Suddenly Overwhelmed.....:(

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by Kimi478, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. Kimi478

    Kimi478 Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2008

    Well this is my first year teaching and I am truly excited! I am a transitioning into the field after a few years at a large financial company and earning my MBA. I just really wanted to focus on something new and rewarding - and this is it!!!

    But today I received the teachers manual's and I am suddenly overwhelmed. Apparently their aren't math books for students - so I have to use these concepts to teach with materials that I don't have and the manual really is horrible - I'm totally lost.

    Then the Social Studies manual gives a million and 1 ways to teach - but how can I possibly get all of this information in!

    And we don't have reading manuals yet - so who knows about that!

    So tell me- how do I not feel so overwhelmed!!!
     
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  3. missred4190

    missred4190 Comrade

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    Jul 10, 2008

    I feel for you. I feel a little overwhelmed too just because I haven't seen any of the books or materials yet...but I know they are there.

    The first thing I would do is talk to other team members or people in your grade level. They should be able to help you come up with a plan or share their plans from the previous year(s). At least this way you have a general idea of what to do and in what order.
     
  4. peachieteachie

    peachieteachie Comrade

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    Jul 10, 2008

    I agree with missred. Definitely talk to your teammates and I'm sure they'll give you great ideas! Planning with your team can be very helpful, especially for a first year teacher. I felt the same way my first year of teaching, which was last year, and I am a little overwhelemed this year too since some changes have been made to both our math and social studies curriculum.

    Thinking on the positive side of things, there are many manipulatives to help teach math and generally the students like using them. There are lots of wonderful resources you can find on the web to help assist you with certain topics. We have a lot to cover in social studies too, and not EVERYTHING is going to be covered in great detail. I know that I am focusing on the electoral process this year because of the election in November. My class is actually going to participate in a Mock Election. I also integrate social studies (as well as science) into math, reading, and writing.
     
  5. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Jul 10, 2008

    I agree as well. Talk to your teammates. Also, luckily you have some time this summer to begin to look at the manuals. Sounds like you might have to create a bunch of practice sheets etc for math and maybe that's something you can create and then make files for so that when the year starts you have atleast some of it done. As for Social Studies, do not feel like you will get it all done. You won't! And that's okay. You need to pick what is most important for them to know and start there. Look at the curriculum and then at the text and find what correlates. Every first year (of 6th year like me) teacher feels this way. You are not alone!!!!!!
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 10, 2008

    You will get a lot of help here on AtoZ. We have some super 5th grade teachers here.

    I don't use textbooks for teaching math, though I do use the workbooks for homework assignments. You can always make your own worksheets online or copy them from a master workbook. Mastering all operations with fractions in 5th grade is my goal, so I work on those all year.

    In social studies, which is usually American history, I rarely get past westward expansion, though I always add in a unit on WWII. This year I plan to use a lot of historical fiction to teach with. I also use a newspaper called Social Studies Weekly. The kids take them home when finished with them. www.studiesweekly.com

    This site is very helpful for 5th and 6th grade teachers:
    http://www.teachersdesk.org/

    Check out this thread on AtoZ with great links:
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=60491

    By the way, I have an MBA, too, and teaching wasn't my first career.
     
  7. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Jul 10, 2008

    Does your school have a scope & sequence? Here we have a calendar w/ what we are supposed to teach and when. That is really helpful for me to start with.

    I always take a deep breath, and just start at the beginning. Plan w/ your team if you can. Perhaps they will share their plans with you for you to start with.
     
  8. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Jul 11, 2008

    I'm a list maker. I'd make a list of the skills that should be taught according to the state, not according to the teacher's manual. Then I'd get a notebook for the first set of skills (or folders if you'd prefer) and start crusing some web sites. Print out interesting ideas. Organize files on Word and copy paste into reading ideas, math ideas, etc.

    I don't use the student math books much either. And the Think Math teacher's edition is a mess to me. That's our supplement. We also have Harcourt, which I don't think is great either.

    Good luck. Ask for ideas here if you need them once you make headway on what you're supposed to teach.
     
  9. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jul 11, 2008

    Where are you teaching in Florida? I am just curious. How do the teachers at the school you've been hired at handle the math?
     
  10. Kimi478

    Kimi478 Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2008

    I am in Duval County. I looked more into this and it looks like the school uses Math Investigations. I researched it a little online and now I'm beginning to see why the students don't have math books. I guess I'm just used to how I was taught and MANY things have changed.
    I will get a mentor before school starts, so I'm sure I will be okay! It's just a little overwhelming when I start to think about it.

