Thursday, July 24, 2014

Changing Grade Levels

When I left school for summer break this June, I also said goodbye to teaching 5th grade. In just a few weeks, I will be a 6th grade teacher. What?! This will be a huge change for me on many levels. In my district, the elementary schools encompass grades K-6. This means that I will stay in my current school (yay!). I'll also move from teaching all subjects to one class, to teaching only ELA and Social Studies to three sections. I'm both excited and terrified.

In preparation for the changes ahead, I've had to rethink my entire summer planning process. It typically goes like this:

  1. Close the door to my classroom on the last teacher day.
  2. Drive away and forget about school.
  3. Enjoy traveling to the beach and relaxing with my family.
  4. Begin thinking about work the week before I have to go back.
Ahh, relaxing, yes?
This year, it looks more like this:
  1. Spend days organizing materials for the teacher who will take my place in 5th grade.
  2. Sit through 6th grade PD with puzzled, exhausted look on my face. Cry, then follow with necessary Happy Hour.
  3. Pack all of my personal books and materials.
  4. Move stuff into new classroom.
  5. Meet with a 6th grade colleague (Thanks, Peg!) to get my head around all of the things I didn't process during #2.
  6. Spend hours on Pinterest looking at and pinning 6th grade/middle school "stuff".
  7. Travel to beach house.
  8. Continue to read, make lists and obsess about school.
  9. Dream about school.
  10. Dream that all of my teeth fall out. (Apparently this represents feeling a loss of control? Yup.)
  11. Repeat #'s 6-8. Also see Happy Hour in #2.
You get the idea.  At some point I will post about my new room, curricular stuff, and so on. Despite my anxiety, I'm excited about so many aspects of this move, not the least of which is my ability to rationalize why I read YA books more than any other genre.

For now, can any of you 6th grade teachers out there share words of wisdom and encouragement? What do you love about teaching tweens? What's your favorite read aloud? What's your #1 organizational life-saver? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. I am excited to follow your 6th grade journey! I am a first-year 7th grade ELA teacher so I will be learning right along with you :) your #1-11 list made me laugh, it is very similar to my summer right now!

    1. Oh good--a partner in crime! That list is seriously real :)
      The Wild Rumpus 

  2. That's a great list! I've taught 6th grade ELA and Math for 15 years. You will love your tweens. They are starting to get a little better sense of humor and maturity. The read-alouds my classes have loved are The One and Only Ivan, Skeleton Man, The Lightning Thief, and The Watson's Go to Birmingham.
    Enjoy the rest of your summer!
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

    1. Thanks, Michele. My oldest just finished 6th grade, so I totally get what you mean about the sense of humor. Great read-aloud options! I loved the One and Only Ivan so much.
      The Wild Rumpus 

  3. Oh goodness...I can't imagine dreaming about all my teeth falling out. I'm glad you get to stay in your school. I am sure you will knock 6th grade out of the park! I'll be looking forward to reading about your new adventures!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. Thanks, Alison! Yes, that dream was nuts. I've had it once before, and it seemed so real--ugh. the good news is that the anxiety comes and goes. In between, I'm more excited than anything else!
      The Wild Rumpus 

  4. Hey there! I am a new teacher-blogger from CT and would love to get to know other teacher-bloggers from the state! There are so many blogger meet ups around the country, and I would love to get CT on the map for having some awesome teacher-bloggers! Nice to meet you! :)

    Miss Peluso's Kindergarten