Now that school is back in session, I'm bringing back Teacher Tuesday. My goal is to get at least two of these posts in every month.
And teacher friends, mark your calendars because TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7th I'm going to do a link-up party where we can share classroom tours! I can't wait to see y'alls themes, decorations and organization! So tidy up your desk, snap some pictures and get ready!
Today I thought I'd share a little bit about a few of the things I did during our first few days back.
On the first day of school, I went through a SmartBoard presentation, but I try to make it a little more entertaining :)
GIFs are some of my favorite things to use and I love getting a few giggles on the first day :)
I think adding in a little bit of humor goes a LONG way especially when kids are new and nervous.
I do an intro about myself (I actually showed them my "What I Did This Summer" video), they all went around and introduce themselves, we go through a few procedures and policies and then I ended the class (we only have 25 mins each period on the first day) by handing them each a note card and having them tell me a little bit about their interests/hobbies, what they want to be when they grow up and their personal Math history.
They fill out their card and then over the next several weeks I send them each an email addressing what they wrote on the card. I have over 110 students, but it's totally worth it.
On the second day of class, when I have a full period with them and the initial "we're back in school glazed look" has worn off a bit, I go over one of my biggest classroom policies.... late work.
I think that the hardest part of my job (besides having enough hours in the day to get it all done) is keeping track of late work. Who was sick, who left their homework at home, who was at the band competition when we were turning it in, who used a mercy pass, etc., etc., etc. It's a HOT MESS, but the system I use has helped me out dramatically.
I have these "I Don't Have My Homework Because..." pages in a basket at the front of the room and if a student doesn't have their assignment for any reason they grab one, fill it out and turn it in in place of their assignment.
If they were absent on the day I assign the homework, they would indicate that on the page and when I'm going through papers I make myself a note on what I need to do to get them caught up and put it in my absent folder.
The next scenario is the "Have Mercy Pass". Each student gets one pass at the beginning of every quarter and they can use it whenever they want. It buys them an extra night to complete the assignment and allows them to turn it in one day late with no penalty.
When they turn in the blue paper, they staple the mercy pass to it and I set it to the side so I remember to collect the assignment from them the next class period.
The last situation is if they don't have their homework and they don't have a mercy pass. BOO!
If that's the case, our school policy is that they come to an academic detention after school. to get the work completed. I pull these sheets out and leave them in a stack on my desk so I know who to expect for detention. If a student finished their homework before detention and they turn it in (during a passing period, lunch, etc.), then they don't have to stay after school but they still receive the late penalty (20 or 30 points off depending on the grade level).
This system has helped me BUNCHES and I'm hopeful you can implement it or glean something from it for your classroom.
Last up is something really simple, but really effective - handwritten notes and worksheets.
I know it sounds crazy, but when I use handwritten copies of my notes or make a worksheet by hand, I feel like the students pay more attention to it and remember it more because it's different than what they've been looking at all day long.
At the beginning of the year we spend several days reviewing integer operations and once we've completed all the lessons and practices I give them this page as a reference guide for their notebooks...
My visual learners EAT THESE UP! During a test or quiz I can say things like, "remember that one page where I had the doodle of the ladybug on it?" and they can remember the content. I definitely don't do everything like this, but I throw them in there every once in a while.
I'm so looking forward to sharing activities and ideas throughout this school year and would love to hear best practices from your classrooms as well!
So, Tuesday, September 7th! TOURS! Here's a sneak peek of my room...
... lots of color, lots of fun and lots of Ryan Gosling. #heygirl
Tomorrow is Recipe Club! Bring your a-game, girls!