is the lesson. I am teaching new material right now. If you miss it, you won't know what to do. I need all eyes facing me and all ears listening. When I am done, you will work in your workbooks and show me what you learned. The time for me to help you is right now, though, not when you work by yourself." Hard to believe that you'd have to do that with 5th graders.

    This year I have 3rd graders and I'm not letting them get away with it. They looked utterly shocked when I gave them a similar spiel. They are used to manipulating the teacher into doing everything with them so that they don't have to be responsible. It is ridiculous.
     
  19. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Hmmm... that's a good idea. I'll have to borrow that little speech of yours.
     
  20. MollyT

    MollyT Companion

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    I remember when we were learning this at school. Teacher asked what is the opposite of sexual?

    I put up my hand and said bisexual. - Everyone laughed!:unsure:

    I DID learn something that day - mayby not what the teacher intended tho.

    (I know its off topic, but its a fun memory :lol:)
     
  21. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    :rofl: I love it!
     
  22. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    NO, don't think that. I get that look in some of my classes, and sometimes, the students are a little afraid to contribute back at first. I LOVE the upper students, yet I know there are some who don't listen the first or even the second time around. It comes to them later. It is certainly not our faults- and if we especially varied the way in which we taught it- kinesthetically, visually, and auditorally. Yet sometimes we must present facts faster and lose out on time to REALLY PRESENT a concept.

    You've done an INCREDIBLE job preparing. Don't lose hope. :hugs:
     
  23. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    p.s. I didn't learn about cells until 8th/9th grade- and finally, the instruction about cells has trickled down to 4th!

    I also get frustrated @ times because I am a pick for enrichment/Gifted/very brilliant kids as well as kids who need the extra assistance because I'm patient. So I always get the greatest range in my room. It challenges me, and I like it very much, yet... I'm also thinking, "Whoa, Nelly!!!!!!!!" When I teach, I have to teach 90 different ways- before I know everyone is confident AND I haven't bored the Gifted kids out of their minds.
     
  24. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Here's another recent example at how lousy I am...

    We don't have whiteboards right. And I can't use the temporary ones that they supplied us because we have to use water to clean the board. Well, since all of our water has been shut off, I can't use the white board anymore. SO...


    I was doing a lesson in math on where to put commas in a long sting of numbers, and how to translate that number into words. For example,
    1234567890
    = 1,234,567,890
    = one billion, two hundred thirty four million, etc.....

    SO.... because I had no white board, I did this example on one of those small student white boards. I held it upside down and write my example out. I taught kinder, so I'm used to doing things upside down BUT I'm not used to doing those commas. I put the commas in the wrong spot and I couldn't figure out why my answer wasn't the same as in the book until I realized that the commas were wrong. SIGH!!! I told them to please be patient with me. That I only had to go up to the hundreds place in kinder and that I don't have a white board. They ask me almost everday when will we get our whiteboards. It's so hard to teach without one!
     
  25. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    You know what, you're a great teacher! You are teaching in a room with nothing in it. The kids are learning even if you think they aren't. And you are making mistakes! Which all great teachers DO!
     
  26. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    do you have access to a laminator (or an office max)? you could laminate some large chart paper or butcher paper and secure it somewhere. i made my word wall out of laminated butcher paper and as long as you use a good quality dry erase marker it wipes off easily with a cloth or eraser.
     
  27. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Oh! Of course! We do have a laminator. Although, we don't have much. But that is a good idea.
     
  28. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Yes, but I'm making SO MANY mistakes. I feel bad. I feel like apologizing to them about how rotten I've been doing.

    Don't get me wrong, though. I do enjoy teaching fifth grade. It's fun and different. It's just, so new and I don't know what I'm doing. :D
     
  29. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    You can get chart sized white board veneer at office supply stores. You can cut it up into smaller pieces, too.
     
  30. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I feel like that with kindergarten right now. Like I'm swimming really hard to keep up. I think I got used to doing all the different grades and working individually with students and now I'm having a hard time not individualizing for 17 students!
     
