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This collection contains information for teachers that are thinking of, or are planning to be, departmentalizing.
Changing classes
Posted by:Kimberly #23684

My partner and I switch with 2nd graders and it is surprisingly smooth. Before we line up we remind the students what they need to take with them and they are now trained to hold up and show us what we ask for--kind of like a checklist, only verbal. This prevented a lot of "I forgots". Of course, for those who did forget something, we eventually worked to a small punishment. We have a discipline wheel that follows the students wherever they go and they get their clip moved to the next section and then they go get what they forgot. It really didn't bother us when a student walked in. We get interruptions all day anyway. Our kids were assigned numbers at the beginning of the year corresponding with our grade book and the first letter of the homeroom teachers name (my class was E1, E2, etc...). The...

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departmentalizing in 4th grade
Posted by:Kara #28607

I am just completing my first year as a 4th grade teacher. I have previously taught 2nd and 3rd. 4th and 5th grades at this school are departmentalized. WE do however draw the line at the number of times we switch and for how many subjects.

There are 4 of us and we are divided into 2 teams. Two of us teach Math and Science, and two teach ILA (Intergrated Language Arts)and Social Studies. This works really well for us. We meet as a grade level each week, so we all know what we are studying. We then meet by subjects taught to plan. All 4 of us have exactly the same homework on our boards as our teammate. Consistancy is a key in making departmentalization work.

We switch classes after an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes for our first (homeroom) class. We try to take our kids out...

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Posted by:Jo #51968

At our school we do graduated departmentalizing. In fourth grade all three teachers teach one section of science. They divide up topics and teach the same ones yearly. Then they each teach one section of math which is divided into high, medium, and low groupings. Each teacher teaches their own Social Studies and Language Arts.
Then in fifth grade one teacher teaches all science, one all math, and one all reading.(This is the first year for us to departmentalize for reading in the past it was Social Studies.) Now we all teach our own Language, Spelling, and Social Studies.
In sixth grade one teacher teaches math and problem solving(separate classes), one has science and social studies, and the other has language arts.
In Junior High they have a different teacher for each subject.
It is progressive and the...

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Posted by:Mardi #59138

Deparmentalization is the way to go! I will begin my third year of teaching this year and most of my experience has been working in departments. The only time I had a self-contained classroom was during one of my 9 week student teaching experiences.

We departmentalize in the areas of math, science, and social studies. Each teacher is then responsible for teaching their homeroom Reading/Language Arts. Each content area is taught for an hour (this takes the whole morning), then in the afternoon we teach our class Language Arts.

The children switch classes like middle and high school students. We don't have desks, just tables that have pull- out drawers. That way they just take their drawers with them and have all the supplies they need.

When you departmentalize you have the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers, this is especially helpful if you...

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Posted by:luvinlife #1867

In the past when I was departmentalized, we used a traveling clipboard for each class. It had each students name, then a list of behaviors to the right of the names, like a checklist. Each time a student did that behavior, they received a checkmark. The clipboard followed the group all day, so the end result was a behavior board from all teachers for the entire day. This worked really well and served as good notes for our planning meetings. We would use the checkmarks and take time away from that student's recess based on how many checkmarks he/she had. I am attaching a copy of that form, feel free to change it and use it if you like it!

We also kept behavior/returned work charts in our room (incentive chart posters) and for each day a student had one or fewer checkmarks, they got a sticker. If they...

Download: Behavior_Log(1).xls (16.384 KB)

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Posted by:grade4curlyQ #140345

I've taught on a three person team sharing the students among us, as well as on a 4 person team sharing with just a team teacher, and self contained.
I've been able to get a great deal more accomplished in the self-contained setting, although as previously mentioned, the amount of planning is greater.
I've worked well with one of the team teachers, and the other was a nightmare! Talked the talk, yet DID NOT walk the walk.
I know my students much better when they are with me all day long and I have the flexibility that would not be there if we were departmentalized.
Pros & Cons.........weight them out according to what you know about yourself. It's really going to boil down to good planning and good instruction, so if you do departmentalize, make CERTAIN you and the other teacher are truly compatible!:D

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Posted by:bzetchr #140346

I've done it in 4th, 5th, and with a 4/5 - with 2, 3, and 5 teachers - for several years and it has worked well. It does take some coordinating, but once set up everyone was pleased with the results.
-We assess the students in the first few days, and used standardized scores. In math and reading we cluster group, based on needs of students. This makes differentiating the curriculum easier when you have all the students in the class at aprox. the same place, and able to work at about the same pace.
-In math and reading - depending on number of teachers - we had low, lo/med, med, med/high, high groups. If you are doing 3 teachers - low, med, high; and 2 teachers low to low/med; and med/high to high.
-For Sci. , SS, and Written Language the students rotated with their homeroom class. Each teacher took a...

