Switching Classes or Self Contained?

Discussion in 'Third Grade' started by daizie75, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. daizie75

    daizie75 Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2008

    Do you switch classes for certain subjects in 3rd grade? Or do you keep your homeroom students all day (except for specials)? Which do you prefer and why?

    We've had some disagreement at my school and I was curious what others thought.
     
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  3. teksox33

    teksox33 Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2008

    My kids stay with me all day. My colleagues and I have talked about switching for certain subjects, grouping like ability students to provide more intensive instruction. My principal will not allow it. She feels we know our students best and we can differentiate in our small groups. I feel her point is valid, but I think some children would benefit from hearing a different voice or learning with a different person from time to time. I sometimes feel some my kids almost get a little "too used" to me and 6 months into the year, zone out a little. I work hard to try to continually "engage" those students so I don't lose them but it can be difficult sometimes.

    I remember when I was in 5th grade (many years ago), I switched classes for math. It did pick up my attention from time to time when we did.
     
  4. MuggleBug

    MuggleBug Companion

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    Aug 15, 2008

    We keep them all day. When I was in elementary school, we switched for math in 4th grade and math, science, and social studies in 5th grade. Now they only switch for science/social studies in 5th grade at the same school due to the state testing - they feel they would lose too much instructional time if they switched for math. I could see that when I subbed - some days the classes switched after recess and they were always running late so they would end up with significantly less instructional time than originally scheduled. I think 3rd grade is a little early to switch classes but I'm sure it works great for some!
     
  5. bluebutterfly

    bluebutterfly Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2008

    We have had that same discussion at our school. Another teacher and myself came from 4th and 5th grade, where they switched for every subject. Now that we are in third, we don't want to switch. The other two third grade teachers are interested in switching.

    I feel that our students are doing good to stay organized in one classroom, let alone four. Also, you are constricted time wise. Every subject would have to be for the same amount of time. When that time is up, it's up, whether you are done or not.
     
  6. daizie75

    daizie75 Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2008

    Two years ago we switched for reading and math starting in January (that's when my former principal decided to start switching). It was really hard for some kids to be organized. It was nice having a more heterogeneous group but I'm not sure that is best for the kids socially. They always know (or think they know) what group they are in no matter how you try to hide it. It is a pain to get grades and comments from 5 other teachers.

    This year we are doing partner switching. I have one teacher I will switch with. My P is also letting us decide what to switch for and we can be very flexible. But we're starting an online grade book and parents are supposed to be able to see the kids grades. Grade books are organized by homeroom. Luckily both my partner and I are very organized so it will be okay. I can't imagine doing this with a teacher who lets grading stack up for weeks or doing this with 5 other teachers.

    I think I would rather just have my own homeroom all day but that is not an option. Some kids need one teacher, they get away with more when switching because the other teachers don't know them as well.

    Another issue I have is that my school system seems to be tracking how much growth each teacher makes with their homeroom. When over 2/3 of my class was leaving my room for 3 hours a day, I had a huge problem with that.
     
  7. clctchr

    clctchr New Member

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    Aug 23, 2008

    Switch

    In my district they are starting to have us switch from 3rd to 6th. We will be either teaching Reading, English and Writing or Math and Science to two groups (our class and one other). We will then teach social studies and spelling to our own class. I'm excited about it, if it works. I think that having two different groups will make the day go by faster and will help keep us sane. You know how hard your year can be if you get one kid who just gets under your skin and you have him/her all day long. I think it will be a nice change, and hope it goes well.
     
  8. daizie75

    daizie75 Rookie

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    Aug 24, 2008

    We've discussed this but it seems great for the math and science teacher and not so great for the language arts teacher - all those book groups and writing pieces to grade. Good luck, I hope it works out for you.
     
  9. teachertexas

    teachertexas Rookie

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    Aug 24, 2008

    Third grade used to switch for science and social studies, but now we are self-contained. Some of our fourth grade classes switch for science and social studies. Our fifth grade does a math/social studies and ELA/science split.
     
