3 Mind-Blowing Solutions for Teaching It All

As a former second-grade teacher,  I know how difficult teaching all of the subjects can be. Honestly, the first subjects to go were science and social studies. I just couldn't get it all in, especially when mandates to the schedule were enforced. 

Ironically, I thought if I had less to plan I would be able to cover it all. I was wrong. Once again. 

My last several years in the classroom before I jumped into Student Support Specialist and then Media Specialist,  I had the opportunity to Platoon with my dear friend and coworker. Platooning is where two teachers share two classes, teach separate subjects, and have the children switch classes half-way through the day. I thought all my planning problems would be solved! Sadly, that didn't help that much with planning.

Even with fewer subjects to cover, I still could not cover it all. { I taught science and reading. My partner had math, writing, and social studies.} It did help a lot, and between the two of us, science and social studies were taught more consistently then either one of us had ever done alone. {There were many benefits of Platooning. I loved it for a while. But having two classes of students who were struggling in the area of reading became overwhelming. I would still recommend it, but there is a lot that goes into making it successful. That's a whole other subject! I will say the biggest key is having a partner you like and trust. Mine was the very best!}

So how do elementary school teachers teach it all? Well, here are three ways that might just blow your mind, or at the very least get you a little bit closer to figuring it out. 

3 Mind-Blowing Solutions for Teaching It All

3 Mind-Blowing Solutions for Teaching It All


1. Integrate the Content Area

Integrating is HUGE. Even with two subjects, the only way I could get to science was to incorporate it into my reading block. 

So instead of using random nonfiction text when you are teaching informational text standards, use nonfiction topics from your science or social studies standards. 

As finding good nonfiction text is hard to do, I wrote my own. I knew I needed short pieces that shared information about my science or social studies topics. {I only had about 30 minutes, after all. The passages needed to be short and easy enough for my second graders to read and understand.} I also used to write questions around specific standards I was covering. 

For example, after writing all about engineers, I would write questions based on the informational text standards that I was supposed to be teaching at the time. Say asking and answering questions or central idea. I would integrate those types of questions into my content. This way I could use specific nonfiction in my reading block. That gave me my full 20-30 minutes of my science block to do hands-on learning like a science experiment or a STEM challenge. {I usually write a digital version, as well. This saves TONS of paper and utilizes my class set of iPads.}

{More examples of things I have written integrating science can be found at my store Trina Deboree Teaching and Learning on Teachers Pay Teachers.

2. Make a Schedule and Stick to It

Making a schedule and sticking to it can be one of the hardest parts of being a teacher. Often your schedule is dictated. (Which personally I think is dumb. But I'll save my thoughts on that for another time.) 

I tend to be an over planner. I will say I would rather over plan than under plan. Either way, you feel like it didn't go the way you had hoped. As a teacher, we have to get used to the idea that things aren't going to go the way we had hoped they would. (Can you say walk-through, student pukes, or kids don't understand?!) Any of the things above can throw us off track. That's part of being a teacher. 

So, my main suggestion is to have a plan and stick to it the best you can. At least, if you run out of time, you can always copy and paste that for the next day. (Think- plans done!)

3 Mind-Blowing Solutions for Teaching It All

3. Team Planning

Now I am going to be honest here. Team planning was NOT my thing. I like to plan for myself. I know my class the best and what will work or not work. Yet people swear by team planning. Often teams that are successful with this choose experts and willing teachers who take on a subject or two. Each person writes the plans for his or her discipline and submits them to the team. Now the team has plans for all subject areas.  Team planning can also be done with partners. Maybe a duo writes the subject plans together and submits them, or one writes the plans, and another creates and or gathers the resources. 

I know many teams that have gotten some of their life back by sharing the lesson plan load. Our lesson plan expectations were always so over the top. Sometimes it got in the way of allowing me to create things that I knew would engage my kids. Sometimes it even got in the way of me being able to analyze my data to determine my next steps. I think admin needs to really think about that when they are assigning such rigid expectations. (So does that annoying guy Max Thompson. Some guy who thinks lesson plans reveal competency. Give me a break! Okay, soapbox over.)

3 Mind Blowing solutions for Teaching It All

Integrating the content areas, sticking to a schedule and plan, and collaborating can save you so much grief when you are trying to teach it all. I would love to hear how you teach everything! Shoot me an email at tdeboree@trinadeboreeteachingandlearning.com to let me know! Or you can share in the comments. 

Happy teaching and learning!

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