18 March 2007

Inside Information

My Curriculum peeps and I have been working with teams of elementary grade level teachers in order to develop "Grades in a Box." With school closures, decreasing enrollment at primary grades, and miscellaneous program cuts, we have many teachers who may well be changing grade levels next year. Our goal is to support this transition by providing some support materials that give a framework for the new-to-teacher grade level.

Will the finished product actually be in a box? Things are still a bit uncertain at this point. Right now, the recommendation is to have a spiral-bound set of information for a grade, plus something similar for each building, and then a welcome note from grade level teaching partners. All of this could be bundled in something akin to a magazine storage box---something easy to put on a shelf and access as needed. Our hope is to have these available in June for teachers who are making changes for next year. This would give them the summer to look over things before a more formal day of inservice in August. In terms of materials, those of us in Curriculum can pull that information together. But the real scoop? That can only come from teachers currently working at grade level.

For example, when a kindergartner raises his hand and says he has to go to the bathroom, do you send the kid immediately? Wait until circle time is over? Send him with a buddy (or in a small group)? By himself? Let's say that you find yourself assigned to fifth grade next year. Should you be surprised when the boys are standoffish?

The teachers who are helping with this project have all the inside information and they aren't being afraid to dish the dirt. I have to say that the first grade comments are my favourite so far (e.g. "They poke you. They poke you. They poke you."), but every grade has had some wonderful insights to share with their peers. It's been more of a "Everything you wanted to know about grade x but were afraid to ask" sort of project. Second and third grade teachers will be arriving in the morning to work on their pieces and I can hardly wait to find out what they have to share.


East Coast Teacher said...

As an upcoming teacher currently unsure which grade I want (or will be hired) to teach - I think this is an absolutely wonderful idea!

The Science Goddess said...

I really hope that it will be helpful. It's an idea whose time is overdue. Even if we weren't having such upheaval in the district, there are always teachers who change grade levels and we have nothing available for them.