  10. Ellensmom

    Ellensmom Companion

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    Aug 27, 2008

    I have had this discussion several times this summer, as some of you know because I posted about discussing with my new principal. Well, even though he is NOT in favor of 3rd grade switching we still are for this year. (It is only for 1 class). His reasoning, which I don't totally agree with, is that the middle of August was too late to make the change. (I don't really buy that reason since I went to him the FIRST of JULY). Anyway, the other teacher was surprised we stayed with the switching since she knew his opinion about it. We will discuss it again in the spring to give us time to make the changes needed (whatever they are). I think it is too early for 3rd grade to switch because they have so many other changes on them this year with the curriculum.
     
  11. xmasqueen

    xmasqueen Rookie

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    Oct 17, 2008

    We do switch classes and have 3 groupings. I teach math and spelling, another teacher teaches reading and english and the other one teaches science/social studies. This is our second year of doing this and we've worked out most of the bugs encountered the first year. We have found that it keeps the kids intersted in each classroom because they have a different person for those classes. It also allows us to teach what we have a strength in and keeps us from being so overwhelmed with having to know every curriculum and scope and sequence not to mention the standards for every subject. We do try to coordinate subject areas though...for instance when I taught a lesson on Venn Diagrams I used animals and we discussed not only the scientific information but also where they were located and why those were good environments for those particular animals. They got not only math, but science, social studies and reading as well, plus problem solving because they had 4 different Venn diagrams to sort their 12 animal cards into. I love having to only plan for 2 subjects. We did divide the planning before but it's hard to teach from someone else's lesson plans. In the long run I think it has made me a better teacher because I love teaching math and my enthusiasm shows in my lessons.
     
  12. Sabrena

    Sabrena Rookie

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    Oct 17, 2008

    My school does a hybrid of both. Each grade level has at least 1 departmentalized team and I would say at least 2 self contained classes. I have taught both. I LOVE self contained. I love being responsible for what goes on for every aspect of the day. I also like to be accountable for my data. Also, if I need a little extra time in one area, I can take it, I don't have to worry about switching classes (which takes away instruction time as it is)
     
  13. sparkles09

    sparkles09 New Member

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    Nov 11, 2008

    My school currently does departmentalization from 3rd through 6th grade. One teacher does the Reading, Writing, and Social Studies instruction and the other teacher does the math and science instruction. This set-up works out wonderfully for the math and science teacher, who has more than enough time to get through the curriculum. Unfortunately, the other teacher is left with the burden of trying to teach three curriculums in a limited amount of time. The sad thing is that this only hurts the students because there is not enough time to teach everything. Does anyone have suggestions on doing this since it is required and this particular way of switching will not be changed?
     
  14. SmileGirl1117

    SmileGirl1117 Rookie

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    Feb 24, 2009

    At my school 2nd and 3 graders switch for reading, math, and science/social studies. It works out really well and the kids love to switch. The only problem I have with this is that our switching periods are 45mins long and coupled with specials my kids do not always get the quality science/social studies lesson the others get because of time restraints.
     
  15. nattles19

    nattles19 Comrade

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    Apr 5, 2009

    This year my grade level is primarily self-contained, though I do have 10 kids that switch around for reading so that I can provide ESL services for students in other classrooms.

    Last year I collaborated with another teacher to switch for reading, and I loved it. She is very skilled at working with struggling readers, and I do well providing challenges for advanced readers. Switching works well when you have a system in place for communicating student progress on a regular basis. It is important for me to be able to report to a parent how their child is doing while they are with another teacher.

    The downside was that the other teacher had a lot of behavior problems during literacy. It just worked out that a lot of the struggling students that year were also the ones who had difficulty working independently and staying on task.

    I hope to switch again for reading next year. It makes planning much more streamlined, and helps every student get the specific instruction they need.
     
  16. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    We prefer self-contained. Cuts down on issues. I am switching to the new school next year and hopefully we will still remain self-contained.
     
  17. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    We are departmentalized from 4th on up. It's tough for some kids to stay organized but works well for many of them. Everyone has the chance to see fresh faces all day. Plus, we only have to teach our Language Arts and one content area.
     
