New ELA (English/Language Arts) teacher/ I need suggestions.

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by luvzkats, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. luvzkats

    luvzkats Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2010

    I will teach ELA for the first time this year. I will have grades 7th and 8th. Do you have any tips on setting up an ELA classroom? Also, please list any books or websites that might be helpful.

    Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Aug 12, 2010

    ELA means different things in different schools. Do you have just reading? Just writing? Everything English related?

    In my school I teach EVERYTHING that's related to literacy. I just finished setting up my classroom (but forgot to take the camera, darn it!). I'll post pix tomorrow. I have a whole group learning space, a "living room" gathering space, and a small groups table. My classroom library of nearly 1,000 books lives in large bookshelves in the back of the room and in what I call the non-fiction nook. I have 82 minute blocks, so over the course of the block, kids will move through various spaces in the room.

    Do you have more specific questions? General ones are kind of hard to answer!
     
  4. luvzkats

    luvzkats Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2010

    Thank you for responding Mrs. R.

    I will teach reading, writing, grammar (basically everything). Unfortunately, I will only see them for 50 minutes a day. I wish I had them for a longer block of time.

    What is the typical schedule for your LA class? (I need to set up a routine.) I also need some suggestions for setting up my classroom, which isn't very big at all. I would love to see a picture of your classroom. Also, do you have a copy of a syllabus you have used in the past? I'm trying to put mine together right now.

    Thank you again for taking the time to respond. Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 12, 2010

    I'll be teaching a split grade 7/8 this coming year--everything 'English'-related. I have them for 100 minutes/day, though. With only 50 minutes, I would do a 15 minute (or so) mini-lesson with a reading or writing focus, have 25 minutes for independent practice/workshop--during this time you can pull guided groups and conference, then a 5-10 minute 'wrap-up' discussion. I struggle to get it all in with 100 minutes, not sure how I would do with half that. Hopefully others will chime in with more constructive advice.
     
  6. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Aug 12, 2010

    I think Mrs. C. has a good timetable there. I know that with 80 minutes/day I feel like I don't have enough time.

    I structure my week as Monday & Wednesdays are reading/literature days and Tuesdays & Thursdays are writing days. Fridays are "catch-up" days, and change depending on our unit of study. We do mostly book clubs and small groups for reading, except for Night by Elie Wiesel, which the whole grade reads at the same time.
     
  7. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2010

    As for desk arrangement, you want something that will help facilitate the monitoring of students.

    Since pictures are worth a thousand words, here is my very sad, sad attempt to recreate my desk arrangement using Paint (lol).

    [​IMG]

    By creating an "inner circle," you decrease your walking distance by 50% while still being able to get to everyone.

    P.S. My images never work. Just click on the box and it will take you to the photo.
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Aug 12, 2010

    My language arts class consists of writing and reading. My students always have "welcome work" that they start as soon as they get into the classroom. As they finish that, they read their library books. That gives me time to take attendance and do "status of the class" with AR. After that, we discuss the welcome work and then move on with class. We usually end with an exit slip. I'm really big on routine and organization. It makes me function better. It also means that I frequently get the autistic and Aspergers kids and other kids who need strong routine. I have 56 minute classes. (I've also worked with 45, 75, and 100 minute classes. The 100 minute ones were my favorite!)

    We do some independent reading, group reading, and writing every day. Grammar is taught in context of the reading and writing in mini-lesson format.

    Here is my classroom for this year.

    We've already been back in school for a week.
     
  9. scooter503

    scooter503 Comrade

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    Aug 15, 2010

    I will also be teaching English/Language Arts this year (8th only). However, my school has Reading as a separate class, so my job is mostly writing, vocab and grammar. Any suggestions from experienced teachers for me?
     
  10. luvzkats

    luvzkats Rookie

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    Aug 20, 2010

    Thank you so much! One more question

    I truly appreciate everyone taking the time to respond. Thanks so much for the pictures (your room is beautiful). The room setup diagram is also helpful. I'm also getting a better idea on how to set up a schedule for my daily activities?

    What are some of your first days of school activities?
    Does anyone have a syllabus they wouldn't mind sharing?
     
  11. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    Aug 20, 2010

    Luvz -- scratch out activities. I promise you you'll be glad that you did.

    Focus on OBJECTIVES. Then, focus on how you're going to ASSESS those objectives. After that, your activities will fall into place.

    For example, a lesson plan could look like this:

    OBJECTIVE(S)
    1. Students will be able to correctly label the elements of story (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution) with 100% accuracy.

    ASSESSMENT
    1. Students will appropriately label the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution of [insert story here].

    ACTIVITIES
    1. I'll be that after looking at what your objective is and how you're going to assess whether your students "get it," you can come up with plenty of activities to help them along with that process.

    The point is that activities are the easy part. Coming up with objectives and assessment is what being a teacher is all about.
     

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