    Has anyone ever used Math Investigations and if so what type of resources do you use?
     
  11. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jul 11, 2008

    I'd think the school must have at least some of the math manipulatives you need. As others have said, get in touch with your team members for help on this.

    As for the SS books....My school's adopted series has units broken down into chapters down into lessons. Most do I think. We have "standards" (pretty crummy IMO) we need to address and are told to use the books as a resource. I don't cover everything in the book or exactly as they tell me to. We skip a whole unit, various lessons, and never have time to look at the art in history/cultural pages. Seriously, don't get too worked up if you can't cover every single page. It's probably more than is expected of you anyway. SS book authors tend to put tons of information into the texts so that more people can use their books. I love the series we have, but I have learned to be selective about what I use and what I pull in from other places and what gets passed over all together.
     
  12. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Jul 11, 2008

    Our math books contain way more information than we need anyway. I normally only use it for practice. Everything else I get off the internet, or buy from the store. One of my team members don't even use the math books at all. Find a support system, and you will be fine.
     
  13. 5thgradeTNteach

    5thgradeTNteach Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2008

    Everybody feels overwhelmed their first year! This is my 14th year of teaching and I still fell overwhelmed at times! I teach just social studies and let me tell you- you won't get it all in. I don't use the textbook often, I use historical novels, a magazine series from Teacher Discoveries, and project based learning. Use your standards to base your teaching on and of course you can come to A to Z for lots of help. Good Luck and have a great first year!
     
  14. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jul 11, 2008

    Yes, I'd be happy to help you with th SS anyway I can.
     
  15. 100%Canadian

    100%Canadian Companion

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    Jul 12, 2008

    To quote a now retired teacher-friend of mine, "Teaching is a marathon, not a sprint."

    Look at the bigger picture, compartmentalize and go with the flow - it's my advice to new teachers and student teachers every year. Don't overwhelm yourself with every tidbit out there - study the big ideas and get your head around the major themes; then worry about details as you go. That's how I survived my first few years (I'm now in my 9th having taught everything from 4-8).

    As for social studies, being a history major it's my niche, don't rely too heavily on textbooks. Use a variety of sources and combine good ideas from other subjects with SS too. As for the content, it's simple...if you're talking about the past, just tell a story. Everyone loves a good story so why stick to boring facts and dates for SS? And, like a good story, it never hurts to leave the kids hanging at the end of a period - just so they can look forward to what's going to happen next. I'm not as familiar with American past as I am with the Canadian but up here our history tends to get a bad rap as being a snooze fest. All it takes is the right enthusiasm and the odd anecdote to make the past come alive. It's a little more work on your end but the response you get from your students is well worth it.
     
  16. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jul 12, 2008

    Here, here! American history can be pretty boring at times if you aren't interested in the era being studied. However, every time period and group of people has its own little oddities and quirks. The key is to find and share them. Aztecs=boring with my kids until I tell them they took part in human sacrifice. Suddenly they wake up. Same thing with the Constitution and branches of government until they find out the govt. isn't really supposed to work together smoothly because no one branch really trusts each other (checks and balances). And BTW Jefferson invited people to the White House all the time and was rather casual about it. There's a story that once he had a sceduled meeting early on a Saturday morning and he (Jefferson) answered the door in his robe and slippers. I don't know how true it is, but it captures his spirit and the kiddos attention.
     
  17. jenteach

    jenteach Rookie

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    Jul 12, 2008

    One of the biggest things to help you calm down is to remember that you are not going to do every little thing listed in the text. You will go threw and find a) what is the most important for the students according to the state, b) what do you think is most important, c) what do you feel most comfortable teaching, and d) what do you have time to do... with c you have to think about how you are going to teach something. For instance if the book suggests teaching something through a lecture on one topic, is there a way that students can learn two or three topics doing an independent project and you teaching mini-lessons? I know at first this seems to make things worse, but if you go into the text looking for what you want/need to teach rather than looking at it knowing you have to teach every word it will help you begin taking each lesson apart and and seeing how things will work from day-to-day. This is still a lot of work, but hey - that's what teaching is... try to cheer up :-D As you start learning how to do this and other tricks of the trades from the veteran teachers around you things will get easier, I promise!
     
  18. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Jul 13, 2008

    Definitely go to your team members. What about subscribing to Mailbox and/or Teacher's Helper Magazines? They are both wonderful.
     

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