# New to Primary- shock to the system! Any advice?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by sarciness, Jan 5, 2011.

1. ### sarciness

Hi, I'm new to the primary sector, having landed a job teaching a year 3/4 mixed class, and things are much more different to secondary teaching than I'd imagined. Staff at my new school are very helpful, but also very busy! I'm not teaching today so I'm trying to get ahead of the curve, ready for tomorrow and Friday.
There are a few major things that I'm particularly worried about.

1) I was actually quite confident about teaching maths because my own background is in secondary physics and kids often need help with the basics. However, it seems that there are hundreds of methods I've never used before, let alone taught! The children all use different ones too! One example would be division. I worked with a group of 8 whilst the other children in my class set down to an independent task. I give my group a sum to do (let's say 56/8). One kid starts by drawing 8 circles and then drawing 56 dots, one in each circle in turn.He finds that he has 7 dots in each by the end and therefore he knows the answer is 7. He can also use this method to work out remainders. Another child starts with 0, and adds 8s until she reaches 56. Another starts from 56 and subtracts multiples of 8 (say 16 or 24), adds up the multiples and gets the same answer of 7. Another does the same method, but works upwards from 0. My questions are: how many methods are there? Are there this many for addition, subtraction and multiplication too? I think I should try to get them all singing from the same hymn sheet (using the same method), otherwise I have to teach 4 or 5 differnet methods all at once! Does this sound sensible and how might I go about getting them all doing the same thing?
All of these kids should be level 2a-3c, by the way. My class goes from 1c up to 3a, in 4 differentiated groups.

2) My second worry is about literacy. It has gotten so technical since I was at school! Do you know of any good places where I can learn the lingo, becasue I have no idea what a BOYS sentence is- but I can guess intelligently about things such as an "adverbial phrase" or a "conjunctive clause", but it would be good to know what they are beforehand rather than working them out on the spot. Is there a nice list somewhere? That would be of great help! Actually, I question the logic of teaching kids who can't spell or write in proper sentences such lechnical language, but I think I have to live with that one as there's a big push at the school to make kids aware of it.

3) Marking. Tomorrow I have to get the kids to read through each others' stories and peer assess them against some criterial I've not yet been given (tomorrow morning- I will get the criteria- joy!) The only thing is, I've never marked anyone's work myself, let alone taught someone else how to do so! I presume it'll be a highlight the criteria achieved exercise, or tick the box, but do you have any advice for this?

4) PE. Tomorrow I have to teach outdoor PE. I've never taught outside before (ok, twice I did experiements outside during my PGCE year), and I've not even played tag rugby since I was 11. i have a lesson plan for it, but I wondered whether anyone has advice for this? How to manage getting changed? Will they run riot on the way to the playground, or when they're playing the game? Any advice welcome!

Those are the major things. I will have a chat with the people at school, but any help I could get from the good folks here at TES would be gratefully received!

2. ### sarciness

Hi, I'm new to the primary sector, having landed a job teaching a year 3/4 mixed class, and things are much more different to secondary teaching than I'd imagined. Staff at my new school are very helpful, but also very busy! I'm not teaching today so I'm trying to get ahead of the curve, ready for tomorrow and Friday.
There are a few major things that I'm particularly worried about.

1) I was actually quite confident about teaching maths because my own background is in secondary physics and kids often need help with the basics. However, it seems that there are hundreds of methods I've never used before, let alone taught! The children all use different ones too! One example would be division. I worked with a group of 8 whilst the other children in my class set down to an independent task. I give my group a sum to do (let's say 56/8). One kid starts by drawing 8 circles and then drawing 56 dots, one in each circle in turn.He finds that he has 7 dots in each by the end and therefore he knows the answer is 7. He can also use this method to work out remainders. Another child starts with 0, and adds 8s until she reaches 56. Another starts from 56 and subtracts multiples of 8 (say 16 or 24), adds up the multiples and gets the same answer of 7. Another does the same method, but works upwards from 0. My questions are: how many methods are there? Are there this many for addition, subtraction and multiplication too? I think I should try to get them all singing from the same hymn sheet (using the same method), otherwise I have to teach 4 or 5 differnet methods all at once! Does this sound sensible and how might I go about getting them all doing the same thing?
All of these kids should be level 2a-3c, by the way. My class goes from 1c up to 3a, in 4 differentiated groups.

