At the end of each school year, teachers are given their grade level assignments for the next school year. Sometimes, teachers request to be moved for a change of pace or a new challenge. But often, teachers are moved to fulfill campus level needs. Sometimes, teachers are totally unprepared for the news. Even if excited, most teachers feel a little nervous facing a summer knowing they will begin in a brand new grade level the following year.
As teachers, we need our summer vacation to rest and renew so we can give our all to the new group of students. So, if you have just found out you will begin a new grade level challenge next year, you are probably wondering, "Now what?" In order to save your summer and your sanity, there really is one thing you can do that will be the best use of your time--study your standards.
It may sound too simple, but actually knowing what you are expected to cover and to what level of mastery will help you be more successful with your new group of students than spending hours finding activities that will fill their days. If you take the time to study the Pre-K Guidelines or your new grade level TEKS, you will not only begin to understand the content to be covered, but you will gain an insight into the level and ability of the age you will be teaching.
Another benefit of understanding your standards before looking for lesson ideas or activities is that you will be better able to analyze the relevance and appropriateness of any given lesson or activity. Just because something is labeled with your new grade level does not mean it is appropriate, worth your time, or aligned with our state standards. Knowing your standards before you start the school year saves you so much time during the year by ensuring that your time is spent on well-aligned, thoughtful lessons.
As you study your standards, the fog will lift and you will begin to see where you are headed with this new group of students. Together, you will be prepared to tackle the new grade level.