Teachers First

August 31, 2007 at 5:55 pm (all, blogging, children, classroom management, Education, Educational Leadership, Elementary, ESOL, High School, kids, Middle School, Parents, principals, school, school administration, teachers, Thornebrooke)

http://www.teachersfirst.com/index.cfm

TeachersFirst is a site that provides lessons, units, and other resources for teachers.  The site is easy to navigate and has hundreds of things – all free!  Check it out today.

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

How To Appreciate Your Student’s Diversity

August 30, 2007 at 6:57 pm (all, blogging, children, classroom management, culture, Education, Educational Leadership, Elementary, ESOL, friends, High School, humor, kids, life, Middle School, Parents, personal, poetry, politics, principals, reading, school, school administration, teachers, Thornebrooke, thoughts, Uncategorized, writing)

This is a powerful reminder of the challenges – and joys that we face – in dealing with our diverse student population.

Welcome to Holland
By Emily Perl KingsleyI am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability-to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip-to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas of Venice. You learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?” you say. “What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I have dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice Holland has windmills…and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy…and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away…because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.

But…if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you might never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…about Holland.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Teachers Oath

August 29, 2007 at 5:58 pm (all, blogging, classroom management, Education, Educational Leadership, Elementary, High School, Middle School, principals, school, school administration, teachers, Thornebrooke, Uncategorized)

The following was developed for teachers, similar to the Hippocratic oath for doctors.  It has some points worth considering.

The Teacher’s Oath

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:• I will respect the hard-won gains of those educators in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

• I will apply, for the benefit of my students, all strategies known to be effective, avoiding busy-work in favor of work with real meaning to the students and their families.

• I will remember that there is art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the textbook reading or the multiple choice test.

• I will work with my colleagues to inspire one another to achieve excellence. I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed to help my students.

• If it is given me to enhance a life through teaching, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to cast a shadow over a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.

• I will remember that I do not teach a lesson plan, or a reading deficiency, but a human being, whose skills may affect the person’s future family and economic stability. My efforts will aim to teach the whole child, and help that child develop in mind and spirit.

• If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of teaching those who seek my help.

Permalink 1 Comment

Behavior Management Tips

August 28, 2007 at 6:22 pm (all, blogging, children, classroom management, Education, Educational Leadership, Elementary, ESOL, High School, kids, Middle School, Parents, principals, school, school administration, teachers, Thornebrooke, Uncategorized)

Teaching Secrets: Students Behave When Teachers Engage

 I started teaching at a middle school in Oakland, Calif., about 20 years ago. My first year was pretty rough. I was prepared to teach science, but my first semester I was given two periods of beginning Spanish, one of English, and two of science. My credential program had not really dealt much with behavior issues. The idea was to deliver a rich curriculum, and the management would take care of itself. If you are already teaching, you know this does not always work.

I floundered a bit the first year or two, and took help wherever I could find it. My best resources came from my colleagues down the hall. They had been at the school a few years and passed along valuable ways to make things work.

Here are a few of the things I learned:

  • I learned to post a short list of clear, unambiguous rules and enforce them consistently. This is much harder to do than it sounds, and it took me many years to master.
  • I learned how important it was to phone parents early in the year, with positive news if at all possible. Then the first phone call would not be one from me complaining about their child’s behavior. One parent I phoned in September told me that mine was the first positive call she had ever received about her child. When I had to call about some problems a few months later, she was there to back me up 100 percent.
  • I learned to balance a negative phone call with a positive one. The days after I would make phone calls, the students would often come in and ask me, “Why did you call my house?” It was great to be able to point out that I was working with their parents in their best interests, and that I would make positive calls when behavior improved. I also found that my own disposition greatly improved after I made a positive call.
  • I learned to keep a record of student behavior, along with any referrals to the office, so that the problems I had with a few students were clearly documented. I kept a record of phone calls home in the same book.
  • I learned how easy it was to get into entertaining but fruitless dialogues with students when I was trying to enforce rules. It took me a while, but eventually I learned the best method was to give a warning or consequence clearly, and allow for discussion only after class.
  • I learned it was important for students to understand that I cared about their well-being, and that I was on their side. This was done through caring communication and showing an interest in them as individuals by giving attention to their interests and abilities. And also through developing assignments that gave them more than one way to demonstrate their knowledge. Some students shine when speaking to the class, others excel at creative projects that illustrate what they’ve learned.
  • I tried using the textbook quizzes and tests, but found my students were performing miserably. These tests featured 40 multiple-choice questions that required memorization. My students refused to memorize the textbook facts—they were bored with that, and their behavior reflected their boredom. So I began to think about the main points I was trying to get across and looked for engaging ways to make those main points stick. Then I made my tests reflect those main points and found the students did much better. I also looked for different ways for students to demonstrate their understanding through more creative projects, and I found the students became even more engaged.For example, when learning about states of matter, I had students team up and design their own experiments focusing on dry ice. They came up with ideas like measuring the amount of time the dry ice took to turn to vapor in different liquids; attempting to measure the temperature of the dry ice; or collecting and testing the vapor that the dry ice produced. After a review process, the teams carried out their experiments. Then, each team created a display and presented their results to their classmates. In the process, they all learned about the properties of dry ice—that it turns to vapor much more quickly in water than in air, that frozen carbon dioxide is much colder than water ice, and that the vapor is heavier than air and puts out a candle. Their findings led us into other explorations of the states of matter. They were having too much fun to misbehave!

    The secret to behavior management is really about having the students fully engaged in the learning process, and it involves more than just rules and office referrals. After all, the whole point of getting the class to focus is to do some meaningful work—to reach new understandings, to create new expressions of their knowledge, and to build new skills. But we have to know how to manage our teacher-student relationships in order to get there.

  • Permalink Leave a Comment

    Keeping Organized as a Teacher

    August 27, 2007 at 5:42 pm (all, blogging, children, classroom management, Education, Educational Leadership, Elementary, ESOL, High School, kids, Middle School, Parents, principals, school, school administration, teachers, Thornebrooke, Uncategorized)

    Weekly Tip: Your Calendar is Your Friend

    Do you ever feel as though you have too much to do and not enough time to get it all done? The school year always brings with it a pile of meetings, memos, to do lists, appointments, and a large pile of tasks to be accomplished. How many times does someone drop a meeting date and time on you out of nowhere? It is a supreme act of juggling to keep up with it all. What we need is a tool to help us keep track of all those balls in the air.

