Please help...first yr teacher placed in 6th grade!

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by mduenas, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    I am certified in elem ed, I just graduated so this will be my first year. I just got a job in 6th grade and have no idea what to do...I am used to smaller children where I can decorate my room with cute things and have a treasure box and things like that! I have no idea where to begin in a 6th grade classroom.
    Bahavior management?
    Rewards?
    Decorations?
    Fun things to do?
    I did my internship in a first grade class and the kids loved me...I want the same reaction from these kids.
    I will have them all day long, they don't switch classes. It is a small charter school with 250 kids Kinder through 6. I will have 22 kids in my class. I am so scared that I will not know what to do!!! Please Help!!! I just got the job today (Aug 3rd) and I start on Monday (Aug 6) I will be undergoing curriculum training, but I really don't think I will be taught the things I really think I should know!:eek:
     
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  3. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    Aug 4, 2007

    Congratulations of the job! I wouldn't worry about decorations, bulletins boards, and rewards right now. Your starting Monday! Regarding management; Does the school have a school-wide behavior expectation program? If not, start with something simple like be safe, be responsible, be respectful. I would then take a look at the standards or requirements; the content you will need to cover. Since you will have them all day, look for an integrated unit plan. An Egyptian or Greek thematic unit, or something science based. I know that 6th grade in our state has several world/ancient history standards. You can buy a unit plan and adapt it for your students. This is a good way to get started.

    Have fun and good luck!
     
  4. Exclaimation Po

    Exclaimation Po Habitué

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    Remember that even though 6th graders older, they are still kids. They will still like the treasure box. They will still like to color. They will still be silly. However, you will need to give them a lot of structure. Make friends with the 5th grade teacher. Find out what the kids were like last year. Work with that.

    Good luck!!!
     
  5. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    Good Idea! The funny thing is is that the man who hired me for the position...the principal...he was their fifth grade teacher (it's a small school)!!! I accepted the job and he offered it to me knowing that I had no experience in the classroom...especially in a 6 grade one...he told me he'd help me, I just feel that I should know these things. I am embarrassed to tell him I don't know what I am doing!
     
  6. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Las year I thought I was supposed to know everything too. The truth is, you need to experience it and learn as you go. Your education just doesn't cut it. Experience is so much more valuable. I'm sure you'll do fine and if he has faith in you, then don't worry about it. Congratulations!
     
  7. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    I honestly don't know anything about this school. I start on monday because there is lots of training involved in working for a charter school. I imagine that I will learn alot from them...I am just really scared! I have to admit that since I began studying to become a teacher, I have continuously purchased items for my classroom with the intentions of working in a first or second grade class. Now I have over 3 thousand dollars in book, decorations, crafts anything you can think of, in my garage (no reciepts) and nothing for a 6 grade class! We have a part of next week to decorate and prepare our rooms and I got nothing!!!
     
  8. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    Thank you! I am sure you are right about what you said, I'm just worried that the children will realize that I don't know what I am doing and take advantage! I have a pretty good sense of classroom management...with youngr kids...I hope that I get away with it!
     
  9. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    The students may well realize you are new, don't let it fizz you. They will be new in Grade 6! I had a student ask me point blank if it was my first year teaching last year. After a lot of thought, I admitted it but used it to my advantage to get messages across to them about meeting challenges, etc... I think there is a lot more credibility in admitting your imperfections/weaknesses while making it clear that that won't stop you, than in trying to fake it badly and come across as an experienced teacher who doesn't seem to have gained from the experience. Of course, that's just my take on it as I tend to always be honest and upfront no matter what. However, I learned that you need to really spend time in the beginning on rules and procedures. Make expectations clear from the beginning. Even if it takes a while, don't see it as wasted time - it will save you grief later in the year.
     
  10. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Today go get the before school specials. You will need extra glue, pencils, scissors, a big good pair of scissors that fit your hand, a good gel pen to grade with (I like my pink gel pen), your personal things, deodorant, comb, brush, hair spray, mouth wash, Advil, aspirin, a box of kleenix, oh, buy one for you and one for students, safety pins, take a sweater to leave at school for the chilly days, umbrella, and etc.
     
  11. MrsMcD

    MrsMcD Rookie

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    Congratulations on your new job! I think the previous posters have given you loads of valuable information.

    My first year teaching was in a huge inner-city school with hundreds of kids. My first day of meetings (a week before students arrived) I felt really overwhelmed. I didn't even know where the gym/bathrooms/cafeteria were! I was surprised at how much I learned, not necessarily from the content of the meetings, but just form being around veteran teachers in the school.

