new 1st grade teacher

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by lucy2529, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. lucy2529

    lucy2529 Rookie

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    Aug 26, 2005

    Hi everybdy! I am new on the board and just want to post a question/general wondering. I am a third year teacher who is teaching 1st grade for the 1st time. I taught 2nd for my first 2 years. I am finding the transition hard. We have had 4 days of school and it seems like 4 weeks but we have gotten about what I think would be 1 day of work done. They are SOOO little. I didnt think it would be that different from 1st to 2nd but it is. They never quit chatting and I feel like I shouldn't have to be raising my voice and using my disicpline plan (which is working ok) as much as I am. There is really only one realy behavior problem but hte rest are just in space or never stop talking or have to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes. I felt so defeated when it took about 20 minutes to pass out manipulatives for a game. Not teach the game...just pass things out! I am a structured person and in 2nd grade I was able to train my students much quicker. They knew what I wanted when I wanted it. My 2nd graders could work on something quietly for more than 2 minutes. Everyone says they will mature and it is so great to watch, but I feel like I am not giving my best as a teacher. I was involuntarily moved from 2nd but it was for a good reason, 2nd grade had low numbres and admin made my principal move someone. I am the lowest man on the totem pole. He did also tell me that he really needs a string 1st grade. But anyway...do you think my feeling will change or is this going to be a LONG year? Any suggestions?
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Aug 26, 2005

    I think your feelings will change and the children will adapt. Do you have a particularly young group (late birthdays)? You may have to allow for more active learning with this class. Hang in there. It has only been a few days.
     
  4. lucy2529

    lucy2529 Rookie

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    Aug 26, 2005

    Thanks Upsadaisy! I hope they will. I just really loved my 2nd graders so I may be just be "Oh I wish.." The group is not particularly young...The birthdays are pretty much spread out.
     
  5. momtomm

    momtomm Rookie

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    Aug 26, 2005

    Lucy,
    You now got me worried! I have taught 4th grade for over 12 years. My principal moved me down to first grade. She wanted an understanding teacher in this grade. (whatever that means!) My son is getting ready to start first grade (in a different school) and my daughter is getting ready to start kindergarten. So I do have experience with this age group. I am nervous that I won't be able to see their strengths and weaknesses because they are all going to seem very low to me.
    Good luck in you year. I start on Monday- so I will let you know how I made out.
    Laura
     
  6. TeachGrd1

    TeachGrd1 Rookie

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    I'm also new to first grade(we have been at school 8 days). I did my student teaching with fifth grade and it is a totally different league! From my experience your feelings are pretty normal. There are some days where everything just clicks and others where I am wondering what went wrong. On those days, I am realizing that it is me that went wrong. I didn't plan enough, or I covered something too quickly. At the beginning of the year, your first graders are basically kindergarteners. To top that off they had the whole summer off and they need to be reintroduced to the routines of school. I quickly noticed the importance of routines and procedures. Also, don't underestimate them, they can do a lot more than you think they can, as long as you set it up in a way in which they understand. I started my classroom seating in a U shape. A few days ago, I decided to try and do groups. The class voted on which way to set the room up. We decided on 3 groups of 6. I can not tell you how happy I am with this decision! I had each group decide on one leader. At first they were confused and everyone raised their hand to be a leader, but eventually each group had one person that everyone agreed on. These leaders are responsible to help the other group members stay on task and help with the assignment if they have completed their own work. The leader also raises their hand to let me know when everyone in the group has finished the question, so I know we can move on as a class. I use a reward system for the groups and it is competitive. The group doing the right thing gets a monkey,(from the barrel of monkeys). When all the monkeys are gone, the group with the most gets a prize. I give them monkeys for following directions, staying quiet, being respectful, or anything else that is positive group behavior. Since I started this, my class has improved so much. I am actually able to get around to help more students because the burden isn't solely on me anymore. The hardest part for me right now is they are so dependent. They can't do much on their own. I figured out that finding activities they can do is very important throughout the day. They seem to really enjoy math manipulatives. During math I have been using counters, sticks, snap cubes or anything else I can get my hands on. I have them sort them and practice adding by color. They always have to write done the addition problem that they are doing with the manipulatives. This seems to get them ready to do the regular paper/pencil work out of the book. It also gives some free time for the teacher because they can work with partners or in groups and it is ok if some students do 10 problems while others do 5. Everyone is getting practice at their own level so it works out great. Overall, I would say to hang in there because everyone says it gets better. I keep hearing that by October they are at a completely different stage. Good Luck with everything and hang in there, it definitely is a lot of work at this level! The positive thing it is so rewarding to have a six year old interrupt a lesson to walk to the front of the class, hug you and tell you they love you.
     