    That tool is the calendar and To Do List. Keeping a calendar religiously is a way to stay on top of the chaos. Outlook is a great calendar tool. Look at all the uses:

    • Invite attendees who are notified via email of any meeting scheduled.

    • Task Pane keeps track of To Do items. (such as filling out special education paperwork on a student)

    • Prioritize tasks and set due dates for each. (Add a due date for the task “Johnny Spec Ed Paperwork” and set as High Priority )

    • Set a reminder time – Outlook will remind you as far in advance as you need it to

    • Print the week or month to carry with you. If you have a teacher binder, that you keep with you at all times, put the print-out in there.


    If you don’t have easy access to a computer, then you want to get a portable calendar. Whether a print-out or a day-timer type calendar, keep it with you at all times. That way when you are given a random task or appointment in the middle of the hallway on your way to lunch, you can write it down on your calendar.

    Write down all district and school holidays, meetings, and other events on your calendar. Keep it with you and refer to it when planning lessons. That way you’ll be sure not to plan an important lesson on a holiday or on a day when the choir is taking their field trip. Having these dates and appointments scheduled in your calendar in advance will also help you to plan future events and meetings. There is nothing worse than scheduling an appointment only to find that there is already a district meeting you totally forgot.

    • Your calendar should be your best friend. This is not the easiest habit to get into, but like anything else, you have to take it one day at a time.

    • Make it a priority in your work and personal life.

    • Keep track of all appointments and important days for both work and home on the same calendar so that you aren’t confused by two different sets of information.

    • Remember to check your calendar before agreeing to any kind of appointment or event.


    Another helpful tool is the To Do List. Take a legal size yellow pad and break it into sections. One section is titled “Work,” one section is titled “Home,” and one section is titled “Errands.” Under each section list the tasks that need to completed during the week. These tasks may include filling out paperwork, planning lessons, grading journals, doing laundry, paying bills, taking the dog to the vet, going to the grocery store, getting hair cut, etc. Each task is placed under the section where it belongs.

    Now, at a glance, you can easily see what needs to be done for each part of your busy life. As you complete tasks, cross them off the list. Try to spend an equal amount of time on each section. That way you’re not only doing work and allowing home tasks, such as laundry, to suffer. On Sunday make a new list transferring all of the uncompleted items to the new list and add anything else that needs to be done that week.

    Between these two tools you can easily juggle all of the different elements that make up your life. The key is keeping them close to you and staying in the habit of using them. Even after using them for just a couple of weeks you’ll notice quite the difference. I find that I don’t forget as many tasks and that I stay on top of my various lists so that no part of my life gets too far out of control. It keeps me organized so I don’t feel as overwhelmed. I don’t know about you, but when I feel overwhelmed I procrastinate and my list just keeps getting bigger. Perhaps this strategy will work for you the same way. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing YOU are in charge of your time rather than running behind it.

    Permalink Leave a Comment

    Building Habits

    August 24, 2007 at 5:53 pm (all, blogging, children, classroom management, culture, drama, Education, Educational Leadership, Elementary, ESOL, food, friends, High School, history, humor, kids, life, love, Middle School, movies, music, news, Parents, personal, photography, poetry, politics, principals, reading, religion, school, school administration, sports, teachers, technology, Thornebrooke, thoughts, travel, Uncategorized, video, women, writing)

    It takes 27 days to form a habit. Remember when your mother used to ask you to make your bed every day? Then, after a while, you simply started making it on your own —without having to be reminded to do it. Making your bed every day had become a habit.

    In my column, Laying the Groundwork, I discussed the importance of brainstorming expectations and procedures as part of laying the groundwork for building good habits. This time, I want to discuss in a little more detail the kinds of habits we want to build in our students — and how we can build them.

    When thinking about the kinds of good habits you want students to develop, go back to that list of expectations and procedures you created. For me, for example, it’s important that students enter my classroom, check their mailboxes, and start working on their focus assignment before the first bell rings. It’s important that when I use the quiet signal, my students get quiet and focus on me. I expect my students to stay in a quiet straight line when I walk with them down the hall. It’s also important to me for students to be silent, with a clean area, before I dismiss them. Those types of habits, as well as others, also might be important to you. If you’re not really sure what you expect of your students, then take some time right now to brainstorm those actions and behaviors that you want to become habits for your students.

    Okay, you have your list. You might be asking yourself, “Why is it important that I help build these habits?” The reason is to save yourself stress later on in the school year. Spring semester might seem like a long way away, but it will come around a lot faster than you think. Students who are not following good habits in the fall have a tendency to let spring fever get out of hand. Behavior can become more erratic then, and without good habits in place, students are more likely to get out of control. By setting the standards at the beginning of the year and turning good behaviors into good habits, you save yourself a lot of time and stress later.

    But how can you build in students the good habits you expect? First, clearly explain your expectations to students. Next, make sure students practice the correct actions and behaviors daily. (It’s especially important to practice behaviors over and over again during the first couple of weeks of school.) Third, be consistent about requiring specific behaviors. If you see students not meeting your expectations, don’t be afraid to stop and take the time to practice the correct action or behavior right then and there.

    For example, if I notice that many students are entering the classroom and “hanging out” without starting their work before the bell rings, I stop everything and practice my expectations. I have students file out of the classroom and re-enter correctly. If students are not following my quiet signal, we stop immediately and practice until they get it right. By doing that consistently, students begin to see that I will hold them accountable for their actions. After 27 days or more of doing the same actions over and over again, the behaviors become a habit for students. What you want to achieve is a classroom in which students know what to do and when to do it. That is a well-disciplined classroom.
    You might find, of course, that as the year progresses, you need to stop and practice your expectations again. That is perfectly normal and can be thought of as “maintenance.”

    Before you know it, however, your students will be entering the classroom and doing exactly what you expect of them — whether you are there to remind them or not. Good behavior has become — just like making your bed each day — a habit. In the end, that’s precisely what we strive to accomplish.
    As you work toward that goal, remember the maxim “Good habits are hard to break” — and practice, practice, practice.