    Ask loads of questions, and getting "in" with the 5th grade teacher will be a huge help, I bet. Just remember that if you ask about behaviors of the kids you'll have this year, you may get some biased opinions from their previous teachers. While I like a "heads up", for the most part - I prefer to form my own opinions and judgements.

    I am teaching 6th grade for the first time this year as well, and the Principal of the new school I'll be working in was the 6th grade teacher a few years ago. He seems very helpful, and has made me comfortable with asking for any help that I need ... I'm sure your principal will do the same. They'd much rather have you ask tons of questions than not ask any at all and feel extraordinarily overwhelmed your first year!

    As far as decorations go - start with the basics. The rest of your room will develop as students begin producing work and projects. Cover the bulletin boards, get fun borders, use lots of colors (even if it's just to line shelves). There are tons of ways to make your classroom inviting but not to 'childish' for the older ones!

    Good luck - I'm sure you'll do great!!! :)
     
  12. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    Have it all ready to go...:lol: :thanks:

    Wait what do I need safety pins for?:confused:
     
  13. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    Thank you for the advice...I agree with you about the "heads up" from other teachers about kids...I have been told that kids are horrible, but they turn out to be my favorite. So it's true that you can go in looking at kids in a different way by what someone else says...it's just may not be all true.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Ummm...wardrobe malfunctions (yours and the students')
     
  15. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Don't you feel better already? Everyone here has great advice. You are right - the classroom management will make or break you but you said you had good instincts. Listen to your instincts and be consistent. for example, if Joe and Steve are fooling around when they are close to each other, move them away from each other. Don't give too many 2nd chances because it damages your success in the long run. but be consistent - if Tiffany and amber are disturbing your class, move them too(even if they are real sweethearts!). 6th graders still like to be kids but they want to be big too and will love to help your room evolve. The biggest mistake I have seen with new teachers is to allow students to be your friend. They have lots of friends already. have fun!
     
  16. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    6th graders are still just kids, but they don't really know who or what they are; that's their biggest problem!

    They can be very self-conscious about the peer differences since their varying degrees of puberty changes can be obvious. Some of the less confident kids become aware of the social atmosphere for the first time, it seems, and are intimidated.

    Many of them need a lot of help with organization. Do assessments, whether formal or informal, as soon as you can. Some may never have mastered basic math facts and that will hold them back unless they very quickly get remediation.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  17. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Yep, that is correct
     
  18. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    I do feel alot better...but, in reference to your comment about allowing studetns to be your friend...why? I actually found that a good way of controlling a classroom. I explaint that I am the teacher, I make the rules, I expect them folowed (basically showing them who is in authority) but then explaining to them that I can also be their friend. I thought that this would make it a more confortable environment where trust is not an issue and the kids can talk to me about anything they are dealing with..problems at home or at school. I want to create an environment where the kids know that I am the teacher but I am there for them at the same time, I can also have fun with them.

    Is this the wrong direction? Should I not do this?
     
  19. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    :lol: I kinda figured that much but teachers always have all these tricks under their sleeve!! A clothes pin turns into 5068 different things!!!;)
     
  20. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    :lol: I kinda figured that much but teachers always have all these tricks under their sleeve!! A clothes pin turns into 5068 different things!!!;)
     
  21. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    Cool...thanks! But what advice do you have for the "self-concious" problems? How can I help?
     
  22. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    6th graders will push you - no doubt about it. Establish yourself as the authority in the classroom and make the decisions. You sound like you have your head together about establishing classroom rules etc. I am concerned when a teacher tries to be a "friend" with a student. I think You can share students' interests and concerns without being one of them. You can be a trusted advisor. When you become one of them (as a friend), you may see everything you establish, as far as classroom management, disappear. You can be the young, cool teacher who "gets" her students' problems and understands their interests without crossing that line between teacher and friend.
     
  23. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    mduenas - just be aware of it, allow them to save face, watch out for any bullying or unwillingness with some kids to work with other kids.
     
