This is probably an extremely dumb question....but

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeachCafe, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2015

    I'm excited about the opportunity to teach something new. I'm excited about more independent students, having a team who've taught the grade for years so know what to do and to actually be a part of the school and not the seen and heard step child the school is happy a warm body in the room so they can have relief.

    I'm moving from a self contained autism unit to 4th grade.


    How we were set up....curriculum was literally in BOXES and you taught from the box. ELA curriculum was written by day, what worksheet the kids did was IN a binder and you had it printed off. What books you read were in a box, etc.


    So I'm reading the standards and I feel good yet I feel like last year just completely handicapped me because everything was spoonfed. To some that might be a dream...no making your own resources, TPT, etc. But this was not to do. TPT and all was heavily frowned on yet the boxed curriculum was too advanced for my kids but it was $$$$ for the district per curriculum box and materials so it had to be done.

    Forgive me if this sounds stupid but I'm truly stumped. I was reading a blog that had the first 20 weeks of teaching writing mapped out, worksheets and all and I said GREAT then I was like "I can't do that because that's me doing my own thing" and we get a grade level set of workbooks and worksheets and follow that.

    So my question is....

    BUT how does a grade level stay on one accord when every teacher is doing something else? This one is buying worksheets from this TPT store, using this anchor chart, etc and 3 others are doing their own thing.

    Doesn't that make for a not unison grade level?



    Talk to me like I'm a PreK or K on the first day of school because while this might seem basic I'm truly stumped. Seriously spell it out...
     
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  3. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    I'm glad I'm getting out of sped now because staying in that longer would harm me more later. We don't do writer's/reader's workshop, a word wall, nothing like that. We do boxed curriculum and reading programs.



    So say a 4 week period unit is on citizenship. The pacing guide says "Citizenship" and I have the state standards on the subject and that's it. I'm on my own island surfing TPT and online worksheets and such to teacher while the other 3 ELA teachers in my grade level are doing their own thing too?

    Is there REALLY that much autonomy?
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    As long as all teachers are teaching the same standards, following the curriculum and pacing guides, and giving the required common assessments, teachers can do activities and lessons that differ from one another. At least that is how it has worked at both of the schools where I've worked.
     
  5. OneBerry

    OneBerry Comrade

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    This has been my experience as well. Actually in some cases teachers have not used common assessments, either.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    We follow the same general pacing. As long as you are within a week or two of the others, you're fine. No two classes are the same, so no two classes should be doing the exact same thing every day all year.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Have you talked to your teammates? They will be your best source of information as every school is different. My current school has a lot of grade levels where every teacher is doing their own thing. We have some common resources/programs across the building, but some teachers use them a lot , some use them a little, etc. Some grade levels don't even have the same daily schedule (one might teach reading in the morning, one might teach it in the afternoon) or follow the same pacing. In another building I worked in, grade level teams literally met every day after school and mapped out exactly what they would do at exactly what time so that every classroom was doing the same thing. You'll have to ask your teammates to see what the norm is for them and what the expectation is for your building.
     
  8. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    This.

    My first school had an excellent and top-notch Language Arts boxed program that I still think of fondly. We all used that and thus we're all on the same page.

    My current school: Language Arts is meet those standards. We had a math curriculum that wasn't enforced and will be using Engage NY this year (and according to my principal it's still teacher's choice). It's a new system for me.

    But, yes, meet the standards is all.
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I also agree with Bella84. That being said, I am generally the one doing all the creating of assessments (aside from our high-stakes state-wide tests). Get with the group of teachers in your grade level and NEVER hesitate to ask questions. If they don't like answering, then either speak with your principal or contact the district supervisor for that subject area (yes, we have supervisors for ELA, Math, SS, and Science in my district). They are more often than not happy to help.
     
  10. vibink

    vibink New Member

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    Apr 16, 2016

    Hey all, I don't know if this directly answers your question, but we're trying to build a tool that makes it easy to modify other teachers' lesson materials. It could solve the problem you mentioned - all teachers start from the same standards-aligned source material, but can make slight tweaks to modify that material for their students. It's here: Open Lesson Plan Project.

    We've made a basic version for 8th grade CCSS math - we're in early stages right now so would love for you to visit and let me know what you think! Message me for details.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2016
  11. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    We all did what we wanted, when we wanted. We have absolutely no guidance beyond the provincial learning outcomes so we can choose our themes and topics in ELA. In math, science and social studies we all taught the units and outcomes in an order that made sense to us (usually relating it to a possible ELA theme).

