Hi everyone,
I have had quite a few requests for information on teaching 5th and 6th class.  I really enjoy teaching the senior classes. Since qualifying last year, almost all of my teaching has been with the older ones. I always thought I’d love to have infants, but I am getting quite used to the seniors now!
So, a few tips.
1. Do establish boundaries and rules, and do it quickly. Some children may try test you, it’s only natural, but just make your expectations clear from the get go.
2. Timetable, timetable and timetable. Schedule every single minute of the day. Idle hands lead to light work! Ensure the children are aware of the timetable, have a large visual of it on the wall, or miniature copies stuck to the desks. Stick to the timetable religiously so the children know what they are to do at all times.
3. Have a good early finishers table. This is where difficulties begin. You are trying to keep ten different kids on task at different times and it gets messy. I have a mash up at my EFT (early finishers table) I have written work, worksheets and so on, comics, fact books etc, and I have games, such as jenga, dominos and other activities of that ilk. Usually if you finish your work early in the morning, you do written work, in the afternoon you can do the fun activities. As an aside, some children rush their work to get to the early finishers table. Don’t let this happen! Ensure their work is completed to the highest quality possible before correcting it.
4. Have a list of classroom jobs and rotate them weekly. They may include collecting copies, distributing copies, sweeping the floor, distributing glue, scissors, paper etc.
5. If you have awards such as ‘student of the week then keep a list of the people picked each week. Try to ensure everyone gets to be student of the week at least once.
Teaching multiclass (5th and 6th)
If you have 5th and 6th combined, then here are a few ideas which worked for me.
If you are doing the dip, you will need to write separate plans for English, maths and Irish for the two classes, which is a pain! The rest of the subjects can be done on one plan, according to my inspector anyway.
Teach all subjects to both classes at the same time. The differentiation comes in at the activity. So say you are teaching maths. Introduce the topic to both classes. Teach the 5th class objectives first. It will be revision for 6th class. Then, give 5th class their written activity, while you further the objectives with 6th. It is very important that 5th or vice versa, do not interrupt your teaching if they are having difficulty. Encourage peer tutoring until you have set 6th class their task, then go help 5th. You will never get any teaching done if you are being interrupted every few minutes.
Have a very set routine in place. For example, if you are doing Irish reading with 5th, than 6th should be doing their written Irish, or playing an Irish game. All you need to do is establish a routine, and then the day should run smoothly. Have lots of differentiation of all subjects if you are doing the dip, even in art, music, drama and PE.[pb_builder]

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