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!!!

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