Are you a new teacher or a veteran teacher who is changing grades?
I see you! I've been you!
In my 15+ years of teaching, I've taught 7 grades! Teachers are not always given the luxury of time to plan for changes, either. Quite often, you catch word that you are being moved in August, then you are so worried about setting up your classroom that you can't even begin to think about curriculum!
Been there, done that!
Now I'm here to help! I've pulled together some of the things that I wish I had access to right away at the beginning of a new year in a new grade, and I'm laying it all out for you! I hope you can find some calm in the storm knowing that someone has walked a mile in your shoes, survived, and is willing to pass on tips to make your transition easier...
Tip #1 Make Learning Fun for Them, and Easy for You!
When I first moved up to middle school, I had to remember a lot of grammar rules, terms, and tricks that I had stored in the far reaches of my memory bank! Since I know teachers get bumped from grade to grade, I decided to make some products that would make teaching grammar skills easy for veteran teachers and new teachers alike! The students will like these activities, too, because they aren't boring fill-in-the-blank worksheets or diagramming sentences!
Tip #2 Don't Reinvent the Wheel!
Something else I would have loved to have as a new-to-grade teacher is pre-made, ready to go lesson presentations and activities to start my year off right and RIGHT AWAY! There is no reason you need to customize every single lesson. Until you are comfortable with your new curriculum, use lessons that have worked successfully in other classrooms. Borrowing lessons from veteran teachers is a great way to ease into new or unfamiliar curriculum.
Tip #3 Read, Read, Read!
I think that most English or Elementary teachers have a secret crush on books. I freely admit that I am a book addict! I love books of all kinds, board books on up to novels! My primary goal as an ELA teacher is to get kids to LOVE reading. I love reading aloud to kids, even middle schoolers. I love recommending books, I love doing novel studies, I love discussing what students are reading in their free time. Still, as teachers, we do have to teach reading comprehension strategies and other vocabulary and writing skills. I've created some novel study guides that offer more than just your basic comprehension questions and get students deeply involved in the story - not just lists of vocabulary words and comprehension questions! These novel study guides won't take the joy out of reading by burying students in busy work.
Tip #4 Teach with Music!
Students often have difficulty understanding theme and mood in literature, but they totally get T.V. shows and popular music! I've created these two products to help! Each activity starts with an exploration of popular theme songs, either from T.V. shows or movies. Kids often learn better through music, so these activities spark interest and grow dendrites :) I love to use these activities at the beginning of the year because students LOVE them and I love learning more about my kids!
Tip #5 Use Interactive Notebooks!
I'm a BIG FAN of Interactive Student Notebooks, too! I like to think that after my students leave my class and head to high school, they will have an ELA Reference "Bible" to take along with them! These notebooks are essentially a collection of skills learned throughout the year. My students find themselves referring back to notes in their ISNs at different times of the year to refresh their memories or to review for tests. Here are a few of my favorite ISN templates and activities:
I hope that some of these suggestions will help you in your quest to make this your best year yet! Take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and let those who have walked before you help you get started on your new path!
Click on the pictures above to find out more about my best-selling products in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. To get you started, you can click on the two pictures below to download some ready-to-use TODAY freebies!
Find more great activities and resources from Tween Spirit on Teachers Pay Teachers!