  18. Ellensmom

    Ellensmom Companion

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    For the 2009-2010 school year we are NOT switching! I am so excited. I will keep my class and get to teach some Social Studies. The other teacher is not too thrilled about it, but since the principal said he didn't like switching, she doesn't have a choice. I just need to make sure I get everything done, or it will be a case for going back to switching for one class. So, I need to find some cool SS activities. Any ideas?:help:
     
  19. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    What standards do you have to cover in Social Studies?
     
  20. Ellensmom

    Ellensmom Companion

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    To be honest, I haven't looked at them yet. :eek: I have looked over the book, and there are lessons about technology (past and present), inventions, Communities and such. Guess I need to get started. Thanks for waking me up.:eek:
     
  21. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    No problem :) I was just curious because I know where our Social Studies is concerned we have standards that have to be covered that aren't touched by our textbooks. I am going to be lucky this year and have a whiteboard so I can use flipcharts over the topics that I don't have a lot on.
     
  22. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    With our 4th & 5th some are self-contained while others switch. The 4th classrooms that switch have the teachers move instead of the students. The 5th classrooms have the students move. the 2 way switches aren't too bad...but the 3 and 4 way switches are too much!!! There is chaos in the halls & a great deal of teaching time is lost due to transitions. (5 min per transition X 4 times a day = at least 100 minutes a week lost. This is in addition to transitions for specials and lunch.) I also think having just 2 teachers helps with the connections teachers develop with students. :2cents:
     
  23. Ellensmom

    Ellensmom Companion

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    This was my main argument for not switching in 3rd grade. I felt there was too much time lost.
     
  24. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I am coming from teaching self contained third grade to switching classes. I am the LA/Social Studies teacher and the other teacher is the Math/Science teacher. I am interested to see how this works out.
     
  25. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I've taught as semi-departmentalized and self contained. I much prefer the self contained. In my opinion the kids are just too young to be able to deal with all the changes. If all the teachers aren't on the same page for behavior, then problems arise (because your trouble makers figure out their limits in each room and push the boundaries). Because time management is a huge issue with me, it caused a lot of problems as far as losing time in lessons. Doing things like taking extra time for science to watch a space walk on the Internet, or a teachable moment for math that makes that lesson go over, is too hard to deal with. I like having my kids all day.
     
  26. Ellensmom

    Ellensmom Companion

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    I also found that sometimes, ideas or questions will come to me in the middle of teaching one class, that really helps explain a topic. I have trouble remembering it for the next class. Being self-contained should help with that. I know a class won't miss out on something because "I forgot, or a question wasn't asked during their time."
     
  27. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I teach social studies and my partner teaches science. We keep our own kids for everything else. It's a nice situation because we can really focus on the content.
     
  28. Luv2Teach3rd

    Luv2Teach3rd Rookie

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    We keep our kids all day except for Reading groups. We level for those. Our school goes up to 5th grade and they only switch for Reading groups also. I teach in a poor socio-economic area and apparently the research is that our type of kids do better being self-contained. I love having my kids all day!!
     
  29. TeachCA

    TeachCA Rookie

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    Switching classes

    Our third grade team has discussed it and has decided against switching. I switched with another teacher last year for social studies/science. I didn't like it because it was hard to talk to the parents during conference time about science. Also, the teacher I teamed with had no discipline or structure in her classroom. I would always have to calm my students down when they came back to me. I just like having my own kids.

    The other teacher and I would go to each other's room to teach. Instead of having the kids switch rooms, we switched rooms.

    Our 4th and 5th grade teachers switch. 4th switches for math, social studies, science. One teacher hates it. 5th grade switched for everything...saying they are getting them ready for middle school. But one teacher said that she thought it wasted a lot of time and kids would forget materials. Don't know what they are going to do this year.
     
  30. Grace

    Grace Companion

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    Jul 20, 2009

    We switch classes. We have one teacher who teaches Reading/ELA, and their "switch" teacher teaches Math/Science. Social Studies is taught in the homeroom class, although with some new things their trying to make us do we will definitely be cramped for time!
     

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