    Permalink Leave a Comment

    Things to do during the first 3 weeks

    August 21, 2007 at 6:10 pm (all, children, classroom management, Education, Educational Leadership, Elementary, ESOL, High School, kids, Middle School, Parents, principals, school, school administration, teachers, Thornebrooke)

    These tips were written for college professors; however, many of them are useful for your classrooms as well.

    Introduction
    Students will decide very early – some say the first day of class – whether they will like the course, its contents, the teacher, and their fellow students.  The following list of “101 Things You Can Do…” is offered in the spirit of starting off right. It is a catalog of suggestions for college teachers who are looking for a fresh way of creating the best possible environment for learning. Not just the first day, but the first three weeks of a course are especially important, studies say, in retaining capable students. Even if the syllabus is printed and lecture notes are ready to go in August, most college teachers can usually make adjustments in teaching methods as the course unfolds and the characteristics of their students become known.These suggestions have been gathered from UNL professors and from college teachers elsewhere. The rationale for these methods is based on the following needs: 1) to help students make the transition from high school and summer or holiday activities to learning in college; 2) to direct students’ attention to the immediate situation for learning – the hour in the classroom: 3) to spark intellectual curiosity – to challenge students; 4) to support beginners and neophytes in the process of learning in the discipline; S) to encourage the students’ active involvement in learning; and 6) to build a sense of community in the classroom.
    Ideas For the First Three Weeks
    Here, then, are some ideas for college teachers for use in their courses as they begin a new semester. Helping Students Make Transitions

    1. Hit the ground running on the first day of class with substantial content.
    2. Take attendance: roll call, clipboard, sign in, seating chart.
    3. Introduce teaching assistants by slide, short presentation, or self-introduction.
    4. Hand out an informative, artistic, and user-friendly syllabus.
    5. Give an assignment on the first day to be collected at the next meeting.
    6. Start laboratory experiments and other exercises the first time lab meets.
    7. Call attention (written and oral) to what makes good lab practice: completing work to be done, procedures, equipment, clean up, maintenance, safety, conservation of supplies, full use of lab time.
    8. Administer a learning style inventory to help students find out about themselves.
    9. Direct students to the Learning Skills Center for help on basic skills.
    10. Tell students how much time they will need to study for this course.
    11. Hand out supplemental study aids: library use, study tips, supplemental readings and exercises.
    12. Explain how to study for kind of tests you give.
    13. Put in writing a limited number of ground rules regarding absence, late work, testing procedures, grading, and general decorum, and maintain these.
    14. Announce office hours frequently and hold them without fail.
    15. Show students how to handle learning in large classes and impersonal situations.
    16. Give sample test questions.
    17. Give sample test question answers.
    18. Explain the difference between legitimate collaboration and academic dishonesty; be clear when collaboration is wanted and when it is forbidden.
    19. Seek out a different student each day and get to know something about him or her.
    20. Ask students to write about what important things are currently going on in their lives.
    21. Find out about students’ jobs; if they are working, how many hours a week, and what kinds of jobs they hold. Directing Students’ Attention
    22. Greet students at the door when they enter the classroom.
    23. Start the class on time.
    24. Make a grand stage entrance to hush a large class and gain attention.
    25. Give a pre-test on the day’s topic.
    26. Start the lecture with a puzzle, question, paradox, picture, or cartoon on slide or transparency to focus on the day’s topic.
    27. Elicit student questions and concerns at the beginning of the class and list these on the chalkboard to be answered during the hour.
    28. Have students write down what they think the important issues or key points of the day’s lecture will be.
    29. Ask the person who is reading the student newspaper what is in the news today. Challenging Students
    30. Have students write out their expectations for the course and their own goals for learning.
    31. Use variety in methods of presentation every class meeting.
    32. Stage a figurative “coffee break” about twenty minutes into the hour; tell an anecdote, invite students to put down pens and pencils, refer to a current event, shift media.
    33. Incorporate community resources: plays, concerts, the State Fair. government agencies. businesses, the outdoors.
    34. Show a film in a novel way: stop it for discussion, show a few frames only, anticipate ending, hand out a viewing or critique sheet, play and replay parts.
    35. Share your philosophy of teaching with your students.
    36. Form a student panel to present alternative views of the same concept.
    37. Stage a change-your-mind debate. with students moving to different parts of the classroom to signal change in opinion during the discussion.
    38. Conduct a “living” demographic survey by having students move to different parts of the classroom: size of high school. rural vs. urban. consumer preferences…
    39. Tell about your current research interests and how you got there from your own beginnings in the discipline.
    40. Conduct a role-play to make a point or to lay out issues.
    41. Let your students assume the role of a professional in the discipline: philosopher, literary critic, biologist. agronomist. political scientist. engineer.
    42. Conduct idea-generating or brainstorming sessions to expand horizons.
    43. Give students two passages of material containing alternative views to compare and contrast.
    44. Distribute a list of the unsolved problems. dilemmas. or great questions in your discipline and invite students to claim one as their own to investigate.
    45. Ask students what books they’ve read recently.
    46. Ask what is going on in the state legislature on this subject which may affect their future.
    47. Let your students see the enthusiasm you have for your subject and your love of learning.
    48. Take students with you to hear guest speakers or special programs on campus.
    49. Plan “scholar-gypsy” lesson or unit which shows students the excitement of discovery in your discipline. Providing Support
    50. Collect students’ current telephone numbers and addresses and let them know that you may need to reach them.
    51. Check out absentees. Call or write a personal note.
    52. Diagnose the students’ prerequisites learning by questionnaire or pre-test ant give them the feedback as soon as possible.
    53. Hand out study questions or study guides.
    54. Be redundant. Students should hear, read. or see key material at least three times.
    55. Allow students to demonstrate progress in learning: summary quiz over the day’s work. a written reaction to the day’s material.
    56. Use non-graded feedback to let students know how they are doing: post answers to ungraded quizzes and problem sets, exercises in class, oral feedback.
    57. Reward behavior you want: praise, stars, honor roll, personal note.
    58. Use a light touch: smile, tell a good joke, break test anxiety with a sympathetic comment.
    59. Organize. Give visible structure by posting the day’s “menu” on chalk- board or overhead.
    60. Use multiple media: overhead, slides, film, videotape, audio tape, models, sample material.
    61. Use multiple examples, in multiple media. to illustrate key points and . important concepts.
    62. Make appointments with all students (individually or in small groups).
    63. Hand out wallet-sized telephone cards with all important telephone numbers listed: office department, resource centers, teaching assistant, lab.
    64. Print all important course dates on a card that can be handed out and taped to a mirror.
    65. Eavesdrop on students before or after class and join their conversation about course topics.
    66. Maintain an open lab gradebook. with grades kept current. during lab time so that students can check their progress.
    67. Check to see if any students are having problems with any academic or campus matters and direct those who are to appropriate offices or resources.
    68. Tell students what they need to do to receive an “A” in your course.
    69. Stop the work to find out what your students are thinking feeling and doing in their everyday lives. Encouraging Active Learning
    70. Have students write something.
    71. Have students keep three-week-three-times-a-week journals in which they comment. ask questions. and answer questions about course topics.
    72. Invite students to critique each other’s essays or short answer on tests for readability or content.
    73. Invite students to ask questions and wait for the response.
    74. Probe student responses to questions ant wait for the response.
    75. Put students into pairs or “learning cells” to quiz each other over material for the day.
    76. Give students an opportunity to voice opinions about the subject matter.
    77. Have students apply subject matter to solve real problems.
    78. Give students red, yellow, and green cards (mate of posterboard) and periodically call for a vote on an issue by asking for a simultaneous show of cards.
    79. Roam the aisles of a large classroom and carry on running conversations with students as they work on course problems (a portable microphone helps).
    80. Ask a question directed to one student and wait for an answer.
    81. Place a suggestion box in the rear of the room and encourage students to make written comments every time the class meets.
    82. Do oral show of-hands multiple choice tests for summary review and instant feedback.
    83. Use task groups to accomplish specific objectives.
    84. Grade quizzes and exercises in class as a learning tool.
    85. Give students plenty of opportunity for practice before a major test.
    86. Give a test early in the semester and return it graded in the next class meeting.
    87. Have students write questions on index cards to be collected and answered the next class period.
    88. Make collaborate assignments for several students to work on together.
    89. Assign written paraphrases and summaries of difficult reading.
    90. Give students a take-home problem relating to the days lecture.
    91. Encourage students to bring current news items to class which relate to the subject matter and post these on a bulletin board nearby. Building Community
    92. Learn names. Everyone makes an effort to learn at least a few names.
    93. Set up a buddy system so students can contact each other about assignments and coursework.
    94. Find out about your students via questions on an index card.
    95. Take pictures of students (snapshots in small groups, mug shots) and post in classroom, office, or lab.
    96. Arrange helping trios of students to assist each other in learning and growing.
    97. Form small groups for getting acquainted; mix and form new groups several times.
    98. Assign a team project early in the semester and provide time to assemble the team.
    99. Help students form study groups to operate outside the classroom.
    100. Solicit suggestions from students for outside resources and guest speakers on course topics. Feedback on Teaching
    101. Gather student feedback in the first three weeks of the semester to improve teaching and learning.