  31. MollyT

    MollyT Companion

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    Sep 9, 2007

    I was teaching the time/clocks to my class of grade 2 and 3s recently. Like you I was doin an upside down demo with a large display clock. I also had a support teacher in the room with me.

    I spent about 10 minutes going through the whole demo about which hand was which when the support teacher pointed out I had got it the wrong way around - I had said the long hand was the hour hand and the short hand was the minute hand. :whistle:

    I had to tell the kids I got it wrong and to forget everhthing I just said, throw out the lesson and do something completely different. I had to wait until the next day to redo the lesson, hoping they had forgotten everything I had said.

    Just like you, I am a good teacher who sometimes makes the odd mistake. Believe it or not, they have now learned to tell the time. :rolleyes:
     
  32. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    And how about when the kids, themselves, correct you? Humbling, but it will happen. I'm actually glad that just about every year there is one super bright, organized, responsible kid who can be relied upon to remind me of things I forget ('Remember you said we could have one extra day for the book reports because of the holiday on Monday?') I have a terrible memory.
     
  33. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    If kids catch me make a mistake, they get a table point... since i'm constantly switching back and forth between languages, i often forget that I color-code all English black and all Spanish blue. they remind me about THAT distinction almost daily!
     
  34. newtoschool

    newtoschool Rookie

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    Peachyness, my 5th graders are the same way. On top of them beign really imature and babied in fourth to not quite picking up the fact that they have to grow the heck up. It is a very challenging grade, it is not just you!
     
  35. Mllezoe

    Mllezoe Rookie

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    Oh my god, thank goodness for this site. I just started my first teaching job (5th grade) three weeks ago and today is the second day I've come home in tears. My kids are really, really spoiled (uber rich area, rich parents, etc.) and have SO MUCH ATTITUDE. Plus, I was hired ONE DAY before school started and I cannot seem to keep up. I am usually SO organized. Now? I am inundated with papers and EVERYTHING is off - my memory, my lessons, my timing, my pacing. I have the class from HELL too - they are sooooooooooo difficult to manage. Incentives don't seem to work for them, nor do threats of discipline. I want to quit. I feel like the biggest moron in the universe. I used to teach jr. college and it was a piece of cake compared to these kids. They all act like they have somewhere better to be; I told them today their job in life was to come to school - I mean, they are so arrogant!!!! I went from teaching the poorest kids in a gang-ridden school in student teaching to these rich brats. I'm so sorry to vent this much.

    Also, I am NOT confident about math - and teaching it is sooooo hard for me. Even if I understand it, so many of them don't seem to get it. Even though this is the beginning of the third week, it's literally only my 6th day of teaching. I knew it would be hard, but I didn't know I'd be this miserable. : ( I really hope it gets better. I am reading Fred Jones' book every night trying to think of ways to manage the really bad kids in a better way. And yes, being corrected by 5th graders feels SOOOOO good! Ha!
     
  36. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I promise that you are not a bad teacher. 5th grade is really difficult because the kids just really don't listen. It kind of goes in one ear and out the other. I find I have to repeat myself daily if I want them to understand a basic idea. My kids would stare at me also if I taught compounds and then asked them about it. They just don't really listen. So, after I teach something I have them to an activity where they can use their books and maybe learn it themselves.

    Also, I make many mistakes everyday! In every worksheet I make I have a mistake. I felt bad at first but then I realized with all that teachers go through we are bound to make mistakes because I am never just concentrating on one thing.

    For example, I told them everyday that their morning work has to be a paragraph. They repeated it to me everyday. 90% of my class wrote one sentence for each one when I checked it. That's 5th grade!

