Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Little Overwhelmed

Today I went to my new Elementary School to pick up some curriculum binders from my new team leader. Sounds innocent right? Well actually receiving the binders was the easy part. We also sat down and talked about curriculum and what the day would look like, and for the very first time, (not the last I'm positive)I started to feel what it must feel like to be a first year teacher. The worst part was we only discussed math today...

One thing that I think may make first year teaching difficult this far is the fact that when we are doing our student teaching, we get accustomed to the way put mentors run their classroom. Not to mention we have so much guidance from our teaching programs, mentors, supervisors, etc. Also for me it feels a little more difficult because I'm teaching in a completely different district.

However, on a positive note I will say that at least I'm in the same state and same grade in which I did my student teaching. There are commonalities between curriculum so that's one thing I will be thankful for this year.

One question I have for you veteran teachers is do any of you use centers in math in the intermediate grades? If you do what do you use for centers? I'll take any suggestions to use as a springboard :)

P.S. I know I'm nuts for starting so early.


  1. I'm sorry you feel overwhelmed. I know that feeling too - anytime I change to a different district or grade level I feel the same type of way. Just know that you will be fine, that it will all work out, and that you don't have to know everything this year. This year will be #13 for me, and I'm still growing as a teacher - I think all good teachers should keep learning new things. =)

    I teach 4th - as for math, I don't have typical centers (unless you count when we are reviewing for the state tests), but I do give them Math workshop with choices. Math board games, math flashcards, math facts to review, online computer games, math review sheets (from superteacherworksheets.com) - put them in sheet protectors and the kids can write on them with dry erase markers. I keep all my review sheets in a binder that kids can choose from. The textbook (if it's like mine) may have math games that go with each unit at the end of the chapter. On Fridays (since that is my test day) I give them time to play math games and have workshop.

    My typical day for math is Rowley math facts, Intro. concept, anchor chart together (they do it for their binders), guided math together, Independent practice/sometimes with a partner, correct together, assign homework, then math workshop if any time is left.

    Hope this helps.
    I Love My Classroom

  2. My Motto: it is NEVER too early to start planning! Don't feel overwhelmed, we have all been there and it all works out. Being a new teacher or just someone new in a NEW school, actually gives you the advantage---you can ask tons of questions and not seem nuts! :)

    For math workstations, we use the Everyday Math curriculum, so I have all of those games available for my students, but I also infuse some of my own. The best way to start out is to buy these books:
    Evan-Moore: Take it To Your Seat Math Centers Grades 4-6
    Scholastic: Mega-Fun Card Game Fun

    Detach all of the games/make photocopies, laminate EVERYTHING, and place them in baggies or folders. Be sure to include everything you need for each game in the folders/baggies. I did that the SUMMER BEFORE I started teaching the upper grades, and it truly helped me out.

    TYPICAL MATH RIT TIME (based on students MAP scores)
    My school allows 40 minutes for instruction.
    I split it up into 4 parts:

    Part 1: Teacher instruction (skill, practice, StudyJams video, song, etc.) 10 mins

    ROTATE EVERY 10 minutes with timer at front of room
    Part 2: Game 1
    Part 3: Game 2
    Part 4: Game 3

    Also, if you ever need any help with ANYTHING, I am here for you! I taught undergraduates Classroom Management at Coastal Carolina University, and I have been a mentor for years and years. Feel free to email me anytime--I've been there and you WILL get through it :)

  3. I feel you! I, too, am a first year teacher. I finished up my degree in December, took a short term position as the Computer Lab teacher for the last six months and now am waiting about six weeks before I officially become a 5th grade teacher. I'm excited, but also very nervous. What have I gotten into? I know I'll be ok... but it is a lot to wrap my brain around. My cooperating teacher still did so much for me while I student taught!

    All of this to say -- I understand how you feel! I'll keep up with on this blog -- just to know there is someone else who knows what I am going through!

  4. Have you looked into math work stations? If not, I would suggest checking out Debbie Diller's book...she is incredible and there are lots of teachers in the blog world that share how they've implemented work stations into their rooms.

  5. It is never ever to early to plan! Good luck, if you need any reading resources I am here to help.


  6. We did centers frequently in math. Usually each stations was a game that practice the skill we had just learned.

    One I remember the most was a probability carnival. We had plastic bowling pins, wrapping paper golf, bucket toss, paper plate rings (with the middle cut out). At each center the students had to do each game and then calculate the probability if they went more times. For example, if they made 6 out of 10 bucket tosses, how many buckets would they make if they tosses 30 times. They had so much fun and it was a super easy day for me!

    A fellow math teacher in 5th grade had a book with different math game ideas we pulled from. I think it takes some practice to make centers work, but doing centers a few times a month gives you and the students practice to make it work.

  7. Hi! I am also a first year teacher and just found out Friday that I will be teaching 5th grade in MD. So excited that I found your blog and have enjoyed reading your posts so far!

  8. Just found your blog and I LOVE IT :) Good luck with your first year! This is my 4th year, but I am transitioning from Catholic school to a really great public school and I feel like I'm starting all over again! I do math centers sometimes, but with only 40 minutes a period with the kids, I don't do them as regularly as I like!
    To The Square Inch

  9. Hey there!

    I hope you can join me in my "Preparing for School" linky party @ {6th Grade} All-Stars

    Mrs. Crouse :)