Subbing half-day for 5th grade next week... first time ever! Any tips?

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by Tek, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Tek

    Tek Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    5

    Feb 27, 2012

    [Updated!] Subbing half-day for 5th grade next week... first time ever! Any tips?

    Hi everyone,
    Seeking counsel and wisdom and experience of all the 5th grade teachers here. I love this age. I student taught in 5th grade and I've worked with 10-11 year olds over the years. It's just a fun age where their sense of humor starts to develop, they can work pretty effectively in pairs, their thinking goes to a new level, etc.

    Next week is my first time ever subbing for a 5th grade class.

    Is there anything I should know in advance? For example, if you could tell a first day 5th grade sub some pearls of wisdom, what would they be? Thanks.

    i.e. no-no's and yes-DO-THIS! examples? Kind of like "don't eat this, but EAT THAT!" :) Thank you!
     
  2.  
  3. round stanley

    round stanley Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 29, 2012

    #1 Follow the teacher's lesson plans. They are there for a reason (most of the time)
    #2 Don't let them play we always/we never...do this. If you get a free minute or two ask the teacher next door what you are going into.
    #3 Have some of your own generic worksheets just in case you get a no-lesson-plan type of teacher or things just don't last through the day.
    #4 Be a benevolent dictator. Don't scream, don't give away the store.
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,014
    Likes Received:
    473

    Mar 3, 2012

    Keep them very busy--make sure they have items to do when they are done with work. If you are going to teach at the white board make sure they are doing something--the problems with you, taking notes etc. Idle time is usually what gets 5th graders into trouble.

    Insist that they raise their hand to speak--otherwise they will talk back to you.

    Be a bit real with them--share a little about yourself--but, of course, nothing personal.

    Any rule they have--enforce--if they argue--ignore it or take care of it privately with the 1 student who has a concern.

    I like 5th graders, but they can really test to see if you are going to enforce rules.

    Glad you are getting yourself prepared--being prepared for 5th grade will help you--then enjoy it and keep the routines of the class. You'll have a good day.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 4, 2012

    If it's a half-day sub, you can usually stop to talk with the teacher for a bit. Unless it's a half day of school.
     
  6. Tek

    Tek Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    5

    Mar 5, 2012

    Report on how it went

    Today was my very FIRST classroom subbing assignment ever. Needless to say, I'll never forget it. Here are some reflections. I definitely learned a bit from today. You could tell how "green" I was... but I'm hoping I'll be a fast learner! I have to be...

    I came in 30 minutes early. I was at the teacher's desk and imagine my horror when there was... ABSOLUTELY NO LESSON PLAN!

    I looked for anything related to today... nothing. I had no idea where the teacher left off on language arts, math, spelling, anything. I was about to call the office, but thought I better be resourceful and just piece something together. After all, what was the office going to do? Come down and make up a lesson plan for me?

    So I saw 30 Halloween narratives the students had written on the desk from last October, ungraded. Randomly there. Great! One of my most memorable life experiences was Halloween 1994. It's a speech I've crafted and shared with over 500 people in the last 10 years and I've performed it (it's about 10-15 minutes long, depending on how much I decide to ham it up). I decided I could talk to them about their Halloween narratives, maybe observe the way each student began the piece of writing (and see as a class whether it was a good 'hook' or not) and then I could share my Halloween adventure.

    Of course, the reason behind this being that it's a 5th grade standard. Oral storytelling. I would go from modeling it to having students create their own timeline of an interesting event that happened in their life, explaining that the plot of a story is made up of events that happen in a sequence (beginning, middle and end), conflict, resolution and of course characters.

    Students would then practice in pairs then whole class using expression, body language, etc.

    I figured that would be good for them and cover a portion of the learning day.

    But then, 20 minutes before class began, the regular teacher walked in. He forgot about his half-day meeting and that he would have a sub. So he wrote me a quick half-day plan.

    Rookie Mistake #1: My class was lined up prior to first bell. They were 3rd in line. When the teacher in the 1st line called her students to walk to the classroom, I figured that was my cue to bring my kids in as well. It was a traffic jam, as the two classes were criss-crossing. One of my students said "What are you doing, you're causing us to bump into the other class. We were supposed to wait!" Oh, that was embarrassing. I'm new to this "movement game." I need to get this aspect down if I'm going to thrive as a teacher.

    I was off to a shaky start, but the morning was OK. The kids weren't too bad in terms of behavior. I gave a boy "the look" a couple times and I think it worked out OK. Of course, there were other boys who just didn't care. When that happened, I felt defenseless. I had to call a boy 3 times in his face before he would look at me.

    Rookie Mistake #2: I didn't bring extra material in to keep kids busy if the teacher's lesson plans are sparse. Before recess there were 10 minutes and I just didn't know what to do. I could have shared my Halloween story but without time for them to do one of their own it made no sense to share it. So I just gave them free time (for better or for worse). Most played on the computer. Note to self: come better prepared next time with a "bag of tricks" on how to fill up the rest of class time should work get finished early

    BTW, does anyone know of any good activities to eat up 10 minutes as a whole class? I did gather them in for the last 5 minutes and randomly selected students to spell out the week's new vocab words.

