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New Teachers

New Teacher: Switching from Secondary to Elementary Ed

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Molly Gore Molly Gore 645 Points

Hi, everyone! 

My question is: What tips and tricks do you have for someone switching from teaching at the high school level that is working towards teaching at the elementary age? What types of resources should one invest in? 

A bit of background: I'm certified to teach 6-12 agriculture and am going back to school to teach K-5. I already understand how to teach a lot of content at the high school level through my agriculture classes, and I'm curious as to how to take that knowledge and safely transition it into teaching younger students. 

Thank you for any and all advice! :) 

My abbreviated advice would be: let the kids show you what they can do and already know.  The best moments working with young learners are when they can take charge, make connections, find the evidence, defend the claims.  With your agriculture background, you can certainly create opportunities for student engagement and exploration with growing plants and connections to healthy systems.

You are already here at NSTA, so be sure to take advantage of workshops, conferences, and the Science and Children journal.  You will find that it is filled with classroom-tested ideas for lessons and activities.  Be sure to immerse yourself in K-5 NGSS.  So much to learn from reading the standards, elements, storylines, and more.  

We are happy to have you join the K-5 world of teaching and learning.

Kyle Carsey Kyle Carsey 1060 Points

Hi Molly!


Great question! I am currently doing the same. I have taught 6-12 Family and Consumer Science Education and am now going back to school for K-5. I do not have a lot of insight yet, but one thing I have found is the younger students do a lot better when things are hands on. I am currently doing a 60 hour practicum with 4th graders. When my mentor teacher is working through a new topic, she creates foldables with the students and this not only helps keep the students engaged, but it also helps them retain the information because they are able to hear it and see it as they write/draw the information. Being able to break the information into chunks and constantly check for understadning is beneficial too. The younger students can shut down when they feel something is too difficult for them to handle. 

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