I'm lost

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by gumbita, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. gumbita

    gumbita Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2007

    My first year of teaching starts in a little more than a month. I have done no planning at all. Part of it is I am working (not as a teacher) and my husband and I are in the process of buying a house. But I don't even really know where to begin. I feel like everything I sort of learned about in my alternative certification class is completely gone from my mind. I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, and I am procrastinating because I have no idea where to begin. I do have a copy of the textbook for biology, but I may have to teach something else as well - they don't know yet. I have a piece of paper with objectives that were used last year for the first unit. And I went to Walmart to buy 100 of the 200 spiral notebooks I plan to get for what purpose, I don't know, and 8 sets of colored pencils. Some colored folders for organizing something I haven't thought of yet. (Can you tell how lost I am???? :) Discipline plan? I am currently reading Love and Logic but I must not be getting anything from it. Starting to freak out.
     
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  3. Amers

    Amers Cohort

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    Jul 19, 2007

    I understand how you feel. I've started planning, but I am still very overwhelmed by everything. What helped me get started was to type up my procedures and rules.

    What is your HW policy?
    Class rules/consequences?
    Tardy policy?
    Make-up work?

    By starting with something simple, I "refound" some of my confidance in my teaching. Maybe it will help you out too. Good luck!
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 19, 2007

    Don't freak out. I think before you actually start is the hardest. You're not sure what to anticipate, don't know the kids - you don't even know which courses, maybe.

    If the school has a student handbook and a discipline policy, try to get them. If there is a teacher handbook, get that, too.

    To begin, will you have your own room for sure? If so, you can buy or make a couple of motivational posters. Ask if there's a bulletin board.

    For the first few days of school, you may be getting different kids coming in and leaving your classes as they firm up their schedules. You could plan to do a generalized quiz to give you an idea of skills and prior knowledge. Plan how you will introduce yourself to students and how you want to explain your expectations for homework, classwork, supplies, tests and quizzes, how they should keep their notebooks. Explain your grading system.

    You really have to go with the flow in this situation. If you know your subject area, I'm sure you will do just fine. It's the waiting that could get you.

    And we all know the purpose of the 100 notebooks - they were 10 cents each. Good enough reason for me. And I still have some left from 2 years ago! LOL
     
  5. curlyone

    curlyone Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2007

    Okay, first off....TAKE A DEEP BREATH...there do you feel a little better now?

    I remember about this time three summers ago having the same anxiety attacks as you. I kept on thinking, they never told us WHAT to do on the first day, week, month of school when we were in college. Yikes!!!

    Love and Logic is a GREAT place to start, but skip to part 4 (p 308) "Classroom Solutions". From there you can figure out your expectaions and such. PM me and I will send you a copy of my syllabus. I too teach HS Science.
     
  6. kdw1913

    kdw1913 Companion

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    Jul 19, 2007

    gumbita,

    I totally understand how you feel. I am in the same boat. I hav ethe book, but I was told by the other teachers not to do lesson plans because they do them together. I am trying to think of classroom management and discipline plan, but I don't know about how the room will be arranged or what the school policies ar because they wan't be given to me until the couple of weeks before school at the prep days. I also remember the things we talked about in ACP, but for some reason, that doesn't add any comfort to the situation. There's so much goof info out there for us, but actually applying it when we don't know exactly what we're preparing for is difficult.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2007

    You're HS bio-- you've got to start to concentrate on content.

    Don't worry about getting other preps. Right now you know you're teaching at least bio, so start tomorrow to prep that.

    As soon as you can, go down to school and get a copy of the syllabus. Tomorrow would be good. If not, start anyway:

    Go to Staples tomorrow and get a binder. Come home and sit at your computer. Open the textbook to chapter 1, and start to outline. Include anything not in the textbook that you feel should be taught; have some of your college bio texts handy for reference. Keep going until you have the text outlined, or at least enough that you're comfortable.


    Hit your state ed dept website. You should be able to find the standards for HS bio. Take a look at them and compare with your outline If any seem to be missing, go over them with a highlighter and ask when school starts.

    But get started this weekend. It's like going to the dentist: if you let your fear paralyze you, it will only get worse!
     
  8. kdw1913

    kdw1913 Companion

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    Jul 19, 2007

    Thanks for the starting point, Alice. You make it sound so simple, but I think I can probably do that.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2007

    You know what they say about a journey of a thousand miles beginning with a single step :)

    (And can I send you any math 7 stuff? I taught it last year.)
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jul 20, 2007

    You have a whole month! I wouldn't worry about it too much yet. There are some of us still without jobs. Schools in the area I am looking at start in 3-4 weeks. If/when I get a job, I will have to pack all my stuff, move it across the country, unpack it all, PLUS plan all in that 3-4 weeks!
     
