starting new job 2nd semester

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by lareed, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. lareed

    lareed Companion

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    Dec 16, 2008

    I was hired at the beginning of the year to teach 6th grade LA and SS half-time. Yesterday I interviewed for a 1st grade position that starts in January for the 2ns semester and I got the call today that I got the job :) I will be looping to 2nd grade with these children next year.

    My question is, I want to do an organization binder (moose, bee, etc.). Is it ok to start this half way through the year? I havent went over all the details of the job, like what they are doing now but I have tons of ideas that I want to do regardless. I graduated a year and a half ago and have wanted to teach 1st ever since. I finally have the chance, but I know that huge change can be hard for 1st graders. I think that it is really important for them to be organized and responsible (especially after dealing with my current 6th graders who never do hw or return things).

    I am so excited to move grades and have a full time job but I am also nervous about coming in half way through the year. Has anyone else experienced this type of situation??

    Thanks!!
     
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  3. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Dec 19, 2008

    I haven't been in your situation perse but I will say that I feel first graders are very resilient to changes as long as they are bombarded with too many at once. Is there a way that you could find out what their current teacher was using for organization? Find out what is used at the school with the other teachers? Sometimes schools have a school wide folder or procedure for this type of thing. I would suggest asking your school/new principal for the phone number of your new colleagues and call a few and chat about these things. This way you will be able to be more prepared and can figure out how to tweak current procedures little by little.
    You are going to LOVE first grade. It is my absolutely favorite age level. They are so wonderful!!!!!!!!!!
     
  4. old n new

    old n new Rookie

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    Dec 20, 2008

    I started teaching 2nd grade 5 weeks into the school year last year and I am teaching first grade this year. From my experience last year, I would say to go ahead and start the way you want to. I kind of just drifted in without changing much and it didn't go well. I would begin like it is the beginning of the school year. From my experience with first grade this year, I don't think change will be too difficult for them. In fact I am planning on changing a few things when we come back from our vacation. First graders want to please you and they will probably be excited about your ideas if you present it as a fun new idea.
     
  5. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Dec 20, 2008

    I think the bee binders can begin in second grade. Personally, my kiddos have a hard enough time remembering a simple FOLDER and I have more important concerns with them than being organized in that way. Having taught second graders as well, I think they are better able to really care and be responsible for them. If the bee binder is for the parents, fine. My kids are STILL asking where to turn in papers, where to get a pencil, scissors, etc... aside from which, how much HW will they be having? I've heard of schools that do agendas for first grade and it takes them nearly a half hour in the beginning to even write in what they need to do. I think that's a waste of time because many just don't have they eye-hand coordination to copy from the board or the fine motor skills to write quicker.

    I think making changes in general is fine (half my kids thought the school year was over when the break came) so changing things when they come back from break is fine. Have fun in first grade, it's a trip.
     
  6. dedastarr

    dedastarr Rookie

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    Dec 22, 2008

    I do a BEAR (bring everything always ready) binder in my first grade class and the kids have the hang of it. The front pocket is where they put all their papers from their cubby that need to go home. The back pocket is for any papers that come back to school (I put labels on the front and back pockets). They know they need to check this pocket every day and then put any papers in my notes basket. Inside, we also have a homework folder. I send home a weekly homework packet every Monday and they put this in the Homework folder and it stays there or at home until the next Monday.

    They do pretty well with this and yes, it took a lot of reminding at the beginning of the year, but now the majority do this without prompting. I also enlisted the parents help in reminding them by telling them in a letter that went home in the binder that their child is responsible for turning in all notes. I don't go behind them and check.

    If you want copies of my labels, cover, or notes, just PM me your email address and I will be happy to share.

    Good luck!!!!
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Dec 22, 2008

    I think you'll be fine, Lareed!

    This is your classroom now--your kids, your rules, your procedures, your turf!

    Pretend that it's the first day of school. First graders are pretty resilient (from what I can remember) and will adjust well to the changes.

    With regard to your question: Yes, it's important for first graders to be organized. However, keep in mind that these kids are 6-7 years old and need contant direction (and re-direction), so you may want to begin the binder when you teach 2nd grade next year. Take small steps that will get them ready for your binder system next year.

    Remember: 1. Be consistent with your discipline! 2. Always have a Plan B if your lesson doesn't go well--be prepared for "blank stares" every now and then! 3. Keep in mind that first graders need things to be broken down into simple steps. Model, model, model!

    Anyway, don't forget to have fun! I enjoyed first grade, but am MUCH happier in 2nd! Good luck!!!
     
  8. wikteacher

    wikteacher Rookie

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    Dec 23, 2008

    I just went up to 1st after teaching K for 4 years and we use a F.R.O.G. (Fully Responsible, Organized, and Growing) Binder every day. It has the following components:
    *front inside pocket of binder - News and Notes from School (all newsletters, notes, menus, etc. from school go here)
    *small zipper pouch - Money Pocket (all money sent to school for ANY reason goes here)
    *clear page protector - Spelling List (the weekly spelling list goes here)
    *gallon size Ziploc bag - Reading Bag (the little readers that the kids take home each night go here)
    *purple folder - Homework Folder (any homework that needs to be completed and returned to school goes here)
    *yellow folder - Super Work Folder (all work that has been graded or completed in class and should go home and STAY home goes here)
    *notebook - Communication Log (all notes to/from parents and teacher go here)

    All classes K-2 in our building use these binders and we LOVE them!! I know the K teachers/aides pack them up for the kids, but the 1 and 2 kids pack their own. We spent about the first 3-4 weeks packing up as a group, so that they could learn what kinds of papers went where, but now they do it indendently and it works out great. Parents love it, we love it, and it really simplifies everybody's life since there's only one place to check for important things.

