I'm a brand new English teacher (I was only hired last Thursday, school started this past Thursday, and I'm fresh out of grad school). I was assigned an 11th grade ELA regents class and two 11th grade American Lit in History classes (meant to prepare them for both the US and English regents).
Basically, I'm trying to create diagnostic assessments for my classes, but I'm having a hard time because I can't do the same assessment in both classes. The reason being that I see many of my 11th grade ELA kids in my American Lit classes and I don't want to give them the same assignments twice. The first two days of school were mainly spent on ice breakers, but now I'm really stuck on diagnostic stuff.
I don't want to go into US history stuff with my American Lit class, as I don't want to step on the toes of my US teacher. Does that make sense? I know that first year teachers are usually crazy and overwhlemed, but I feel especially crazed because of how little time I had to plan for these crucial first days of school. Help!
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Why don't you collaborate with the US history teacher, if he or she is willing? That way you can avoid toe-stepping. As for the assessments, I would just forget it for now. Jump into the curriculum. Before long, you'll know what you need to know.
What are you diagnosing? Are you checking to see their reading level or previous knowledge? If it is reading level, you only have to do it once. If the class is mixed with those you have already had and those that are new, give the ones who have already taken the test something else to do while you are testing the others. Don't overdo the diagnostic tests. Is this something the school requires? Another solution might be to go and look in their files and see how they did on last year's state tests. That way you are not wasting class time on testing. By the time the students are in 11th grade, they should have enough testing information in their files to answer your questions. We have a program on our computers that allow us to pull up the student's scores by clicking on a button. It is so much simpler.
Secondly, talk to the US history teacher. Find out what he/she is teaching and then find American literature from that period of time. That way you compliment the US history teacher, and you aren't stepping on any toes. I have found that students really enjoy reading what was written during a period of time they are studying in another class. They see how it all fits together and some of the events that influenced the writing. Make it a combination of non-fiction and fiction. Maybe have them read a novel about that period of time and supplement it with non-fictional articles or government, philosophy, and persuasive essays. Mix in a little poetry from that period too.
Good luck and breathe deep. Your first year is the hardest.
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