    You might want to do following directions activities with them. It helps them see how important listening is. There are some fun ones online
     
  37. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Mllezoe, I know you feel disheartened, but hang in there. My first year of teaching was in 5th grade and I never wanted to go back again, but when it came time to look for another job, the good Lord threw me right back in another 5th grade classroom. I love it now-wouldn't change grades for the world. There is A LOT of maturing that happens between September and May. You won't know them come spring, but the growing pains are difficult. Some of them will adjust quickly, others must been brought to reality kicking and screaming. IF you are looking for classroom management techniques, check out Jim Fay's Love & Logic as well. I love it. The suggestions are practical and L&L complements many other discipline cycles/theories/programs. It is the nuts and bolts of teaching responsibility in a way that makes the kids think and learn how to solve problems in a way that does not make life difficult for others. Can't say I've ever taught wealthy kids so I can't help you with that. Sorry.
     
  38. teacherSMK

    teacherSMK Habitué

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    Happened to me today. I told my students that they had til next monday (9/17) to turn in the summaries of the current books they are in, but I had the due date as 9/12 in my plan book today, I started asking for them to be turned in to my desk, and they all started panicking. Well, needless to say, it came back to them, and they reminded me, and I apologized. This is why I should buy stocks in the post-it note company, b/c I seriously have the worst short term memory! This kinda stuff happens to me all the time!:whistle:
     
  39. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Sep 12, 2007

    Always remember that tomorrow is a brand new day. When I was in my first student teaching round, I was teaching kinder, 1, 2, and 3 Phys Ed. ALL IN THE SAME ROOM AT THE SAME TIME!!!! It was like a birthday party, and to make matters worse, it was a 80 minute gym period, 3 times a week.

    I felt like I was going to die, but I kept my cool. My University prof suggested that I should choose a different career, but I said "no help me get the vision... and I'm now teaching 5/6 with 29 kids in a portable with 4 IEP's kids, 8 that need IEP's and 2 boys with autism 2 years later.

    Everything will work out, the kids need to communicate with you more, try an exit sheet, where at the end of the morning, right before lunch, they write 1 sentence to describe what the morning was like for them. then they do it again at the end of the day. If all the kids say "I hate school, and blah blah blah" then we have an issue, but if you have 10% that complain, and 90% that say something positive, then you're doing fine.

    Relax and take a deep breath. Get the students to offer their ideas on the board, or chart paper, or overhead sheet. If you explain the information in steps as well, you will have less "deer in headlights, or helpless handraisers"

    Say See Do or Listen - Watch - Try.

    Try step 1 blah blah blah...
    Now you try,

    Step 2 blah blah blah...
    now you try...

    I'm a little tired tonight, but I'll think of some more examples or ideas when I can.

    Good luck Peach.
    Mr. Skinner :D
     
  40. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Sep 12, 2007

    This will be the hardest thing you will face this year, and it all starts with this statement:

    The student's level of effort is determined by the sloppiest piece of work you accept.

    If you ask for a paragraph, do NOT accept a sentence!

    Say this to your class.

    IF you walk into a skateboarding shop and paid for a skateboard deck, trucks, and wheels, and all you get is grip tape, how would you feel. (cheated, robbed, angry, etc.)

    If I ask you for a paragraph, and all I get is a sentence from you, I feel the same way.

    This is not acceptable work from "X" graders.

    Do Not go back on your expectations.

    Good luck,
    Mr. Skinner :D
     
  41. FirstYear

    FirstYear Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2007

    I am new to teaching this year and I am teaching 5th grade as well. It's pretty foreign to me too, other than subbing experience. I have found the best way for me to get my kids to participate is to think-pair share first too. Sometimes I even just say come up with an answer or definition with your group. I think it's easier for them to have that processing time first and bounce ideas off each other before feeling confident in sharing. I always get the same 4 kids wanting to answer if I don't do that as well and I want to hear from everyone.

    When they are really snoozing on me I make jokes about not being able to get them to participate. Little silly pep talks about needing their help and such.

    I'm sure you are doing a great job. The beginning of the year is so hard as it is. It will get better as you learn what works for you and your students.
     

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