Lotsa questions...

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by applejax544, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. applejax544

    applejax544 Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2009

    Hi 5th grade teachers...I have quite a few questions!

    First, what does your reading block look like? Our district doesn't really enforce using the anthology; in fact, no one uses it. It's wonderful that we have the freedom to teach how we want, but overwhelming at the same time. What resources do you use for minilessons? Most of our teaching is done through novels. Any thoughts? What do you do for guided reading? We only have an hour and a half for reading and writing each day...it stinks. Do you use reading response journals??

    Also, do any of you use centers? I've tried in previous years, but I get bogged down in checking student worksheets. Any alternative ideas? One old-school teacher used to bring in old items - VCRs, phones, etc. - for kids to take apart as a center. I thought it was a great idea, but I can see how it might get out of hand quickly. Any ideas on centers?

    How do you incorporate fluency into your room? We use Read Naturally for kids who need reading support. Do you use it with your entire class?

    What kind of discipline/consequence system do you use? Do you have a set of rules for kids to follow with set consequences if they are broken? Or, is it more general (ex: "Be respectful of others" vs. "Raise your hand") What has worked for you?

    Thanks in advance for your input!!!
     
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  3. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2009

    Is this your first year to teach 5th grade?

    This will be my 5th and I have learned a lot. They are completely different 1st semester compared to 2nd semester. When you get back from Christmas they all of sudden want lots of independance and want to be treated like middle schoolers.

    On the centers, I do them. One question, How does taking apart VHS and telephones learning? That might work with prek or K to help with discover, but by this age they are way past that. Always fill your time with things that will help them improve their skills.

    I do centers in a bag. I came up with this when my kids were having a hard times with rotations, but I still wanted them to do centers. I put a list of all 5 centers that we are doing on a paper. I then color code the centers. So let's say they are looking at the list and we are on center 1. It will say Center 1 and will say pink by it. They must pull the pink center from the bag and do it for 8 minutes. Then when the timer goes off they look at me and I have cue cards on what they are to do. Then the timer starts and they go to the next center. I will have all of this explained on my website with pics by tomorrow evening. www.superfunmath.com.

    Disicpline- make it fit the crime. If they waster paper, have them help the recycling program (if you have one) one morning before school. By 5th grade your kids that get in the most trouble don't care if they get sent to the office. They don't want their free time taken away.

    I don't teach reading, but I know that it should be done with the whole class. Also, do math fluency. They really need that as well.

    Good luck this year. I am excited that you are teaching 5th. I love it!
     
  4. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2009

    On centers, I don't do a lot of worksheets. I do lots of hands on. I may use dice, dominoes, playing cards, etc. I am constantly monitoring, even if I am at a small group, I constantly am watching to make sure kids are doing what they are suppose to. My principal says I have eyes on the top of my head. I will be with a student with my head down and can tell when a kid is off task and will redirect them while still staying on task with the student I am working with. Makes me laugh. I bet I look like a nut.:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
     
  5. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    Jul 6, 2009

    I do centers. I use the computer a lot, for skill review or listening centers. I also found folder centers that I have the kids complete. They are hands on and self-checking. They love them. Once in while I do have them complete a worksheet if it's a skill that I really see a need. Usually those are reviews of a writing skill.
     
  6. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Jul 6, 2009

    I do Readers workshop in the morning and Writers workshop in the afternoon. We are departmentalized so it works with scheduling. (I also have three periods of S.S. classes in between so I incorporate a lot of Power points, web quests, readers theater, foldables, and small group collaboration to keep everyone engaged in S.S.)

    With Readers Workshop, I start each morning with a brief mini-lesson, have students respond through discussion, then send them off to do Individualized Reading Tasks independently, in pairs, or in small collaborative groups. At the end of the period, we share (debrief). The students come to expect this routine and so it keeps them on task and keeps the classroom managed.
    I am available during their IRT time for conferencing. I walk around, jot down notes, and redirect as needed. BTW...although I do my mini-lessons with an ongoing read aloud novel, students read selections in their Basals and from out classroom library. Basals have to be used at my school so I just make sure that they are reading those selections and applying the Reading skills and strategies I teach them during my mini-lessons using my novel. (Hope that's not too confusing!)