    We did try to make a basic year plan one year, but I don't think anyone stuck with the order. We were still a united team and shared resources and ideas, but it was great to have the freedom to teach in our own style.
     
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  12. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    This is how it was for me at almost every school I worked at, but where I am now, we are expected to be on the exact same lesson, teaching the exact same way, and to be clones of each other every minute of the day. And that's why I'm leaving!
     
  13. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I would even add that you do not have to be teaching the same standards at the same time. It is all about authentic collaboration, imo. Just like on these forums, we could have an in depth discussion about almost any topic, it could be deep, authentic,and complex...yet none of us have to be teaching it in the moment. One just has to reflect, take notes, and apply it to their classroom, followed my more reflection and conversation.

    This idea of PLC and CFAs is going to fail. The theory is very different than the actual implementation in real world classrooms. Authentic and honest conversations and reflections is what it is all about imo.
     
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  14. allaphoristic

    allaphoristic Rookie

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    I'm currently working in a private school and there are only two classes in each grade level. In each classroom there is a lead and an assistant teacher. In my grade, we all plan everything together and tend to be only about a day off, if even that. This differs greatly from what I have experienced in other (public schools) where grade levels are much larger, but just wanted to mention that there are places where grade level teams plan that closely.
     
  15. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Can you give some examples of what it means to "plan this closely"?
    I am curious as to what "planning" looks like.
     
  16. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    At my school there are two 6th grade teams. I'm the science teacher on my team and there's a science teacher on the other team. We use the same pacing guide - we have district benchmark assessments throughout the year so we have to stick to them - but we each do our own thing. We do meet with each other every week or so and share ideas and resources and do some of the same activities, but it's not unusual for us to do different things as well. My team has all the ELL kids and the other team has all the special ed kids so that creates some differences and like someone else said, each class is different. As long as our kids aren't bombing out on the benchmarks, no one seems particularly concerned about how we get them there.
     
  17. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    The most important part is making sure that what you are teaching teaches to the standards your students are supposed to meeting by the end of the year. Your team probably has a pacing guide, so that will tell what to teach, but not necessarily how to teach it. What curriculum do you use? If there is no pacing and it really is all up in the air, then maybe there's room for the grade level to be a little more clear. Putting a pacing guide in place is a great idea, once you know the standards. However, what it really comes to is that the standards are your end goal, and there might be several different roads to get there.
     
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  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It's called respect for teaching style and some professional choice. In my school we meet as teams at least once a week, plan together, share resources. At any time we may or may not be on the same unit due to pacing and class makeup. But we are all delivering the same content standards. It doesn't have to look the same in every room-and that's a good thing. My class isn't your class. I'm not you. My kids might need more kinesthetic, hands on, review and reteaching Or might not be struggling with this unit in math so we can buzz ahead a bit. So we make adjustments that fit our kids' needs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
  19. Reagan

    Reagan Rookie

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    I have nothing against a quality boxed curriculum. But if the focus is on ensuring all teachers are doing the same thing so a district report can look nice, we have lost sight of the purpose of teaching. If it's more about a script and unison behavior, why not just lay off teachers and pull in some parent volunteers?
     
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  20. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I realize that this was a sarcastic comment, but it's still a valid question. I think that many people who believe in scripted curricula forget (or perhaps never knew) is that the most challenging part of teaching is the behavior management. I actually loved teaching with a scripted or nearly scripted curriculum; I found it made planning so much easier and the kids liked the routine. However, you still have to know how to 1) deliver it so kids will listen, and 2) get the kids seated, listening, and doing their work in the first place.

    I taught a scripted curriculum once in a small group setting, and had one or two kids in particular who were constantly interrupting and throwing off the flow of the lesson. This was a while ago, I feel like I could handle it much better now; but, it just goes to show that not anyone can go in and teach effectively, even if your words are scripted! It's also frustrating when some kids don't get it, and you feel the need to push on through rather than stop and explain further, because stopping isn't part of the plan and sometimes spiraling means "you'll have no idea what I'm talking about the first 3 times I teach it - but have faith, the fourth time, it will click!"
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
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  21. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    It depends a lot on your school. In my current school, it's everyone-for-themselves, which I love. There's no team planning. In a previous school, we had the exact same lesson plans and resources, which I hated. I'd suggest talking with your teammates and asking whether they have any resources they could share or try out while you're getting started. Especially if you're buying on TPT, it's silly for teachers not to be communicating about who's using what.
     

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