Saturday, May 29, 2004

The Transition to Middle School

The Transition to Middle School. The day always comes when we say good bye to our students and move them on to middle school. This site gives advice for easing the transition.

From the site:

Students make many transitions during their years of schooling: from home to school, elementary to middle school, middle to high school, and high school to college or work. These transitions are usually major events in the lives of students and parents. The stresses created by these transitions can be minimized when the new environment is responsive to each particular age group. This Digest presents a brief overview of some of the issues involved in the transition from elementary to middle school and provides suggestions for transition programs and activities. The term "middle level schools" includes all middle grade and junior high school configurations.

MIDDLE LEVEL TRANSITION CONCERNS

Student comments and behaviors give insight into their concerns as they move to a new school. Students in Gwinnett County, Georgia, when asked about their concerns in facing a school transition, mentioned the following worries: (1) getting to class on time, (2) finding lockers, (3) keeping up with "materials," (4) finding lunchrooms and bathrooms, (5) getting on the right bus to go home, (6) getting through the crowded halls, and (7) remembering which class to go to next (Weldy, 1991). In addition to these concerns, other studies include personal safety (aggressive and violent behaviors of other students) as a prominent concern of students (Anderman & Kimweli, 1997; Arowosafe & Irvin, 1992; Odegaard & Heath, 1992).

Teachers have also listed specific challenges to students making the transition from a sixth-grade elementary to a middle level school (Weldy, 1991, pp. 84-85): (1) changing classes; (2) reduced parent involvement; (3) more teachers; (4) no recess, no free time; (5) new grading standards and procedures; (6) more peer pressure; (7) developmental differences between boys and girls; (8) cliquishness; (9) fear of new, larger, more impersonal school; (10) accepting more responsibility for their own actions; (11) dealing with older children; (12) merging with students from five elementary schools; (13) unrealistic parental expectations; (14) lack of experience in dealing with extracurricular activities; (15) unfamiliarity with student lockers; (16) following the school schedule; (17) longer-range assignments; (18) coping with adolescent physical development; and, for some, (19) social immaturity; and (20) a lack of basic skills.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Teacher's Desk

The Teacher's Desk. Over 250 lesson ideas for fifth and sixth grade teachers at this teacher-created website.

From the site:

Welcome to The Teacher's Desk, a resource designed for teachers of grades five and six. Please feel free to sit down, relax, and take your time browsing through the contents, a collection of lesson plan ideas and classroom activities. Most are my original ideas, while others have been shared with The Desk via e-mail.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Teaching K-6 Science in Small Schools on a Financial Shoestring

Teaching K-6 Science in Small Schools on a Financial Shoestring. This article discusses how to teach science cheap. This is good. My school sure doesn't have much money. I guess all of us teachers are overpaid...

From the site:

Teaching elementary science is not easy, especially in a small school. Elementary teachers in general and rural elementary teachers in particular are asked to teach science when typically they have not been adequately prepared in at least three critical areas: fundamental science knowledge; meaningful preparation in actually teaching science; and instruction as to buying and using pertinent course materials. Further problems for elementary science teachers in small schools occur with respect to inadequate amounts of time, lack of money and library reference materials, too narrow science curriculum guides, and limited district support for facilities and personnel. While tackling all of these problems is beyond the scope of this digest, suggestions for improving science teaching and ways for small schools to upgrade their programs are provided.

HOW AND WHERE CAN ONE SECURE SCIENCE MATERIALS FROM FREE AND INEXPENSIVE SOURCES?

One way for K-6 teachers in small schools to overcome some of the difficulties in teaching elementary science is to involve children and parents in obtaining free and inexpensive science-related materials. Materials should be collected during the entire year, and can be secured from visits to city institutions (museums, libraries); federal, state, and county offices like the U.S. Forest service and the Soil Conservation Service; and from vacations to national and state parks. Materials can also be obtained from colleges and universities and public interest groups like the Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and regional plant societies. It should be recognized, however, that special interest groups usually have particular points of view and that materials should represent a balance of outlooks. Several inexpensive children's magazines are especially useful in teaching elementary science: RANGER RICK, ZOOBOOKS, AND 3-2-1 CONTACT. Magazine donations from school families can be solicited and can include an array of titles, including NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, DISCOVER, SCIENCE 86, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, AUDUBON, and NATIONAL WILDLIFE. Moreover, three adult publications are specifically geared to teaching elementary science on a shoestring: SCIENCE AND CHILDREN (each issue has a list of free and inexpensive science materials); TOPS, and EDUCATOR'S GUIDE TO FREE SCIENCE MATERIALS. FREEBIES magazine is more general, but does provide sources for science materials.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Core Knowledge Lesson Plans and Units

Core Knowledge Lesson Plans and Units A collection of high quality collection of preschool through 8th grade units and lesson plans.

From the site:

In an effort to provide a list of independent products and publications that relate to topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, our resource coordinator screens a wide variety of publications to find items that may be useful to Core Knowledge teachers, librarians, parents, and students. Although a listing in the database does not make a title an “official” Core Knowledge book, these references can be helpful in planning lessons, building a school library, or helping children at home. Our database, which is fully searchable by grade level, subject, author, title, and key word, now lists over 1,000 resources! Click here to explore the database.