Saturday, July 9, 2016

Changing to 3rd Grade

Hey everyone!
So after 6 years of teaching in 4th Grade, I'm moving to 3rd Grade!
I'm so completely terrified of the change because of the age group. My 4th graders grow to be so independent and I love it, but I know that 3rd graders are more needy and frankly I'm afraid that they are going to be whiney and a bunch of tattletales. That's all I've ever had experience with in the younger grades. But I have struggled with my team for so long, that I was ready for the change when we had to cut someone from the team for numbers. (You know the drill.)

So moving down the 3rd grade. I've started the process of changing grades and if you are like me... Its daunting with where to start. What to keep? What to throw away? Will I teach 4th grade again? And I have gathered a lot of stuff over the years. Sooo... I wanted to give you a rundown of the steps I have took to make the transition easier.

First off, I made the decision right away that I may come back to fourth, but I don't need to keep everything. And if I do come back to fourth, I'll most likely buy new products or use things from Teacherspayteachers, so toss anything that I didn't use the past year. So I purged a ton of stuff! It felt great!

Second, I went to the recycling and the lunchroom and asked for any boxes that they might have to box up my room. Then I had students help me put the boxes together. When I loaded them, the boxes got taped off and put in a corner.

Third, was moving day. I got all the boxes into my new room (and the old teacher for that room was long gone). Before a started to unpack, I sat down and visualized what I wanted my room to look like. I even made a diagram. Slowly I started unpacking. As I did, I got a second chance to touch everything and if I could stand to toss it, I did. It was kind of a second purge!

Fourth, after I got everything put away, I started decorating. The fun part! I chose a basketball theme and got everything put up! It seriously looks awesome. Pictures are to come!

Fifth, I started thinking about curriculum and what I'm going to need to make the curriculum happen. From there I was able to make a couple of lists: things to copy, things to by, and things to prep. All things to do before the first day of school. I made a daily schedule and a curriculum map and split the year into 4 groups of 9 weeks.

Sixth is to make sure that I have the very first day planned, back to school night and the first week. From here I figure that I can take things a couple weeks at a time.

And to throw this about there, but we are changing from a year-round school to a traditional schedule and I'm nervous about not having breaks but at the same time I think consistency will be good. So I think I have a handle on things.

At this point, I just need one day in my room to finish the last minute prepping for school to start. Then I need to dive more into curriculum. I do think however that it is a week by week thing. I know that my first year of teaching I tried to plan the entire year out and burned myself out. Then I switched to just the first half of the year and it still didn't work out. Then I tried to do it by a month at a time. Still too much. Its just have a yearly curriculum map and know where you intend to go and take it week by week when planning out lessons.

Thanks for reading about my adventures switching grades! Like I said, I'm nervous for the age group but I think overall it will be such a better team, thus a better year.

If you have ideas, suggestions, or comments, please shoot me an email at rpmerrell@gmail.com

Thanks!

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