    Permalink Leave a Comment

    Things to do during the first 3 weeks

    August 21, 2007 at 6:10 pm (all, children, classroom management, Education, Educational Leadership, Elementary, ESOL, High School, kids, Middle School, Parents, principals, school, school administration, teachers, Thornebrooke)

    These tips were written for college professors; however, many of them are useful for your classrooms as well.

    Introduction
    Students will decide very early – some say the first day of class – whether they will like the course, its contents, the teacher, and their fellow students.  The following list of “101 Things You Can Do…” is offered in the spirit of starting off right. It is a catalog of suggestions for college teachers who are looking for a fresh way of creating the best possible environment for learning. Not just the first day, but the first three weeks of a course are especially important, studies say, in retaining capable students. Even if the syllabus is printed and lecture notes are ready to go in August, most college teachers can usually make adjustments in teaching methods as the course unfolds and the characteristics of their students become known.These suggestions have been gathered from UNL professors and from college teachers elsewhere. The rationale for these methods is based on the following needs: 1) to help students make the transition from high school and summer or holiday activities to learning in college; 2) to direct students’ attention to the immediate situation for learning – the hour in the classroom: 3) to spark intellectual curiosity – to challenge students; 4) to support beginners and neophytes in the process of learning in the discipline; S) to encourage the students’ active involvement in learning; and 6) to build a sense of community in the classroom.
    Ideas For the First Three Weeks
    Here, then, are some ideas for college teachers for use in their courses as they begin a new semester. Helping Students Make Transitions

