What if you don't know the material?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MsBee, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    Or if you forgot how to do some of the material?

    I am looking at some of the 3rd grade standards and some of the stuff I would have to study my own self to remember how to do(math)
    plus the stuff in Social Studies is stuff I don't remember learning back in school.

    Anyone have this issue and how do you deal?

    I know someone who teachers high school and she says that she has t go home and study at night some of the material.

    Please tell me we are not the only two in the world who will be doing this!!:lol:
     
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  3. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Of course things you haven't seen in a long time need to be refreshed. A teacher who had been teaching 13 years longer than me brought her book into my room and asked for help on a Math lesson because she changed grade levels and didn't remember how to do it let alone how to teach it. Nothing to be embarrassed about. :thumb:
     
  4. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    Good! I guess I would feel a little embarrassed. Some of that stuff is just like "huh"
     
  5. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    If 3rd graders are expected to learn the material, how hard can it be? Just study and brush up as you need and you will be fine.

    I will be teaching Earth Science and I have a geoscience degree (with honors) from a respected program, plus I am about to be published in a prestigious professional publication, but I do not know everything on the standards. There are gaps in my astronomy and meteorology knowledge, and I am ashamed to say that I do not know as much as I should about the general geology of my state. I could go on and on at length about one or two locales, but teaching a class on the general geology? Eek. Also, I am expected to teach a unit on glacial terrains (why?! Praxis had all that too. Let's teach about water conservation or global climate issues instead). Nobody remembers any of that stuff past the freshman geology exam.

    You will be fine Ms. Bee. Relax :)

    I fully expect that I will be doing some studying and research for each unit that I teach, if only for my own confidence level and to have extra examples as backup.
     
  6. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    3rd grade math should be a piece of cake.

    SS is another story for me though LOL.

    Don't worry I was always study my grammar before my lessons. Grammar is tough, very contradictory.
     
  7. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    No 3rd graph math will be my problem. I have always been bad in math! lol
     
  8. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    *grade^^^^ math will be my problem
     
  9. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Hey, you're fine! I am a HS history/social studies teacher in a very rural district, and I have to study up on stuff all the time. It gives me a lot more confidence and I feel like it's my duty to do so.

    Good luck!
     
  10. MissJill

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    What do you need help with?
    (in math)
     
  11. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Ms. Bee, if you aren't confident in math, maybe look into some tutoring for yourself. I used to tutor teachers in similar situations and/or for the PPST. I always worried that they passed their dislike or fear of math onto the kids. Even with the best of intentions, kids pick up on that stuff!

    No teacher is going to be amazing at everything, and a lot of elementary teachers have math issues. What I did with my students was really strip it all down and start with basic number theory and then into their curriculum and simple things like consumer math and area/perimeter and then into basic algebra. We just started at the beginning and solidly built up the skills and confidence. Everyone can learn to do the math and even enjoy it, but sometimes we have too much old baggage from bad math experiences, so we need to learn to let that go and start fresh.

    You can even use this to your benefit. If you have struggled with math, you have an extra way to help kids who also struggle. Sometimes people who are "naturally" good at math can't understand why someone is stuck on an "obvious" concept or procedure.
     
  12. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    Good way of looking at it.


    But fractions give me trouble!!! Seriously I had teachers who hated math and I learned to hate math and not even want to try at a VERY young age.
     
  13. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Please don't be that teacher! Don't perpetuate this vicious cycle; it is awful. This is exactly what I was talking about. I really hate to add pressure to you, but this is a truly critical issue and you need to get over this so you can get your kids excited about math. I also had those teachers and I hated math and was so bad at it until I was forced into getting good at it.

    You can do fractions. If you walk into a store and a sign says 40% off, can you figure out if you can afford that killer pair of shoes?

    If a recipe serves 6 and you only want to make enough for 3, can you reduce the quantities?

    Maybe some of the math teachers on here can chime in and give you some starting suggestions. This won't be too hard for you if you are willing to give it a fresh start and leave your frustrations behind. I used to mostly use a white board and whatever curriculum materials my students had, so I'm sort of at a loss as to what to suggest online.
     
  14. MissJill

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    What math program are you using?
    Everyday math is great because it gives several different methods to solve every problem.

    I had to learn some of the new methods when I was student teaching because I had never seen it before.