2) My second worry is about literacy. It has gotten so technical since I was at school! Do you know of any good places where I can learn the lingo, becasue I have no idea what a BOYS sentence is- but I can guess intelligently about things such as an "adverbial phrase" or a "conjunctive clause", but it would be good to know what they are beforehand rather than working them out on the spot. Is there a nice list somewhere? That would be of great help! Actually, I question the logic of teaching kids who can't spell or write in proper sentences such lechnical language, but I think I have to live with that one as there's a big push at the school to make kids aware of it.

3) Marking. Tomorrow I have to get the kids to read through each others' stories and peer assess them against some criterial I've not yet been given (tomorrow morning- I will get the criteria- joy!) The only thing is, I've never marked anyone's work myself, let alone taught someone else how to do so! I presume it'll be a highlight the criteria achieved exercise, or tick the box, but do you have any advice for this?

4) PE. Tomorrow I have to teach outdoor PE. I've never taught outside before (ok, twice I did experiements outside during my PGCE year), and I've not even played tag rugby since I was 11. i have a lesson plan for it, but I wondered whether anyone has advice for this? How to manage getting changed? Will they run riot on the way to the playground, or when they're playing the game? Any advice welcome!

Those are the major things. I will have a chat with the people at school, but any help I could get from the good folks here at TES would be gratefully received!

3. ### M.Hamilton

Hi,

Don't worry!! I am going to help you with 3 and 4 ... !!!

With P.E. offer rewards for the first changed and list their names on the board. This way the children will want to get changed!! If you then line them up and give them strict guide lines on health and safety. If they start mis-behaving line them up during the lesson and reinforce what your expectations of them are. If there are children without the correct kit etc. give them a personal dry wipe board and get them to list the names of good performers.

With peer assessment I always do 2 stars and a wish (2 good points and a point to improve) you can also list a few examples of what they should be looking for, this will help your less able children.

I hope you have fun and enjoy the experience!!

4. ### Lara mfl 05Star commenter

1
No, at Primary we encourage children to investigate as many methods as possible, even suggesting methods of their own if they work. It's important children work out for themselves which method best suits their own learning styles. Later on in yrs 5 & 6 & above, comes the time for looking at 'most efficient methods' and getting them on standard methods.
That's quite normal in Primary. One rarely has a moment to spare when teaching a class all day & most Primary staff I know often work through lunch hours, catching up on readers, preparing for afternoon practical sessions & it's much more a case of workingon your own cognizance.
Have you tried the QCA & DES websites? They certainly used to have glossaries for numeracy/literacy terminology.
Don't worry, hopefully the children will probably be quite familiar with the criteria and will have used it lots of times before.
. You really need to have a scheme of work for which skills you'll be teaching. Advice from previous post aboyt changing is good. Get the children to collect their PE bags, get changed & put their clothes on their chairs. Health & safety issues mean you'll need to wait for last person to be changed before you take the class out, so anything which hurries up the slowcoaches is good. Yrs 3 & 4 may still need a little help getting changed too. Rememeber to leave 'changing time at the end of the lesson too, if it's their first lesson with you they could easily need 10 mins.
Unfortunately, unless you set the ground rules then yes they might. I take mine in pairs in a line out of the class to the outside play area. Then make them run eg twice round the dge of the playgound- gets rid of some energy & gives you time to get the equipment ready. Then your warm up session followed by skills, followed by short 'game type activity, cool down & then back to classroom in orderly fashion-timewasters/ children messing about get to 'owe you time at end of day. Don't be misled into thinking you have to be 'lenient' with younger ones- this is the time for getting them to accept rules of orderly behaviour.
If you really love children, you'll enjoy Primary, once you get used to it- it's <u>very </u>different to specialist secondary!

