Question Detail

Switching from secondary to elementary...

Jun 22, 2013 2:56pm

Hi everyone. In college my primary focus was secondary. I just got hired for an elementary position (5th grade). I'm used to just planning English lessons. Now I'll be teaching math, social studies, and science too! (Craziness!) I'm just wondering what is your best advice for a newbie teacher like me? What kinds of things should I be looking for to set up my classroom this year? Thanks in advance!

  • 3-12
  • Class Culture / New Teachers / Planning


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    • Jun 23, 2013 6:40pm


      The great news is that you have a solid background in literacy and so social studies, science, and ELA will all be aligned to the anchor standards for reading and writing on the Common Core. The best place to start is so you can see where you'll be expected to take students by the end of the year. The Core standards in math will help you as well. Just take a step back and realize that good teaching strategies for secondary students can be adapted to fifth grade, and as long as you align your curriculum to the standards, you'll be able to create a pacing guide based on those standards, and design fabulous lessons as you move through the year. Don't worry about the whole year yet though... figure out the standards/concepts you will teach in September and take it one week at a time.

      Good luck!
      Katie (@KatieNovakUDL)

      • Jun 25, 2013 6:46pm

        Congratulations! I found myself in the same position about 12 years ago going from being a high school math teacher to teaching grade 5 and 6. Looking back I realize now just what a big step it was, but so rewarding! I'm still teaching elementary. My advice would be to find a mentor in your school who can help you, especially in new subjects for you, like math and science. I really needed help in planning my language program, and wish I had asked for more help from my colleagues. The students likely won't be as independent as what you are used to, and I found that transition difficult as well. I'm sure you already have many great teaching skills and they will all benefit your students! Good luck!