    1. Hit the ground running on the first day of class with substantial content.
    2. Take attendance: roll call, clipboard, sign in, seating chart.
    3. Introduce teaching assistants by slide, short presentation, or self-introduction.
    4. Hand out an informative, artistic, and user-friendly syllabus.
    5. Give an assignment on the first day to be collected at the next meeting.
    6. Start laboratory experiments and other exercises the first time lab meets.
    7. Call attention (written and oral) to what makes good lab practice: completing work to be done, procedures, equipment, clean up, maintenance, safety, conservation of supplies, full use of lab time.
    8. Administer a learning style inventory to help students find out about themselves.
    9. Direct students to the Learning Skills Center for help on basic skills.
    10. Tell students how much time they will need to study for this course.
    11. Hand out supplemental study aids: library use, study tips, supplemental readings and exercises.
    12. Explain how to study for kind of tests you give.
    13. Put in writing a limited number of ground rules regarding absence, late work, testing procedures, grading, and general decorum, and maintain these.
    14. Announce office hours frequently and hold them without fail.
    15. Show students how to handle learning in large classes and impersonal situations.
    16. Give sample test questions.
    17. Give sample test question answers.
    18. Explain the difference between legitimate collaboration and academic dishonesty; be clear when collaboration is wanted and when it is forbidden.
    19. Seek out a different student each day and get to know something about him or her.
    20. Ask students to write about what important things are currently going on in their lives.
    21. Find out about students’ jobs; if they are working, how many hours a week, and what kinds of jobs they hold. Directing Students’ Attention
    22. Greet students at the door when they enter the classroom.
    23. Start the class on time.
    24. Make a grand stage entrance to hush a large class and gain attention.
    25. Give a pre-test on the day’s topic.
    26. Start the lecture with a puzzle, question, paradox, picture, or cartoon on slide or transparency to focus on the day’s topic.
    27. Elicit student questions and concerns at the beginning of the class and list these on the chalkboard to be answered during the hour.
    28. Have students write down what they think the important issues or key points of the day’s lecture will be.
    29. Ask the person who is reading the student newspaper what is in the news today. Challenging Students
    30. Have students write out their expectations for the course and their own goals for learning.
    31. Use variety in methods of presentation every class meeting.
    32. Stage a figurative “coffee break” about twenty minutes into the hour; tell an anecdote, invite students to put down pens and pencils, refer to a current event, shift media.
    33. Incorporate community resources: plays, concerts, the State Fair. government agencies. businesses, the outdoors.
    34. Show a film in a novel way: stop it for discussion, show a few frames only, anticipate ending, hand out a viewing or critique sheet, play and replay parts.
    35. Share your philosophy of teaching with your students.
    36. Form a student panel to present alternative views of the same concept.
    37. Stage a change-your-mind debate. with students moving to different parts of the classroom to signal change in opinion during the discussion.
    38. Conduct a “living” demographic survey by having students move to different parts of the classroom: size of high school. rural vs. urban. consumer preferences…
    39. Tell about your current research interests and how you got there from your own beginnings in the discipline.
    40. Conduct a role-play to make a point or to lay out issues.
    41. Let your students assume the role of a professional in the discipline: philosopher, literary critic, biologist. agronomist. political scientist. engineer.
    42. Conduct idea-generating or brainstorming sessions to expand horizons.
    43. Give students two passages of material containing alternative views to compare and contrast.
    44. Distribute a list of the unsolved problems. dilemmas. or great questions in your discipline and invite students to claim one as their own to investigate.
    45. Ask students what books they’ve read recently.
    46. Ask what is going on in the state legislature on this subject which may affect their future.
    47. Let your students see the enthusiasm you have for your subject and your love of learning.
    48. Take students with you to hear guest speakers or special programs on campus.
    49. Plan “scholar-gypsy” lesson or unit which shows students the excitement of discovery in your discipline. Providing Support
    50. Collect students’ current telephone numbers and addresses and let them know that you may need to reach them.
    51. Check out absentees. Call or write a personal note.
    52. Diagnose the students’ prerequisites learning by questionnaire or pre-test ant give them the feedback as soon as possible.
    53. Hand out study questions or study guides.
    54. Be redundant. Students should hear, read. or see key material at least three times.
    55. Allow students to demonstrate progress in learning: summary quiz over the day’s work. a written reaction to the day’s material.
    56. Use non-graded feedback to let students know how they are doing: post answers to ungraded quizzes and problem sets, exercises in class, oral feedback.
    57. Reward behavior you want: praise, stars, honor roll, personal note.
    58. Use a light touch: smile, tell a good joke, break test anxiety with a sympathetic comment.
    59. Organize. Give visible structure by posting the day’s “menu” on chalk- board or overhead.
    60. Use multiple media: overhead, slides, film, videotape, audio tape, models, sample material.
    61. Use multiple examples, in multiple media. to illustrate key points and . important concepts.
    62. Make appointments with all students (individually or in small groups).
    63. Hand out wallet-sized telephone cards with all important telephone numbers listed: office department, resource centers, teaching assistant, lab.
    64. Print all important course dates on a card that can be handed out and taped to a mirror.
    65. Eavesdrop on students before or after class and join their conversation about course topics.
    66. Maintain an open lab gradebook. with grades kept current. during lab time so that students can check their progress.
    67. Check to see if any students are having problems with any academic or campus matters and direct those who are to appropriate offices or resources.
    68. Tell students what they need to do to receive an “A” in your course.
    69. Stop the work to find out what your students are thinking feeling and doing in their everyday lives. Encouraging Active Learning
    70. Have students write something.
    71. Have students keep three-week-three-times-a-week journals in which they comment. ask questions. and answer questions about course topics.
    72. Invite students to critique each other’s essays or short answer on tests for readability or content.
    73. Invite students to ask questions and wait for the response.
    74. Probe student responses to questions ant wait for the response.
    75. Put students into pairs or “learning cells” to quiz each other over material for the day.
    76. Give students an opportunity to voice opinions about the subject matter.
    77. Have students apply subject matter to solve real problems.
    78. Give students red, yellow, and green cards (mate of posterboard) and periodically call for a vote on an issue by asking for a simultaneous show of cards.
    79. Roam the aisles of a large classroom and carry on running conversations with students as they work on course problems (a portable microphone helps).
    80. Ask a question directed to one student and wait for an answer.
    81. Place a suggestion box in the rear of the room and encourage students to make written comments every time the class meets.
    82. Do oral show of-hands multiple choice tests for summary review and instant feedback.
    83. Use task groups to accomplish specific objectives.
    84. Grade quizzes and exercises in class as a learning tool.
    85. Give students plenty of opportunity for practice before a major test.
    86. Give a test early in the semester and return it graded in the next class meeting.
    87. Have students write questions on index cards to be collected and answered the next class period.
    88. Make collaborate assignments for several students to work on together.
    89. Assign written paraphrases and summaries of difficult reading.
    90. Give students a take-home problem relating to the days lecture.
    91. Encourage students to bring current news items to class which relate to the subject matter and post these on a bulletin board nearby. Building Community
    92. Learn names. Everyone makes an effort to learn at least a few names.
    93. Set up a buddy system so students can contact each other about assignments and coursework.
    94. Find out about your students via questions on an index card.
    95. Take pictures of students (snapshots in small groups, mug shots) and post in classroom, office, or lab.
    96. Arrange helping trios of students to assist each other in learning and growing.
    97. Form small groups for getting acquainted; mix and form new groups several times.
    98. Assign a team project early in the semester and provide time to assemble the team.
    99. Help students form study groups to operate outside the classroom.
    100. Solicit suggestions from students for outside resources and guest speakers on course topics. Feedback on Teaching
    101. Gather student feedback in the first three weeks of the semester to improve teaching and learning.