  11. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Jul 20, 2007

    Every year, I create a document in progress listing my ideas for procedures and rules. Begin typing and save. As ideas come up from reading this board, and they will, type them in. Before you know it, you will have everything ready to go.

    Also....get busy learning the curriculum. Map it out and plan your first few lessons. It will all fall into it's own groove once you are teaching. Good luck!! You'll love it!!
     
  12. adellesmama

    adellesmama Companion

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    Jul 20, 2007

    This will be my first year teaching also, and I think that what has helped me has been browsing through what other teachers have posted and listening to their seasoned advice. I made a Word file that I called "First Year Ideas," and every time I read something that I realize I need to think about for my own classroom or something that I think is a good idea, I type it into that file. Now I am in the process of going back through that and finishing my thoughts on each little idea. I don't know if that will help you, but I think that the other replies on here are really good advice as well.

    You're going to be fine even though it seems so crazy right now! :)
     
  13. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jul 20, 2007

    Most schools have a week or two of new teacher orientation. I sure hope yours does.
     
  14. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Jul 21, 2007

    I have the first thing for you to plan, take those 100 (well get the other 100) notebooks for an interactive notebook. I just learned about it and will be using it myself for the first time, from what I have learned it is good for Social Studies and science. It is also a great place to start orgainzing daily lessons, homework policy, major assignemtns, note taking procedures, etc. All major things you need, all in one concept.....

    see my other thread on it for more detail, the one I started, but here is a link to a great site. http://interactive-notebooks.wikispaces.com/

    I am a second year teacher, but my first year for both jobs my LTS and my contract job I was thrown in after the year started, into a class of kids and had to prep a lesson on the spot, you have time to prepare, trust me you can do this. Do the notebook idea, so far it has really helped my planning which is for three classes I haven't taught before......
     
  15. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jul 21, 2007

    I was in the same boat once as well. I had to take MANY "deep breaths", but everything went really well once I was in the room. I didn't plan a whole lot before I actually taught. I also didn't have any websites for my students to visit- or a classroom website- or much experience communicating with parents. That was fall 2004.

    An excellent resource is Harry Wong's The First Days of School. I have used that book in getting my management ready because that is something you must come up with before you see your students. Also think of how you want to conduct labs and think of a procedure that'll guide them in preparing for labs.

    Oh... you'll definitely be fine, and I wish you the best.
     
  16. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Jul 21, 2007

    I'm starting my 6 and 1/2 year.....? Anyway, because I have so many endorsement areas, I have taught 4, 5, 6, 7,and 8th. This fall I get to go back to 4th!! I will be allowed to remain there for as long as I want....we don't do year-to-year here. It's based on senoirity in the entire district and we are 600 schools! So, my point? I feel like I will finally be able to get some routines going and tweak them as the years go by and that is EXCITING!!!

    Don't expect to have it all figured out. We learn how to do things differently and better. We try things and realize they are no good. We are flexible. We'll never know it all and even when we think we do, someone else will do something that will impress us. I love teaching because it's one of the few jobs out there where you can start everything over every year if you need to!! How great is that?
     
  17. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    Jul 22, 2007

    You will be just fine, gumbita! I was hired two weeks before school started and had to plan 8th grade sci... It will be a success!

    Alice had a great point... Look at your standards. Your district should have a curriculum that you follow. What concepts do your students need to know when they leave your classroom? Make a list, and then try to backwards plan. You might see that they might need to address 6 major units in 8 months... Try to gauge from the number of standards or goals for each unit how long to spend on that unit.

    Then, start searching the web for great labs, activities, and practice problems or homework for those units! If you can even gather a handful of activities for a unit or two, you'll probably feel like you're in much better shape.

    Are there other teachers who teach the same subject as you at your school that you can confer with? They are the best resource sometimes for ideas about pacing and activities that work very well.

    Good luck!!!
     
  18. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Jul 23, 2007

    I know that horrible feeling!! You can do this!


    Aliceacc, I love how we can always count on you to stress what is so important - CONTENT!!
    Yes, I believe having your management plan and routines before school is so important and should never be overlooked. However do not underestimate how much confidence shows through when you have gone through the material and know in which direction you are headed. As other posters have said - you can do this! Teachers pull through with 1 week's notice; some with 1 day's notice! But you have the time now to really dig in and feel like you've made some headway.

    I know that horrible feeling of not knowing where to start. Like there must be some magic key that you're missing and if only you had it, you would know where to begin and what to plan. When in doubt, start with the most logical step: Chapter 1.