    Good luck - first graders CAN do it!! :)
     
  9. maroki

    maroki Comrade

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    Dec 23, 2008

    I haven't ever tried binders before, so I don't know how they work with first grade. I do use a series of color coded folders that work well with my students. They each have a green "to go home" folder and a blue "unfinished work" folder. The folders always stay in their desks, but at the end of each day they clean everything out of their green folder. We also have school-wide "Thursday folders" that we stuff with district information, school flyers, etc. that go home and get signed every Thursday night. Out of 22 students I only have about 6 Thursday folders that come back on a regular basis.

    Wikteacher, I really like the FROG binder idea! I'd love to try that with my class next year. Do you have any students that don't bring their binder back? Or students that lose their binders? What do you do with those?

    Lareed- good luck with 1st grade! First grade is wonderful and they are such sweethearts.
     
  10. wikteacher

    wikteacher Rookie

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    Dec 24, 2008

    At the beginning of the year, we really stress to the kids that the Binders MUST come back to school every day. If they forget their binder - accident or not - they must move their clip and miss 5 minutes of recess. I think I've only had 5 or 6 forget their binders all YEAR. Usually after 1 or 2 kids forget it and the rest see that we actually do follow through and they do have to miss recess, that takes care of any issues.

    Oh, and we're never mean about it. I usually just say, "Oh, bummer. I'm so sorry you forgot your binder today. Well, move your clip and I know you'll remember to bring it tomorrow." Always takes care of the problem and the kids don't feel bad, they just learn quickly that the binders are important and that we mean business. :)

    If you'd like our label templates and cover/back sheets, I would be happy to e-mail them to you when we get back to school.
     
  11. lareed

    lareed Companion

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    Dec 25, 2008

    Thanks for all the input! I think I am going to go ahead with my binders (SAFARI Binders - Students Accountable For All Responsibility and Independance) My room is Jungle Themed. I also have two folders - HW / Graded Work Folder, Notes Home / Communication from School Papers Folder, a Zipper Pouch, Behavior Log, Reading Log, and Communication Log. I will have these kiddos next year so I think I want to start them now so next year they will just need reminded about them. I also had the idea that I will have them move their card if they forget them.

    I met my class the Thursday before break started...Yikes! The previous teacher decided to quit teaching after 3 yrs. because she felt like she was always disciplining. I think it was because she wasn't firm and didnt have consistent punishments. I watched for half the day and they loved to chase each other, roll around, and then they weren't asked to pick up the room before leaving. So I know I have to come in with procedures and be firm (and structured).

    Thanks so much for all the words of wisdom! I am so excited to start in January...I'll have to keep you posted. One more thing, are pen pals ok in first grade?
     
  12. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Dec 26, 2008

    I tried a version of the MOOSE folders last year. It was too difficult for me to keep up with them. About a third of my class knew how to use them. About a third needed some reminders. About third needed me to walk them through it EVERY day.

    This year I went a little more simple. I have one folder. I have clear protector pages in the middle. On one page, I wrote current spelling list on one side, and the other says current sight word list. Another one has all kinds of class information on it, behind it is the current week's newsletter. (This gets replaced every Friday.) I also have a "give to teacher" protector sheet. This is where notes to me, the office or lunch money gets placed. Even though it doesn't have a top flap, nothing ever falls out. (I used freezer quart Ziplock bags last year that were hole punched in the binder.)

    I didn't specify this year which side of the folder is for bring back to school, and which is for keep at home. My students have to pack up their own papers and not many ever used the pockets for this reason. I still love the idea of different pockets but I need to spend more time "training" them how to pack up this way.

    My simple folders work very well. The parents always know where to find important information and the kids always remember to turn in notes and money.


    Pen pals are good. We largely emphasize friendly letter writing in first grade. The more practice, the better that they will remember where to line up the different parts. You might have to help many of your students read some of their letters before they respond. This could be accomplished in small writing groups.

    Good luck and congrats!!! :)
     
  13. avidreader_1

    avidreader_1 Rookie

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    Dec 31, 2008

    I began in a new classroom position in November (students were combined from other classes into my classroom) and am dealing with 18 students and 4 different ways of school/home communication that was used with their previous teachers. It is driving me crazy! Is there a sight I can visit and download labels to begin my own MOOSE, FROG, BEAR binders? I have some students with binders, agendas, and two folders. I have other students with just folders. I have other studens who have an agenda and three folders they are reponsible for keeping up with and they turn in every day. I also don't have an assistant to help me go through folders to pull out homework, money, and notes or to help pack my students up in the afternoons. I desperately want to combine all my students way of organizing school/home communication; my feeling is that less is better. Any suggestions?
     

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