    Permalink Leave a Comment

    10 Teacher Tips for Classroom Management

    August 20, 2007 at 5:50 pm (all, children, classroom management, Education, Educational Leadership, Elementary, ESOL, High School, kids, Middle School, Parents, principals, school, school administration, teachers, Thornebrooke, Uncategorized)

    Classroom Management: Ten Teacher-Tested Tips!

    Sally McCombs has been teaching for more than 18 years. These days, she seldom has a discipline problem that she can’t handle. That wasn’t always the case, however. 

    McCombs recently recalled for Education World an experience from her early teaching days. “There was a student who was driving me crazy,” she said. “He was arrogant and disruptive, but my good friend — who also taught him — had no trouble with him. So I asked her what her secret was, and she simply said ‘You have to like him.’

    “Notice,” McCombs emphasized, the teacher said “You don’t have to love him, just like him — but it has to be real. I’ve tried to keep that in mind since then,” added McCombs, a teacher at LEAP Academy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “I deal with kids differently when I really like them, even if I don’t like their behavior. There is generally something to appreciate in every kid.

    “I’ve had to realize that letting kids get away with things they know are wrong is not kind,” McCombs explained. “Students need structure. They need to trust us, and that means we have to keep our promises, even if the promise is that you will call home or assign punishments.”

    McCombs has found a classroom management approach that works for her — and she was willing to share her experiences for the benefit of others. So were other educators who have found classroom peace. Today, Education World shares ten teacher-tested tips for managing a classroom. One of them might be perfect for you to try this fall in your classroom!

    COUNTDOWN TO BEHAVIOR

    Nancy Landis, a fourth-grade teacher at Oskaloosa (Kansas) Elementary School, has found a technique for quieting rambunctious kids that works well for her. As many other teachers do, she uses a simple counting technique. “I wear a stopwatch around my neck, and when the noise gets to an unacceptable level, I hold up the stopwatch and begin timing,” said Landis.

    “There is always a student who is aware of what I have done, and the word spreads quickly,” explained Landis. “I never need to say a word; they regulate themselves. They know the time that has accumulated on the watch is the time they ‘owe’ before they can have recess.” If the students respond quickly, Landis doesn’t count the time on the watch against them.

    Many other teachers employ variations of this technique. Some count aloud. One teacher we know counts aloud in Japanese — and the counting doesn’t stop until all the students join in. She changes the language each month, so children learn to count in a new language while they manage their own behavior!

    Another “countdown” teacher sets a goal for the counting time that a given class can accumulate. During the first week of school, that goal might be 200 seconds; the goal might decrease by 25 seconds each week, until it is down to 100 seconds a day at the end of the first month. If the students don’t accumulate that many seconds of owed-time, he shares a “joke of the day.” He says the kids hate to miss out on the joke — even if it is a groaner! Unlike the more-concrete awards some teachers provide, this award cost him only the price of a good joke book!

    Most teachers agree that the key to making the countdown technique work is to set a goal and stick to it. The first time the kids lose out might be hard on the teacher who realizes that just one or two students have spoiled things for the others. Peer pressure works amazingly well, however — on the following day, the students are bound to do better!

    HALLWAY CONFERENCE

    Charles Kruger teaches at Bethune Middle School in Los Angeles. When a student is being difficult, he employs a technique called a “hallway conference.” It’s a technique Kruger learned in a seminar offered by Lee Canter Associates.

    “I go to the doorway — slowly because I want the class to watch — and call the student to the hallway,” Kruger explained. “The other students are quiet — they want to see what is going to happen.”

    When Kruger and the student get together in the hallway, the conversation goes something like this:

    Kruger: I care very much about your success in my class, (student’s name), and I’m concerned that you seem to be headed into trouble today. You have (here Kruger lists the offense or offenses), and I know you know that is against the rules. Is something going on today that is giving you a special problem? Can I help?Student: (At this point, the student is usually disarmed and often responds “no.” At other times, the student might present a problem. In either case, Kruger will usually continue …)

    Kruger: I’m glad there isn’t a problem. (Alternative response: I’m sorry to hear that. Perhaps we can deal with that later.) Right now, this is what you have to do: Go back to your seat and (whatever the assigned task is), and don’t give me any more problems today. Can you do that?… Are you sure?… Good. I’m glad we’re going to be able to keep you out of trouble.”

    Kruger and the student return to the classroom as Kruger gives the student a big smile and says enthusiastically and clearly so the rest of the class can hear.

    Kruger: Thank you, (student’s name).

    “At first I was concerned that some students anxious for extra attention would provoke hallway conferences, and that does happen,” Kruger noted. “But the other students seem to understand, and the student who needs extra attention gets it. If a student is persistent, I try to find other ways of giving him or her extra attention. Even a little attention, such as making a point of greeting the student by name or asking for help with a chore, can significantly reduce some problem behaviors.”

    SEVEN MORE TEACHER TIPS TO TAME TEMPER TANTRUMS!