    As far as fractions go, are you have a difficult time making them equivalent or reducing, or into decimals?

    I hope I can help.
     
  15. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    I am not sure on the math programs they use yet. In my student teaching I used everyday math.

    As far as fractions...I seriously don't think I ever learned out to do them. I don't remember learning them.
    I guess I have trouble turning them into decimals. I can reduce them.
     
  16. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    When you're turing it into a decimal, just think of it as a division problem. If it is 7/8, you divide and get .875.
     
  17. tb71

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    When I was studying for the 4-8 generalist I had to brush up on my math--I couldn't remember how to do the fractions. I can convert and use a calculator, but without the calculator I was clueless. Google fraction+multiplication (or whichever you need help with) I skimmed over Math.com too, that seemed to explain it pretty well.

    Good luck!
     
  18. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Try googling for fraction issues.
    I took a math class at my college last year and it was a big refresher course of everything for k-8 math. I was SO lost. Google actually really helped me! Good luck Ms.Bee. You are working so hard, it will pay off soon!
     
  19. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    I feel that way every year about fractions.... I've had my best friend in the grade level explain them to me using our student's manipulatives!! I hate fractions!
     
  20. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

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    I definitely had to learn just about all of my 4th grade science curriculum last year, especially our astronomy unit. I felt a bit sheepish not knowing it, but I feel like the general population really doesn't know, off-hand, some of the things our elementary school kids are supposed to master. So, it's not just you!
     
  21. ArizonaTchr72

    ArizonaTchr72 Companion

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    Check out your teacher editions

    I think that once you have your curriculum, your teacher edition is going to give you all the information you need to know. Most teacher editions are written in a clear manner so that teachers can explain the material to students in a variety of ways. I think that if you review the TE before each lesson, you will be fine.

    It is normal to feel what you are feeling right now, but don't worry. Become best friends with your teacher editions and you will have a great year!:hugs:
     
  22. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    Yea...plus a friend of mine said
    "you will always know more than the students"

    I guess thats the truth.
     
  23. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I don't have issues with the things that I teach all the time, which is basically reading and writing.

    Now, give me anything else, and that's another story. One year I had to teach algebra to a homebound student. I have degrees in English! I did take algebra, and I knew how to work the problems, but I didn't know how to explain it. I was about one day ahead of the student all the time.

    You'll be surprised how fast things come back to you, too.
     
  24. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I don't have this problem because I know everything. :whistle:

    But seriously... I can't even get someone to tell me what the kids are reading for summer reading at my new school, so for all I know it might be a book I never read before. :dizzy: But it will work out. You just go along with it. Wing it. Or be honest about it - I am teaching this for the first time so let's learn it together!
     
  25. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    I'm not so worried anymore.
     
  26. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    I had been out of college for 20+ years when I earned my teaching license. I had to study hard to get my endorsements for SS and LA. I'd been a tech writer and was assigned to 8th grade LA. I had to do tons of brushing up and do so every year. Don't feel bad. I figure it is all part of our continuing education. Also, we are all human. Not perfect.
     
  27. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    MsBee,
    In Virginia, in third grade, you only have to teach parts of a whole, parts of a group, (12 or less -- so 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6 through 1/12) how to add or subtract fractions with like denominators, simple mixed numbers (such as 5 1/2), and comparing fractions (greater than less/less than/equal to) using models {pictures.} It really isn't anything too difficult.

    And yes, it isn't uncommon for teachers to have to review the material before they teach it. When I first taught 3rd grade, phases of the moon were in it, and I didn't know them in order. I had to learn that. (They moved that to 4th grade.) I also had to learn that the seasons on earth have nothing whatsoever to do with the distance the earth is from the sun. (The earth is actually closest to the sun during winter -- because our orbit is slightly elliptical.) You read, you review, you learn, then you figure out how to break it all down so the students will understand. It is all part of the "game."
     
  28. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Yes, the list of fractions that have to be mastered is a certain amount in Florida (as is in Virginia).

    1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, and 1/10 are probably definites, and so are their equivalent fractions.

    1/2= 2/4= 3/6, and so on.

    Let us know how you're doing and if you need any questions answered, still.
     
  29. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    In Virginia, equivalent fractions aren't part of the 3rd grade curriculum. They are taught in 4th grade.