    That horrible feeling will start to slip away and you'll start to feel nervous, but you'll know that your in the right direction. Good luck!!
     
  19. gumbita

    gumbita Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2007

    thanks so much for the advice, you guys!!!! :)
     
  20. missenthusiasm

    missenthusiasm Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2007

    I know how you feel. I have taught kindergarten and now am entering a job teaching 4th grade. I don't know where to start either. I don't know how much homework to give or how to start and find out what they know. I really feel like I need someone to map out some general goals for each month or something like that. Do I read them a chapter and then discuss it and then give them a test? How can I make the learning fun? Does any of this sound like what you're wondering about?
     
  21. missenthusiasm

    missenthusiasm Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2007

    I'm teaching 4th grade for the first time. I haven't taught anything above 2nd grade and I feel lost. I am nervous about impressing the principal and the Board. They seem to be very particular but professional which is what I'm looking forward to. What do the orientations usually involve? I've taught in a small rural school which didn't really have an orientation.
     
  22. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jul 24, 2007

    The orientation will cover whatever the district thinks is important for you to know. They will have done this many times for all new teachers, so they know what you need to know. It will propably cover things like policies--computer use, payroll, calling in sick, where to park, breaks, phone use, etc.

    It might cover how to get your kids to the lunch room, where are the keys to the janitor closet, how to use the copy machine. All that kind of welcome to this building stuff.

    And they might even feed you lunch.


    Good Luck.
     
  23. LisaCUP2001

    LisaCUP2001 Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I feel the same way! This is my second year and it's a totally new grade level...so i'm lost with you...:help:

    the advice that i have which may not be much...is think of your schedule and procedures before you figure out organizing stuff...that comes along with having you procedures down and your schedule. And since your high school your daily schedule is pretty much made for you...but your CLASS TIME SCHEDULE as to when your going to do this and the next thing will help you more to think about what you need to organize this and make it easier on you!

    good luck!:)
     
  24. bridge

    bridge Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2007

    For those of you who will be teaching middle school, Rick Wormeli's book, Day One & Beyond: Practical Matters for New Middle-Level Teachers might be reassuring. I realize we don't have much time before school starts, but he has some wonderful, practical helps in this book.
    Good luck, all!!!
     
  25. missenthusiasm

    missenthusiasm Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I have 4th grade this year. What do you mean by "procedures"?
    missenthusiasm
     
  26. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Jul 28, 2007

    When I think of procedures, I think of everything and anything that helps keep your classroom moving like clockwork. It includes any set of directions that you do not want to repeat 14,000 times, including:

    When to/when not to sharpen pencils?
    When Can they go to the bathroom?
    How should they tell you that they need help on something?
    What should they do when they are finished with their work?
    Where should they put finished work?
    How does the classroom library work?
    Where should we put homework?
    What happens with late work?
    How should a straight line look in the hallway?
    What do they need to do first thing when they walk in the classroom each morning?
    What must they do each day before they leave?

    Theres a million things when you think about it, but teaching how you want these things done, and modeling and reviewing often those first few weeks will save you lots of aggravation in the long run!
    Read The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemary Wong. They have a whole section devoted to rules, procedures and the difference between the 2.
     
  27. stardust5

    stardust5 New Member

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    Jul 30, 2007

    there are many of us with you ....

    i too am a bit nervous! i did all of my student teaching in 8th grade and now have been hired to teach 5th! i'm not used to the elementary school environment - i've been in hormone central! any advise for someone who's new to the lower grades? it's not self-contained, but individual periods of science. :love:
     
  28. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Jul 30, 2007

    5th will be so much fun! They are old enough to work independently and in groups but still young enough to want to please the teacher!! And they don't come with the added problem of raging hormones...just an occasional stinky armpit!! LOL:lol:
     
  29. newACPtxteach

    newACPtxteach Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2007

    talk about sharing feelings

    I too am teaching HS science for the first time and also went through an AC program. It's like all the information went in one ear and out the other-the advice yall gave is great. It's just still very overwhelming. I love how I am not the only one who is scared that someone will come in and be lilke-why is she teaching, she needs to go...hehe. I thought I was the only one.

    I actually have a colleague who is the most organized, OCD person I have ever met-but they gave me all their everything-lesson plans, worksheets, rules & reg, procedures, you name it I have it-but I still don't know how to start.

    Should I print out all the powerpoints slide by slide and practice the first few lessons? What do ya'll put in your notebooks? Also, we have block scheduling (A day B day) and how do you deal with this effectively? I am afraid one class will get really behind versus another class...

    Thanks for all the great info!
     