  24. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    Ok, I get now. I can be cool with them, just not crossing the line into being one of them. I understand. :thanks:
     
  25. teacherSMK

    teacherSMK Habitué

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    I went the "friend" route last year (my first year). I had highschool and I think because I was fairly close in age, it was hard for me not to get in the trap of friendship. Let me forwarn you....Do not be their friend! Feel free to talk to them about stuff, share interests, etc....but cross the line at friendship. I ended up getting walked all over. It was a regular circus by the end of the year. I loved each and every one of them, but if I had it to do all over again, I would have been SO much stricter, especially with boundary lines between teacher and student. I learned a lot about how I will teach this year, as a middle school teacher, and a lot about how I won't. I guess what I am trying to say is there is a huge difference between "friendly" and "friend." :) I do not mean to sound preachy or anything, it just terrifies me to think about any other teacher going through what I went through last year. Congrats on your new job, I am sure you will do great! ~SK
     
  26. MrsLilHen

    MrsLilHen Comrade

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    6th graders are awesome kids. They want to be grown up but also want to be kids. I think you need to spend time getting to know the class, doing some team building, etc. and creating rules together. I do a morning meeting with my 6th graders (we call it 'Circle of Power and Respect' or "CPR' in middle school) and it really helps us come together as a community, build that trust, etc. etc. I believe in honesty and humor and mutual respect with my 6th grade kids. My first year teaching was with 2nd grade, so I know it feels weird to go up so high from the lower grades... but if you are anything like most of the 6th grade teachers I know, you'll end up absolutely LOVING this age group! Good Luck!
     
  27. FutureFLTeacher

    FutureFLTeacher Companion

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    I think it's nice for all of us new 6th grade teachers to hear things like this!!! :) I really do think that this agre group is going to be a total blast...as you said, they want to be grown ups, but they also have one foot stuck in childhood still as well. I love the idea of the "CPR" meeting...could you elaborate on that a bit more?

    Thanks! :D
     
  28. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    Well thank you for being honest Kenny...it takes alot to admit that your classroom was nuts because of you. I am going to take your advice and I will be friendly...not a friend! Thanks again. :)
     
  29. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    Can you ellaborate more on your CPR technique..i'd really like to find something like this for my own use. :2up:
     
  30. MrsLilHen

    MrsLilHen Comrade

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    I adapt the morning meeting/ CPR stuff from Responsive Classroom. It can take 20 minutes/day, but my schedule is so packed, I usually make it 20 minutes twice per 6 day cycle. You start with a greeting (So that everyone feels acknowledged, this can be a handshake around the circle, a simple hello passed around, and there are other fun and creative greetings) And then you play a game (team building game, like where they have to close their eyes and count to 20, individually as a group - nobody can speak at the same time, or you can play whipser down the lane kind of games, there are whole books of games to play.) Then you do sharing (I usually do "headline sharing" where each student can say a Headline of something - 1 or 2 sentences about what they want to share... but sometimes I'll do more elaborate sharings, with cycles of kids. You have to be careful, this can eat up a lot of time, but it is a great way to get to know your kids. Then the last part is News and Announcements, which, if I'm remembering correctly (I was half time last year, and then took a maternity leave, so I haven't done this in a little bit!) is a segue into the curriculum. Younger grades would have a morning letter to correct, etc. etc. I sometimes have done spelling/writing things during this time, and sometimes I have just used it as a time to go over the schedule for the day/week/project,etc. I really recommend getting the "morning meeting' book from Responsive Classroom - and also the "First 6 weeks of school" by them as well. They have great ideas for getting CPR started. You really have to lay ground rules, and not allow the time to get goofy. My kids really liked it, and I think it helped with behavior so much.

    let me know if you have any other questions. : )
     
  31. mduenas

    mduenas Rookie

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    That's great info..I am going to research the Responsive Classroom and am going to buy the book too. Thanks so much for all the goodies!
     
  32. lem0n212

    lem0n212 Rookie

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    The CPR is a great idea but what exactly do you do in the morning meeting to build trust and respect? I am a first year teacher and was placed in 6th grade in an inner city school. I really want to do morning meetings but am not sure what I want the morning meetings to encompass... Any ideas? Thanks!
     
  33. michelin

    michelin New Member

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    1st year 6th grade teacher

    mduenas I was in the same situation as you last year. I was an elementary education major who had just gotten a job as a sixth grade teacher. The only difference is I wanted 4th or 5th, which is closer to the 6th grade kids. The one piece advice I want to give you is although you want your 6th students to love you as much as your 1st graders did, they aren't going to.....or at least they won't express it the way the little ones did. Don't let it bother you. It doesn't mean they don't like you. Also, don't try to get to friendly with your students. Since they are 6th graders some of them will try to take advantage of your kindness. Try to find a happy median where you can be the friendly teacher who is still strict enough to not let the kids walk all over her. GOOD LUCK! and Congratulations!
     

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