    My Writers Workshop is based on Lucy Caulkins (sp?) and begins daily with a mini-lesson as well. We keep it very brief then they go off on their own to do their writing. Each child has a pocket with either a green (writing/editing process), yellow (illustrating process), or red (publishing/sharing process) pice of paper sticking out the top. Children must switch out their color papers as they move through their writing process. They are to attach the corresponding rubric for finished pieces and staple it into their Writers Notebook. Rubrics are kept on our writing center table along with strips of color paper for their pockets. All work is kept in their Writers Notebook and I collect notebooks on a rotating schedule so I don't get overloaded.
    We have set rules for both our Readers and Writers Workshops based on mutual respect and patience. Each Writers Workshop ends with a sharing time where students can share finished pieces or even new ideas. They can also discuss any concerns that come up during their writing.
     
  7. 4inteacher

    4inteacher Rookie

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    Jul 7, 2009

    Our school has a school-wide set of expectations that are posted in every classroom. On top of that, I have the 5 power teaching rules. My consequences are titled on the side of the board and kids start at the top and move down (warning--remove from the group and copy the expectations--remove from the group, copy the expectations, and write a reflection--parent phone call--after school detention--parent-teacher conference--principle's office)

    I have a behavior notebook with one log sheet per student. It is all coordinated by numbers (behaviors and consequences). The key is copied on the back of each log in case I have to turn it in to the office. This way I don't have to write it all out every time, but I still have a record of poor behavior.
     
  8. applejax544

    applejax544 Rookie

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    Jul 7, 2009

    Thanks so much for all of your input!
    I was thinking about trying the PowerTeaching rules...I have much to read before September.

    4inteacher, I also really like your logbook and consequence ideas...How does it work with extra difficult students? Also, do you use the Teacher/Student scoreboard from power teaching? THanks!!!
    Jackie
     
  9. 4inteacher

    4inteacher Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2009

    It works the same with extra-difficult students. Maybe I'm not sure what you're asking. All of my students (even the especially difficult) would really break down if they got after school detention, so when they got close to that consequence, I would remind them of it constantly throughout the day when I saw them coming close to a behavior problem.

    For the power teaching score board, I just do a smiley/frowny face system. I put the day's incentive next to the scoreboard and go from there. The kids LOVE the "mighty groan" and the "might OH YEAH." I ask them what incentive they would like to work for after I introduce different kinds of incentives.
     
  10. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    Jul 12, 2009

    My lg. arts block is about 2 hours and 30 min on a good day; I start off with my read aloud for 15-20 minutes followed by a written reading response (I'm all about these!). I have very intense book units that I use that often give us extended writing opportunities and reading homework. Then we do shared reading (usually social studies-based) and either grammar, spelling or word study. The last hour is used for guided reading/writer's workshop/book clubs. My administration trusts me enough that I don't even bother getting copies of the basal for my class; my classroom library is extensive and my students pass their state tests, so I'm lucky that they leave me alone.

    I use centers occasionally in reading/writing and regularly in math and science. My math centers are 95% games, and my science centers are exploration with a written component so they practice vocabulary and record observations. The taking apart of electronics seems a bit irrelevant... If you're studying magnetism, make a magnet center where they test magnetic strength or create an electromagnet.

    I've heard good things about Read Naturally, but I don't have any experience with it. I incorporated fluency last year with weekly Poetry Competitions... I introduced poems on Monday and we practiced vocabulary, expression, and pausing appropriately according to punctuation. Tuesdays they would read to a partner, and throughout the week whenever they had a couple free minutes, they would practice reading. On Fridays, I'd take volunteers to read aloud for the class and I'd pick 1-2 winners per poem. I made sure different people won every week, and it really improved their confidence in reading in front of the class.

