Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Great Classroom Management Tip!

Imagine this--
You are conducting small group instruction and the rest of your class is working on another activity. Then, it happens. You hear from the other side of the room, "Miss! I need help!" or "Sir, can you come over here real quick?"  Well, you go on over and this is what they ask you, "Can we write on this paper?" or "Is this for a grade?" or maybe even "I forgot how to do this step. Can you show me?"  

It can seem like your a constantly back and forth and not much instruction is given to your small group.

Well, this happened a whole lot in my classroom years back. It felt like a tug of war.  But then I remember seeing something like this either in a book or online.  I wish I could remember, but it was a long time back.

Students are instructed to ask three other students their question before they can ask the teacher.  If no one knows the answer to their question, THEN they can ask the teacher. 

It prevents lots of unnecessary interruptions and as a teacher, you can get more accomplished during small group instruction.

I made this sign and have it posted at the front of my classroom as a reminder to students.

Yes, sometimes they forget. It wouldn't be normal if they wouldn't forget, would it?  LOL  So I just point to the sign and they remember to ask their partner or neighbor.

Here's my sign!

You can download the sign for free HERE.

I hope this is a helpful strategy and you can use it in your classroom!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Quick and Easy Teacher Dry Erase Board!

I teach 7th grade math and I like to make it fun for my students. One of the methods I use in order to engage my students in learning is to have them write on their desks with dry erase markers. Students LOVE it and they participate more. 

My problem? The teacher table I use has a dark brown top, so when I write on it to show my students how to solve problems it's difficult for them to see what I am writing when I display it via projector onto the white screen in front of the room.

I came up with a solution for that!  All I needed was a large sheet of white paper and clear con-tact paper. Ta-da!!!! Problem solved!

First I taped the large sheet of white paper to my table. You can see the tape on the corner, but it doesn't show on the screen.

I then sandwiched the large white sheet of paper between the table top and the contact paper.  I will admit, it was easier to do with my husband helping me.  So, consider it a job for two people.  That way there will be no bubbles or creases.  One person peels off the backing a little at a time holding the con-tact paper at a 45 degree angle while the other person is smoothing it down from side to side.

And there you have it!  A white dry erase board that makes it easier for my students to see what I am writing when I display it via projector onto the screen in the front of the room!

The dry erase marker comes off with one swipe!  I already wrote on this one and erased.  Can you tell?

By the way, I used Con-Tact Clear Transparent Brand.  I haven't tried other brands, so I don't know how easy it is to clean the dry erase marker off of those.
Con-Tact Self-Adhesive Shelf Liner

I hope this helps anyone else that has this problem!!!

There might be other solutions some of you may use, however, this is the solution that worked for me. I just wanted to share!!  :D

Just to clarify, my students also have dark brown tabletops, but they don't have trouble with reading what they write with a dry erase marker.  It's only when I display my tabletop with a projector, it becomes difficult to see what I am writing.

Click HERE to see what I have my students use as erasers.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ready for a New School Year!

Summer has come and gone and a new school year is upon us. I have been spending several hours preparing my classroom as many other fellow educators have been doing.  Organizing, arranging, throwing out, and putting in items to make it look and feel like a safe, suitable, comfortable learning environment for my incoming 7th graders. Let me give you a tour.

Here is the display space outside my room.  It's simple but with a great message. "Your attitude determines your direction.  Make it a good one!"  At the beginning of every class, students will line up in front of this area.

Welcome!  7th Math and a little motivational sign I created.

Here is a close up of the sign.
Just a reminder that it's truly all about them!

Am I the only one that thinks that this is the cleanest my desk will be all year?  BTW, notice the emoji taped to the corner of my computer.  It's a note to remind me that I have morning and afternoon duty all week, the first week of school.

Front view of my desk with my name on the pennants.  You think my students will actually call me this instead of "Miss" this year?

Side view of my area. You can see how I make my table skirt HERE.

"Cell Phone Parking" using a shoe organizer.  Because, when your two-period block class becomes a 45 minute class from one year to the next, "ain't nobody got time for that" phone!  Well, only when it's incorporated into the lesson.  ;)

I started this last year.  Both types of clocks, analog and digital, to help students practice telling time.  Yes, many seventh graders still do not know how to tell time on an analog clock.  I blame it on the digital era.  Underneath my clocks are "Ask Me!" badges.  Students that prove they have mastered a skill get to wear this and act as my "teaching assistants".  They love it!  They get to teach/help other students in the class and let's face it, sometimes students would rather ask a peer for help then ask the teacher for help.  It's a WIN, WIN!