    As you say, Ms. J, none of it is hard, or excessive. And in Virginia, they started learning fractions in 1st and 2nd, so the only "new" material is adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators, and the compairing parts-of-a-whole fractions (with pictures) is new, but not at all hard for the kids.

    Fractions is one of the easiest things to teach in math in 3rd grade.
     
  30. kacieann

    kacieann Companion

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    Math is my favorite subject and always has been, but when I started teaching 3rd grade it was a complete different ball game. I did have to study my math manual. Subtraction with regrouping I had to completely reteach myself. There are some great online tutoring programs and videos. Many times after you see a problem done it triggers your memory from grade school.:thumb:
     
  31. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Kacie,
    This is so true. Even if you know the subject well, it is often taught differently. The first time I heard of "math mountains" or "partner houses", "break aparts," or "flashing fives" I wondered what are they talking about?!? Since my district tests these concepts (they will show a half completed problem and ask which step comes next) you absolutely have to use these techniques and models if you want your kids to succeed on district-wide assessments. I had to go home and read, read, read. It wasn't hard -- it was just something I'd never heard of.
     
  32. nothermanda

    nothermanda Companion

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    Don't worry, you're not the only one who has to study. I keep several of my college textbooks in my classroom and refer to them often. My degree is in English, and I aced Advanced Grammar, but I still have to study to teach my 8th grade Language Arts!

    I'm really nervous about 8th grade Science this year. It includes some basic physics and chem and, although I love Science, those are not my strongest areas! I brought the TE home over the summer so I can start studying before the year starts!

    Teaching requires a level of mastery not expected from students...we can't expect to be able to teach it just because we learned it once. Good teachers never stop learning :)
     
  33. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    I'm just glad I'm not alone. I was really nervous about third grade because I know I don't remember what I learned back then.
     
  34. Mora

    Mora Rookie

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    Teaching is one of those things where no matter how many years I've been teaching, the butterflies in my stomach return the way they did on the very first day of my very first year as a First grade teacher!
    I guess we can call it the"symptoms" of the back-to-school fever!
     
  35. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I was never good at math when I was in elementary school. I actually LOVE teaching math and wish I could teach it all day at the elementary level. Our kids learn math differently now. I have to teach myself the new methods. When I student taught at the 5th grade level I had a double take when I saw the lattice method and the new way to divide.
     
  36. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    The new way to divide!!! Teach me the old way first! lol
    j/k
     
  37. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    MsBee,
    You've been looking in Virginia. The Virginia curriculum for 3rd grade math isn't very difficult. Anything you don't know is usually given to you by the district in the form of a chart with your curriculum guide (for instance, the number of edges, corners, and faces of 3-D figures. Most districts will have a chart of this in the curriculum guide just in case you don't know this.)

    Also, you can purchase one of a variety of "prep" books that contains the entire curriculum in review form (Buckle Down, Blast Off, Princeton Review.) More than likely, your district will have one or more of these books already purchased for your class.

    Last, there is a Math Specialist at most schools, and it is her/his job to help you with any math issues. This person provides strategies for teaching, supplemental materials (if you ask) and all kinds of other things.

    There's no need to stress. And honestly, it wouldn't matter what grades you student taught in -- even if you student taught in 1st, and then moved to Virginia to teach 1st, you'd find everything is quite different. It is always that way in teaching. You just go with the flow, read ahead, take the workshops and trainings that your district offers, and you will be just fine.


    Virginia's 3rd Grade Revised Math Curriculum

    3.1 The student will
    --a) read and write six-digit numerals and identify the place value and value of each digit;
    --b) round whole numbers, 9,999 or less, to the nearest ten, hundred, and thousand; and
    --c) compare two whole numbers between 0 and 9,999, using symbols (>, <, or = ) and words (greater than, less than, or equal to).

    3.2 The student will recognize and use the inverse relationships between addition/subtraction and multiplication/division to complete basic fact sentences. The student will use these relationships to solve problems.

    3.3 The student will
    --a) name and write fractions (including mixed numbers) represented by a model;
    --b) model fractions (including mixed numbers) and write the fractions' names; and
    --c) compare fractions having like and unlike denominators, using words and symbols (>, <, or =).