  30. Fish-4-Life

    Fish-4-Life New Member

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    Jul 30, 2007

    I too am finding myself in the boat of trying to do things to prepare for my first year, but thinking that perhaps I'm focusing on the cutesy things and not the overall picture. Any advice from the seasoned veterans? I will be teaching 1st Grade Social Studies and Writing and have a copy of the TE's along with the objectives, but don't have a clue as to how to begin writing fantastic lesson plans.

    How much money should I be spending on making sure that my classroom is well stocked? I did student teaching in a suburban district where we never ran out of supplies. However, I will be teaching in a low income area and am not expecting my children to be that well prepared during the year. Low expectations already? Help please! :)
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 31, 2007


    Hang in there... it WILL get easier!

    I don't do powerpoints; my notes go up on the board, class by class. But from what I've seen of my colleague's use, here's what I suggest you do:

    Hit Staples and buy a 2" notebook-- a different color for each different course you teach. This is for your notes. Outline every single detail you want to teach... not the scripted words you'll use, but every thing you want the kids to know. (So not "meiosis/mitosis" but each detail of how each one works.) That way you'll ever run the risk of standing in front of a room full of kids and forgetting what you wanted to cover next, or of what to do when the material ends before the class ( you just keep teaching till the bell rings!) Start that today-- you'll be surprised at how easily it flows once you get started.

    The notes you put up for the kids will be MUCH less detailed. You'll want a very basic outline, with the kids filling in the additional material as you explain it. (Otherwise, if all the info is up on the screen, why should they bother listening to you??)

    Then try to break the material into manageable chunks. If that colleague is as helpful as I suspect, ask to borrow her plan book from last year and xerox it. It won't be an exact guide to planning, but it will help a lot! Remember to schedule enough tests: you'll want at least 2 before those first progress grades go out ( ours fall about 6 weeks in. I test every 2 weeks, regardless of what I've covered.) Also, I find that lots of short quizzes help a lot.

    Very often, one class does get behind another class... that first fire drill is almost a guarentee!!! But you find ways to slow them down a little and hurry the slower class-- it will work itself out once you get started.
     
  32. newACPtxteach

    newACPtxteach Rookie

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    Jul 31, 2007

    How do you stay organized as well? I hate to admit this, but I am not very organized-clutter will eventually rule if I don't start out right....so how do you organize your desk/folders? Do you have a different folder for each period and for each different category (graded papers/worksheets/what not)? We have an amazing supply of things to use (the green hanging file folders with manilla folders to seperate & a big desk) I just don't want to start organizing and label things & it be completely wrong. I was thinking of making a green section (hanging file) for each period and then seperate manilla folders inside for the diff categories? Any other suggestions? Yall are so helpful thank you so much!
     
  33. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 31, 2007

    I use a vertical file that lives on my desk. Each class has its own color, as does my homeroom. I have a matching set of files that live in my briefcase.

    As I grade each set of quizzes or tests, they go into the folder in my briefcase. The first chance I get, they get transferred into the file on my desk. If anyone is absent when I pass papers back, the extras go into his or her class file. Likewise, when I pass out a worksheet or something similar (or stuff goes out in HR), the absentee name is written on it and it goes into the file.

    I don't need different files within each class, but if you do, consider a set of folders for each class, each one labeled. So, for example, you can have a red "to be returned" file and a red "something else" file each for 1st period, then the same in blue for 2nd.

    Since we all share classes, any teachers that also teach in my HR are welcome to share the vertical file :)
     
  34. missenthusiasm

    missenthusiasm Rookie

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    Jul 31, 2007

    Thanks for the questions. I hadn't thought about all those and how I would address them with 4th graders.
    Now I have another question...what kind of reinforcement for good behavior do you use or what kind of discipline plan do you use?
    Thanks for all the info!!:rolleyes:
     
  35. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Aug 1, 2007

    This is what I use for my first graders. (I think that they apply to 4th grade, too, but of course, you and other fourth grade teachers can be the judge of that.)
    I have 3 rules:
    *We raise our hands and wait for permission to speak.
    *We listen respectfully while other are speaking. (This applies to anyone, not just teachers.)
    *We follow directions the first time a teacher gives them.

    Almost everything else falls under the category of procedures. Generally, there are consequences/rewards for rules that are broken, but procedures do not. Procedures are "the way things are done" in your room.
    In terms of reinforcement/discipline plan, I've really shifted in terms of what I feel is effective management/discipline in my room. I tried to give out stop light warnings, marbles in jars, punches on punch cards, I've tried the works. Honestly, So much goes on in a classroom, I couldn't keep track of it all! Who had verbal warnings, who didnt, what consequence were they up to now... I know it works very well for some teachers, it wasn't for me, though. The part that frustrated me the most was that I didnt feel that I was making any headway with the behavior. I couldn't be consistant with those systems, and inconsistency is a HUGE problem.