    For discipline, I have three basic rules: one about safety, one about respect and one about coming to school ready to learn. Students help me come up with a list of class rules at the beginning of the year, then I show them how everything falls under my three rules. If they break a class rule, they get a warning. If they continue their misbehavior, they get a blue slip where they have to circle the rule they broke and describe how it was broken. Then we meet and the student has to write their plan to improve the behavior and get the blue slip signed by a parent. Failure to return it signed the next day results in lunch detention. My kids take the blue slips very seriously, and when we have field trips coming up, I let them know that anyone who has more than 3 blue slips in the weeks before the trip will not be allowed to go. Extreme misbehavior may result in a trip to the office, immediate phone call home, or a behavior contract. I've tried a couple other things in the past, but this system works very well for me. I do a similar slip system for homework as well.
     
  11. applejax544

    applejax544 Rookie

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Love all of your ideas...especially with the poetry competitions and slips to circle the broken rules. Thanks so much for your input...I'm making a list of things that I want to try!
     
  12. ATeach

    ATeach New Member

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I teach Fifth grade also. This will be my fourth year. I am actually really interested in the way you teach reading at your school. We use our Anthology throughout the whole year until the very end when we read one novel. The stories in the anthology are boring and the kids really dislike them. However, when we do the novel study at the end of the year we read The Sign of the Beaver and the kids love it. The fifth grade team of teachers got together and made vocab lists and spelling lists for each section of the book (about 4 chapters each). We also made vocab tests and we use the Comprehension tests and activities that came with the book.

    I also do centers in my classroom, but only once a week. I am still trying to figure out the best way to do it but they worked pretty well last year. We had time on Wednesdays to do 4 rotations of about 25 minutes each. So there was a math center, reading, science or social studies and silent reading. In the math group they either worked with me or did independent math. I have a huge book of math activities and I copied them on cardstock and put them in an envelope. The kids have their own "Centers Notebooks" so they would pull out a math activity and do all the work in their notebooks and I collect the notebooks and grade their work. In the reading group they would either be reading aloud with me or with a parent volunteer. I leveled the kids and read 4 different stories aloud with them. For Science/Social Studies the activities varied every week but always something they could do independently that enriched or reinforced what we had been doing that week. And Silent Reading they were expected to sit and read silently. In my room students are required to read a chapter book at their reading level during silent reading.

    As for discipline and classroom management, my classroom rules are very simple; Be kind, Be respectful, and Be prepared. I feel like these pretty much cover everything. I set very clear expectations on the first day and I am pretty strict from the very beginning and I have not had very many behavior problems so far. If there are problems we have a classroom money system and table points. I hope this helps. Have fun! Fifth grade is great!
     
  13. MrsHoot

    MrsHoot Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Noreenk- When you write a blue slip do you immediately have a conference with parents? Or is that the next step after they fill out a blue slip if they continue to misbehave.

    Thanks!
     
  14. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I'm one of those teachers that calls parents without hesitation, but I like to give kids the benefit of the doubt AT FIRST... At the beginning of the year, I usually wait until the third blue note to schedule a conference (the official conf. is in October), but it really depends on the behavior; if it's the same thing over and over again, we'll conference AND do a behavior contract so the parent gets daily feedback until the behavior improves. By the spring semester, sometimes kids call home immediately upon receiving a blue note and I'll catch the parent after school that same day.

    I'd say out of my rambunctious group of 24 kids last year, the same 4 kids would get blue notes occasionally (once every 3 or 4 weeks) and they mostly had issues with impulse control and attention-getting. About half the class never got a blue note, and the rest only got 1-2 the whole year.
     
  15. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Im new to fifth grade so I dont have a ton of input because I am still working on the details. I am teaching reading primarily through novels. I will probably use No Talking, Sign of the Beaver, and Maniac Magee. I would love your resources for Sign of the Beaver if you can share them, ATeach!

    I am working on how I'll handle writing in 5th. I taught 4th a few years back so I just need to work out a plan.
     

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