Please Help!

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by abequette, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. abequette

    abequette Rookie

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    Aug 31, 2007

    Okay...First let me say that I am currently certified for elementary (P-5), and so middle school is somewhat of a new area for me. I interviewed for this position last week and found out as of Wednesday that I got the job, I am just going to have to work on my middle certification while employed. The position is for 7th Grade Math. I was able to observe the teacher that I am replacing for two days, but I am now supposed to start Tuesday on my own and I feel so lost. I can't do anything with my classroom over the weekend because the previous teacher still has the key and is moving things out. Therefore I will be going in Tuesday without really knowing where much of anything is. So I have a few questions for all of you wonderfully helpful people out there. 1.) What should I do MY first day of class? I also forgot to mention that the students have already been in school for about a month now so I am coming into a classroom that has already been established somewhat. Do you think I should still work on procedures and routines with them, since I probably will do things differently than their last teacher. 2.) Also what are some of the procedures and routines that you use with your students? 3.) I was also thinking about doing some icebreaker activities since it will be my first day, just to try and get to know the students, do you think that this will be a good idea? Or should I just carry on with the content she was teaching? Also what type of icebreakers work well with this age group? 4.) Also while observing the class I was noticing that many of the students did not have their homework, what do you do if a students dosen't have their homework in class? Do you reward the students that do always have their homework? I apologize for this post being so long I just feel totally lost about what I should do my first day. I can't help but think it would be a little easier if it was the first day for them too. Anyway, any help any of youo can offer would be wonderful!!!
     
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  3. KLily21

    KLily21 Companion

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    Aug 31, 2007

    I have some thoughts that might help you. Here goes...
    1. I would DEFINATELY spend the first day or two going over YOUR expectations and procedures, especially if you are going to do things differently than the previous teacher. You have a right to run your class the way you wish...and your students have a right to know what you expect from them.
    2. I have very specific procedures for doing things in my room. It helps things run smoothly. I would explain things like how you expect them to enter the room before class, how to ask for permission to move about the room, how to hand in papers, etc. (See Harry Wong's book The First Days of School. It's great!)
    3. I would spend a little bit of time telling the kids about yourself. They love to hear about you!
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 1, 2007

    Congratulations on getting the job!!!

    I taught math 7 last year; if you want to PM me your email address I'll send you some of the stuff I used.


    .) What should I do MY first day of class? I also forgot to mention that the students have already been in school for about a month now so I am coming into a classroom that has already been established somewhat. Do you think I should still work on procedures and routines with them, since I probably will do things differently than their last teacher.
    -- I would spend 5 minuts on procedures, then dive right into math. They're 12; they know how to behave in a classroom. I say you want to make a big impression that they'll be doing lots of math this year, (and also not waste any time) and do some math. Do you have any idea what material they're up to?


    4.) Also while observing the class I was noticing that many of the students did not have their homework, what do you do if a students dosen't have their homework in class? Do you reward the students that do always have their homework?
    --Here's what I do:
    When my kids come in, there's a DO NOW problem (or several) on the board. They do that while I take attendance and check the homework. THen I go over the homework and start the new material.

    When I hit the end of the marking period, I determine their homework average: # they've done divided by # I've checked.
    I do allow them to miss, and make up without penalty, up to 3 homeworks per marking period. And I tell them that they're allowed to stop doing homework after 20 minutes of serious work, whether they're done or not. (If they're the only one who couldn't get through the HW, they'll need to see me for extra help. If it was everyone, then either I gave too much or I didn't teach it thoroughly.)

    Being that you're coming in new, I would give them a clean slate: their homework averages start TODAY.

    I also give a test every 2 weeks, regardless of where I am in the material. So I have 6 tests scheduled between now and Christmas. I do let them know exactly what to expect on a test.

    How else can I help?
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 1, 2007

    First off, just let me say congrats on getting the job!! I'm not sure how I would feel going into the school year where the kids have been there for a month! STRESSED!! Is there anyway you can meet the teacher you are replacing at the school one day when she is working? That way you can see what you have to work with.

    1.) What should I do MY first day of class? I also forgot to mention that the students have already been in school for about a month now so I am coming into a classroom that has already been established somewhat. Do you think I should still work on procedures and routines with them, since I probably will do things differently than their last teacher.
    A few icebreakers the first day you are there would not be a bad idea. Icebreakers that the previous teacher did not do would be better! Then as Alice mentioned, dive right into teaching math. These kiddos are 12 so they'll understand that you will be doing things differently than the other teacher. I would quickly go over what you expect of them. You might ask what they have been doing for specific procedures. That way you can get them involved.

    3.) I was also thinking about doing some icebreaker activities since it will be my first day, just to try and get to know the students, do you think that this will be a good idea? Or should I just carry on with the content she was teaching? Also what type of icebreakers work well with this age group?
    There was a post in the forum where the poster had the students write what they expect from the class, 1 fear, 1 thing they are excited about this year, they then balled up the paper and had a "snowball fight" the students picked up the paper closest to them and read what was written. You could also have the students write three things about them, with one thing being false, the class then has to decide which one is false. Just a few ideas.

    4.) Also while observing the class I was noticing that many of the students did not have their homework, what do you do if a students dosen't have their homework in class? Do you reward the students that do always have their homework?
    I agree with Alice and tell them that homework grades start FRESH! I've heard of other teachers doing Homeworkopoly(sp?). Not sure if this would work for 7th graders or not.

    Good luck! You will do just fine.
     
  6. ELAteacher

    ELAteacher Rookie

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    Sep 2, 2007

    On the first day, I would give them a syllabus and go over it. Make sure to talk about materials they need, how they will be graded, and your policy on homework and late or missed work. After you go over the syllabus, relax them a bit by doing an icebreaker activity. Start by introducing yourself. Middle schoolers LOVE to know all they can about their teachers-- but be sure to use discretion in what personal information you share with them.

    I am doing an "Over the Summer BINGO" game as an icebreaker the first day. They have to walk around the room and talk to each other, finding out things about each other, such as: did you go on vacation? Did you see a movie at the theater? Did you attend a wedding? Go to the ocean? Ride in a boat?? (And other random summer-related categories). Have students who fit the criteria sign their name in that box-- first student to get BINGO "wins"-- but you don't have to give any prize-- they could just introduce themselves and go from there.

    Homework-- in my mind, if a kid doesn't do it, it should affect their grade. I weigh homework as 10% of their total grade. If you see a pattern starting with a kid not handing in homework, contact home immediately. Parents have a powerful influence on whether or not kids do homework.

    Good luck to you! I think you are really going to enjoy middle school-- they are fun and full of energy and it is never boring!!:woot:
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 2, 2007

    Students who don't do the homework go to study hall at lunch and do it there.

    Tell them a bit about yourself and give an inventory - what do you think you are best at in math? compared to other subjects, do you think you are strong, average, or weak in math? how much time do you usually spend on math homework? do you have a problem area (multiplication facts, division, decimals, etc.)?

    Go over your expectations for their notebooks, class notes, how you will grade, what they are expected to bring to class, what to do when they come into class, homework expectations, what to do when they need extra help.
     

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