Focus/Agenda board ready!  Love the cute pencil shaped dry erase board eraser.  Dollar tree item!

My closets actually closed!!  Just kidding.  There is still room in there.  Last door: I'm challenging my students to "change their mindset" this year.

Math Reminders! Because, sometimes they need a little reminding!  I adjust as needed throughout the year.

Journals go here. And they WILL be put away neatly.  They WILL I say!!!

F.Y.I. board.  The "Missing Parts" pocket in the lower left corner is a lost and found for station pieces. It's a life saver!!! Find more info on it HERE.

Group trash bins are upside down with the corresponding group tool kit.  Trash bins are great when students need to cut pieces from paper.  Just wad up scraps, place in trash bin and when it's time to put away, a designated student "takes out the trash".  It's easier than picking up papers from the floor.  Tool kit contains color pencils, glue, scissors, pencil sharpener, etc...you know, school tools.

That's all folks!!!

If you are interested in some of the motivational mini posters and pennants, you can find them in the links below.

If you are interested in anything else you saw, just contact me and I'll be happy to help you out!  :)

I hope this tour of my classroom was helpful!  Thanks for looking and I hope everyone truly has an amazing and productive year!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Makeshift Table Skirt for the Classroom

My creativity was shining today!!!  Well, I thought it was.

I DO NOT like this look. Wires everywhere and students can see what is in my storage unit, the one with the clear plastic drawers.  I also don't like the mess on top of the table, but that's a totally different story. I'm working on that one too.

Anywho, I remembered a while back when Dollar Tree first opened, they use to sell plastic adhesive table skirts, I used one years back to hide a similar type of mess when I was teaching 5th grade.  Well, guess what? They don't have them any more!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! (Your trying to figure out when Dollar Tree first opened, aren't you? STOP! It was in 1986.)

So I went to WalMart to see if they had any adhesive table skirts. Well, the answer was ""Nah, to the ah to the NO, NO, NO!" However, in the party section, they did have plastic table covers for $0.97. So I grabbed a couple of teal colored ones to match my theme for this year.
So I'm looking at my messy table trying to figure out how I can make this table cover into a table skirt and then it dawns on me! The edge of the table is metal!!!  I can use hot glue!! Hot glue will peel off metal and not damage it!  Well, that's what I was thinking. So I rushed home and grabbed my trusty ole' hot glue gun and glue sticks and tried it.

It peeled right off! The hot glue, after it cooled, peeled right off!  YAAAASSS!!!!
So here is what I did next.
Apply glue.

Pinch plastic, but do it carefully!!! The glue is very hot!!!!
Press it down further with an old pencil so that you don't burn yourself.  I'm not gonna lie.  It would have probably been easier if someone was helping me.  But I glued small sections at a time and it was pretty easy.  Don't  put glue on large sections because it will cool fast and the skirt won't stick.

I had to carefully go around the wires to the E.L.M.O. so I left a small area that was not glued down.  Just in case I had to remove the cords for some reason.

I know it seems a little messy, but I'm snapping pics up close to the edge of the table.  Be patient. The final picture is coming up!

 I have to give you a few more details.

First of all, when you take the table skirt out of the package DO NOT unfold the entire thing. Unfold it up to the point that it is still folded in half.

The folded edge is what I glue to the metal part of the table.

Well.  Here it is!  I think it looks great! I'm still trying to decide if I should add a border to cover the top section. Tell me what you think!

SUGGESTIONS:  If you decide try this, first apply hot glue to a small section of the table in an area that is hidden or can't be seen.  Wait for it to cool, then try peeling it off. I highly recommend that you do this first to test and see if it will work on your table.

Another option is adhering painter's tape to the section of the table you plan to glue the skirt onto. When applying glue and plastic table cover, do it only on the painter's tape.  

I hope this idea is helpful!  Thanks for looking!!!  If you do try it, I'd love to see the outcome!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Happy New School Year!!!

I hope everyone is excited about starting new!  It's like a clean slate. I love it!

Anywho! I just wanted to share a few things that I do at the beginning of the year to prep my classroom management.  I'm sure everyone has their own kind of "magic", but I'm just sharing mine in hopes that it could help a fellow educator.

