Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Departmentalizing 3rd Quarter! Math~Math~Math!!!!!

My team has been strongly considering departmentalizing for next year. We had pretty much convinced ourselves that we wanted to go for it in 2014-15, then I got to thinking....why not try it out 3rd quarter? We are a 5th grade team and we could use this as an opportunity to see if we like switching our students and we can prepare our students for middle school at the same time. I know many schools in our area departmentalize already, but with the great state of NC tying test scores to teacher evaluations (I don't really care about that part), every teacher has to have data (IE-be teaching in a tested subject). What this means for some schools is that kids get extra tests so that the teacher who teaches social studies has a test (over testing kids, I care about that part!).

To be honest, planning for science is the bane of my existence and I think life would be better if I didn't have to worry about it. It's also been a tough year to be a teacher and I've left many a math lesson this quarter saying, "If I could just teach math all day..." So, I am so excited about this opportunity to focus on a few things to teach well-rather than spreading myself thin and knowing that I could always be teaching a few subjects better on any given day.

How's this going to work? I am teaching math to all three classes, one teacher will teach science, and one will teach writing. Then, our social studies will be integrated into reader's workshop, and each teacher will teach reading for our homeroom class. I know everyone loves to see schedules, so ours will be something like this:

8-9               Block 1:Science
9-10             Block 2: Writer's Workshop
10-11           Block 3: Math
11-11:25      Lunch
11:25-11:55 Independent Reading/Writing Conference groups/Class meetings, etc
11:55-12:40 Specials
12:45-1:45   Reader's Workshop
1:45-2:20     Pack Up/Recess/Dismissal

One of the kinks we worked out was the transition time from homeroom to the first block. We decided that the kids would actually switch at 8:10. This gives us time to take attendance, take in any money being turned in, forms for the office, etc. Students will receive a morning work assignment  or something to get them prepared for their first block from that teacher. So, my math students will get a question to complete and my students will get something from the science teacher. The schedule also worked out nicely because students see us for a few minutes in the morning, transition to their two other blocks, then come back to their homeroom teacher for the rest of the day.

Here's the letter we sent to parents:

I've been outlining math for 3rd quarter (and even had to make some new purchases!) Stay tuned as I share about my plans for teaching math next quarter!

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