    3.4 The student will estimate solutions to and solve single-step and multistep problems involving the sum or difference of two whole numbers, each 9,999 or less, with or without regrouping.

    3.5 The student will recall multiplication facts through the twelves table, and the corresponding division facts.

    3.6 The student will represent multiplication and division, using area, set, and number line models, and create and solve problems that involve multiplication of two whole numbers, one factor 99 or less and the second factor 5 or less.

    3.7 The student will add and subtract proper fractions having like denominators of 12 or less.

    3.8 The student will determine, by counting, the value of a collection of bills and coins whose total value is $5.00 or less, compare the value of the bills and coins, and make change.

    3.9 The student will estimate and use U.S. Customary and metric units to measure
    --a) length to the nearest 12-inch, inch, foot, yard, centimeter, and meter;
    --b) liquid volume in cups, pints, quarts, gallons, and liters;
    --c) weight/mass in ounces, pounds, grams, and kilograms; and
    --d) area and perimeter.

    3.10 The student will
    --a) measure the distance around a polygon in order to determine perimeter; and
    --b) count the number of square units needed to cover a given surface in order to determine area.

    3.11 The student will
    --a) tell time to the nearest minute, using analog and digital clocks; and
    --b) determine elapsed time in one-hour increments over a 12-hour period.

    3.12 The student will identify equivalent periods of time, including relationships among days, months, and years, as well as minutes and hours.

    3.13 The student will read temperature to the nearest degree from a Celsius thermometer and a Fahrenheit thermometer. Real thermometers and physical models of thermometers will be used.

    3.14 The student will identify, describe, compare, and contrast characteristics of plane and solid geometric figures (circle, square, rectangle, triangle, cube, rectangular prism, square pyramid, sphere, cone, and cylinder) by identifying relevant characteristics, including the number of angles, vertices, and edges, and the number and shape of faces, using concrete models.

    3.15 The student will identify and draw representations of points, line segments, rays, angles, and lines.

    3.16 The student will identify and describe congruent and noncongruent plane figures.

    3.17 The student will
    --a) collect and organize data, using observations, measurements, surveys, or experiments;
    --b) construct a line plot, a picture graph, or a bar graph to represent the data; and
    --c) read and interpret the data represented in line plots, bar graphs, and picture graphs and write a sentence analyzing the data.

    3.18 The student will investigate and describe the concept of probability as chance and list possible results of a given situation.

    3.19 The student will recognize and describe a variety of patterns formed using numbers, tables, and pictures, and extend the patterns, using the same or different forms.

    3.20 The student will
    --a) investigate the identity and the commutative properties for addition and multiplication; and
    --b) identify examples of the identity and commutative properties for addition and multiplication.
     
  38. dragonfly05

    dragonfly05 Companion

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    I completed my ST last semester...and I too had the same fears! I am horrible with math and I was ST 4th grade. I ended up teaching fractions of all things. I learned more when I taught them, then I did when I was in 4th grade. I just studied and came up with different ways to teach them. It was no problem. You can't be expected to remember everything. Just study a little, be confident and don't be afraid to say, "that is a GREAT question, but I'll have to look into the answer for you." :D
     
  39. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Third grade math doesn't get too difficult regarding fractions, at least not in Idaho. (Long division is another matter!) I like to use examples with my students-like calling 5 students up and asking what fraction tells me how many students are girls. When we get to comparing fractions, we always talk about cake. If you get 1/3 or 1/6 of the cake, which would be more? They know that if the cake is cut into three pieces the pieces will be a lot bigger than if that same cake is cut into six pieces.
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 2, 2009

    One of the most engaging explanations of fractions ever is in Algebra Unplugged by Kenn Amdahl and Jim Loats. The premise is that Amdahl is an ignoramus in math and Loats is a math professor; the two get together over a series of beers and Loats explains to Amdahl what math reallllly is about. Fractions are explained in terms of pizzas divided by tenors, among other things, and it's hilarious.

    I haven't checked Khan Academy on YouTube to see what explanations of fractions there are, but it wouldn't surprise me to find some good ones.
     
  41. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    One of the facts about teaching elementary grades is that no body is an expert in everything. The best thing I do is ask my fellow teachers about something I don't understand or what is the best way to teach something. Most of the time they are more than happy to help and I am more than happy to share any ideas I have with them.
     

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