Hi! I am Michelle from Teach123. I am happy that Heather invited me to be a guest blogger today.
Is your grade level departmentalized? This may be something your school is considering right now. I found this paper which has some helpful information about the topic. There are definite pros and cons. You get to teach the subject that is your strength. You don't have to plan for as many subjects so you have more time to plan quality lessons. The cons is learning how to manage all of the paperwork, workbooks, and folders.
Assign each student a number. Put the label with your students' name and # on the spine of the workbook. Each class's labels is put in a different part on the spine. Notice how the red arrow is pointing to class A's labels which is on the right side of the spine. The green arrow is pointing to Class B, whose labels are on the left side of the spine. When your workbooks are turned in, you can easily see if a workbook was turned into the correct place by looking at the location of the label. Then ask a class helper to put the workbooks in number order so you'll quickly know if all of your students have turned in their workbook.
Paperwork can be difficult when you are self-contained, but it is an even bigger challenge when you don't have the same group of students all day. Add to the mix, students with executive functioning issues, absent students, tardy students, and any other possible reason why assignment aren't ready to turn in on time and you can see why teachers who departmentalize have to be on their "A Game" when it comes to paperwork. It can be a logistical headache. It helps if you color code your different classes. You can do that with a highlighter. Keep highlighters at the place where students turn in work. Students in class A highlight their name with a yellow highlighter, students in class B highlight their name with a green highlighter, students in class C highlight their name with a blue highlighter, and the pattern continues. This also helps with the "no name" problem.
You can use colored clipboard to organize yourself.
I keep forms like this on my clipboards. You can use it for different things. It's a quick way to tell who has turned in assignments. Students' names are written by the numbers. Reasons for a missing assignment are written in the narrow column. The column on the right side of the narrow column is where I write the students' grades until I have time to enter the grades in my grade book. I cut apart the forms on the gray column.
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Michelle is the author of Teach123 and also contributes to the following collaborative blogs: Best Practices 4 Teaching, The Lesson Cloud, Common Core Kids, and Common Core Classroom. She has twenty years of teaching experience.
My school is talking about departmentalizing grades 4/5/6 next year. I would most likely be the reading teacher with the 4th and 5th grade teachers taking over science and math. What tips/ideas do you have for me if we decide to do this?
Thanks Michelle for stopping over and thank you in advance to those of you who leave a comment below!