5. ### jackie3

Re point 1
Your school should have a calculations policy which shows you the methods taught in each age group. But children in yrs 3/4 need to be comfortable with the method they choose, they have all found a method which CURRENTLY works for them. However as the numbers they use increase in magnitude, the methods they will need to use will change, so if your top group begin working on 3 digit division, you will perhaps teach them chunking, those groups still working on 2 digit division will stick with the methods taught. The intention is that eventually all your children will be chunking ( or whichever method is used)
Re point 2
I've no idea what a BOYS sentence is either!
As to teaching "technical language", if you are teaching the technique-eg use of adjectives-you may as well teach the correct terminology. I had Reception children who could discuss trigraphs and phonemes accurately because when we introduced the concept, we introduced the language. If you are using adverbial phrases, teach the technique and the term

6. ### lindenleaStar commenter

And <u>you</u> describe <u>yourself </u>as shocked.
How do other primary teachers feel?

7. ### debbiehep

http://www.phonicsinternational.com/unit1.html

You might find an alphabetic code chart helpful on your classroom walls and in the children's spelling files.

Not everyone agrees with teaching children maths with loads of different methods for them to 'choose'. There may be a lot that you glean from colleagues and various programmes which you wonder about.
I hope that you feel free to wonder and question things even if you feel that you have to do some initial conforming.

8. ### jackie3

But the methods mentioned aren't "different methods" just a progression in method and recording. Grouping in circles leads directly to grouping on a number line which leads directly to grouping in chunks, different children will be at different points along the progression depending on ability and understanding of the concepts

10. ### sarciness

Thank you everyone for your responses! I feel completely underprepared, but I guess the best way to learn is to get stuck in!

Msz, I'm quite sure you're right. The school I'm at is really into Alan Peat, I think I might ask to borrow his book over the weekend and check out some of his ideas as the school appears to be "full Peat ahead" on literacy!

M.Hamilton, thanks for your advice on PE changing! I'll try your ideas.I need to get everything clear in my head in order to teach that one. With regards to marking, I think the school want me to get the kids to follow their own scheme, but if not I'll try 2 stars and a wish.

Jackie, I have a copy of some methods the school use to teach numeracy, but they are not named (but are on maths scheme of work), so I'll have to ask which method is which tomorrow morning. Some methods (e.g. the dot method) does not appear to be on there, so I was worried about how many more methods the kids might use that I've never heard of!

Lara, thanks for you long and detailed reply! The DES has a glossary, but I'm pretty sure a lot of the phrases I've heard aren't on there. It's a good start though, thanks. I ran a google search and found more, but I may need to google term-by-term where the glossaries don't cover it. As to the PE, I do have a scheme of work, but it assumes more knowledge than I have. "Get the chn in to groups of 6 and grid. Play mini-game of tag rugby with a referee." ... okay, what kind of grid and how does this relate to rugby? How do I play tag rugby- what are the rules!? Although, the scheme gives excellent advice on how to throw a rugby ball(!) I guess I'll just have to make up what I think it should be. I know the basics of rugby. Would be so much easier if it were basketball or football or tennis or some sport where I know the rules! Thanks for the advice on coming back from PE too. Hadn't thought of that!

Oh! Another major worry- how the heck do I teach phonics? I didn't know such a subject existed before I took this post!

11. ### jackie3

Thanks, that's one of the great things about teaching, you learn something new every day!

13. ### SillowLead commenter

Have you been told you will need to teach phonics? I don't, as a Year 4 teacher, but it depends on the levels of readers in my class. Ask one of the KS1 teachers if they have any phonics resources you can look at, but make sure you will need them first.