  7. lucy2529

    lucy2529 Rookie

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    Aug 26, 2005

    Thanks again for all of the encouraging words.
    momtomm- Sorry I scared you =) With 2 young kids you re probably better prepared than I am

    teachgrd1- Thanks for the advice. I have yet to have an entire day "click" (I have only had 4 days!) but there are times when things click so it is encouraging. I have my kids in a U right now too. I tried groups before school started but I have an interactive whiteboard in my room that uses a projector that has to sit in the middle of the room so anyway...the desks ended up being to close and hitting the projector. I think I may try and rework it though using your idea. I think I just need to give it some time. Thanks for listening to me whine!!
     
  8. teacherbell

    teacherbell Cohort

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    Aug 26, 2005

    teachgrd 1- Thank you so much for sharing your monkey idea. I am a first year first grade teacher and I think that could really work in my class.
     
  9. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Aug 26, 2005

    lucy2529- although I only sub, I have noticed that first grade is much different once they have been in school for a few weeks. Make sure that you model everything for them...how you want them to walk in line, how you want them to sit quietly while reading a story, etc. I also found that it helps to break up lessons...in our language arts program, we had to do vocab & a character review first, then read the story. After finishing the first part, I had everyone stand up and stretch, and we would touch our toes and reach for the ceiling. Just getting the kids up and out of their seat for just a minute helped them get back on task more focused...it brought everyone back. Good luck, let us know how it goes :)
     
  10. Gopher4

    Gopher4 Comrade

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    Aug 26, 2005

    I taught 1st grade for 9 years and now teach 4th. 1st grade is very active and exhausting, but also very rewarding. They learn soooo much at this level and are like sponges. One thing I realized very quickly was that in order for my year to go smoothly - I had to put in the time and consistent effort to make sure they followed rules and procedures early in the year. I never let up. Sometimes we would line up for lunch 4 times until they got it right. I would hold my tongue until they were all eyes and ears. This helped me not have to repeat myself quite as much. I spent 6-7 weeks training them for centers for guided reading time. They can learn and it does smooth out. Taking the time to do it right at the beginning will pay off. Good luck.
     
  11. wdwteach

    wdwteach Cohort

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    I teach 1st. The first few weeks of school is just explain, repeat, explain, repeat. . . You will be amazed at how much they grow and change this year. They are very chatty at first and forget the rules easily. Use your behavior plan and they will respond. You may get a few tears, but they will recover. Just be patient and give yourself lots of time to complete activities in the beginning. My students pass out the manipulatives for me. I have small plastic tubs that I get ready in advance and my helpers just pass out the tubs. I tell them that we will learn the game, play the game, and if they do a good job they can have a few minutes at the end to make up their own game with the manipulatives. I hope this helps.
     
  12. lucy2529

    lucy2529 Rookie

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    Aug 27, 2005

    Thanks everyone! I am feeling more encouraged already!

    Gopher- I am glad to read all of those things about lining up 4 times and waiting because that is what I am doing and felt " Am I being to hard on these little guys who can't line up?" But I expect them to do it so we have been practicing. Glad to see that is what works for you! Ill see how it goes for me!
     
  13. dee

    dee Companion

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    Aug 27, 2005

    Lucy,

    I know exactly how you are feeling. I taught second for one semester and then moved to first. When I started first last year, I HATED it. They were whiney babies, they need me for everything. My friends encouraged me to be patient and it will grow on me. Well, I did not see that happening. What you have to remember about first graders in the beginning of the year is that they are older kindergartners. After the first six to nine weeks, things get a lot better. First grade is soooooooooooooooo rewarding to see the grwoth that they makie in a year. I am happy to report that we had a second grade opening and I did not ask to be moved. I am now in love with first grade and I do not think I want to go any where else. One more thing, if you can get through this year, next year will be much better.

    Hang in there!!!!
     
  14. CRD3

    CRD3 Rookie

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    Aug 28, 2005

    I am also new to 1st grade from 3rd(not by my choice, new sup. who decided to move everyone). It is great to know that it takes "a lot" of time for 1st graders to begin to understand the routine. I am nervous because I looked at the reading manual and noticed I reteach the alphabet--ha, that should take a day!!! By reading these threads, I realize I need patience, time, and repitition! I also, like the idea of pods with leaders. We start next Thursday and now I realize my feelings for a new grade may not be positive but to hang in there and it will get better! Everyone had great ideas!
     

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