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how we departmentalized with 6 teachers
Posted by:what about? #140347

Last year our team departmentalized with 6 teachers and it worked out great, with the only issue was making sure we kept in touch and communicated with all the teachers so noone felt out of the loop. We were able to plan together once a week so everyone was on the same page.

6 teachers with 7 periods of instruction per day (not counting lunch, planning and recess)

9:00-9:45 Homeroom: all teachers had their homeroom class and during this time kids went to chorus, some band met, kids make up tests, unpack, checkin, etc

9:45-10:30: Specials

10:30-12:00: 3 teachers taught Reading and Writing while the other 3 taught math. The 3 teaching math taught their homerooms and the other 3 took their homerooms and ability grouped them into 3 groups so that kids were on a scale of 1, 2, 3, or 4 with 1's being...

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Posted by:MissO #139138

I've only ever taught Language Arts in a team teaching situation (I taught 3rd), so I don't know which would be "easier" to do.

I loved teaming, because I didn't have to worry about the math, and I got to see different groups of kids every day. I also liked only having half the planning of a self-contained teacher. Teaming really helped with parent situations too, because my partner and I could support each other. Some disadvantages will be that you have to keep track of more grades/files/paperwork and that you just plain have more students.

As far as schedules go, when I team-taught, we basically had our homerooms in the morning and then switched after lunch. Depending on your state requirements for instructional minutes by subject, you can split the time.

Practical advice - teach your kids very specifically how...

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We change (6th grade)
Posted by:Margaret916 #132879

And I personally love it. THere are drawbacks though.

i get to specialize my planning. It seems more meaningful to do a huge experiment, project or something that takes lots of prep when I can do it three times! It's easier for me to plan and prep for even though my three math classes are all different levels and two separate curriculums. I get to choose math conferences or reading conferences or inservices or classes to take. I dont have to worry about the subjects I dont teach. Conferencing is tough if you don't watch becasue you only know about the subject(s) you teach.

flexibility is gone. If I ran out of science time one day I could make it up and double up the next. With this, it's not possible. I have to teach math to three groups... I think when it...

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Posted by:Margaret916 #119483

We do this in our sixth grade at our school. They're broken up like this:

1. Math
2. Health and Science
3. Social Studies
4. Writing and Grammar
5. English (focus on Reading and Spelling)

We used to do just always 5 periods a day -- but because of requirements and the way the middle school does it, they've experimented with a block schedule (math every day, 2 of each of the other periods) and others...

We don't teach the same subject twice because we have the same number of teachers we would have if we had self-contained classes, so most of our class sizes are around the average anyway -- does that makes sense? Everyone rotates through, so at any given time we've got the grade split 5 ways.

We have one period around lunch that gets strange b/c of specials....

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Posted by:tia #119501

the largest number of classes we've had for sixth at our school is 3.

we've done the following groups (entire class rotated together):
social studies

social studies
language (just writing/grammar--no reading)

and then it's switched up a bit the years we've had only 2 classes/teachers.

right now we have 2 and i teach science/health while my partner teaches social studies. for math we use flexible grouping where we either pretest or look at state test scores to put them into about 4 groups at their ability level (for that UNIT only)

and for reading, they are ability grouped (using fluency test, state reading test, reading basal test, STAR test, and professional judgment) into about 7 groups where they've stayed for over 1/2 the year--we'll...

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Posted by:SusanTeach #119562

My first year of teaching was departmentalized (I taught 4th) and we had 4 teachers. All of us taught reading to our homeroom - as soon as school started. It helped that the classes were ability-grouped. Then we each had another subject to teach - mine was science.

We switched every hour, I believe, and ended up the last hour with our homeroom again. That way we started and ended our day with our homeroom. It made it easier for attendance, early check-outs, bus/car rider notes, etc...

Whatever class we had at lunchtime was the class we took to lunch. Same thing with activities.

With 5 teachers I would suggest each teacher take a different subject, and give about 50 min. for each. That gives you time for activities and lunch as well. Your first class would be your "homeroom" to make any announcements, attendance,...

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an hour/5th grade
Posted by:Margaret916 #120304

We ability-group within the grade level for math so we have a one hour block of time that we switch kids to different math classes for instruction and practice.

In our hour (in my class) we usually correct/review homework, learn something or re-teach something and do some in class practice with an activity or something.

The hard part is when the hour is up -- your kids have to switch back, whether you have finished or not. I know, i know, departmentalized teachers do this all the time. But my self-contained flexible schedule self likes to reteach on the spot when something isn't working or it's going so well I want to start somthing else!

I dont' think that the negative i listed above though, outweighs how much our kids are progressing in our different groups (one compacted/advanced...

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