    Want to know what did work for me? Something that is NOT complicated, something that does NOT require multiple warnings before there are consequences, something that the child learns responsibilty from: NATURAL CONSEQUENCES.
    ex:
    if you don't raise your hand, I can't call on you.
    If you take some one else's turn, you lose your next turn. (after all, you already used your turn!)
    If you don't do your homework you will make it up during your free time.

    Kids start picking up on the pattern and they start noticing that "it's fair" and that "it makes sense". It's good for them to recognize this. When they need to solve a problem even outside of class, they will start asking themselves... What makes sense? What will happen if I choose A? What will happen if I choose B?

    Of course, I still like giving punch cards for things that I notice they are doing really well... An excellent question, going out of your way to help someone. You can always be spontaneous about giveing "rewards". But you cannot be spontaneous about consequences/punishments. You must be consistent, otherwise the kids will test you to see: "if I try it this time, will she punish me?"

    I know that this is loomg, but I hope it answers your question somewhat.
     
  36. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Aug 1, 2007

    BTW, my previous post was not to knock those other systems. They work for many teachers. The key to whatever "system" you choose is CONSISTENCY. You must be able to follow through with whatever you decide on.
     
  37. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Aug 1, 2007

    Hi,
    Just wanted you to know I am also jumping way up..
    from pre-K to 4th. Lets keep our confidence up and boost
    each other's self esteem. This is what we wanted.
    We can do this!
     
  38. LisaCUP2001

    LisaCUP2001 Rookie

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    Aug 3, 2007

    by procedures i mean like what to do with the simplest things that you normally wouldn't think of but become a big problem if you dont have them and aren't sticking to them. like bathroom procedures..when can they go..how many times a day can they go..how do you keep track?
    file work..where do they put their hw? where are they supposed to put papers when finished?
    attendance...how are you going to complete this without taking up so much time...same with lunch count?
    computer work...when can they work on Accelerated Reader or Accelerated Math? or any other programs that you have?
    What time are you going to have centers or individual work vs. whole group instruction? is the time split between the two good?
    What's your homework policy? how do the parents know what the homework is?
    what is your policy for dis.? how are you going to track that?


    just the day to day stuff that needs to get done but you don't think that hard about it because it's not the actual "content" your teaching them. Things you need to think about in advance because they can really sneak up on you.

    i know i just wrote a whole lot about it...and this is all stuff that keeps poppin up in my head while i'm thinking about this year! its stuff that i need to change from last year!! :woot: :(
     
  39. LisaCUP2001

    LisaCUP2001 Rookie

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    Aug 3, 2007

    My behavior plan last year which was 1st grade was like this:

    they had stars with each one of their names on it with a magnet on the back. I had 4 levels: Excellent (Blue), Good (Green), Stop and Think (Yellow), Office Time, Call home etc. (Red).

    They all started a green at the beginning of each day. They get one warning before stars started getting moved. After their warning if they didn't correct what they were warned about they moved their star to yellow. if the behavior continued they moved to red. Yellow was a five min timeout from recess...or they had to walk 2 laps around the track at the school because you can't really take off recess time. Red was 10 min or 5 laps around the track.

    on the other hand you always have students who you never have the reinforce good behavior with...they are just always wonderful. so they would move up to blue by the end of the day because otherwise their star would never move and that's not very fair!

    if they ended on blue they got a treat at the end of the day. at the end of the week whoever had all blues or all greens or a combo of both got a treat as well.

    depending on how bad the behavior was they went to the office or called mom or dad right away.

    the only problem with this for 4th grade is these kids couldn't really care less about what color they are on at the end of the day! it's more of a primary grade deal than upper elementary.

    regardless of what grade..you have to have a set of rules that are CONSTANTLY followed. dont let up even ONCE on the rules!! they will catch it and put you in a bad situation!!
     
  40. missenthusiasm

    missenthusiasm Rookie

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    Aug 3, 2007

    So will you tell me how you handle discipline and how many times they can go to the bathroom and how you handle homework, etc?
    :hugs:
    missenthusiasm
     
  41. missenthusiasm

    missenthusiasm Rookie

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    Aug 3, 2007

    Boy am I glad you responded. I can't believe that there's somebody out there in the same boat!:lol: Yes, definately keep me posted and I'll do the same.
    Thanks!
    missenthusiasm
     

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