    Craziest note of the day, one of the students was innocently twirling his pencil. It flew out of his hands on accident and hit the girl next to him in her eye. She was in pain and I thought it was really bad. I was really scared. He obviously didn't mean it. It was just a freak accident. My first instinct was to take her to the office but I quickly remembered there's no excuse EVER to leave the students unattended by themselves, especially when you're the sub. So I had one of the "star students" walk her to the office.

    Thankfully, she came back like nothing ever happened. She appeared to be OK. Whew.

    We were in the library when the teacher came back from training. All in all, I was glad he showed up earlier than expected. I felt like I wanted a fresh start since I made some pretty glaring mistakes and it was just one of those days where you go, "Yeah, recycle bin."

    I did learn a lot, though. My focus needs to be on better preparation (i.e. bag of tricks) and learning how to navigate movement in and outside a classroom effectively. I guess that's just something you don't learn teaching after school classrooms (you rarely have to move them, they show up, you teach them, and then they leave to go home).

    Hopefully my next time in a classroom will be better!
     
  7. Tek

    Tek Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    5

    Mar 5, 2012

    PS- Not knowing the 30 students' names was personally frustrating. They didn't have name tags either. I'd feel so much more confident/in control if I knew which kids I were dealing with. Instead, I had to just constantly make eye contact and nod at those who raised their hands. I'm sure I'm not alone in this area of frustration. There's just no way to remember 30 names the first day. If you don't know their names, it's almost impossible to feel completely in control of the classroom. It's frustrating pulling out the "fair name sticks," calling out names and scanning the classroom for where that student is.

    I also don't know how effective or recommended this is, but I have a habit of lightly touching students on the shoulder to help redirect them. There was one boy today who pulled back. It made me realize not all students appreciate this form of communication. Maybe it's something I need to scale back on?

    Finally, we talked about the Gold Rush. Since I was not immersed in Gold Rush recently, or had time to study the story, I found it rather difficult to connect to the students. I felt like I was doing it just to get it crossed off the "to-do" list. But I guess that's part of the territory that goes with subbing? Is there any way to help reduce or eliminate this feeling, or does it never go away when one is subbing?
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Mar 5, 2012

    If you don't have a sub plan, talk to the office. They might have emergency plans.

    Don't touch students unless they are in danger.

    Besides a couple of things, it sounds like you had a pretty decent day and you made a lot of thoughtful decisions.
     
  9. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    49

    Mar 6, 2012

    I was told once by a teacher I was subbing for that the easiest way to get blackballed as a sub is to tell the office there aren't any plans. It just gets the teacher in trouble and they definitely won't call you back.

    YES - it is absolutely their job to provide the plans, but I've had instances where they've emailed it to a grade level coworker who has hand delivered it to me after I already searched for it in the room. They can also email it to the office manager, and just may not have it finished the minute you check in. In that case, you'll probably get a call from the office manager letting you know to come pick it up.

    The moral is: don't panic. If worst comes to worst, ask another teacher at that grade level what's going on. They'll likely have a lot more knowledge than the office anyway.
     
  10. Tek

    Tek Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    5

    Mar 7, 2012

    Yeah, that was my sense. I didn't want to make the regular teacher I was subbing for look bad, and I figured the office wouldn't be able to run down and write something up for me. It was my first classroom assignment ever. Worst came to worst, it was a half-day and I figure I could be resourceful enough to eat up 3 hours. I must say, the Halloween narrative-oral speech idea really gave me some legs to stand on. If I didn't have that, I would have seriously not known what to do at all...

    Thankfully, I held off on calling the office, and 10 minutes later, the regular teacher walked in... simply forgot he called in a sub and he quickly jotted down my assignment for the half day.

    I'm sure in hindsight he appreciated me not calling the office. In fact, I remember telling him instead of PE could I do the Halloween oral speech activity, and he seemed stunned/pleased at my eagerness and resourcefulness. He said "Sure!"

    But he came back before PE was scheduled and so I never got to it.

    All in all, it definitely could have been a worse day! I'm just glad I didn't call the office, that he came in class in the nick of time, and that the girl who got poked in the eye with the pencil wasn't badly injured. I told the regular teacher this when he came back. Hopefully he reminded her to tell her parents to take her to the doctor just for precautionary measures.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Mar 7, 2012

    At my school we keep our emergency plans in the office. It's standard practice to check the office if plans aren't left in the classroom. No one gets in trouble unless they didn't do their jobs and create emergency sub plans per the directive from their administrator.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. ssgirl11,
  2. vickilyn,
  3. YoungTeacherGuy
Total: 464 (members: 6, guests: 426, robots: 32)
test