GREETINGS! - Welcome students and tell them a little bit about yourself.  A funny story about yourself will let them know you are human. Then let them share a little about themselves using an icebreaker.  I usually use the "Beach Ball Questions" method. I'll share directions for that later.

SEATING - Make a seating chart and seat students in alphabetical order.  This helps with memorizing their names.  I'm sure it's easier if you have a self-contained classroom, but when you don't and have more than 100 students and you're my age, it's quite a challenge. So alphabetical order is the key for me!  I also arrange desks in rows and columns making sure each has a "shoulder partner" for sharing/discussion activities.  

EXPECTATIONS - I present classroom expectations and school rules and have them posted for students to see.  Throughout the first week, review and repeat. When reviewing, I do a "Pair Share" activity because I know students would rather hear rules and expectations from a peer than from the teacher.  ;)

 MATH JOURNAL - Prepping the math journal!  This consists of numbering pages, gluing in resources pages and foldables, explaining how to fill in the table of contents and most importantly, when using glue...DOT, DOT, NOT A LOT...LINE, LINE, MAKE IT FINE!!!  I do plan on allowing glue sticks this year, but cardstock and construction paper just stick better with white glue.  Finally on this topic, I inform my students of the "magic words" to listen for when prepping, cutting and gluing foldables into their journals, or any other activity that requires the same.  Here is what I do.

  1. Demonstrate but make sure everyone is watching and listening. They must have their hands flat on their desks when I am demonstrating. I also break directions up into steps so it's easier for them to follow.
  2. After each step, I clap my hands and then wave them around as if to perform a magic trick and then I sort of sing the "magic words", "NOW YOU!"  Yes, I teach middle school, and yes, my kiddos love it. As a matter of fact, sometimes I forget to say the magic words and students will just sit there with their hands still flat on their desks, then I hear someone whisper, "Miss, the magic words."  It's so cute, I love it!  It would be AMAZING if EVERY student would follow this rule and not all do, but I'm proud to say that majority do.
BRAG - I love to tell my students how great they do at the end of the day. I also love to tell them when I brag about them to my fellow educators.  They love to hear it as well.  Do they do a fantastic job everyday?  Well, lets just say that there are more wonderful days than not. From cleaning up their area very well to participating and completing assignments on time.  They need to hear how amazing they are!

EXIT - I don't let my students line up at the door five minutes before the bell!  NOOOO!!!!  Yes, I've seen it happen.  I teach bell to bell. What does that mean?  That means I'm always trying to keep their gears turning.  For example, they will put away materials at five minutes before the bell, but they return to their seat and then we play "Around the World" with facts or vocabulary. Sometimes I just ask them to "share something with your partner that you learned today". Another one is "Touch Down, Take Off" where touch down means false and take off means true and I give true or false statements as a review of skills learned.  Finally, I dismiss a row at a time.  Yes, I'm that teacher. The teacher that doesn't want a stampede or injuries occurring as my students leave. I also tell them that I am looking for the best row to dismiss first.  Believe it or not, they sit up straight and face forward in a flash!  Some of them even before I make that statement.

Alright. There you have it. Only some of the things I do to make my classes easier to handle. I didn't want to bore you too much.  :D

I truly hope this was helpful. I didn't come up with these overnight and some ideas I got at trainings and from peer teachers. Sometimes I also change it up a bit when I have to. It's called adapting.

I know everyone has their own approach. I'd love for you to share some of your tips in the comments!  I think others will benefit from our sharing with each other.  :D

Thanks for reading and have a extraordinary year!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Pennants for your classroom!

These colorful pennants will brighten up any classroom!
Colors include red, blue, yellow, orange, green and purple.
They have many uses!  Here are some ideas!

  • Use them for your word wall. Write a letter on each pennant and then attach the words below the appropriate letter.
  • Create a birthday banner by writing a month on each pennant and attach students names below.
  • Write multiplication facts your students are struggling with and hang it up across the room. Students can use it as a quick reference.
  • Create a welcome banner.
  • Use them to create names for areas around your classroom.
  • Create a banner with your name on it and hang it in front of your desk.
  • Create a window valance with them.

They are ready to print, cut and laminate.  If you laminate them, they will be reusable! You can use a dry erase marker to write letters and numbers on them.

I have placed two pennants of the same color on a page for your convenience.

Be sure to check out more suggestions on how to use these pennants HERE!

Here are the preview pics.

Thanks for looking!!!

If your interested in pennants in pastel colors, click HERE.