    1. Pasta discipline.
      This technique starts with a large jar and a few boxes of macaroni — small elbow macaroni works best. When students are all working together well or independently on a task, grab a handful of macaroni and dump it into the jar as a reward. When the jar is full, the students have earned an agreed-upon reward. Possible rewards: Free activity time, a night or two without homework, or a special event.
    2. Sh-h-h-h-h!
      If students are a little talky, you might take advantage and whisper an instruction that begins “If you can hear my voice and (give an instruction), you can have ten minutes of free time at the end of the day.” The beginning of the whispered statement will get the attention of some or many students. Give the instruction just once; those who don’t give you their immediate attention or miss what you say because they were talking too loudly miss out on the reward.
    3. Three strikes!
      Each student starts out the week with three index cards. The blank sides of the cards have their names printed in large letters. If a student disrupts or breaks a rule, instruct the student to write on the lined side of the card (on the first available line) the date and the disruptive behavior. Then the student must drop that card in the fishbowl at the front of the room. Establish a reward for students who still have three cards at the end of the week and consequences for those who have two, one, or no cards left. The next week, the students get their three cards back and start fresh. The cards also serve as a record when report card time comes or when a parent conference must be arranged.
    4. RESPECT.
      Write the word RESPECT on the board at the start of each week. Each time the class gets out of hand or is off-task enough to be disruptive, put a big X through one of the letters. The class will have discussed and agreed in advance on the rewards and consequences for “keeping” or “losing RESPECT” during the week. Other words — such as REWARD, BEHAVE, or the name of the school — might work as well. You can extend or shorten the time frame, depending on class goals.
    5. Bell work.
      Many teachers provide “bell work” — activities that students jump into as soon as the bell rings to signal the start of the school day. Such assignments get the day off to a purposeful start by focusing kids’ energies and attention. The activity might be written on the board; it might be a review of a skill taught the day before. Other teachers might expect students to come in each day and spend the first ten minutes writing in their journals; there might be a question on the board to prompt those students who can’t think of anything to write. One teacher posted a Daily Numbers sign (from the state’s lottery game by the same name) in the back of the room. Students walk into the classroom and go immediately to the back of the room to grab their “daily numbers” — a half-sheet of ten math problems that review math operations and a variety of other concepts including measurement, telling time, and money. As the students finish the work, they get immediate reinforcement or correction. When they finish their daily numbers, they start right in on the day’s work. When the teacher finishes correcting everybody’s math problems, the morning meeting begins.
    6. The buddy room.
      Many teachers use the “buddy room” concept. Two teachers agree to be buddy room partners. This works best if the buddying teachers are in adjacent rooms. If a student is being disruptive, the teacher takes the student to the buddy room. There a special seat is assigned for such circumstances. Nothing needs to be said; the student heads directly to that seat. Some teachers leave the student there until he or she is ready to return to class; at that point, the student raises a hand and the buddy teacher takes the student back to class at the first opportunity. Other teachers leave a stack of “think sheets” in the desk in the buddy room; the offending student completes a think sheet — which has places for the student to describe what he or she was doing wrong, the effects the behavior had on the class, and what he or she will do to correct the behavior.
    7. Behavior book.
      On the first day of school, many teachers provide questionnaires for students to complete. The questionnaires collect important information — such as phone numbers, addresses, and the like — as well information about hobbies and other interests. Some teachers collect those sheets and keep them in a binder. Teachers who have multiple classes use simple notebook dividers to separate one class from another. When a student disrupts the class, breaks a class rule, or does something positive, the teacher reaches for the binder and jots a note on the back of that student’s questionnaire. Those notes serve as a record for grading or planning parent conferences. One teacher buys three-holed plastic sleeves and inserts each student’s questionnaire into a sleeve. She keeps a pile of scrap paper on her desk. Whenever a student does anything negative or positive, she scribbles a dated note on a piece of the scrap paper. At the end of the class period, she drops those notes into the students’ plastic sleeves. Those notes serve as a record of the student’s year.

    Permalink Leave a Comment

    Activities for the First Days of School

    August 18, 2007 at 5:43 pm (all, children, classroom management, Education, Educational Leadership, Elementary, ESOL, High School, kids, Middle School, Parents, principals, school, school administration, teachers, Thornebrooke, Uncategorized)

    Fourteen Great Activities for the First Days of School!If you’re looking for fun activities for the opening days of school — activities that will help you get to know your students and to help them get to know you — check out these suggestions from your colleagues around the world!

    ACTIVITIES FOR DAY ONE!

    True or False?
    This activity is always fun, and we all learn something interesting about one another! I start. I write four facts about myself on an overhead transparency. Three of the facts are true, and one is false. Students take my little true-false test. Then I survey students to learn the results. We go back over each question to see what they thought about each statement. That gives me a chance to tell a little about me. Then, on a sheet of paper, students write three interesting facts about themselves that are true and one that is false. Throughout the day, I ask a few students to try to stump the rest of us.
          Tony Stuart, grades 4 and 5, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
          John Reilley, Fillmore, California

      Already a Test!
    After the students sit and I take roll, I ask them to take out a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil for their first test of the school year. I explain to them — in complete seriousness, of course — that this will be the hardest test of the entire year because they have not prepared in class for the test. I have them title the paper “Teacher.” I ask them to answer all parts of each question. The questions might include Where was I born?, What does my father do for a living?, How many brothers and/or sisters do I have — if any?, How many different states have I called home?, Where did I go to high school and college?, How old am I?, What is my favorite color?, What kind of car do I drive? The test can be as long or short as you wish; make the questions fit the things you would want them to know. You can imagine the looks on their faces when asked these questions. I tell them they received their very first 100 in my class if they answered all of the questions correctly! At the end of the “test,” I give the answers, and the kids marvel at the discrepancy of their answers. One of my favorite things to see is a student who was in my class the previous year. They always think they’ll make a 100. They never do! With younger students, when they’re right they think they can predict the future!
          Marty Faulkner, high school teacher; Grand Prairie, Texas
          Tina Williams, Livingston Park Elementary School; North Brunswick, New Jersey

    Peek Into Summer.
    Divide a bulletin board into “window panes,” using white strips of paper. Create one window pane for each child in your class. Assign two children to bring in some object each day, such as a shell, that represents what they had fun doing this past summer. Put the items in small zip-lock plastic bags. After each presentation, mount the plastic bags on each child’s “window pane.” This makes a great back-to-school bulletin board and provides children with opportunities to talk about their summer.
          Judy Isphording, Sope Creek Elementary School; Marietta, Georgia

    The More Important Book
    On the first day of school, read to students a popular favorite — The Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown. It’s a wonderful, repetitive book that tells the “important thing” about a variety of things, such as a spoon, an apple, the wind, etc. After we read the book and discover its repetitive form, we write our own More Important Book. Each child tells about himself or herself, following the format of The Important Book.” The children end, as the book does, by repeating the first line, “But, the most important thing about (child’s name) is that he or she _____.” Each child is responsible for a “most important thing” page, which becomes part of the class book. This is a wonderful and fun way to get to know one another, and the book is read throughout the year.
          Susan Wallace, St. Agatha Academy; Winchester, Kentucky

    Let’s Hear It!
    I believe students are more interested in school when they have a hand in their own learning. I ask my sophomores to write a few paragraphs explaining what they would like to get out of my American government class. If they could teach the class themselves, how would they make it more interesting and what would they avoid doing?
          Patty McKenna, The Benjamin School; North Palm Beach, Florida

    BINGO-Scavenger Hunt!
    To get communication going between students who aren’t necessarily friends, I start the year off with a game of BINGO. I make up BINGO cards for the students. Each square on the card includes a brief description. Examples: Visited Florida this summer, Is an avid water-skier, Has a big brother and little sister, Was born in another country, Lives nearest the school, Learned how to skateboard this summer, Didn’t see the movie Titanic, Likes anchovies on pizza, Was born in the same month as you, Has a brother or sister in the same school, Favorite subject is science, Has an ear pierced more than once, Father’s name is Jim, Read more than one book this summer, Speaks two languages, Has two pets. Students walk around the room and get the signature of someone who fits the specific description in each box. The goal is to be the first to student to fill the BINGO card with signatures. To make it harder, have students fill every square with a different student’s signature and set a time limit. When a student has a BINGO (one name signed per square) give the person a small prize, such as being first in line that day. This is a great way to learn special things about your students and help get them to know one another. An alternative: Set this up as a scavenger hunt with a series of questions, each question with a line beside it. Students are given a time limit to circle the classroom and find someone who has “been there, done that.” That “someone” writes her or his name in the blank space.
          Carolyn Ruppel, high school English teacher; Baltimore, Maryland
          Kimberly Kean, Ochoa Middle School; Hayward, California
          Jennifer Malone, Eaton Elementary School, Lenoir City, Tennessee
          Rene Kehau Schofield. Westmont High School; Campbell, California
          Linda Press, Carmel High School; Carmel, New York
          Jan Johnson Wakefield Community Schools, Wakefield, Nebraska

    BINGO Times 2
    Pass out BINGO cards to students. Each square on this card contains a question. (Click here for a sample card created by teacher Peg Teeter.) Have each student fill in the answers for ALL questions beside number 1. Wait for all students to finish. Then students find classmates with the same answers written in each box. The classmate with a matching answer prints his or her initials on line 2. Give a prize to any or all who get a BINGO!
          Peg Teeter, St. Stephen School; Oil City, Pennsylvania

    Going in Circles
    For the entire first day of school, I arrange all the desks in a large circle, with everyone facing the center. This makes it easy for the children to talk and get to know one another. Then I ask each child to introduce himself or herself. The children must also provide one fact about themselves. As we go around the circle, students try to repeat the information (names and facts) about each of the other students in the circle.
          Judy Wilkerson, Glen Avenue Elementary School; Salisbury, Maryland

    Jump Into Science
    This activity is intended to get high school science students thinking about the scientific process — what is the issue or problem, what do we know, what do we need to know. etc. — and to assess what areas of the curriculum are familiar to them. Issue texts, group students, and provide the following activity: Invite students to scan the first chapter of their text — or the Table of Contents, which introduces major areas typically covered in the course. As a group, select a topic or related issue. Is this a controversial issue? That is, is there an ongoing debate related to it? Identify what you as a group know about this topic or issue. Determine what facts or information you as a group would like to know about this topic or issue. How would you go about answering the questions that you have just raised? Discuss in what way(s) this issue is relevant to you? After about 20 minutes, I stop the discussion and invite each group to share its responses.
          Alan Sills, West Essex Regional High School; North Caldwell, New Jersey

    Twenty Questions
    One of my objectives is to get the kids used to “true participation” and to the idea that being wrong can lead to being right! Playing Twenty Questions is a great tie-in to what I start class with the following day — how sometimes we learn as much or more from being wrong as from being right. The game is easy and requires no set-up or materials. I choose an item in the room, and students have to guess what it is. They can ask only questions that I can answer with either yes or no. For example: “Is it blue?”, “Is it in the front half of the room?” The person who finally gets it gets to be the next yes-no person. I stress that that person would never have gotten it without everybody else’s help; the “no” answers helped as much as the “yes” answers did. I also get to be a participant and to point out that sometimes I am wrong too! The tone of friendly cooperation on the first day lasts into the school year, and the first day becomes part of a lesson, not just a day of record keeping.
          LeAnn Lyon, Highview Middle School; Mounds View School District, Minnesota

    Who Am I? Riddle Book
    Have children share facts about themselves by creating a Who Am I? riddle book. Students write four or five statements about themselves. The last line is a question: “Who Am I?” I put this up as a bulletin board and have students guess who each person is. The first person to guess correctly gets to choose who guesses next.
          Tina Williams, Livingston Park Elementary School; North Brunswick, New Jersey

    Math About Me Students create Math About Me sheets. They share the sheets with the class and each student’s sheet becomes part of his or her portfolio. The Math About Me information might include birthday, address numbers, phone number, sports number, favorite number, number of pets, number of people in the family, etc. When the students gather together to share their numbers, they see what numbers they have in common with their classmates, and everyone learns a little bit about one another. The numbers are then used to make a Math About Me poster. I take a snapshot of each child for the center of the poster. Then the kids design the math facts in a colorful, interesting presentation. We use these as a hallway bulletin board.
          Jennifer Malone, Eaton Elementary School, Lenoir City, Tennessee
          Eileen Horn, Godwin School, Midland Park, New Jersey

    Alphabetical Roll!
    After introducing yourself, create some chaos. Tell students they have three minutes to complete their first assignment: “Sort yourselves in alphabetical order by last name.” After the initial shock and after they succeed, remind them how capable they are to handle their first day, and every day, by asking questions, getting help from others, working together, trying and evaluating strategies to “just do it”! Whatever “it” might be, they can do it!
          Rene Kehau Schofield. Westmont High School; Campbell, California

    Puzzling Activity
    Students use colorful markers to write their names in big letters on a sheet of drawing paper. Under their names, they write several sentences describing themselves, for example, favorite things, family info, hobbies, and pet info. Then hand out blank puzzles (which can be found in craft stores — cheap!). Privately — perhaps behind a folder upright on their desks — students illustrate on the blank puzzles the interests and information on their name sheets. They break up their puzzles and place the pieces in a brown paper bag with a question mark on the front. Post the large papers with the descriptive sentences on a bulletin board and, beneath that display, line up all the paper bags full of puzzle pieces. Throughout the week, during free time, students can choose a bag, put the puzzle together, compare the puzzle with the posted sentences, and guess which classmate it may be. At the end of the week look at guesses, and find out whose puzzle is really whose.
          Eileen Horn, Godwin School, Midland Park, New Jersey

    Permalink Leave a Comment

    Next page »